Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area, 21126-21196 [2019-09541]

Download as PDF 21126 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 218 [Docket No. 190220145–9145–01] RIN 0648–BI85 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comment. AGENCY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) to extend the time period from November 2023 to November 2025 for Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area. In August 2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for seven-year authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to the previously allowed five years. The Navy’s activities qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004. In making the request to extend the time period covered by the MMPA AFTT regulations from five to seven years, the Navy proposes no changes to their specified activities, the geographical region in which those activities would be conducted, mitigation measures, monitoring, or reporting over the longer seven-year period. Pursuant to the MMPA, NMFS is requesting comments on the proposed seven-year rule and associated Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to cover the same activities covered by the existing 2018 AFTT regulations. NMFS will consider all public comments prior to issuing any final rule and making final decisions on the issuance of the requested LOAs, and agency responses will be summarized in the notice of the final decision. DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than June 12, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2019–0050, by any of the following methods: jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:22 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 • Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20190050, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. A copy of the Navy’s applications, NMFS’ proposed and final rules and subsequent LOAs for the existing regulations, and other supporting documents and documents cited herein may be obtained online at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities. In case of problems accessing these documents, please use the contact listed here (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wendy Piniak, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of Regulatory Action These proposed regulations, issued under the authority of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), would extend the framework for authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to the Navy’s training and testing activities (which qualify as military readiness activities) from the use of sonar and other transducers, in-water detonations, air guns, impact pile driving/vibratory extraction, and the movement of vessels throughout the AFTT Study Area, which includes areas of the western Atlantic Ocean along the East Coast of North America, portions of the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 NMFS received an application from the Navy requesting to extend NMFS’ existing MMPA regulations (50 CFR part 218, subpart I; hereafter ‘‘2018 AFTT regulations’’) that authorize the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the AFTT Study Area to cover seven years of the Navy’s activities, instead of five. Take is anticipated to occur by Level A harassment and Level B harassment as well as a very small number of serious injuries or mortalities incidental to the Navy’s training and testing activities. Background The MMPA prohibits the ‘‘take’’ of marine mammals, with certain exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA 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 is provided to the public for review and the opportunity to submit comments. An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stocks and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stocks 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 this rule as ‘‘mitigation measures’’); and requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such takings. The MMPA defines ‘‘take’’ to mean to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. The Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section below discusses the definition of ‘‘negligible impact.’’ The NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004 (2004 NDAA) (Pub. L. 108–136) amended section 101(a)(5) of the MMPA to remove the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ provisions indicated above and amended the definition of ‘‘harassment’’ E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules as it applies to a ‘‘military readiness activity’’ to read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): (i) Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A Harassment); or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered (Level B Harassment). In addition, the 2004 NDAA amended the MMPA as it relates to military readiness activities such that least practicable adverse impact shall include consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. More recently, section 316 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2019 (2019 NDAA) (Pub. L. 115–232), signed on August 13, 2018, amended the MMPA to allow incidental take rules for military readiness activities under section 101(a)(5)(A) to be issued for up to seven years. Prior to this amendment, all incidental take rules under section 101(a)(5)(A) were limited to five years. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Summary of Request On November 14, 2018, NMFS issued a five-year final rule governing the taking of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the AFTT Study Area (83 FR 57076; hereafter ‘‘2018 AFTT final rule’’). Previously on August 13, 2018, and towards the end of the time period in which NMFS was processing the Navy’s request for the 2018 regulations, the 2019 NDAA amended the MMPA for military readiness activities to allow incidental take regulations to be issued for up to seven years instead of the previous five years. The Navy’s training and testing activities conducted in the AFTT Study Area qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as amended by the 2004 NDAA. On November 16, 2018, the Navy submitted an application requesting that NMFS extend the 2018 AFTT regulations and associated LOAs such that they would cover take incidental to seven years of training and testing activities instead of five, extending the expiration date from November 13, 2023 to November 13, 2025. A revised application correcting the estimated takes due to ship shock trials (Table 5.1–2) was submitted to NMFS by the Navy on January 18, 2019. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the nature of the specified activities covered by the 2018 AFTT final rule, the level of activity within and between years would be consistent with that previously analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, and all activities would be conducted within the same boundaries of the AFTT Study Area identified in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Therefore, the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted) and the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The only changes included in the Navy’s request are to conduct those same activities in the same region for an additional two years. In its request, the Navy included all information necessary to identify the type and amount of incidental take that may occur in the two additional years so NMFS could determine whether the analyses and conclusions regarding the impacts of the proposed activities on marine mammal species and stocks previously reached for five years of activities remain the same for seven years of identical activity. The Navy’s mission is to organize, train, equip, and maintain combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas. This mission is mandated by federal law (10 U.S.C. 8062), which ensures the readiness of the naval forces of the United States. The Navy executes this responsibility by establishing and executing training programs, including at-sea training and exercises, and ensuring naval forces have access to the ranges, operating areas (OPAREAs), and airspace needed to develop and maintain skills for conducting naval activities. The Navy proposes to continue conducting training and testing activities within the AFTT Study Area. The Navy’s January 18, 2019, rulemaking and LOA extension application (hereafter ‘‘2019 Navy application’’) reflects the same compilation of training and testing activities presented in the Navy’s June 16, 2017, initial rulemaking and LOA application (hereafter ‘‘2017 Navy application’’) and the 2018 AFTT regulations that were subsequently promulgated, which can be found at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-mammal-protection/ incidental-take-authorizations-militaryreadiness-activities. These activities are deemed by the Navy necessary to accomplish military readiness requirements and are anticipated to continue into the reasonably foreseeable PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21127 future. The 2019 Navy application and this rule cover training and testing activities that would occur over seven years, including the five years already authorized under the 2018 AFTT regulations, with the regulations valid from the publication date of the final rule (if issued) through November 13, 2025. Summary of the Proposed Regulations NMFS is proposing to extend the incidental take regulations and associated LOAs through November 13, 2025 to cover the same Navy activities covered by the 2018 AFTT regulations. The 2018 AFTT final rule was only recently published and its analysis remains current and valid. In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the nature (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted) or level of the specified activities within or between years or to the boundaries of the AFTT Study Area. The mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures would be identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The proposed regulatory language included at the end of this proposed rule, which would be published at 50 CFR part 218, subpart I, also is the same as that under the AFTT 2018 regulations, except for a small number of minor, technical changes. No new information has been received from the Navy, or otherwise become available to NMFS, since publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule that significantly changes the analyses supporting the 2018 findings. Where there is any new information pertinent to the descriptions, analyses, or findings required to authorize incidental take for military readiness activities under MMPA section 101(a)(5)(A), that information is provided in the appropriate sections below. Because the activities included in the 2019 Navy application have not changed and the analyses and findings included in the documents provided and produced in support of the recently published 2018 AFTT final rule remain current and applicable, this proposed rule relies heavily on and references to the applicable information and analyses in those documents. Below is a list of the regulatory documents referenced in this proposed rule. The list indicates the short name by which the document is referenced in this proposed rule, as well as the full titles of the cited documents. All of the documents can be found at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities and http://www.aftteis.com/. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21128 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules • NMFS March 13, 2018, Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) proposed rule (83 FR 10954; hereafter ‘‘2018 AFTT proposed rule’’); • NMFS November 14, 2018, Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) final rule (83 FR 57076; hereafter ‘‘2018 AFTT final rule’’); • NMFS December 27, 2018, HawaiiSouthern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area final rule (83 FR 66846; hereafter ‘‘2018 HSTT final rule’’); • Navy June 16, 2017, MMPA rulemaking and LOA application (hereafter ‘‘2017 Navy application’’); • Navy January 18, 2019, MMPA rulemaking and LOA extension application (hereafter ‘‘2019 Navy application’’); and • September 14, 2018, Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS/OEIS) (hereafter ‘‘2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS’’). jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Description of the Specified Activity The Navy requests authorization to take marine mammals incidental to conducting training and testing activities. The Navy has determined that acoustic and explosives stressors are most likely to result in impacts on marine mammals that could rise to the level of harassment. Detailed descriptions of these activities are provided in Chapter 2 of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS and in the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications. Overview of Training and Testing Activities The Navy routinely trains in the AFTT Study Area in preparation for national defense missions. Training and testing activities and components covered in the 2019 Navy application are described in detail in the Overview of Training and Testing Activities sections of the 2018 AFTT proposed rule and the 2018 AFTT final rule and Chapter 2 of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS (http://www.aftteis.com/). Each military training and testing activity described meets mandated Fleet requirements to deploy ready forces. The Navy proposes no changes to the specified activities described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The boundaries of the AFTT Study Area (see Figure 1.2–1 of the 2019 Navy application); the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted); manner of or amount of vessel movement; and standard operating procedures presented in this proposed rule are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Dates and Duration The specified activities would occur at any time during the seven-year period of validity of the regulations. The proposed number of training and testing activities are described in the Detailed Description of the Specified Activities section (Tables 1 through 4). Specified Geographical Region The Navy proposes no changes to the geographic extent of the AFTT Study Area as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The AFTT Study Area (see Figure 2–1 of the 2019 Navy application) includes areas of the western Atlantic Ocean along the east coast of North America, the Gulf of Mexico, and portions of the Caribbean Sea. The AFTT Study Area begins at the mean high tide line along the U.S. coast and extends east to the 45-degree west longitude line, north to the 65-degree north latitude line, and south to approximately the 20-degree north latitude line. The AFTT Study Area also includes Navy pierside locations, bays, harbors, and inland waterways, and civilian ports where training and testing occurs. The AFTT Study Area generally follows the Commander Task Force 80 area of operations, covering approximately 2.6 million nautical miles squared (nmi2) of ocean area, and includes designated Navy range complexes and associated operating areas (OPAREAs) and special use airspace. While the AFTT Study Area itself is very large, the vast majority of Navy training and testing occurs in designated range complexes and testing ranges. A Navy range complex consists of geographic areas that encompass a water component (above and below the surface) and airspace, and may encompass a land component where training and testing of military platforms, tactics, munitions, explosives, and electronic warfare systems occur. Range complexes include established OPAREAs, which may be further divided to provide better control of the area for safety reasons. Additional detail on range complexes and testing ranges was provided in the Duration and Location section of the 2018 AFTT proposed rule; please see the 2018 AFTT proposed rule or the 2017 Navy application for more information. Description of Acoustic and Explosive Stressors The Navy uses a variety of sensors, platforms, weapons, and other devices, including ones used to ensure the safety of Sailors and Marines, to meet its PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 mission. Training and testing with these systems may introduce acoustic (sound) energy or shock waves from explosives into the environment. The specific components that could act as stressors by having direct or indirect impacts on the environment are described in detail in the Description of Acoustic and Explosive Stressors section of the 2018 AFTT final rule and Chapter 2 of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS. The Navy proposes no changes to the nature of the specified activities and, therefore, the acoustic and explosive stressors are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Other Stressor—Vessel Strike Vessel strikes are not specific to any particular training or testing activity, but rather a limited, sporadic, and incidental result of Navy vessel movement within the AFTT Study Area. Navy vessels transit at speeds that are optimal for fuel conservation or to meet training and testing requirements. The average speed of large Navy ships ranges between 10 and 15 knots and submarines generally operate at speeds in the range of 8–13 knots, while a few specialized vessels can travel at faster speeds. By comparison, this is slower than most commercial vessels where full speed for a container ship is typically 24 knots (Bonney and Leach, 2010). Should a vessel strike occur, it would likely result in incidental take from serious injury and/or mortality and, accordingly, for the purposes of the analysis we assume that any ship strike would result in serious injury or mortality. The Navy proposes no changes to the nature of the specified activities, the training and testing activities, the manner of or amount of vessel movement, and standard operating procedures. Therefore, the description of vessel strikes as a stressor is the same as those presented in the Other Stressor—Vessel Strike sections of the 2018 AFTT proposed rule and 2018 AFTT final rule. Detailed Description of the Specified Activities The Navy’s proposed activities are presented and analyzed as a representative year of training to account for the natural fluctuation of training cycles and deployment schedules in any seven-year period. In the 2018 AFTT final rule, NMFS analyzed activities based on the Navy conducting three years of a representative level of activity and two years of a maximum level of activity. For the purposes of this rulemaking, the Navy proposes that the additional two E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21129 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules years of training and testing would consist of one additional year of maximum training tempo and one representative year of training tempo consistent with the pattern set forth in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS, and the 2017 Navy application. Proposed Training Activities The number of proposed training activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities remains identical to those presented in Table 4 of the 2018 AFTT final rule, and are not repeated here. The number of proposed training activities that could occur over the seven-year period are presented in Table 1. The table is organized according to primary mission areas and includes the activity name, associated stressors applicable to these proposed regulations, sound source bin, number of proposed activities, and locations of those activities in the AFTT Study Area. For further information regarding the primary platform used (e.g., ship or aircraft type) see Appendix A (Navy Activity Descriptions) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS. TABLE 1—PROPOSED TRAINING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA Stressor category Activity name Activity description 7-Year number of activities 1 Source bin Location 2 Major Training Exercise—Large Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare Acoustic ...................... Composite Training Unit Exercise. Aircraft carrier and its associated aircraft integrate with surface and submarine units in a challenging multi-threat operational environment in order to certify them for deployment. Acoustic ...................... Fleet Exercises/ Sustainment Exercise. Aircraft carrier and its associated aircraft integrates with surface and submarine units in a challenging multi-threat operational environment in order to maintain their ability to deploy. Acoustic ...................... Naval Undersea Warfare Training Assessment Course. ASW1, ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, ASW5, HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11, MF12. 17 VACAPES RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; JAX RC. 28 14 JAX RC. VACAPES RC. 42 21 21 JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. 14 7 7 JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. 28 28 35 JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. E5 .............................. 28 84 14 266 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Major Training Exercises—Medium Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW1, ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11, MF12. Integrated/Coordinated Training—Small Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Multiple ships, aircraft, and submarines integrate the use of their sensors to search for, detect, classify, localize, and track a threat submarine in order to launch an exercise torpedo. ASW1, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF12. Integrated/Coordinated Training—Medium Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tactical Development Exercise. Surface ships, aircraft, and submarines coordinate to search for, detect, and track submarines. Acoustic ...................... Group Sail ................. Surface ships and helicopters search for, detect, and track threat submarines. ASW1, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11, MF12. Integrated/Coordinated Training—Small Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11, MF12. Amphibious Warfare Explosive .................... Naval Surface Fire Support Exercise— At Sea. Surface ship crews use large-caliber guns to support forces ashore; however, the land target is simulated at sea. Rounds are scored by passive acoustic buoys located at or near the target area. Acoustic ...................... Anti-submarine Warfare Torpedo Exercise—Helicopter. Helicopter aircrews search for, track, and detect submarines. Recoverable air launched torpedoes are employed against submarine targets. MF4, MF5, TORP1 ... 98 28 JAX RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Anti-submarine Warfare Torpedo Exercise—Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Maritime patrol aircraft aircrews search for, track, and detect submarines. Recoverable air launched torpedoes are employed against submarine targets. MF5, TORP1 ............. 98 28 JAX RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Torpedo Exercise—Ship. Surface ship crews search for, track, and detect submarines. Exercise torpedoes are used. ASW3, MF1, TORP1 112 35 JAX RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Torpedo Exercise—Submarine. Submarine crews search for, track, and detect submarines. Exercise torpedoes are used. ASW4, HF1, MF3, TORP2. 84 42 14 JAX RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Helicopter. Helicopter aircrews search for, track, and detect submarines ........ MF4, MF5 ................. 168 2,590 84 56 Other AFTT Areas. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Maritime patrol aircraft aircrews search for, track, and detect submarines. ASW5, ASW2, MF5 .. 630 1,232 3,675 322 Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Anti-Submarine Warfare VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:22 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21130 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—PROPOSED TRAINING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA—Continued Stressor category Activity name Activity description Source bin Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Ship. Surface ship crews search for, track, and detect submarines ........ ASW1, ASW3, MF1, MF11, MF12. Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Submarine. Submarine crews search for, track, and detect submarines .......... 7-Year number of activities 1 Location 2 * 35 * 770 * 35 * 3,080 * 385 * 1,540 Northeast RC. Other AFTT Areas. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. ASW4, HF1, MF3 ..... 308 91 7 126 42 Other AFTT Areas. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. E2 .............................. 14 14 14 28 35 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. NSWC Panama City. VACAPES RC. Expeditionary Warfare Explosive .................... Maritime Security Op- Small boat crews engage in force protection activities by using erations—Antianti-swimmer grenades to defend against hostile divers. Swimmer Grenades. Mine Warfare Acoustic ...................... Airborne Mine Countermeasure—Mine Detection. Helicopter aircrews detect mines using towed or laser mine detection systems. HF4 ........................... 462 2,219 2,597 1,708 10,780 Acoustic, Explosive ..... Civilian Port Defense—Homeland Security Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Exercise. Maritime security personnel train to protect civilian ports against enemy efforts to interfere with access to those ports. HF4, SAS2, E2, E4 ... 4 Acoustic ...................... Coordinated Unit Level Helicopter Airborne Mine Countermeasure Exercise. A detachment of helicopter aircrews train as a unit in the use of airborne mine countermeasures, such as towed mine detection and neutralization systems. HF4 ........................... 14 14 14 14 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic, Explosive ..... Mine Countermeasures—Mine Neutralization—Remotely Operated Vehicle. Ship, small boat, and helicopter crews locate and disable mines using remotely operated underwater vehicles. HF4, E4 ..................... 924 497 497 4,410 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Mine Countermeasures—Ship Sonar. Ship crews detect and avoid mines while navigating restricted areas or channels using active sonar. HF4 ........................... 154 371 371 Explosive .................... Mine Neutralization— Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Personnel disable threat mines using explosive charges ............... E4, E5, E6, E7 .......... 42 112 140 119 112 3,668 Lower Chesapeake Bay. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Key West RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Bombing Exercise Air-to-Surface. Fixed-wing aircrews deliver bombs against surface targets ........... E9, E10, E12 ............ 469 3,038 756 2,303 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Gunnery Exercise Surface-to-Surface Boat Medium-Caliber. Small boat crews fire medium-caliber guns at surface targets ....... E1 .............................. 42 182 896 14 1,820 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Gunnery Exercise Surface-to-Surface Ship Large-Caliber. Surface ship crews fire large-caliber guns at surface targets ........ E3, E5 ....................... 70 63 357 245 525 Other AFTT Areas. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Gunnery Exercise Surface-to-Surface Ship Medium-Caliber. Surface ship crews fire medium-caliber guns at surface targets .... E1 .............................. 287 231 1,127 504 2,247 Other AFTT Areas. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Integrated Live Fire Exercise. Naval forces defend against a swarm of surface threats (ships or small boats) with bombs, missiles, rockets, and small-, medium- , and large-caliber guns. E1, E3, E6, E10 ........ 14 14 Beaumont, TX; Boston, MA; Corpus Christi, TX; Delaware Bay, DE; Earle, NJ; GOMEX RC; Hampton Roads, VA; JAX RC; Kings Bay, GA; NS Mayport; Morehead City, NC; Port Canaveral, FL; Savannah, GA; Tampa Bay, FL; VACAPES RC; Wilmington, NC. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. VACAPES RC. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Surface Warfare VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 VACAPES RC. JAX RC. 21131 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—PROPOSED TRAINING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA—Continued Stressor category Activity name Activity description Source bin 7-Year number of activities 1 Location 2 Explosive .................... Missile Exercise Airto-Surface. Fixed-wing and helicopter aircrews fire air-to-surface missiles at surface targets. E6, E8, E10 .............. 714 364 616 JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Missile Exercise AirHelicopter aircrews fire both precision-guided and unguided rockto-Surface—Rocket. ets at surface targets. E3 .............................. 70 714 70 644 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Missile Exercise Surface-to-Surface. Surface ship crews defend against surface threats (ships or small boats) and engage them with missiles. E6, E10 ..................... 112 84 JAX RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic, Explosive ..... Sinking Exercise ....... Aircraft, ship, and submarine crews deliberately sink a seaborne target, usually a decommissioned ship (made environmentally safe for sinking according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards), with a variety of munitions. TORP2, E5, E8, E9, E10, E11. 7 SINKEX Box. Acoustic ...................... Elevated Causeway System. A temporary pier is constructed off the beach. Supporting pilings are driven into the sand and then later removed. Impact hammer or vibratory extractor. 7 7 Lower Chesapeake Bay. Navy Cherry Point RC. Acoustic ...................... Submarine Navigation Submarine crews operate sonar for navigation and object detec- HF1, MF3 .................. tion while transiting into and out of port during reduced visibility. 1,183 21 21 588 161 Acoustic ...................... Submarine Sonar Maintenance. Maintenance of submarine sonar systems is conducted pierside or at sea. MF3 ........................... 84 462 63 14 238 602 14 88 326 Other AFTT Areas. NSB New London. JAX RC. NSB Kings Bay. NS Norfolk. Northeast RC. Port Canaveral, FL. Navy Cherry Point RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Submarine Under Ice Certification. Submarine crews train to operate under ice. Ice conditions are simulated during training and certification events. HF1 ........................... 21 21 63 63 JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Surface Ship Object Detection. Surface ship crews operate sonar for navigation and object detection while transiting in and out of port during reduced visibility. HF8, MF1K ............... 532 1,134 NS Mayport. NS Norfolk. Acoustic ...................... Surface Ship Sonar Maintenance. Maintenance of surface ship sonar systems is conducted pierside or at sea. HF8, MF1 .................. 350 350 840 1,645 840 JAX RC. NS Mayport. Navy Cherry Point RC. NS Norfolk. VACAPES RC. Other Training Activities NSB New London. NSB Kings Bay. NS Mayport. NS Norfolk. Port Canaveral, FL. 1 The number of proposed training activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities remains identical to those presented in Table 4 of the 2018 AFTT final rule. 2 Locations given are areas where activities typically occur. However, activities could be conducted in other locations within the Study Area. Where multiple locations are provided within a single cell, the number of activities could occur in any of the locations, not in each of the locations. * For Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Ship, 50 percent of requirements are met through synthetic training or other training exercises. Notes: GOMEX: Gulf of Mexico; JAX: Jacksonville; NS: Naval Station; NSB: Naval Submarine Base; NSWC: Naval Surface Warfare Center; RC: Range Complex; VACAPES: Virginia Capes. Proposed Testing Activities The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented in Tables 5 through 7 of the 2018 AFTT final rule, and are not repeated here. Similar to the 2017 Navy application, the Navy’s proposed testing activities here are based on the level of testing activities anticipated to be conducted into the reasonably foreseeable future, with adjustments that account for changes in the types and tempo (increases or decreases) of testing activities to meet current and future military readiness requirements. The number of proposed testing activities that could occur for the seven-year period are presented in Tables 2 through 4. The number of ship shock trials for the seven-year period would remain the same as the number authorized under the 2018 AFTT final rule. Naval Air Systems Command The proposed Naval Air Systems Command testing activities that could occur over the seven-year period within the AFTT Study Area are presented in Table 2. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 TABLE 2—PROPOSED NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA Stressor category Activity name Activity description Source bin Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Torpedo Test. This event is similar to the training event torpedo exercise. Test evaluates anti-submarine warfare systems onboard rotary-wing (e.g., helicopter) and fixed-wing aircraft and the ability to search for, detect, classify, localize, track, and attack a submarine or similar target. 7-Year number of activities 1 Location 2 Anti-Submarine Warfare VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 MF5, TORP1 ............. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 209 523 13MYP4 JAX RC. VACAPES RC. 21132 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2—PROPOSED NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA—Continued 7-Year number of activities 1 Location 2 Stressor category Activity name Activity description Source bin Acoustic, Explosive ..... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Test—Helicopter. This event is similar to the training event anti-submarine warfare tracking exercise—helicopter. The test evaluates the sensors and systems used to detect and track submarines and to ensure that helicopter systems used to deploy the tracking system perform to specifications. MF4, MF5, E3 ........... Acoustic, Explosive ..... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Test—Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The test evaluates the sensors and systems used by maritime patrol aircraft to detect and track submarines and to ensure that aircraft systems used to deploy the tracking systems perform to specifications and meet operational requirements. ASW2, ASW5, E1, E3, MF5, MF6. 85 133 76 101 279 175 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Key West RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Kilo Dip ..................... Functional check of a helicopter deployed dipping sonar system prior to conducting a testing or training event using the dipping sonar system. MF4 ........................... 22 12 12 12 200 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Key West RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic, Explosive ..... Sonobuoy Lot Acceptance Test. Sonobuoys are deployed from surface vessels and aircraft to verify the integrity and performance of a production lot or group of sonobuoys in advance of delivery to the fleet for operational use. ASW2, ASW5, HF5, HF6, LF4, MF5, MF6, E1, E3, E4. Acoustic ...................... Airborne Dipping Sonar Minehunting Test. A mine-hunting dipping sonar system that is deployed from a helicopter and uses high-frequency sonar for the detection and classification of bottom and moored mines. HF4 ........................... 144 66 NSWC Panama City. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Airborne Mine Neutralization System Test. A test of the airborne mine neutralization system evaluates the system’s ability to detect and destroy mines from an airborne mine countermeasures capable helicopter. The airborne mine neutralization system uses up to four unmanned underwater vehicles equipped with high-frequency sonar, video cameras, and explosive and non-explosive neutralizers. E4 .............................. 154 215 NSWC Panama City. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Airborne Sonobuoy Minehunting Test. A mine-hunting system made up of a field of sonobuoys deployed by a helicopter. A field of sonobuoys, using high-frequency sonar, is used to detect and classify bottom and moored mines. HF6 ........................... 364 168 NSWC Panama City. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Air-to-Surface Bombing Test. This event is similar to the training event bombing exercise air-tosurface. Fixed-wing aircraft test the delivery of bombs against surface maritime targets with the goal of evaluating the bomb, the bomb carry and delivery system, and any associated systems that may have been newly developed or enhanced. E9 .............................. 140 VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Air-to-Surface Gunnery Test. This event is similar to the training event gunnery exercise air-tosurface. Fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircrews evaluate new or enhanced aircraft guns against surface maritime targets to test that the guns, gun ammunition, or associated systems meet required specifications or to train aircrews in the operation of a new or enhanced weapon system. E1 .............................. 295 890 JAX RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Air-to-Surface Missile Test. This event is similar to the training event missile exercise air-tosurface. Test may involve both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft launching missiles at surface maritime targets to evaluate the weapon system or as part of another system’s integration test. E6, E9, E10 .............. 30 234 928 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. VACAPES RC. Explosive .................... Rocket Test ............... Rocket tests evaluate the integration, accuracy, performance, and safe separation of guided and unguided 2.75-inch rockets fired from a hovering or forward-flying helicopter. E3 .............................. 121 233 JAX RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Undersea Range System Test. Following installation of a Navy underwater warfare training and testing range, tests of the nodes (components of the range) will be conducted to include node surveys and testing of node transmission functionality. MF9, BB4 .................. 66 34 36 64 442 1,368 1,120 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Key West RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Key West RC. Mine Warfare Surface Warfare Other Testing Activities 1 The JAX RC. number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented in Table 5 of the 2018 AFTT final rule. given are areas where activities typically occur. However, activities could be conducted in other locations within the Study Area. Notes: GOMEX: Gulf of Mexico; JAX: Jacksonville; NSWC: Naval Surface Warfare Center; RC: Range Complex; VACAPES: Virginia Capes. 2 Locations jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Naval Sea Systems Command The proposed Naval Sea Systems Command testing activities that could VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 occur over the seven-year period within the AFTT Study Area are presented in Table 3. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21133 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 3—PROPOSED NAVAL SEA SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA. Stressor category Activity name Activity description Source bin 7-Year number of activities 1 Location 2 Anti-Submarine Warfare Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Mission Package Testing. Ships and their supporting platforms (e.g., helicopters, unmanned aerial systems) detect, localize, and attack submarines. Acoustic ...................... At-Sea Sonar Testing At-sea testing to ensure systems are fully functional in an open ocean environment. ASW1, ASW2, ASW3, ASW5, MF1, MF4, MF5, MF12, TORP1. ASW3, ASW4, HF1, LF5, M3, MF1, MF1K, MF3, MF5, MF9, MF11, TORP2. 294 28 28 182 14 JAX RC. Newport, RI. NUWC Newport. VACAPES RC. JAX RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; Northeast RC; VACAPES RC. 7 JAX RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; VACAPES RC. offshore Fort Pierce, FL; GOMEX RC; JAX RC; SFOMF; Northeast RC; VACAPES RC. JAX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. NUWC Newport. VACAPES RC. 14 28 14 56 84 Acoustic ...................... Pierside Sonar Testing. Pierside testing to ensure systems are fully functional in a controlled pierside environment prior to at-sea test activities. ASW3, HF1, HF3, HF8, M3, MF1, MF1K, MF3, MF9, MF10. 7 77 35 28 56 91 14 21 14 NSB New London; NS Norfolk; Port Canaveral, FL Bath, ME. NSB New London. NSB Kings Bay. Newport, RI. NS Norfolk. Pascagoula, MS. Port Canaveral, FL. PNS. Acoustic ...................... Submarine Sonar Testing/Maintenance. Pierside testing of submarine systems occurs periodically following major maintenance periods and for routine maintenance. HF1, HF3, M3, MF3 .. Acoustic ...................... Surface Ship Sonar Testing/Maintenance. Pierside and at-sea testing of ship systems occur periodically following major maintenance periods and for routine maintenance. ASW3, MF1, MF1K, MF9, MF10. 7 7 21 21 JAX RC. NS Mayport. NS Norfolk. VACAPES RC. Acoustic, Explosive ..... Torpedo (Explosive) Testing. Air, surface, or submarine crews employ explosive and non-explosive torpedoes against artificial targets. ASW3, HF1, HF5, HF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF6, TORP1, TORP2, E8, E11. 28 GOMEX RC; offshore Fort Pierce, FL; Key West RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; Northeast RC; VACAPES RC. 14 GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Northeast RC; VACAPES RC. 49 77 GOMEX RC. offshore Fort Pierce, FL. Acoustic ...................... Torpedo (Non-Explosive) Testing. Air, surface, or submarine crews employ non-explosive torpedoes against submarines or surface vessels. When performed on a testing range, these torpedoes may be launched from a range craft or fixed structures and may use artificial targets. 112 168 ASW3, ASW4, HF1, HF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF6, TORP1, TORP2, TORP 3. 12 49 54 210 77 Acoustic ...................... Countermeasure Testing. Countermeasure testing involves the testing of systems that will detect, localize, track, and attack incoming weapons including marine vessel targets. Testing includes surface ship torpedo defense systems and marine vessel stopping payloads. ASW3, HF5, TORP1, TORP2. Norfolk, VA. PNS. JAX, RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. Northeast RC. NUWC Newport. VACAPES RC. 35 GOMEX RC; JAX RC; NUWC Newport; VACAPES RC; Key West RC. 20 GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Northeast RC; VACAPES RC. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Mine Warfare Acoustic, Explosive ..... Mine Countermeasure and Neutralization Testing. Air, surface, and subsurface vessels neutralize threat mines and mine-like objects. E4, E11 ..................... 91 42 NSWC Panama City. VACAPES RC. Acoustic, Explosive ..... Mine Countermeasure Mission Package Testing. Vessels and associated aircraft conduct mine countermeasure operations. HF4, SAS2, E4 ......... 133 70 77 14 35 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. NSWC Panama City. SFOMF. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Mine Detection and Classification Testing. Air, surface, and subsurface vessels and systems detect, classify, and avoid mines and mine-like objects. Vessels also assess their potential susceptibility to mines and mine-like objects. HF1, HF4, HF8, MF1, MF1K, MF9. 42 70 359 66 28 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 GOMEX RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. NSWC Panama City. Riviera Beach, FL. SFOMF. 21134 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 3—PROPOSED NAVAL SEA SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA.—Continued Stressor category Activity name Activity description Source bin 7-Year number of activities 1 Location 2 21 VACAPES RC. 84 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Key West RC. Navy Cherry Point RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Key West RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; Northeast RC; NSWC Panama City. VACAPES RC. Surface Warfare Explosive .................... Gun Testing—Large Caliber. Crews defend against targets with large-caliber guns .................... E3, E5 ....................... 7 7 7 7 7 231 35 Explosive .................... Explosive .................... Gun Testing—Medium-Caliber. Airborne and surface crews defend against targets with mediumcaliber guns. Missile and Rocket Testing. Missile and rocket testing includes various missiles or rockets fired from submarines and surface combatants. Testing of the launching system and ship defense is performed. E1 .............................. 84 E6, E10 ..................... 714 34 91 7 14 35 154 GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Key West RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; Northeast RC; VACAPES RC. NSWC Panama City. VACAPES RC. GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Key West RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; Northeast RC; VACAPES RC. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Unmanned Systems Acoustic, Explosive ..... Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Testing. Testing involves the development or upgrade of unmanned underwater vehicles. This may include testing of mine detection capabilities, evaluating the basic functions of individual platforms, or complex events with multiple vehicles. ASW4, FLS2, HF1, HF4, HF5, HF6, HF7, LF5, MF9, MF10, SAS1, SA2, SAS3, VHF1, E8. 112 287 175 1,018 2,158 63 294 GOMEX RC; JAX RC; NUWC Newport. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. NSWC Panama City. NUWC Newport. Riviera Beach, FL. SFOMF. Vessel Evaluation Explosive .................... Large Ship Shock Trial. Underwater detonations are used to test new ships or major upgrades. E17 ............................ 1 Explosive .................... Surface Warfare Testing. Tests capability of shipboard sensors to detect, track, and engage surface targets. Testing may include ships defending against surface targets using explosive and non-explosive rounds, gun system structural test firing and demonstration of the response to Call for Fire against land-based targets (simulated by sea-based locations). E1, E5, E8 ................ 14 91 7 70 63 GOMEX RC. JAX RC. Key West RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Acoustic ...................... Undersea Warfare Testing. Ships demonstrate capability of countermeasure systems and underwater surveillance, weapons engagement, and communications systems. This tests ships’ ability to detect, track, and engage underwater targets. ASW3, ASW4, HF4, HF8, MF1, MF1K, MF4, MF5, MF9, MF10, TORP1, TORP2. 14 JAX RC; VACAPES RC. 6 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 14 42 14 Explosive .................... Small Ship Shock Trial. Underwater detonations are used to test new ships or major upgrades. E16 ............................ 3 Acoustic ...................... Submarine Sea Trials—Weapons System Testing. Submarine weapons and sonar systems are tested at-sea to meet integrated combat system certification requirements. HF1, M3, MF3, MF9, MF10, TORP2. 14 28 28 28 GOMEX RC; JAX RC; VACAPES RC. JAX RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; SFOMF; VACAPES RC. GOMEX RC. JAX RC. VACAPES RC. JAX RC; VACAPES RC. Offshore Fort Pierce, GOMEX RC; JAX SFOMF; Northeast VACAPES RC. JAX RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Other Testing Activities Acoustic ...................... Insertion/Extraction ... Testing of submersibles capable of inserting and extracting per- MF3, MF9 ................. sonnel and payloads into denied areas from strategic distances. Acoustic ...................... Acoustic Component Testing. Various surface vessels, moored equipment, and materials are tested to evaluate performance in the marine environment. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:22 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 28 1,848 FLS2, HF5, HF7, LF5, MF9, SAS2. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 231 13MYP4 Key West RC. NSWC Panama City. SFOMF. FL; RC; RC; 21135 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 3—PROPOSED NAVAL SEA SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA.—Continued 7-Year number of activities 1 Source bin Location 2 Stressor category Activity name Activity description Acoustic ...................... Semi-Stationary Equipment Testing. Semi-stationary equipment (e.g., hydrophones) is deployed to determine functionality. AG, ASW3, ASW4, HF5, HF6, LF4, LF5, MF9, MF10, SD1, SD2. Acoustic ...................... Towed Equipment Testing. Surface vessels or unmanned surface vehicles deploy and tow equipment to determine functionality of towed systems. HF6, LF4, MF9 ......... 252 NUWC Newport. Acoustic ...................... Signature Analysis Operations. Surface ship and submarine testing of electromagnetic, acoustic, optical, and radar signature measurements. ASW2, HF1, LF4, LF5, LF6, M3, MF9, MF10. 7 413 JAX RC. SFOMF. 28 77 1,330 Newport, RI. NSWC Panama City. NUWC Newport. 1 The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented in Table 6 of the 2018 AFTT final rule. 2 Locations given are areas where activities typically occur. However, activities could be conducted in other locations within the Study Area. Where multiple locations are provided within a single cell, the number of activities could occur in any of the locations, not in each of the locations. Notes: JEB LC–FS: Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story; NS: Naval Station; NSB: Naval Submarine Base; NSWC: Naval Surface Warfare Center; NUWC: Naval Undersea Warfare Center; PNS: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard; SFOMF: South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility Testing Range. Office of Naval Research occur over the seven-year period within the AFTT Study Area are presented in Table 4. The proposed Office of Naval Research testing activities that could TABLE 4—PROPOSED OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA Stressor category Activity name Activity description Source bin 7-Year number of activities 1 Location Acoustic and Oceanographic Science and Technology Acoustic, Explosive .... Acoustic and Oceanographic Research. Acoustic ...................... Emerging Mine Countermeasure Technology Research. Research using active transmissions from sources deployed from ships and unmanned underwater vehicles. Research sources can be used as proxies for current and future Navy systems. Test involves the use of broadband acoustic sources on unmanned underwater vehicles. AG, ASW2, BB4, BB5, BB6, BB7, LF3, LF4, LF5, MF8, MF9, MF14, E1. 30 60 16 14 7 14 7 BB1, BB2, SAS4 ...................... GOMEX RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. Other AFTT Areas. JAX RC. Northeast RC. VACAPES RC. 1 The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented in Table 7 of the 2018 AFTT final rule. Notes: GOMEX: Gulf of Mexico; JAX: Jacksonville, Florida; RC: Range Complex; VACAPES: Virginia Capes. Summary of Acoustic and Explosive Sources Analyzed for Training and Testing Tables 5 through 8 show the acoustic source classes and numbers, explosive source bins and numbers, airgun sources, and pile driving and removal activities associated with the Navy’s proposed training and testing activities over a seven-year period in the AFTT Study Area that were analyzed in the 2019 Navy application and for this proposed rule. The annual numbers for acoustic source classes, explosive source bins, and airgun sources, as well as the annual pile driving and removal activities associated with Navy training and testing activities in the AFTT Study Area are identical to those presented in Tables 8 through 11 of the 2018 AFTT final rule, and are not repeated here. Consistent with the periodicity in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Navy proposes the addition of two pile driving/extraction activities for each of the two additional years. Table 5 describes the acoustic source classes (i.e., low-frequency (LF), midfrequency (MF), and high-frequency (HF)) that could occur over seven years under the proposed training and testing activities. Acoustic source bin use in the proposed activities would vary annually. The seven-year totals for the proposed training and testing activities take into account that annual variability. TABLE 5—ACOUSTIC SOURCE CLASSES ANALYZED AND NUMBER USED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD FOR TRAINING AND TESTING ACTIVITIES IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA 7-Year total 2 Source class category Bin Description Unit 1 Training jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Low-Frequency (LF): Sources that produce signals less than 1 kHz. LF3 LF4 LF5 LF6 Mid-Frequency (MF): Tactical and nontactical sources that produce signals between 1–10 kHz. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 MF1 MF1K PO 00000 Testing LF sources greater than 200 dB ............. LF sources equal to 180 dB and up to 200 dB. LF sources less than 180 dB .................. LF sources greater than 200 dB with long pulse lengths. H H C H H 0 0 0 60 1,104 9,156 6,797 140 12,264 280 Hull-mounted surface ship sonars (e.g., AN/SQS–53C and AN/SQS–61). Kingfisher mode associated with MF1 sonars. H 36,833 23,358 H 819 1,064 Frm 00011 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21136 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 5—ACOUSTIC SOURCE CLASSES ANALYZED AND NUMBER USED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD FOR TRAINING AND TESTING ACTIVITIES IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA—Continued 7-Year total 2 Source class category Bin Description Unit 1 Training MF3 MF4 MF5 MF6 MF8 High-Frequency (HF): Tactical and nontactical sources that produce signals between 10–100 kHz. MF9 MF10 MF11 MF12 MF14 HF1 HF3 HF4 HF5 HF6 HF7 HF8 Hull-mounted submarine sonars (e.g., AN/BQQ–10). Helicopter-deployed dipping sonars (e.g., AN/AQS–22 and AN/AQS–13). Active acoustic sonobuoys (e.g., DICASS). Active underwater sound signal devices (e.g., MK84). Active sources (greater than 200 dB) not otherwise binned. H 14,604 8,799 H 4,196 3,797 C 47,340 38,663 C 0 8,986 H 0 2,436 Active sources (equal to 180 dB and up to 200 dB) not otherwise binned. Active sources (greater than 160 dB, but less than 180 dB) not otherwise binned. Hull-mounted surface ship sonars with an active duty cycle greater than 80%. Towed array surface ship sonars with an active duty cycle greater than 80%. Oceanographic MF sonar ........................ Hull-mounted submarine sonars (e.g., AN/BQQ–10). Other hull-mounted submarine sonars (classified). Mine detection, classification, and neutralization sonar (e.g., AN/SQS–20). Active sources (greater than 200 dB) not otherwise binned. Active sources (equal to 180 dB and up to 200 dB) not otherwise binned. Active sources (greater than 160 dB, but less than 180 dB) not otherwise binned. Hull-mounted surface ship sonars (e.g., AN/SQS–61). H 0 52,128 H 6,088 39,830 H 6,495 9,968 H 2,658 9,716 H H 0 13,504 10,080 2,772 H 34,275 215 H 41,717 179,516 H C H 0 0 0 13,624 280 15,254 H 0 8,568 H 140 14,587 Very High-Frequency Sonars (VHF): Non-tactical sources that produce signals between 100–200 kHz. VHF1 VHF sources greater than 200 dB .......... H 0 84 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW): Tactical sources (e.g., active sonobuoys and acoustic counter-measures systems) used during ASW training and testing activities. ASW1 ASW2 MF systems operating above 200 dB ..... MF Multistatic Active Coherent sonobuoy (e.g., AN/SSQ–125). H C 4,251 10,572 5,740 35,842 ASW3 MF towed active acoustic countermeasure systems (e.g., AN/SLQ–25). MF expendable active acoustic device countermeasures (e.g., MK 3). MF sonobuoys with high duty cycles ...... Lightweight torpedo (e.g., MK 46, MK 54, or Anti-Torpedo Torpedo). H 34,275 21,737 C 2,994 24,043 H C 4,244 399 4,316 6,122 ASW4 Torpedoes (TORP): Source classes associated with the active acoustic signals produced by torpedoes. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Testing Forward Looking Sonar (FLS): Forward or upward looking object avoidance sonars used for ship navigation and safety. Acoustic Modems (M): Systems used to transmit data through the water. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 ASW5 TORP1 TORP2 TORP3 FLS2 Heavyweight torpedo (e.g., MK 48) ........ Heavyweight torpedo (e.g., MK 48) ........ HF sources with short pulse lengths, narrow beam widths, and focused beam patterns. C C H 560 0 0 2,600 640 8,568 M3 MF acoustic modems (greater than 190 dB). H 0 4,436 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21137 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 5—ACOUSTIC SOURCE CLASSES ANALYZED AND NUMBER USED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD FOR TRAINING AND TESTING ACTIVITIES IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA—Continued 7-Year total 2 Source class category Bin Unit 1 Description Training Testing Swimmer Detection Sonars (SD): Systems used to detect divers and submerged swimmers. SD1–SD2 HF and VHF sources with short pulse lengths, used for the detection of swimmers and other objects for the purpose of port security. H 0 1,232 Synthetic Aperture Sonars (SAS): Sonars in which active acoustic signals are post-processed to form high-resolution images of the seafloor. SAS1 SAS2 SAS3 SAS4 MF SAS systems ..................................... HF SAS systems ..................................... VHF SAS systems ................................... MF to HF broadband mine coiuntermeasure sonar. H H H H 0 33,600 0 0 6,720 24,584 6,720 6,720 Broadband Sound Sources (BB): Sonar systems with large frequency spectra, used for various purposes. BB1 BB2 BB4 BB5 BB6 BB7 MF to HF mine countermeasure sonar ... HF to VHF mine countermeasure sonar LF to MF oceanographic source ............. LF to MF oceanographic source ............. HF oceanographic source ....................... LF oceanographic source ........................ H H H H H C 0 0 0 0 0 0 6,720 6,720 10,884 4,704 4,704 840 1H = hours; C = count (e.g., number of individual pings or individual sonobuoys). annual numbers for acoustic source classes associated with Navy training and testing activities in the AFTT Study Area are identical to those presented in Table 8 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Note: dB = decibel. 2 The Table 6 describes the number of air gun shots that could occur over seven years under the proposed training and testing activities. TABLE 6—TRAINING AND TESTING AIR GUN SOURCES QUANTITATIVELY ANALYZED IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA 7-Year total 2 Source class category Bin Air Guns (AG): Small underwater air guns ...................................................... AG Unit 1 C Training Testing 0 4,228 1C = count. One count (C) of AG is equivalent to 100 air gun firings. 2 The annual numbers for airgun sources associated with Navy training and testing activities in the AFTT Study Area are identical to those presented in Table 9 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Table 7 summarizes the impact pile driving and vibratory pile removal activities that would occur during a 24hour period. Annually, for impact pile driving, the Navy would drive 119 piles, two times a year for a total of 238 piles. Over the seven-year period of the rule, the Navy would drive a total of 1,666 piles by impact pile driving. Annually, for vibratory pile removal, the Navy would remove 119 piles, two times a year for a total of 238 piles. Over the seven-year period of the rule, the Navy would remove a total of 1,666 piles by vibratory pile removal. TABLE 7—SUMMARY OF PILE DRIVING AND REMOVAL ACTIVITIES PER 24-HOUR PERIOD IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA Piles per 24-hour period Method jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Pile Driving (Impact) .................................................................................................................... Pile Removal (Vibratory) .............................................................................................................. Table 8 describes the number of inwater explosives that could be used in any year under the proposed training VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 and testing activities. Under the proposed activities bin use would vary annually, and the seven-year totals for PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Time per pile (minutes) 6 12 15 6 Total estimated time of noise per 24-hour period (minutes) 90 72 the proposed training and testing activities take into account that annual variability. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21138 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 8—EXPLOSIVE SOURCE BINS ANALYZED AND NUMBER USED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD FOR TRAINING AND TESTING ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE AFTT STUDY AREA Bin E1 ...................... E2 ...................... E3 ...................... E4 ...................... E5 ...................... E6 ...................... E7 ...................... E8 ...................... E9 ...................... E10 .................... E11 .................... E12 .................... E16 2 .................. E17 2 .................. 7-Year total 2 Net explosive weight 1 (lb.) Example explosive source 0.1–0.25 ........................................................ >0.25–0.5 ...................................................... >0.5–2.5 ........................................................ >2.5–5 ........................................................... >5–10 ............................................................ >10–20 .......................................................... >20–60 .......................................................... >60–100 ........................................................ >100–250 ...................................................... >250–500 ...................................................... >500–650 ...................................................... >650–1,000 ................................................... >7,250–14,500 .............................................. >14,500–58,000 ............................................ Medium-caliber projectile .............................. Medium-caliber projectile .............................. Large-caliber projectile ................................. Mine neutralization charge ........................... 5-inch projectile ............................................. Hellfire missile ............................................... Demo block/shaped charge .......................... Light-weight torpedo ..................................... 500 lb. bomb ................................................. Harpoon missile ............................................ 650 lb. mine .................................................. 2,000 lb. bomb .............................................. Littoral Combat Ship full ship shock trial ...... Aircraft carrier full ship shock trial ................ Training 53,900 1,486 32,144 913 10,052 4,214 28 154 462 630 7 126 0 0 Testing 160,880 0 20,162 5,330 9,275 276 0 231 28 566 70 0 12 4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 1 Net Explosive Weight refers to the equivalent amount of Trinitrotoluene (TNT) the actual weight of a munition may be larger due to other components. 2 The annual numbers for explosive source bins associated with Navy training and testing activities in the AFTT Study Area are identical to those presented in Table 11 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Note: Shock trials consist of four explosions each. In any given year there could be 0–3 small ship shock trials (E16) and 0–1 large ship shock trials (E17). Over a 7-year period, there could be three small ship shock trials (E16) and one large ship shock trial (E17) which is the same amount of ship shock trial events that could occur over the original five-year period. Therefore, there is no increase in ship shock trial events under the proposed rule. Vessel Movement Vessel movements associated with the proposed activities include both surface and sub-surface operations. Vessels used as part of the proposed activities include ships, submarines, unmanned vessels, and boats ranging in size from small, 22 feet (ft.) (7 meters (m)) rigid hull inflatable boats to aircraft carriers with lengths up to 1,092 ft. (333 m). Large Navy ships greater than 60 ft (18 m) generally operate at speeds in the range of 10 to 15 kn for fuel conservation. Submarines generally operate at speeds in the range of 8 to 13 kn in transits and less than those speeds for certain tactical maneuvers. Small craft, less than 60 ft (18 m) in length, have much more variable speeds (dependent on the mission). For small craft types, sizes and speeds vary during training and testing. Speeds generally range from 10 to 14 kn. While these speeds for large and small crafts are representative of most events, some vessels need to temporarily operate outside of these parameters. A full description of Navy vessels that are used during training and testing activities can be found in the 2017 Navy application and Chapter 2 of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS. The Navy proposes no changes to the manner in which Navy vessels would be used during training and testing activities, the speeds at which they operate, the number of vessels that would be used during various activities, or the locations in which Navy vessel movement would be concentrated VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 within the AFTT Study Area from those analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The only change related to the Navy’s request regarding Navy vessel movement is the vessel use associated with the additional two years of Navy activities. Standard Operating Procedures For training and testing to be effective, personnel must be able to safely use their sensors and weapon systems as they are intended to be used in a real-world situation and to their optimum capabilities. While standard operating procedures are designed for the safety of personnel and equipment and to ensure the success of training and testing activities, their implementation often yields additional benefits on environmental, socioeconomic, public health and safety, and cultural resources. Because standard operating procedures are essential to safety and mission success, the Navy considers them to be part of the proposed activities and has included them in the environmental analysis. Details on standard operating procedures were provided in the 2018 AFTT proposed rule; please see the 2018 AFTT proposed rule, the 2017 Navy application, and Chapter 2 of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS for more information. The Navy proposes no changes to the Standard Operating Procedures from those included in the 2018 AFTT final rule. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Description of Marine Mammals and Their Habitat in the Area of the Specified Activities Marine mammal species and their associated stocks that have the potential to occur in the AFTT Study Area are presented in Table 9 along with the best/minimum abundance estimate and associated coefficient of variation value. Some marine mammal species, such as manatees, are not managed by NMFS, but by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and therefore not discussed below. Consistent with the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Navy still anticipates the take of individuals of 39 marine mammal species by Level A harassment and B harassment incidental to training and testing activities from the use of sonar and other transducers, in-water detonations, air guns, and impact pile driving/vibratory extraction activities. The Navy requested authorization for nine serious injuries or mortalities combined from four marine mammal stocks during ship shock trials, and four takes of large whales by serious injury or mortality from vessel strikes over the seven-year period. We presented a detailed discussion of marine mammals and their occurrence in the AFTT Study Area, inclusive of important marine mammal habitat (e.g., critical habitat), biologically important areas (BIAs), national marine sanctuaries (NMSs), and unusual mortality events (UMEs) in the 2018 AFTT proposed rule and 2018 AFTT final rule; please see these rules and the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications for E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 additional information. There have been no changes to important marine mammal habitat, BIAs, NMSs, or Endangered Species Act (ESA) designated critical habitat since the issuance of the 2018 AFTT final rule; therefore the information that supports our determinations here can be found in the 2018 AFTT proposed and final rules. NMFS has reviewed the most recent Stock Assessment Reports (SARs), which have not been revised since the publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule); information on relevant UMEs; and other scientific literature, and determined that none of these nor any other new information changes our determination of which species or stocks have the potential to be affected by the Navy’s activities or the pertinent information in the Description of the Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities section in the 2018 AFTT proposed and final rules. Therefore the information presented in those sections of the 2018 proposed and final rules remains current and valid. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 As described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the species carried forward for analysis are those likely to be found in the AFTT Study Area based on the most recent data available, and do not include stocks or species that may have once inhabited or transited the area but have not been sighted in recent years and therefore are extremely unlikely to occur in the AFTT Study Area (e.g., species which were extirpated because of factors such as nineteenth and twentieth century commercial exploitation). The species not carried forward for analysis (addressed in more detail in the Description of Marine Mammals and Their Habitat in the Area of the Specified Activities section of the 2018 AFTT rule) include the bowhead whale, beluga whale, and narwhal as these would be considered extralimital and are not part of the AFTT seasonal species assemblage. Additionally, for multiple bottlenose dolphin stocks, there was no potential for overlap with any stressors from Navy activities; PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21139 therefore, there would be no adverse effects (or takes), and those stocks were not considered further. Specifically, with the exception of the Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne, Bay Boudreau stock of bottlenose dolphins (which is addressed in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 AFTT final rule), there is no potential for overlap of any Navy stressor with any other Northern Gulf of Mexico Bay, Sound, and Estuary stocks. Also, the following bottlenose dolphin stocks for the Atlantic do not have any potential for overlap with Navy activity stressors (or take), and therefore are not considered further: Northern South Carolina Estuarine System, Charleston Estuarine System, Northern Georgia/ Southern South Carolina Estuarine System, Central Georgia Estuarine System, Southern Georgia Estuarine System, Biscayne Bay, and Florida Bay stocks. For the same reason, bottlenose dolphins off the coasts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were also not considered further. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Pygmy and dwarf sperm whales. Family Physeteridae (sperm whale): Sperm whale ....... Sei whale ............. Minke whale ........ Humpback whale Fin whale ............. Bryde’s whale ...... Family Balaenopteridae (rorquals): Blue whale ........... North Atlantic right whale. Family Balaenidae (right whales): Bowhead whale ... Common name Scientific name 1 Kogia breviceps and Kogia sima. Physeter macrocephalus. Balaenoptera borealis Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Megaptera novaeangliae. Balaenoptera brydei/ edeni. Balaenoptera physalus. Balaenoptera musculus. Eubalaena glacialis ... Balaena mysticetus ... jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Stock abundance 4 best/minimum population Open ocean NA ............................................ NA ............................................ Northern Gulf of Mexico. Endangered, strategic, depleted. Endangered, strategic, depleted. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Western North Atlantic. Endangered, strategic, depleted. Endangered, strategic, depleted. Labrador Sea ............ North Atlantic ............ Endangered, strategic, depleted. NA ............................................ NA ............................................ Endangered, strategic, depleted. Endangered, strategic, depleted. NA ............................................ Endangered, strategic, depleted. Endangered, strategic .............. Endangered, strategic, depleted. Endangered, strategic, depleted. Endangered, strategic, depleted. ................ Labrador Current ...... Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. Labrador Current ...... Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre, Labrador Current. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre, Labrador Current. ................................... North Atlantic Gyre ... Unknown ............................ Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. NA ............................. 3,785 (0.47)/2,598 12 .......... 186 (1.04)/90 12 .................. Family Kogiidae (sperm whales) NA ............................. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre, Labrador Current. 763 (0.38)/560 ................... 2,288 (0.28)/1,815 ............. Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales) Unknown 8 .......................... 16,609 (7,172–38,461)/ NA 7. 357 (0.52)/236 ................... 2,591 (0.81)/1,425 ............. 896 (0)/896 ........................ 328 Labrador Current ...... 4,468 (1,343–14,871) 9 ...... (306–350) 10 1,618 (0. 33)/1,234 ............ Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre, Labrador Current. Gulf Stream, Labrador Current, North Atlantic Gyre. Labrador Current ...... Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre, Labrador Current. 33 (1.07)/16 ....................... Unknown/440 11 ................. 451 (0)/445 ........................ 7,660 (4,500–11,100) 6 ...... Order Cetacea—Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales) ESA/MMPA status 3 Nova Scotia .............. West Greenland 7 ...... Canadian Eastern Coastal. Gulf of Maine ............ Gulf of St. Lawrence West Greenland ........ Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic (Gulf of St. Lawrence). Western ..................... Eastern Canada-West Greenland. Stock 2 Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, Caribbean Sea. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Caribbean Sea ............................................. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, Caribbean Sea. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Southeast Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, West Greenland Shelf. Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, Scotian Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Caribbean Sea, Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. West Greenland Shelf .................................. Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. West Greenland Shelf .................................. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico (strandings only). Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, West Greenland Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, Gulf of Mexico (extralimital). Large marine ecosystems NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. Occurrence in AFTT Study Area 5 TABLE 9—MARINE MAMMALS PRESENT IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA Inland waters 21140 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Lagenorhynchus acutus. Stenella clymene ...... Tursiops truncatus .... Common bottlenose dolphin Common bottlenose dolphin. Stenella frontalis ....... Mesoplodon mirus .... Atlantic whitesided dolphin. Clymene dolphin Atlantic spotted dolphin. Hyperoodon ampullatus. Northern bottlenose whale. Sowerby’s beaked whale. True’s beaked whale. Mesoplodon bidens ... Mesoplodon europaeus. Ziphius cavirostris ..... Cuvier’s beaked whale. Gervais’ beaked whale. Mesoplodon densirostris. Monodon monoceros Narwhal ............... Blainville’s beaked whale. Delphinapterus leucas. Beluga whale ....... jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 NA ............................. NA ............................. 10,595 (4.904–24,650) 14 ... NA 15 .................................. NA ............................................ NA ............................................ E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM Western North Atlantic Northern Migratory Coastal 20. Western North Atlantic Southern Migratory Coastal 20. Western North Atlantic South Carolina/ Georgia Coastal 20. Northern North Carolina Estuarine System 20. Southern North Carolina Estuarine System 20. Northern South Carolina Estuarine System 20. Charleston Estuarine System 20. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Western North Atlantic Offshore 19. Western North Atlantic 16. Western North Atlantic 16. 7,092 (0.54)/4,632 17 .......... NA ............................................ 3,751 (0.06)/2,353 ............. 6,027 (0.34)/4,569 ............. 823 (0.06)/782 ................... Unknown ............................ Unknown ............................ Unknown ............................ Strategic, depleted ................... Strategic, depleted ................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... 77,532 (0.40)/56,053 ......... Strategic, depleted ................... 6,639 (0.41)/4,759 ............. 129 (1.0)/64 ....................... NA ............................................ NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ Strategic ................................... 48,819 (0.61)/30,403 ......... Unknown ............................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ 44,715 (0.43)/31,610 ......... NA ............................................ 13MYP4 NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. NA ............................. Gulf Steam, Labrador Current. Gulf Stream ............... NA ............................. NA ............................. Gulf Stream ............... Family Delphinidae (dolphins) 7,092 (0.54)/4,632 17 .......... NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ 149 (0.91)/77 18 .................. NA ............................................ NA ............................................ NA ............................. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre, Labrador Current. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. Unknown ............................ 7,092 (0.54)/4,632 17 .......... NA ............................................ NA ............................. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre, Labrador Current. NA ............................. Strategic ................................... 74 (1.04)/36 ....................... NA ............................................ NA ............................................ 6,532 (0.32)/5,021 ............. NA ............................................ Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Western North Atlantic. 149 (0.91)/77 18 .................. NA ............................................ 7,092 (0.54)/4,632 17 .......... Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales) Labrador Current ...... 21,213 (10,985–32,619) 13 NA ............................................ Western North Atlantic 16. Eastern High Arctic/ Baffin Bay 13. West Greenland 14 .... NA 15 ......................... Family Monodontidae (beluga whale and narwhal) West Greenland Shelf .................................. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Caribbean Sea ............................................. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast United States Continental Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Caribbean Sea ............................................. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... West Greenland Shelf .................................. Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, West Greenland Shelf. NA. NA. NA. Beaufort Inlet, Cape Fear River. Beaufort Inlet, Cape Fear River. Long Island Sound, Sandy Hook Bay, Lower Chesapeake Bay, James River, Elizabeth River. Lower Chesapeake Bay, James River, Elizabeth River, Beaufort Inlet, Cape Fear River, Kings Bay, St. Johns River. Kings Bay, St. Johns River. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 21141 Common name jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Scientific name 1 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 122 (0.34)/Unknown .......... 0 ......................................... 33 (0.80)/Unknown ............ 179 (0.04)/Unknown .......... 124 (0.57)/Unknown .......... 152 (0.08)/Unknown .......... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... 2,306 (0.09)/2,138 ............. Strategic ................................... 332 (0.93)/170 ................... 3,870 (0.15)/3,426 ............. NA ............................................ 3,046 (0.06)/2,896 ............. 0 ......................................... 0 ......................................... 0 ......................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... 48 (0.03)/46 ....................... 152 (0.43)/Unknown .......... NA ............................................ Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... 61 (0.45)/Unknown ............ 55 (0.82)/Unknown ............ Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... 80 (1.57)/Unknown ............ 58 (0.61)/Unknown ............ 7,185 (0.21)/6,044 ............. NA ............................................ Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... 12,388 (0.13)/11,110 ......... NA ............................................ 5,806 (0.39)/4,230 ............. Unknown ............................ Unknown ............................ 51,192 (0.10)/46,926 ......... Strategic ................................... NA ............................................ Na ............................................ 20,161 (0.17)/17,491 ......... Unknown ............................ Strategic ................................... NA ............................................ 1,218 (0.35)/913 ................ Strategic, depleted ................... NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ 877 (0.49)/595 ................... Strategic, depleted ................... Strategic ................................... 194 (0.05)/185 ................... Strategic ................................... Unknown ............................ 192 (0.04)/185 ................... Strategic ................................... Northern Georgia/ Southern South Carolina Estuarine System 20. Central Georgia Estuarine System 20. Southern Georgia Estuarine System 20. Western North Atlantic Northern Florida Coastal 20. Jacksonville Estuarine System 20. Western North Atlantic Central Florida Coastal 20. Indian River Lagoon Estuarine System 20. Biscayne Bay 16 ........ Florida Bay 16 ............ Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf 20. Gulf of Mexico Eastern Coastal 20. Gulf of Mexico Northern Coastal 20. Gulf of Mexico Western Coastal 20. Northern Gulf of Mexico Oceanic 20. Laguna Madre 20 ....... Nueces Bay/Corpus Christi Bay 20. Copano Bay/Aransas Bay/San Antonio Bay/Redfish Bay/ Espiritu Santo Bay 20. Matagorda Bay/Tres Palacios Bay/ Lavaca Bay 20. West Bay 20 ............... Galveston Bay/East Bay/Trinity Bay 20. Sabine Lake 20 .......... Calcasieu Lake 20 ..... Vermilion Bay/West Cote Blanche Bay/ Atchafalaya Bay 20. Terrebonne Bay/ Timbalier Bay 20. Barataria Bay Estuarine System 20. Mississippi River Delta 20. Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne, Bay Boudreau 20. Mobile Bay/ Bonsecour Bay 20. Perdido Bay 20 .......... Pensacola Bay/East Bay 20. Choctawhatchee Bay 20. St. Andrew Bay 20 ..... St. Joseph Bay 20 ...... Stock abundance 4 best/minimum population Strategic ................................... ESA/MMPA status 3 Stock 2 Open ocean NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Large marine ecosystems Inland waters NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. Corpus Christi Bay, Galveston Bay. St. Andrew Bay, Pascagoula River. NA. NA. NA. NA. Port Canaveral. Port Canaveral. Kings Bay, St. Johns River. Kings Bay, St. Johns River. Kings Bay, St. Johns River. NA. NA. Occurrence in AFTT Study Area 5 TABLE 9—MARINE MAMMALS PRESENT IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA—Continued 21142 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM Grampus griseus ...... Steno bredanensis .... Globicephala macrorhynchus. Stenella longirostris .. Rough-toothed dolphin. Short-finned pilot whale. Spinner dolphin ... Feresa attenuata ....... Pygmy Killer Whales. Risso’s dolphin .... Stenella attenuate ..... Peponocephala electra. Globicephala melas .. Orcinus orca ............. Lagenodelphis hosei Pseudorca crassidens Pantropical spotted-dolphin. Long-finned pilot whale. Melon-headed Whale. Killer Whale ......... Fraser’s dolphin ... False killer whale jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 13MYP4 Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico 22. Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic 23. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico 22. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Western North Atlantic. St. Vincent Sound/ Apalachicola Bay/ St. George Sound 20. Apalachee Bay 20 ...... Waccasassa Bay/ Withlacoochee Bay/ Crystal Bay 20. St. Joseph Sound/ Clearwater Harbor 20. Tampa Bay 20 ............ Sarasota Bay/Little Sarasota Bay 20. Pine Island Sound/ Charlotte Harbor/ Gasparilla Sound/ Lemon Bay 20. Caloosahatchee River 20. Estero Bay 20 ............ Chokoloskee Bay/Ten Thousand Islands/ Gullivan Bay 20. Whitewater Bay 20 ..... Florida Keys (Bahia Honda to Key West) 20. Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Western North Atlantic 22. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Western North Atlantic 23. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Western North Atlantic 22. Unknown ............................ NA ............................................ 2,235 (0.75)/1,274 ............. 3,333 (0.91)/1,733 ............. 50,880 (0.27)/40,699 ......... Unknown ............................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ 28,924 (0.24)/23,637 ......... 2,415 (0.66)/1,456 ............. Unknown ............................ Unknown ............................ NA ............................................ Strategic ................................... NA ............................................ 136 (1.00)/67 ..................... 624 (0.99)/311 ................... NA ............................................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ 2,442 (0.57)/1,563 ............. 18,250 (0.46)/12,619 ......... NA ............................................ NA ............................................ 152 (1.02)/75 ..................... Unknown ............................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ 5,636 (0.63)/3,464 ............. NA ............................................ 28 (1.02)/14 ....................... Unknown ............................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ 442 (1.06)/212 ................... NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ Strategic ................................... Unknown ............................ Unknown ............................ Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Unknown ............................ Unknown ............................ Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... 826 (0.09)/Unknown .......... Strategic ................................... 0 ......................................... Unknown ............................ 158 (0.27)/126 ................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Unknown ............................ 491 (0.39)/Unknown .......... Unknown ............................ Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... Strategic ................................... 439 (0.14)/Unknown .......... Strategic ................................... Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. NA ............................. NA ............................. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. NA ............................. NA ............................. Gulf Stream ............... Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre. NA ............................. Gulf Stream ............... Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Gyre, Labrador Current. NA ............................. NA ............................. Gulf Stream ............... NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Caribbean Sea ............................................. Northeast Continental Shelf, Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Caribbean Sea Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast United States Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland—Labrador Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf ................ Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast United States Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland—Labrador Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Caribbean Sea ............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. Gulf of Mexico .............................................. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 21143 VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:22 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Pagophilus groenlandicus. Cystophora cristata ... Harp seal ............. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM NA ............................. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. NA ............................................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ Unknown ............................ 75,834 (0.15)/66,884 ......... 27,131 (0.19)/23,158 ......... NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. NA ............................. Order Carnivora—Suborder Pinnipedia Labrador Current ...... NA ............................................ Greenland 26 ........................ Labrador Current ...... Unknown 25 ........................ NA ............................................ ............. Labrador Current ...... Unknown 24 ........................ NA ............................................ Gulf of St. Lawrence 24. Newfoundland 25 ....... Unknown 26 NA ............................. Labrador Current ...... Gulf Stream ............... 79,883 (0.32)/61,415 ......... 2,003 (0.94)/1,023 ............. NA ............................. Gulf Stream ............... NA ............................................ NA ............................................ Open ocean NA ............................. Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy. Western North Atlantic 23. 1,849 (0.77)/1,041 ............. 70,184 (0.28)/55,690 ......... NA ............................................ NA ............................................ Unknown ............................ 54,807 (0.30)/42,804 ......... NA ............................................ 11,441 (0.83)/6,221 ........... NA ............................................ Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Western North Atlantic 16. Northern Gulf of Mexico 16. Western North Atlantic. Strategic ................................... Stock abundance 4 best/minimum population ESA/MMPA status 3 Stock 2 Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, West Greenland Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, West Greenland Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf. Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Scotian Shelf. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Caribbean Sea ............................................. Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea .................... Large marine ecosystems Inland waters Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Long Island Sound, Piscataqua River, Thames River, Kennebec River. Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Long Island Sound, Piscataqua River, Thames River, Kennebeck River. Chesapeake Bay, Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Long Island Sound, Piscataqua River, Thames River, Kennebeck River. NA. NA. NA. Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Long Island Sound, Piscataqua River, Thames River, Kennebec River. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. NA. Occurrence in AFTT Study Area 5 TABLE 9—MARINE MAMMALS PRESENT IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA—Continued Notes: CV: Coefficient of variation; ESA: Endangered Species Act; MMPA: Marine Mammal Protection Act; NA: Not applicable. 1 Taxonomy follows (Committee on Taxonomy, 2016). 2 Stock designations for the U.S. EEZ and abundance estimates are from Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico SARs prepared by NMFS (Hayes et al., 2017) and the draft 2018 SARs, unless specifically noted. 3 Populations or stocks defined by the MMPA as ‘‘strategic’’ for one of the following reasons: (1) The level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level; (2) based on the best available scientific information, numbers are declining and species are likely to be listed as threatened species under the ESA within the foreseeable future; (3) species are listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA; (4) species are designated as depleted under the MMPA. 4 Stock abundance, CV, and minimum population are numbers provided by the Stock Assessment Reports (SARs; Hayes et al., 2017). The stock abundance is an estimate of the number of animals within the stock. The CV is a statistical metric used as an indicator of the uncertainty in the abundance estimate. The minimum population estimate is either a direct count (e.g., pinnipeds on land) or the lower 20th percentile of a statistical abundance estimate. 5 Occurrence in the AFTT Study Area includes open ocean areas—Labrador Current, North Atlantic Gyre, Gulf Stream, and coastal/shelf waters of seven large marine ecosystems—West Greenland Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, Scotian Shelf, and Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and inland waters of Kennebec River, Piscataqua River, Thames River, Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Long Island Sound, Sandy Hook Bay, Lower Chesapeake Bay, James River, Elizabeth River, Beaufort Inlet, Cape Fear River, Kings Bay, St. Johns River, Port Canaveral, St. Andrew Bay, Pascagoula River, Sabine Lake, Corpus Christi Bay, and Galveston Bay. 6 The bowhead whale population off the West Coast of Greenland is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent highest density interval were presented in (Frasier et al., 2015). 7 The West Greenland stock of minke whales is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval were presented in (Heide-J<rgensen et al., 2010). 8 The Labrador Sea stock of sei whales is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Information was obtained in (Prieto et al., 2014). 9 The West Greenland stock of fin whales is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval were presented in (Heide-J<rgensen et al., 2010). 10 The Gulf of St. Lawrence stock of fin whales is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval were presented in (Ramp et al., 2014). 11 Photo identification catalogue count of 440 recognizable blue whale individuals from the Gulf of St. Lawrence is considered a minimum population estimate for the western North Atlantic stock (Waring et al., 2010). 12 Estimates include both the pygmy and dwarf sperm whales in the western North Atlantic (Waring et al., 2014) and the northern Gulf of Mexico (Waring et al., 2013). 13 Beluga whales in the Atlantic are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval for the Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay stock were presented in (Innes et al., 2002). 14 Beluga whales in the Atlantic are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval for the West Greenland stock were presented in (Heide-J<rgensen et al., 2009). Hooded seal ........ Phoca vitulina ........... Halichoerus grypus ... Phocoena phocoena Harbor seal .......... Family Phocidae (true seals): Gray seal ............. Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): Harbor porpoise .. Delphinus delphis ..... Short-beaked common dolphin. White-beaked dolphin. Lagenorhynchus albirostris. Stenella coeruleoalba Scientific name 1 Striped dolphin .... Common name jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21144 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 13MYP4 = Not applicable. Narwhals in the Atlantic are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report. for these western North Atlantic stocks are from Waring et al. (2014) and the northern Gulf of Mexico stock are from (Waring et al., 2013) as applicable. Estimate includes undifferentiated Mesoplodon species. 18 Estimate includes Gervais’ and Blainville’s beaked whales. 19 Estimate may include sightings of the coastal form. 20 Estimates for these Gulf of Mexico stocks are from SARs. 21 NMFS is in the process of writing individual stock assessment reports for each of the 32 bay, sound, and estuary stocks. 22 Estimates for these stocks are from Waring et al., (2015). 23 Estimates for these western North Atlantic stocks are from (Waring et al., 2007). 24 Harbor porpoise in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report. 25 Harbor porpoise in Newfoundland are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report. 26 Harbor porpoise in Greenland are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report. 17 16 Estimates 15 NA jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:22 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21145 21146 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat We provided a full discussion of the potential effects of the specified activities on marine mammals and their habitat in our 2018 AFTT proposed rule and 2018 AFTT final rule. In the Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat section of the 2018 AFTT proposed and final rules, NMFS provided a description of the ways marine mammals may be affected by the same activities that the Navy will be conducting during the seven-year period analyzed in this rule in the form of serious injury or mortality, physical trauma, sensory impairment (permanent and temporary threshold shifts and acoustic masking), physiological responses (particularly stress responses), behavioral disturbance, or habitat effects. Therefore, we do not repeat the information here, all of which remains current and applicable, but refer the reader to those rules and the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS (Chapter 3, Section 3.7 Marine Mammals, http:// www.aftteis.com/), which NMFS participated in the development of via our cooperating agency status and adopted to meet our NEPA requirements. In addition, NMFS has reviewed information in relevant SARs (which have not been revised since the publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule) any new information on active UMEs and from the scientific literature. Summaries of current UMEs and new scientific literature since publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule are presented below. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Unusual Mortality Events A UME is defined under section 410(6) of the MMPA as a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response. The five active UMEs with ongoing investigations in the AFTT Study Area that inform our analysis are discussed below. The impacts to Barataria Bay bottlenose dolphins from the closed Northern Gulf of Mexico UME (discussed in the 2018 AFTT proposed rule) associated with the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are thought to be persistent and continue to inform population analyses. The other more recent UMEs closed several years ago, and little is known about how the effects of those events might be appropriately applied to an impact assessment several years later. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) UME NOAA declared an UME for NARWs from January 1, 2017, to the present. The current total number of mortalities included in the event is 20 whales, including 12 NARW carcasses from Canada in 2017 and eight carcasses in the United States (5 in 2017; 3 in 2018). There have been no carcasses reported in 2019. In 2017, 17 right whale mortalities were documented, and in 2018, an additional three whales were found dead. Of the 12 NARW carcasses found in Canadian waters in 2017, six were necropsied and died as a direct result of human activities (either confirmed, probable, or suspect), from either rope entanglements (2) or vessel strikes (4) (Daoust et al., 2017). Of the eight carcasses found in U.S. waters in 2017–2018, the cause of death was determined in six whales, with deaths attributable to either rope entanglement (5) or vessel strikes (1). Eight carcasses were not able to be examined. Daoust et al. (2018) also concluded there were no oil and gas seismic surveys authorized in the months prior to or during the period over which these mortalities occurred, as well as no blasting or major marine development projects. Navy was consulted as to sonar use and they confirmed none was used in the vicinity of any of the strandings. As part of the UME investigation process for NARW, NOAA assembled an independent team of scientists (Investigative Team) that coordinates with the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events to review the data collected, sample future whales that strand, and determine the next steps for the investigation. For more information on this UME, please refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-life-distress/2017-2019north-atlantic-right-whale-unusualmortality-event#causes-of-the-northatlantic-right-whale-ume. While data are not yet available to statistically estimate the population’s trend beyond 2015, three lines of evidence indicate the population is still in decline. First, calving rates in 2016, 2017, and 2018 were low. Only five new calves were documented in 2017 (Pettis et al., 2017a), well below the number needed to compensate for expected mortalities (Pace et al., 2017), and no new calves were reported for 2018. Long-term photographic identification data indicate new calves rarely go undetected, so these years likely represent a continuation of the low calving rates that began in 2012 (Kraus et al., 2007; Pace et al., 2017). So far in 2019, seven calves have been PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 documented. Second, as noted above, the preliminary abundance estimate for 2016 is 451 individuals, down approximately 1.5 percent from 458 in 2015. Third, since June 2017, at least 20 NARWs have died in what has been declared an UME as discussed above, and at least one calf died in April 2017 (Meyer-Gutbrod et al., 2018; NMFS, 2017). Humpback Whale UME Along the Atlantic Coast NOAA declared an UME for humpback whales from January 1, 2016, to the present, along the Atlantic coast from Maine through Florida. As of April 1, 2019, 92 humpback strandings have occurred (26, 34, 25, and 9 whales in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively). As of April 2019, partial or full necropsy examinations have been conducted on 43 cases, or approximately half of the 92 strandings (at that time). Of the 43 whales examined, approximately 20 had evidence of blunt force trauma or premortem propeller wounds indicative of vessel strike and approximately 6 had evidence of entanglements. NOAA, in coordination with our stranding network partners, continues to investigate the recent mortalities and environmental conditions, and conduct population monitoring to better understand the recent humpback whale mortalities. At this time, vessel parameters (including size) are not known for each vessel-whale collision that led to the death of a whale. Therefore, NOAA considers all sizes of vessels to be a potential risk for whale species in highly trafficked areas. The Navy has investigated potential strikes and confirmed that it had none. Please refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-life-distress/2016-2019humpback-whale-unusual-mortalityevent-along-atlantic-coast for more information on this UME. Minke Whale UME Along the Atlantic Coast NOAA declared an UME for minke whales from January 1, 2017, to the present, along the Atlantic coast from Maine through Florida. As of April 1, 2019, 59 strandings have occurred (27, 20, and 2 whales in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively). As of April 1, 2019, full or partial necropsy examinations have been conducted on 33 whales. Preliminary findings on several of the whales have shown evidence of human interactions, primarily fisheries interactions, or infectious disease. These findings are not consistent across all of the whales examined, and final diagnostic results are still pending for E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules many of the cases. Please refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-life-distress/2017-2019minke-whale-unusual-mortality-eventalong-atlantic-coast for more information on this UME. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Northeast Pinniped UME Along the Atlantic Coast NOAA declared an UME on August 30, 2018, to the present due to increased numbers of harbor seal and gray seal strandings along the U.S. coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts during July and August of 2018. Strandings have remained elevated in these three states and expanded south to Virginia with cases on-going. Recently, harp and hooded seals have begun stranding as they migrate from Canada into U.S. waters and have been included in the investigation. From July 1, 2018, to March 28, 2019, more than 2,062 seals have stranded with 95 percent of the seals stranding in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Full or partial necropsy examinations have been conducted on many of the seals and samples have been collected for testing. Based on testing conducted so far, the main pathogen found in the seals is phocine distemper virus. Please refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ new-england-mid-atlantic/marine-lifedistress/2018-2019-pinniped-unusualmortality-event-along for more information on this UME. Southwest Florida Bottlenose Dolphin UME Along the Gulf of Mexico NOAA declared a UME in 2018 to the present due to elevated bottlenose dolphin mortalities occurring along the Southwest coast of Florida including Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties. From July 1, 2018, to March 27, 2019, 159 dolphins have been confirmed stranded in this event. Our stranding network partners have conducted full or partial necropsy examinations on several dolphins, with positive results for the red tide toxin (brevetoxin) indicating this UME is related to the severe bloom of a red tide that has been ongoing since November 2017. Please refer to https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/ marine-life-distress/2018-2019bottlenose-dolphin-unusual-mortalityevent-southwest for more information on this UME. New Pertinent Science Since Publication of the 2018 AFTT Final Rule Southall et al. (2019a) evaluated Southall et al. (2007) and used updated scientific information to propose revised VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 noise exposure criteria to predict onset of auditory effects in marine mammals (i.e., PTS and TTS onset). Southall et al. (2019) note that the quantitative processes described and the resulting exposure criteria (i.e., thresholds and auditory weighting functions) are largely identical to those in Finneran (2016) and NMFS (2016 and 2018). However they differ in that the Southall et al. (2019a) exposure criteria are more broadly applicable as they include all marine mammal species (rather than those only under NMFS jurisdiction) for all noise exposures (both in air and underwater for amphibious species), and that while the hearing group compositions are identical they renamed the hearing groups. Recent studies on the behavioral responses of cetaceans to sonar examine and continue to demonstrate the importance of not only sound source parameters, but exposure context (e.g., behavioral state, presence of other animals and social relationships, prey abundance, distance to source, presence of vessels, environmental parameters, etc.) in determining or predicting a behavioral response. Kastelein et al. (2018) examined the role of sound pressure level (SPL) and duty cycle on the behavior of two captive harbor porpoises when exposed to simulated Navy mid-frequency sonar (53C, 3.5 to 4.1 kHz). Neither harbor porpoise responded to the low duty cycle (2.7 percent) at any of the five SPLs presented, even at the maximum received SPL (143 dB re: 1 mPa). At the higher duty cycle (96 percent), one porpoise responded by increasing his respiration rate at a received SPL of greater than or equal to 119 dB re: 1 mPa, and moved away from the transducer at a received SPL of 143 dB re: 1 mPa. Kastelein et al. (2018) observed that at the same received SPL and duty cycle, harbor porpoises respond less to 53C sonar sounds than 1–2 kHz, 6–7 kHz, and 25 kHz sonar signals observed in previous studies, but noted that when examining behavioral responses it is important to take into account the spectrum and temporal structure of the signal, the duty cycle, and the psychological interpretation by the animal. Wensveen et al. (2019) examined the role of sound source (simulated sonar pulses) distance and received level in northern bottlenose whales in an environment without frequent sonar activity using multiscaled controlled exposure experiments. They observed behavioral avoidance of the sound source over a wide range of distances (0.8–28 km) and estimated avoidance thresholds ranging from PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21147 received SPLs of 117–126 dB re: 1 mPa. The behavioral response characteristics and avoidance thresholds were comparable to those previously observed in beaked whale studies; however, they did not observe an effect of distance on behavioral response and found that onset and intensity of behavioral response were better predicted by received SPL. When conducting controlled exposure experiments on blue whales Southall et al. (2019b) observed that after exposure to simulated and operational midfrequency active sonar, more than 50 percent of blue whales in deep-diving states responded to the sonar, while no behavioral response was observed in shallow-feeding blue whales. The behavioral responses they observed were generally brief, of low to moderate severity, and highly dependent on exposure context (behavioral state, source-to-whale horizontal range, and prey availability). Blue whale response did not follow a simple exposureresponse model based on received sound exposure level. In a review of the potential impacts of sonar on beaked whales, Bernaldo de Quiro´s et al. (2019) suggested that the effect of midfrequency active sonar on beaked whales varies among individuals or populations, and that predisposing conditions such as previous exposure to sonar and individual health risk factors may contribute to individual outcomes (such as decompression sickness). Having considered this information, we have preliminarily determined that there is no new information that substantively affects our analysis of impacts on marine mammals and their habitat that appeared in the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable and valid for our assessment of the effects of the Navy’s activities during the seven-year period of this rule. Estimated Take of Marine Mammals This section indicates the number of takes that NMFS is proposing to authorize, which are based on the amount of take that NMFS anticipates could occur or is likely to occur, depending on the type of take and the methods used to estimate it, as described below. NMFS coordinated closely with the Navy in the development of their incidental take application, and preliminarily agrees that the methods the Navy has put forth described herein and in the 2018 AFTT proposed and final rules to estimate take (including the model, thresholds, and density estimates), and the resulting numbers are based on the best available science and appropriate for E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21148 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules authorization. The number and type of incidental takes that could occur or are likely to occur annually remain identical to those authorized in the 2018 AFTT regulations. Takes are predominantly in the form of harassment, but a small number of serious injuries or mortalities are also possible. For military readiness activities, the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as (i) Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered (Level B harassment). Proposed authorized takes would primarily be in the form of Level B harassment, as use of the acoustic and explosive sources (i.e., sonar, air guns, pile driving, explosives) is more likely to result in behavioral disruption (rising to the level of a take as described above) or temporary threshold shift (TTS) for marine mammals than other forms of take. There is also the potential for Level A harassment, however, in the form of auditory injury and/or tissue damage (the latter from explosives only) to result from exposure to the sound sources utilized in training and testing activities. Lastly, a limited number of serious injuries or mortalities could occur for four species of mid-frequency cetaceans during ship shock trials and no more than four serious injuries or mortalities total (over the seven-year period) of mysticetes (except for blue whales, Bryde’s whales, and North Atlantic right whales) and North Atlantic sperm whales could occur through vessel collisions. Although we analyze the impacts of these potential serious injuries or mortalities that are proposed to be authorized, the required mitigation and monitoring measures are expected to minimize the likelihood that ship strike or these high level explosive exposures (and the associated serious injury or mortality) actually occur. Generally speaking, for acoustic impacts we estimate the amount and type of harassment by considering: (1) Acoustic thresholds above which NMFS believes the best available science indicates marine mammals will be taken by Level B harassment (in this case, as defined in the military readiness definition of Level B harassment included above) or incur some degree of VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 temporary or permanent hearing impairment; (2) the area or volume of water that will be ensonified above these levels in a day or event; (3) the density or occurrence of marine mammals within these ensonified areas; and (4) and the number of days of activities or events. Acoustic Thresholds Using the best available science, NMFS, in coordination with the Navy, has established acoustic thresholds that identify the most appropriate received level of underwater sound above which marine mammals exposed to these sound sources could be reasonably expected to experience a disruption in behavior patterns to a point where they are abandoned or significantly altered, or to incur TTS (equated to Level B harassment) or permanent threshold shift (PTS) of some degree (equated to Level A harassment). Thresholds have also been developed to identify the pressure levels above which animals may incur non-auditory injury from exposure to pressure waves from explosive detonation. Despite the quickly evolving science, there are still challenges in quantifying expected behavioral responses that qualify as Level B harassment, especially where the goal is to use one or two predictable indicators (e.g., received level and distance) to predict responses that are also driven by additional factors that cannot be easily incorporated into the thresholds (e.g., context). So, while the new behavioral Level B harassment thresholds have been refined here to better consider the best available science (e.g., incorporating both received level and distance), they also still, accordingly, have some built-in conservative factors to address the challenge noted. For example, while duration of observed responses in the data are now considered in the thresholds, some of the responses that are informing take thresholds are of a very short duration, such that it is possible some of these responses might not always rise to the level of disrupting behavior patterns to a point where they are abandoned or significantly altered. We describe the application of this Level B harassment threshold as identifying the maximum number of instances in which marine mammals could be reasonably expected to experience a disruption in behavior patterns to a point where they are abandoned or significantly altered. In summary, we believe these behavioral Level B harassment thresholds are the most appropriate method for predicting behavioral Level B harassment given the PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 best available science and the associated uncertainty. We described these acoustic thresholds, none of which have changed, in detail in the Acoustic Thresholds section and Tables 13 through 22 of the 2018 AFTT final rule; please see the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed information. Navy’s Acoustic Effects Model The Navy proposes no changes to the Acoustic Effects Model as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule and there is no new information that would affect the applicability or validity of the Model. Please see the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed information. Range to Effects The Navy proposes no changes from the 2018 AFTT final rule to the type and nature of the specified activities to be conducted during the seven-year period analyzed in this proposed rule, including equipment and sources used and exercises conducted. There is also no new information that would affect the applicability or validity of the ranges to effects previously analyzed for these activities.Therefore the ranges to effects in this proposed rule are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, including received sound levels that may cause onset of significant behavioral response and TTS and PTS in hearing for each source type or explosives that may cause non-auditory injury. Please see the Range to Effects section and Tables 23 through 38 of the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed information. Marine Mammal Density The Navy proposes no changes to the methods used to estimate marine mammal density described in the 2018 AFTT final rule and there is no new information that would affect the applicability or validity of these methods. Please see the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed information. Take Requests As in the 2018 AFTT final rule, in its 2019 application, the Navy determined that the three stressors below could result in the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS has reviewed the Navy’s data and analysis and determined that it is complete and accurate, and NMFS agrees that the following stressors have the potential to result in takes of marine mammals from the Navy’s planned activities: • Acoustics (sonar and other transducers; air guns; pile driving/ extraction); E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules • Explosives (explosive shock wave and sound, assumed to encompass the risk due to fragmentation); and • Physical Disturbance and Strike (vessel strike). NMFS reviewed and agrees with the Navy’s conclusion that acoustic and explosive sources have the potential to result in incidental takes of marine mammals by harassment, serious injury, or mortality. NMFS carefully reviewed the Navy’s analysis and conducted its own analysis of vessel strikes, determining that the likelihood of any particular species of large whale being struck is quite low. Nonetheless, NMFS agrees that vessel strikes have the potential to result in incidental take from serious injury or mortality for certain species of large whales and the Navy has specifically requested coverage for these species. Therefore, the likelihood of vessel strikes, and later the effects of the incidental take that is being proposed to be authorized, has been fully analyzed and is described below. Regarding the quantification of expected takes from acoustic and explosive sources (by Level A and Level B harassment, as well as mortality resulting from exposure to explosives), the number of takes are based directly on the level of activities (days, hours, counts, etc., of different activities and events) in a given year. In the 2018 AFTT final rule, take estimates across the five-years were based on the Navy conducting three years of a representative level of activity and two years of maximum level of activity. Consistent with the pattern set forth in the 2017 application, the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS, and the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Navy proposes to add one additional representative year and one additional maximum year to determine the predicted take numbers in this rule. Specifically, as in the 2018 AFTT final rule, here the Navy proposes to use the maximum annual level to calculate annual takes (which would remain identical to what was determined in the 2018 AFTT final rule), and the sum of all years (four representative and three maximum) to calculate the seven-year totals for this rule. The Navy is not proposing to conduct any additional ship shock activities, and therefore both the total number and annual number of ship shock takes estimated and requested for the seven-year period is the same as the number requested in the five-year period under the 2018 AFTT final rule. The quantitative analysis process used for the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS and the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications to estimate potential exposures to marine VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 mammals resulting from acoustic and explosive stressors is detailed in the technical report titled Quantifying Acoustic Impacts on Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles: Methods and Analytical Approach for Phase III Training and Testing (U.S. Department of the Navy, 2018). The Navy Acoustic Effects Model estimates acoustic and explosive effects without taking mitigation into account; therefore, the model overestimates predicted impacts on marine mammals within mitigation zones. To account for mitigation for marine species in the take estimates, the Navy conducts a quantitative assessment of mitigation. The Navy conservatively quantifies the manner in which procedural mitigation is expected to reduce model-estimated PTS to TTS for exposures to sonar and other transducers, and reduces modelestimated mortality to injury for exposures to explosives. For a complete explanation of the process for assessing the effects of mitigation, see the 2017 Navy application and the 2018 AFTT final rule. The extent to which the mitigation areas reduce impacts on the affected species and stocks is addressed separately in the Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section. No changes have been made to the quantitative analysis process to estimate potential exposures to marine mammals resulting from acoustic and explosive stressors and calculate take estimates. In addition, there is no new information that would call into question the validity of the Navy’s quantitative analysis process. Please see the documents described in the paragraph above, the 2018 AFTT proposed rule, and the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed descriptions of these analyses. In summary, we believe the Navy’s methods, including the method for incorporating mitigation and avoidance, are the most appropriate methods for predicting PTS, TTS, and behavioral disruption. But even with the consideration of mitigation and avoidance, given some of the more conservative components of the methodology (e.g., the thresholds do not consider ear recovery between pulses), we would describe the application of these methods as identifying the maximum number of instances in which marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be taken through PTS, TTS, or behavioral disruption. Summary of Requested Take From Training and Testing Activities Based on the methods discussed in the previous sections and the Navy’s model and quantitative assessment of PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21149 mitigation, the Navy provided its take estimate and request for authorization of takes incidental to the use of acoustic and explosive sources for training and testing activities both annually (based on the maximum number of activities that could occur per 12-month period) and over the seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy application. Annual takes (based on the maximum number of activities that could occur per 12-month period) are identical to those presented in Tables 39 through 41 in the Take Requests section of the 2018 AFTT final rule. The 2019 Navy application also includes the Navy’s take estimate and request for vessel strikes due to vessel movement in the AFTT Study Area and individual small and large ship shock trials over a seven-year period. The Navy proposes no additional ship shock trials, so the estimated and requested takes from ship shock trials are the same as those authorized in the 2018 AFTT final rule. NMFS has reviewed the Navy’s data, methodology, and analysis and determined that it is complete and accurate. NMFS agrees that the estimates for incidental takes by harassment from all sources as well as the incidental takes by serious injury or mortality from explosives requested for authorization are reasonably expected to occur. NMFS also agrees that the takes by serious injury or mortality as a result of vessel strikes could occur. The total amount of estimated incidental take over the seven years covered by the 2019 Navy application is less than the sum total of each year because although the annual estimates are based on the maximum number of activities per year and therefore the maximum estimated takes, the seven-year take estimates are based on the sum of three maximum years and four representative years. Estimated Harassment Take From Training Activities For training activities, Table 10 summarizes the Navy’s take estimate and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A and Level B harassment for the seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy application that NMFS concurs is reasonably expected to occur by species or stock. For the estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment annually, see Table 39 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Note that take by Level B harassment includes both behavioral disruption and TTS. Navy Figures 6.4–10 through 6.5–39 in Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application illustrate the comparative amounts of TTS and behavioral disruption for each species annually, noting that if a modeled marine mammal was ‘‘taken’’ E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21150 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules through exposure to both TTS and behavioral disruption in the model, it was recorded as a TTS. TABLE 10—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES- AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TRAINING ACTIVITIES 7-Year total 1 Species Stock Level B Level A Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Balaenidae (right whales): North Atlantic right whale * .................................... Family Balaenopteridae (roquals): Blue whale * ........................................................... Bryde’s whale ........................................................ Minke whale .......................................................... Fin whale * ............................................................. Humpback whale ................................................... Sei whale * ............................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. 1,644 0 Western North Atlantic (Gulf of St. Lawrence) ............. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... No Stock Designation ................................................... Canadian East Coast ................................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Gulf of Maine ................................................................ Nova Scotia .................................................................. 171 5 1,351 15,824 10,225 1,564 1,964 0 0 0 0 19 4 0 Gulf of Mexico Oceanic ................................................ North Atlantic ................................................................ 167 96,479 0 0 Gulf of Mexico Oceanic ................................................ Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. 103 56,060 103 56,060 0 68 0 68 Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. 244 85,661 242 317,180 244 85,661 7,504 85,661 85,661 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Choctawhatchee Bay .................................................... Gulf of Mexico Eastern Coastal ................................... Gulf of Mexico Northern Coastal .................................. Gulf of Mexico Western Coastal .................................. Indian River Lagoon Estuarine System ........................ Jacksonville Estuarine System ..................................... Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne, Bay Boudreau ......... Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf .................. Northern Gulf of Mexico Oceanic ................................. Northern North Carolina Estuarine System .................. Southern North Carolina Estuarine System ................. Western North Atlantic Northern Florida Coastal ......... Western North Atlantic Central Florida Coastal ........... Western North Atlantic Northern Migratory Coastal ..... Western North Atlantic Offshore .................................. Western North Atlantic South Carolina/Georgia Coastal. Western North Atlantic Southern Migratory Coastal .... Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. 6,584 804,058 99,615 46 166 1,524 16,778 1,980 589 0 10,918 1,356 16,089 0 6,060 35,861 175,237 2,062,942 28,814 0 64 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 0 0 0 0 0 30 269 0 81,155 694 463,220 291 54,818 418 26,155 5 522 116,412 493 246,178 14 0 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales) Family Physeteridae (sperm whale): Sperm whale * ....................................................... Family Kogiidae (sperm whales): Dwarf sperm whale ............................................... Pygmy sperm whale .............................................. Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales): Blainville’s beaked whale ...................................... Cuvier’s beaked whale .......................................... Gervais’ beaked whale .......................................... Northern bottlenose whale .................................... Sowersby’s beaked whale ..................................... True’s beaked whale ............................................. Family Delphinidae (dolphins): Atlantic spotted dolphin ......................................... Atlantic white-sided dolphin ................................... Bottlenose dolphin ................................................. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Clymene dolphin .................................................... False killer whale ................................................... Fraser’s dolphin ..................................................... Killer whale ............................................................ Long-finned pilot whale ......................................... Melon-headed whale ............................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21151 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 10—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES- AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TRAINING ACTIVITIES—Continued 7-Year total 1 Species Stock Level B Pantropical spotted dolphin ................................... Pygmy killer whale ................................................ Risso’s dolphin ...................................................... Rough-toothed dolphin .......................................... Short-beaked common dolphin ............................. Short-finned pilot whale ......................................... Spinner dolphin ..................................................... Striped dolphin ...................................................... White-beaked dolphin ............................................ Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): Harbor porpoise ..................................................... Level A Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. 3,959 964,072 118 43,009 276 140,368 606 129,594 1,467,625 251 210,736 1,593 487,644 471 631,680 269 0 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 87 0 0 0 9 0 22 0 Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy ......................................... 206,071 1,121 10,038 16,277 59,063 882 0 0 6 0 Suborder Pinnipedia Family Phocidae (true seals): Gray seal ............................................................... Harbor seal ............................................................ Harp seal ............................................................... Hooded seal .......................................................... Western Western Western Western North North North North Atlantic Atlantic Atlantic Atlantic ................................................. ................................................. ................................................. ................................................. 1 The estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment annually are identical to those presented in Table 39 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. * ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the AFTT Study Area. † NSD: No stock designated. Estimated Harassment Take From Testing Activities For testing activities (excluding ship shock trials), Table 11 summarizes the Navy’s take estimate and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment for the seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy application that NMFS concurs is reasonably expected to occur by species or stock. For the estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment annually, see Table 40 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Note that take by Level B harassment includes both behavioral disruption and TTS. Navy Figures 6.4–10 through 6.5– 39 in Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application illustrate the comparative amounts of TTS and behavioral disruption for each species annually, noting that if a ‘‘taken’’ animat was exposed to both TTS and behavioral disruption in the model, it was recorded as a TTS. TABLE 11—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TESTING ACTIVITIES (EXCLUDING SHIP SHOCK TRIALS) 7-Year total 1 Species Stock Level B Level A Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Balaenidae (right whales): jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 North Atlantic right whale * .................................... Family Balaenopteridae (roquals): Blue whale * ........................................................... Bryde’s whale ........................................................ Minke whale .......................................................... Fin whale * ............................................................. Humpback whale ................................................... Sei whale * ............................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. 1,528 0 Western North Atlantic (Gulf of St. Lawrence) ............. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... No Stock Designation ................................................... Canadian East Coast ................................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Gulf of Maine ................................................................ Nova Scotia .................................................................. 127 358 856 11,155 24,808 3,380 3,262 0 0 0 9 22 0 0 7,315 0 Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales) Family Physeteridae (sperm whale): Sperm whale * ....................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Gulf of Mexico Oceanic ................................................ Frm 00027 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21152 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 11—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TESTING ACTIVITIES (EXCLUDING SHIP SHOCK TRIALS)—Continued 7-Year total 1 Species Stock Level B Family Kogiidae (sperm whales): Dwarf sperm whale ............................................... Pygmy sperm whale .............................................. Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales): Blainville’s beaked whale ...................................... Cuvier’s beaked whale .......................................... Gervais’ beaked whale .......................................... Northern bottlenose whale .................................... Sowersby’s beaked whale ..................................... True’s beaked whale ............................................. Family Delphinidae (dolphins): Atlantic spotted dolphin ......................................... Atlantic white-sided dolphin ................................... Bottlenose dolphin ................................................. Clymene dolphin .................................................... False killer whale ................................................... Fraser’s dolphin ..................................................... Killer whale ............................................................ Long-finned pilot whale ......................................... Melon-headed whale ............................................. Pantropical spotted dolphin ................................... Pygmy killer whale ................................................ Risso’s dolphin ...................................................... Rough-toothed dolphin .......................................... jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Short-beaked common dolphin ............................. Short-finned pilot whale ......................................... Spinner dolphin ..................................................... Striped dolphin ...................................................... White-beaked dolphin ............................................ Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): Harbor porpoise ..................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Level A North Atlantic ................................................................ 71,820 0 Gulf of Mexico Oceanic ................................................ Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. 4,787 29,368 4,787 29,368 38 91 38 91 Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. 9,368 68,738 9,757 252,367 9,368 68,738 6,231 68,903 68,903 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Choctawhatchee Bay .................................................... Gulf of Mexico Eastern Coastal ................................... Gulf of Mexico Northern Coastal .................................. Gulf of Mexico Western Coastal .................................. Indian River Lagoon Estuarine System ........................ Jacksonville Estuarine System ..................................... Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne, Bay Boudreau ......... Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf .................. Northern Gulf of Mexico Oceanic ................................. Northern North Carolina Estuarine System .................. Southern North Carolina Estuarine System ................. Western North Atlantic Northern Florida Coastal ......... Western North Atlantic Central Florida Coastal ........... Western North Atlantic Northern Migratory Coastal ..... Western North Atlantic Offshore .................................. Western North Atlantic South Carolina/Georgia Coastal. Western North Atlantic Southern Migratory Coastal .... Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico ............................................... Western North Atlantic ................................................. Western North Atlantic ................................................. 473,262 708,931 210,578 6,297 0 108,154 25,200 21 20 5 841,076 95,044 746 0 2,263 15,409 79,042 794,581 11,232 18 72 8 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 56 8 0 0 0 0 20 161 0 29,176 27,841 234,001 12,788 24,580 7,452 8,270 212 264 131,095 20,324 109,192 169,678 495,207 4,771 18,609 10,929 132,141 26,033 58,008 2,351,361 12,041 111,326 51,039 218,786 16,344 652,197 300 0 0 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 0 6 6 26 0 0 0 9 0 0 101 0 10 0 10 0 32 0 Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy ......................................... 811,201 1,405 Frm 00028 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21153 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 11—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TESTING ACTIVITIES (EXCLUDING SHIP SHOCK TRIALS)—Continued 7-Year total 1 Species Stock Level B Level A Suborder Pinnipedia Family Phocidae (true seals): Gray seal ............................................................... Harbor seal ............................................................ Harp seal ............................................................... Hooded seal .......................................................... Western Western Western Western North North North North Atlantic Atlantic Atlantic Atlantic ................................................. ................................................. ................................................. ................................................. 6,130 9,941 53,646 5,335 14 23 17 0 1 The estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment annually are identical to those presented in Table 40 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. * ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the AFTT Study Area. † NSD: No stock designated. Estimated Take From Ship Shock For ship shock trials, Table 12 summarizes the Navy’s take estimate and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A and Level B harassment and serious injury/mortality for the seven-year period covered by the Navy application that NMFS concurs is reasonably expected to occur by species or stock per small and large ship shock events. For the estimated amount and type of Level A harassment, Level B harassment, and serious injury/ mortality annually, see Table 41 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The Navy proposed no additional ship shock trials over the additional two years covered by the 2019 Navy application, so the estimated and requested takes are the same as those authorized in the 2018 AFTT final rule. TABLE 12—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM SHIP SHOCK TRIALS 7-Year total 1 Species Level B Level A Mortality Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Balaenidae (right whales): North Atlantic right whale * ................................................................................................... Family Balaenopteridae (roquals): Blue whale * .......................................................................................................................... Bryde’s whale ....................................................................................................................... Minke whale .......................................................................................................................... Fin whale * ............................................................................................................................ Humpback whale .................................................................................................................. Sei whale * ............................................................................................................................ 5 0 0 1 15 96 627 44 63 0 1 6 36 2 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 7 0 229 229 154 154 0 0 4 8 4 0 4 4 1 6 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 26 6 55 15 2 2 0 11 8 31 1 24 12 54 23 1 3 0 12 7 29 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales) Family Physeteridae (sperm whale): Sperm whale * ....................................................................................................................... Family Kogiidae (sperm whales): Dwarf sperm whale ............................................................................................................... Pygmy sperm whale ............................................................................................................. Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales): Blainville’s beaked whale ..................................................................................................... Cuvier’s beaked whale ......................................................................................................... Gervais’ beaked whale ......................................................................................................... Northern bottlenose whale ................................................................................................... Sowersby’s beaked whale .................................................................................................... True’s beaked whale ............................................................................................................ Family Delphinidae (dolphins): Atlantic spotted dolphin ........................................................................................................ Atlantic white-sided dolphin .................................................................................................. Bottlenose dolphin ................................................................................................................ Clymene dolphin ................................................................................................................... False killer whale .................................................................................................................. Fraser’s dolphin .................................................................................................................... Killer whale ........................................................................................................................... Long-finned pilot whale ........................................................................................................ Melon-headed whale ............................................................................................................ Pantropical spotted dolphin .................................................................................................. Pygmy killer whale ................................................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21154 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 12—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM SHIP SHOCK TRIALS—Continued 7-Year total 1 Species Level B Risso’s dolphin ..................................................................................................................... Rough-toothed dolphin ......................................................................................................... Short-beaked common dolphin ............................................................................................ Short-finned pilot whale ........................................................................................................ Spinner dolphin ..................................................................................................................... Striped dolphin ...................................................................................................................... White-beaked dolphin ........................................................................................................... Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): Harbor porpoise .................................................................................................................... Level A Mortality 6 6 187 10 46 22 0 4 2 260 11 48 36 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 0 249 204 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Suborder Pinnipedia Family Phocidae (true seals): Gray seal .............................................................................................................................. Harbor seal ........................................................................................................................... Harp seal .............................................................................................................................. Hooded seal ......................................................................................................................... 1 The estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment and serious injury/mortality annually are identical to those presented in Table 41 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. * ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the AFTT Study Area. † NSD: No stock designated. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Estimated Take From Vessel Strikes Vessel strikes from commercial, recreational, and military vessels are known to affect large whales and have resulted in serious injury and occasional fatalities to cetaceans (BermanKowalewski et al., 2010; Calambokidis, 2012; Douglas et al., 2008; Laggner 2009; Lammers et al., 2003). Records of collisions date back to the early 17th century, and the worldwide number of collisions appears to have increased steadily during recent decades (Laist et al., 2001; Ritter, 2012). Numerous studies of interactions between surface vessels and marine mammals have demonstrated that freeranging marine mammals often, but not always (e.g., McKenna et al., 2015), engage in avoidance behavior when surface vessels move toward them. It is not clear whether these responses are caused by the physical presence of a surface vessel, the underwater noise generated by the vessel, or an interaction between the two (Amaral and Carlson, 2005; Au and Green, 2000; Bain et al., 2006; Bauer 1986; Bejder et al., 1999; Bejder and Lusseau, 2008; Bejder et al., 2009; Bryant et al., 1984; Corkeron, 1995; Erbe, 2002; Fe´lix, 2001; Goodwin and Cotton, 2004; Lemon et al., 2006; Lusseau, 2003; Lusseau, 2006; Magalhaes et al., 2002; Nowacek et al., 2001; Richter et al., 2003; Scheidat et al., 2004; Simmonds, 2005; Watkins, 1986; Williams et al., 2002; Wursig et al., 1998). Several authors suggest that the noise generated during motion is probably an important factor (Blane and VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Jaakson, 1994; Evans et al., 1992; Evans et al., 1994). Water disturbance may also be a factor. These studies suggest that the behavioral responses of marine mammals to surface vessels are similar to their behavioral responses to predators. Avoidance behavior is expected to be even stronger in the subset of instances that the Navy is conducting training or testing activities using active sonar or explosives. The marine mammals most vulnerable to vessel strikes are those that spend extended periods of time at the surface in order to restore oxygen levels within their tissues after deep dives (e.g., the sperm whale). In addition, some baleen whales, such as the NARW seem generally unresponsive to vessel sound, making them more susceptible to vessel collisions (Nowacek et al., 2004). These species are primarily large, slower moving whales. Some researchers have suggested the relative risk of a vessel strike can be assessed as a function of animal density and the magnitude of vessel traffic (e.g., Fonnesbeck et al., 2008; Vanderlaan et al., 2008). Differences among vessel types also influence the probability of a vessel strike. The ability of any ship to detect a marine mammal and avoid a collision depends on a variety of factors, including environmental conditions, ship design, size, speed, and personnel, as well as the behavior of the animal. Vessel speed, size, and mass are all important factors in determining if injury or death of a marine mammal is likely due to a vessel strike. For large vessels, speed and angle of approach PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 can influence the severity of a strike. For example, Vanderlaan and Taggart (2007) found that between vessel speeds of 8.6 and 15 knots, the probability that a vessel strike is lethal increases from 0.21 to 0.79. Large whales also do not have to be at the water’s surface to be struck. Silber et al. (2010) found when a whale is below the surface (about one to two times the vessel draft), there is likely to be a pronounced propeller suction effect. This suction effect may draw the whale into the hull of the ship, increasing the probability of propeller strikes. There are some key differences between the operation of military and non-military vessels, which make the likelihood of a military vessel striking a whale lower than some other vessels (e.g., commercial merchant vessels). Key differences include: • Many military ships have their bridges positioned closer to the bow, offering better visibility ahead of the ship (compared to a commercial merchant vessel). • There are often aircraft associated with the training or testing activity (which can serve as Lookouts), which can more readily detect cetaceans in the vicinity of a vessel or ahead of a vessel’s present course before crew on the vessel would be able to detect them. • Military ships are generally more maneuverable than commercial merchant vessels, and if cetaceans are spotted in the path of the ship, could be capable of changing course more quickly. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules • The crew size on military vessels is generally larger than merchant ships, allowing for stationing more trained Lookouts on the bridge. At all times when vessels are underway, trained Lookouts and bridge navigation teams are used to detect objects on the surface of the water ahead of the ship, including cetaceans. Additional Lookouts, beyond those already stationed on the bridge and on navigation teams, are positioned as Lookouts during some activities. • When submerged, submarines are generally slow moving (to avoid detection) and therefore marine mammals at depth with a submarine are likely able to avoid collision with the submarine. When a submarine is transiting on the surface, there are Lookouts serving the same function as they do on surface ships. Vessel strike to marine mammals is not associated with any specific training or testing activity but is rather an extremely limited and sporadic, but possible, accidental result of Navy vessel movement within the AFTT Study Area or while in transit. There have been three recorded Navy vessel strikes (one in 2011 and two in 2012) of large whales in the AFTT Study Area from 2009 through 2018 (ten years), the period in which the Navy began implementing effective mitigation measures to reduce the likelihood of vessel strikes. Two of the vessel strikes occurred in the Virginia Capes Range Complex and one occurred in the lower Chesapeake Bay. One of the whales in 2012 had features suggesting it was most likely a humpback whale. Note that while the Navy is generally unable to identify the species of whale is it unlikely the unidentified whales were NARW as the strikes occurred in areas where, or times of year when, NARW are not known to be present. In order to account for the accidental nature of vessel strikes to large whales in general, and the potential risk from any vessel movement within the AFTT Study Area within the seven-year period, the Navy requested incidental takes based on probabilities derived from a Poisson distribution using ship strike data between 2009 and 2018 in the AFTT Study Area (the time period from when current mitigation measures were instituted until the Navy conducted the analysis for the 2019 Navy application, with no new ship strikes occurring since this analysis), as well as historical at-sea days in the AFTT Study Area from 2009–2018 and estimated potential atsea days for the period from 2018 to 2025 covered by the requested regulations. This distribution predicted the probabilities of a specific number of strikes (n=0, 1, 2, etc.) over the period VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 from 2018 to 2025. The analysis is described in detail in Chapter 6 of the Navy’s 2017 and 2019 applications (and further refined in the Navy’s revised ship strike analysis posted on NMFS’ website https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-mammal-protection/ incidental-take-authorizations-militaryreadiness-activities). For the same reasons listed above describing why a Navy vessel strike is comparatively unlikely, it is highly unlikely that a Navy vessel would strike a whale, dolphin, porpoise, or pinniped without detecting it and, accordingly, NMFS is confident that the Navy’s reported strikes are accurate and appropriate for use in the analysis. Specifically, Navy ships have multiple Lookouts, including on the forward part of the ship that can visually detect a hit animal, in the unlikely event ship personnel do not feel the strike (which has occasionally occurred). Navy’s strict internal procedures and mitigation requirements include reporting of any vessel strikes of marine mammals, and the Navy’s discipline, extensive training (not only for detecting marine mammals, but for detecting and reporting any potential navigational obstruction), and strict chain of command give NMFS a high level of confidence that all strikes actually get reported. The Navy used the three whale strikes since 2009 in their calculations to determine the number of strikes likely to result from their activities (although worldwide strike information, from all Navy activities and other strikes, was used to inform the species that may be struck). The Navy evaluated data beginning in 2009, as that was the start of the Navy’s Marine Species Awareness Training and adoption of additional mitigation measures to address ship strike, which will remain in place along with additional mitigation measures during the seven years of this rule. The updated probability analysis in the 2019 Navy application concluded that there was a 12 percent chance that zero whales would be struck by Navy vessels over the next seven years in the AFTT Study Area, indicating an 88 percent chance that at least one whale would be struck over the next seven years. The analysis also concludes that there is a 10 percent chance of striking four whales over the seven-year period. Based on the revised analysis, the Navy requests coverage for one additional large whale mortality not previously included in the 2018 AFTT final rule bringing the total from three vessel strikes over five years to four vessel strikes over seven years. NMFS agrees that there is some probability that the PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21155 Navy could strike, and take by serious injury or mortality, up to four large whales incidental to training and testing activities within the AFTT Study Area over the course of the seven years covered by this proposed rule. Small delphinids, porpoises, and pinnipeds are not expected to be struck by Navy vessels. In addition to the reasons listed above that make it unlikely that the Navy will hit a large whale (more maneuverable ships, larger crew, etc.), the following are additional reasons that vessel strike of dolphins, small whales, porpoises, and pinnipeds is very unlikely. Dating back more than 20 years and for as long as it has kept records, the Navy has no records of individuals of these groups being struck by a vessel as a result of Navy activities and, further, their smaller size and maneuverability make a strike unlikely. Also, NMFS has never received any reports from other authorized activities indicating that these species have been struck by vessels. Worldwide ship strike records show little evidence of strikes of these groups from the shipping sector and larger vessels, and the majority of the Navy’s activities involving fastermoving vessels (that could be considered more likely to hit a marine mammal) are located in offshore areas where smaller delphinid, porpoise, and pinniped densities are lower. Based on this information, NMFS concurs with the Navy’s assessment and recognizes the potential for incidental take by vessel strike of large whales only (i.e., no dolphins, small whales, porpoises, or pinnipeds) over the course of the sevenyear period analyzed here from training and testing activities. Taking into account the available information regarding how many of any given stock could be struck and therefore should be proposed for authorization for take NMFS considered two factors in addition to those considered in the Navy’s request: (1) The relative likelihood of hitting one stock versus another based on available strike data from all vessel types as denoted in the SARs and (2) whether the Navy has ever definitively struck an individual from a particular stock and, if so, how many times. To address number (1) above, NMFS compiled information from NMFS’ SARs on detected annual rates of large whale serious injury and mortality from vessel collisions (Table 13). The annual rates of large whale serious injury and mortality from vessel collisions from the SARs help inform the relative susceptibility of large whale species to vessel strike in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. We summed the annual rates of mortality and serious E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21156 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules injury from vessel collisions as reported in the SARs, then divided each species’ annual rate by this sum to get the relative likelihood. To estimate the percent likelihood of striking a particular species of large whale, we multiplied the relative likelihood of striking each species by the total probability of striking a whale (i.e., 88 percent, as described by the Navy’s probability analysis). We also calculated the percent likelihood of striking a particular species of large whale twice by squaring the value estimated for the probability of striking a particular species of whale once (i.e., to calculate the probability of an event occurring twice, multiply the probability of the first event by the second). We note that these probabilities vary from year to year as the average annual mortality for a given five-year window changes (and we include the annual averages from 2017 and 2018 draft SARs in Table 13 to illustrate); however, over the years and through changing SARs, stocks tend to consistently maintain a relatively higher or relatively lower likelihood of being struck. The analysis indicates that there is a very low percent chance of striking any particular species or stock more than once except for humpback whales, as shown in Table 13. The probabilities calculated as described above are then considered in combination with the information indicating the species that the Navy has definitively hit in the AFTT Study Area since 1995 (since they started tracking consistently). Accordingly, stocks that have no record of ever having been struck by any vessel are considered unlikely to be struck by the Navy in the seven-year period of the rule. Stocks that have never been struck by the Navy, have rarely been struck by other vessels, and have a low percent likelihood based on the SAR calculation and a low relative abundance are also considered unlikely to be struck by the Navy during the seven-year rule. TABLE 13—ANNUAL RATES OF MORTALITY AND SERIOUS INJURY (M/SI) FROM VESSEL COLLISIONS COMPILED FROM NMFS DRAFT 2018 STOCK ASSESSMENT REPORTS (SARS) AND ESTIMATED PERCENT CHANCE OF STRIKING EACH LARGE WHALE SPECIES IN THE AFTT STUDY AREA OVER A SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD Species (stock) 1 Annual rate of M/SI from vessel collision (2017 SARs) Annual rate of M/SI from vessel collision (2018 draft SARs) 1.6 0.8 1.4 1.8 0.2 0.2 0 0 1.4 0.8 1 2.7 0.2 0.2 0 0 Fin whale (Western North Atlantic) .......... Sei whale (Nova Scotia) .......................... Minke whale (Canadian East Coast) ....... Humpback whale (Gulf of Maine) ............ Sperm (North Atlantic) ............................. Bryde’s whale (Northern Gulf of Mexico) Sperm (Gulf of Mexico) ............................ Blue whale (Western North Atlantic) ....... Percent chance of ONE strike Percent chance of TWO strikes 19.51 11.15 13.94 37.63 2.79 2.79 0.00 0.00 Annual proposed take Potential take proposed over 7 years 0.14 0.14 0.14 0.29 0.14 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 21 30 0 0 3.81 1.24 1.94 14.16 0.08 0.08 0.00 0.00 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 1 North Atlantic right whales are not included in this analysis as NARWs are not anticipated to be struck due to the additional extensive mitigation the Navy implements to minimize the risk of striking this particular species. In addition, the Navy has not struck this species since prior to 2009 when the Navy’s current vessel movement mitigation, reporting, and monitoring requirements have been in place. 2 The analysis indicates only a very small likelihood (less than 3 percent) that a North Atlantic sperm whale would be struck over the seven years, however, the Navy has struck a sperm whale previously in the Atlantic, which may indicate a higher possibility that it could occur and suggests that authorizing one mortality over the seven years would be appropriate. 3 Due to their low population abundance within the Study Area and lack of previous vessel strikes by the Navy, along with the Navy’s enhanced mitigation measures in the Bryde’s Whale Mitigation Area, Bryde’s whales are not anticipated to be struck therefore and have zero mortality/serious injury takes. For the reasons discussed in detail in the 2018 AFTT final rule and discussed further below, due to enhanced mitigation measures, NARWs are not anticipated to be struck by Navy vessels and are anticipated to have zero mortality/serious injury takes over the seven years of the rule. In addition, based on the quantitative method described above, blue whales and Gulf of Mexico sperm whales have a zero percent chance of being struck. After considering this result, along with additional factors discussed below, the Navy found that any vessel strike of these two stocks is highly unlikely. After fully considering all relevant information, NMFS agreed with this conclusion. Finally, the quantitative analysis outlined above indicates only a very small likelihood the Navy would strike a Bryde’s whale (3 percent). Due to their low population abundance and lack of previous vessel strikes by the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Navy, Bryde’s whales are also unlikely to be struck and we have proposed to authorize zero mortality/serious injury takes. Alternately, the quantitative analysis discussed above also indicates only a very small likelihood that the Navy would strike a North Atlantic sperm whale over the seven years covered by the 2019 Navy application (less than 3 percent), however, the Navy has struck a sperm whale previously in the Atlantic (2005), which points to a higher possibility that it could occur and suggests that authorizing a single mortality/serious injury would be appropriate. Additional discussion relevant to our determinations for North Atlantic blue whales, Gulf of Mexico sperm whale, NARW, and Bryde’s whale is included below. In addition to the zero probability predicted by the quantitative model, there are no recent confirmed records of vessel collision to blue whales in the PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 U.S. waters, although there is one older historical record pointing to a ship strike that likely occurred beyond the U.S. Atlantic EEZ (outside of where most Navy activities occur, so less relevant) and one 1998 record of a dead 20 m (66 ft) male blue whale brought into Rhode Island waters on the bow of a tanker. The cause of death was determined to be ship strike; however, some of the injuries were difficult to explain from the necropsy. As noted previously, the Navy has been conducting Marine Species Awareness Training and implementing additional mitigation measures to protect against vessel strikes since 2009. Therefore, given the absence of any strikes in the recent past since the Navy has implemented its current mitigation measures, the very low abundance of North Atlantic blue whales throughout the AFTT Study Area (Nmin = 440 for the Western North Atlantic stock, E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Waring et al., 2010), and the very low number of blue whales ever known to be struck in the area by any type of vessel (and none struck by Navy vessels), we believe the likelihood of the Navy hitting a blue whale is discountable. In addition to the zero probability of hitting a sperm whale in the Gulf of Mexico predicted by the quantitative model, there have been no vessel strikes of sperm whales by any entity since 2009 in the Gulf of Mexico per the SAR (2009–2013) and no Navy strikes of any large whales since 1995 (based on our records, which include Navy’s records) in the Gulf of Mexico. Further, the Navy has comparatively fewer steaming days in the Gulf of Mexico and there is a fairly low abundance of sperm whales occurring there. As noted previously, the Navy has been conducting Marine Species Awareness Training and implementing additional mitigation measures to protect against vessel strikes since 2009. Therefore, NMFS believes that the likelihood of the Navy hitting a Gulf of Mexico sperm whale is discountable. Although the quantitative analysis would indicate that NARWs do have a low probability of being struck one time within the seven-year period when vessel strikes across all activity types (including non-Navy) are considered (annual mortality and serious injury, hereafter abbreviated as M/SI) from vessel strikes is calculated as 0.41 in the 2018 SAR), when the enhanced mitigation measures (discussed below) that the Navy has been implementing and would continue to implement for NARWs are considered in combination with this low probability, a vessel strike is highly unlikely. Therefore, lethal take of NARWs was not requested by the Navy and is not proposed to be authorized by NMFS. We further note that while there have been two strikes of unidentified whales by the Navy since 2009, it is unlikely they were NARW as the strikes occurred in areas where, or times of year when, NARW are not known to be present. Regarding the Bryde’s whale, due to the fact that the Navy has not struck a Bryde’s whale (as no Navy strikes have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico), the very low abundance numbers (Nbest = 33 individuals, Hayes et al., 2018), and the limited Navy ship traffic that overlaps with Bryde’s whale habitat, neither the Navy nor NMFS anticipate any vessel-strike takes, and none were requested or are proposed for authorization. The Navy is now also limiting activities (i.e., 200 hr cap on hull-mounted MFAS) and will not use explosives (except during mine warfare activities) in the Bryde’s Whale VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Mitigation Area. For a complete discussion and analysis of these mitigation areas, see the Mitigation Measures section in the 2018 AFTT final rule along with a summary in the Mitigation Measures section of this proposed rule; see also Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/ OEIS. In addition to procedural mitigation, the Navy would continue to implement measures in mitigation areas used by NARW for foraging, calving, and migration. For a complete discussion and analysis of these mitigation areas, see the Mitigation Measures section in the 2018 AFTT final rule along with a summary in the Mitigation Measures section of this proposed rule; see also Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS. These measures, which go above and beyond those focused on other species (e.g., funding of and communication with sightings systems, implementation of speed reductions during applicable circumstances in certain areas) have succeeded in the Navy avoiding strike of a NARW during training and testing activities in the past and essentially eliminate the potential for vessel strikes to occur during the seven-year period of this rule. In particular, the mitigation pertaining to vessels, including the continued participation in and sponsoring of the Early Warning System, would help Navy vessels avoid NARW during transits and training and testing activities. The Early Warning System is a comprehensive information exchange network dedicated to reducing the risk of vessel strikes to NARW off the southeast United States from all mariners (i.e., Navy and non-Navy vessels). Navy participants include the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville; Commander, Naval Submarine Forces, Norfolk, Virginia; and Naval Submarine Support Command. The Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and NMFS collaboratively sponsor daily aerial surveys from December 1 through March 31 (weather permitting) to observe for NARW from the shoreline out to approximately 30–35 nmi offshore. Aerial surveyors relay sightings information to all mariners transiting within the NARW calving habitat (e.g., commercial vessels, recreational boaters, and Navy ships). In the Northeast NARW Mitigation Area, before all vessel transits, the Navy conducts a web query or email inquiry of NOAA’s NARW Sighting Advisory System to obtain the latest NARW sightings information. Navy vessels currently use and would continue to use the obtained sightings information to PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21157 reduce potential interactions with NARW during transits and prevent ship strikes. In this mitigation area, vessels would continue to implement speed reductions after they observe a NARW; if they are within 5 nmi of the location of a sighting reported to the NARW Sighting Advisory System within the past week; and when operating at night or during periods of reduced visibility. During transits and normal firing involving non-explosive torpedos activities, the Navy ships would continue to maintain a speed of no more than 10 kn. During submarine target firing, ships would maintain speeds of no more than 18 kn. During vessel target firing, vessel speeds would exceed 18 kn for only brief periods of time (e.g., 10–15 min). In the Southeast NARW Mitigation Area, before transiting or conducting training or testing activities within the mitigation area, the Navy would continue to initiate communication with the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville to obtain Early Warning System NARW whale sightings data. The Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville would continue to advise vessels of all reported whale sightings in the vicinity to help vessels and aircraft reduce potential interactions with NARWs and prevent ship strikes. Commander Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet would coordinate any submarine activities that may require approval from the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville. Vessels would continue to use the sightings information to reduce potential interactions with NARW during transits and prevent ship strikes. Vessels would also implement speed reductions after they observe a NARW, if they are within 5 nmi of a sighting reported within the past 12 hours (hrs), or when operating in the mitigation area at night or during periods of poor visibility. To the maximum extent practicable, vessels would continue to minimize north-south transits in the mitigation area. Finally, the Navy would continue to broadcast awareness notification messages with NARW Dynamic Management Area information (e.g., location and dates) to applicable Navy vessels operating in the vicinity of the Dynamic Management Area. The information would continue to alert assets to the possible presence of a NARW to maintain safety of navigation and further reduce the potential for a vessel strike. Navy platforms would use the information to assist their visual observation of applicable mitigation zones during training and testing E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21158 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules activities and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation, including but not limited to, mitigation for vessel movement. Implementation of these measures is expected to significantly reduce the possibility of striking NARWs during the seven-year period of the rule. Ship strikes are a fluke encounter for which the probability will never be zero for any vessel. The probability for any particular ship to strike a marine mammal is primarily a product of the ability of the ship to detect a marine mammal and the ability to effectively act to avoid it. Navy combat ships are inherently among the best at both of these because compared to large commercial vessels, they have trained Lookouts which have received specialized Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) training, and they are the most maneuverable ships, which means that they are more likely to sight a marine mammal and more likely to be able to maneuver to avoid it in the available time—both of which decrease the probability of striking a marine mammal below what it would have been in the absence of those abilities. In the case of the NARW, the extensive communication/detection network described above, which is in use in the areas of highest NARW occurrence and where they may be more susceptible to strike, further increases the likelihood of detecting a NARW and thereby avoiding it, which further reduces the probability of NARW strike. Further, detection of NARW in some areas/times is associated with reduced speed requirements, which in some cases may reduce the strike probability further by slightly increasing the time within which an operator has to maneuver away from a whale. Because of these additional mitigation measures combined with the already low probability that a NARW will be struck, it is extremely unlikely the Navy would strike a NARW, and mortality/serious injury of a NARW from vessel strike is neither anticipated nor proposed to be authorized. In conclusion, although it is generally unlikely that any whales will be struck in a year, based on the information and analysis above, NMFS anticipates that no more than four whales have the potential to be taken by serious injury or mortality over the seven-year period of the rule. Of those four whales over the seven years, no more than two would be humpback whales (Gulf of Maine stock) and no more than one would come from any of the four following stocks: Fin whale (Western North Atlantic stock), minke (Canadian East Coast stock), sperm whale (North Atlantic stock), and sei whale (Nova VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Scotia stock). Accordingly in the Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section, NMFS has evaluated under the negligible impact standard the serious injury or mortality of 0.14 whales annually from each of these species or stocks (i.e., 1 take over the 7 years divided by 7 to get the annual number), except for the humpback whale (North Atlantic stock) for which we used 0.29 (i.e., 2 takes over the 7 years divided by 7 to get the annual number) along with other expected harassment incidental take. Proposed Mitigation Measures Under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse 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 subsistence uses (‘‘least practicable adverse impact’’). NMFS does not have a regulatory definition for least practicable adverse impact. The 2004 NDAA amended the MMPA as it relates to military readiness activities and the incidental take authorization process such that a determination of ‘‘least practicable adverse impact’’ shall include consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the ‘‘military readiness activity.’’ For the full discussion of how NMFS interprets least practicable adverse impact, including how it relates to the negligible-impact standard, see the Mitigation Measures section in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Section 101(a)(5)(A)(i)(II) requires NMFS to issue, in conjunction with its authorization, binding—and enforceable—restrictions (in the form of regulations) setting forth how the activity must be conducted, thus ensuring the activity has the ‘‘least practicable adverse impact’’ on the affected species or stocks. In situations where mitigation is specifically needed to reach a negligible impact determination, section 101(a)(5)(A)(i)(II) also provides a mechanism for ensuring compliance with the ‘‘negligible impact’’ requirement. Finally, we reiterate that the least practicable adverse impact standard also requires consideration of measures for marine mammal habitat, with particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and other areas of similar significance, and for subsistence impacts, whereas the negligible impact standard is concerned solely with conclusions PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 about the impact of an activity on annual rates of recruitment and survival.1 In evaluating what mitigation measures are appropriate, NMFS considers the potential impacts of the Specified Activities, the availability of measures to minimize those potential impacts, and the practicability of implementing those measures, as we describe below. Implementation of Least Practicable Adverse Impact Standard Our evaluation of potential mitigation measures includes consideration of two primary factors: (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, implementation of the potential measure(s) is expected to reduce adverse impacts to marine mammal species or stocks, their habitat, and their availability for subsistence uses (where relevant). This analysis considers such things as the nature of the potential adverse impact (such as likelihood, scope, and range), the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented, and the likelihood of successful implementation; and (2) The practicability of the measures for applicant implementation. Practicability of implementation may consider such things as cost, impact on activities, and, in the case of a military readiness activity, specifically considers personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. 16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(A)(iii). While the language of the least practicable adverse impact standard calls for minimizing impacts to affected species or stocks, we recognize that the reduction of impacts to those species or stocks accrues through the application of mitigation measures that limit impacts to individual animals. Accordingly, NMFS’ analysis focuses on measures that are designed to avoid or minimize impacts on individual marine mammals that are likely to increase the probability or severity of populationlevel effects. While direct evidence of impacts to species or stocks from a specified activity is rarely available, and additional study is still needed to understand how specific disturbance events affect the fitness of individuals of certain species, there have been improvements in understanding the process by which disturbance effects are translated to the population. With 1 Outside of the military readiness context, mitigation may also be appropriate to ensure compliance with the ‘‘small numbers’’ language in MMPA sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D). E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules recent scientific advancements (both marine mammal energetic research and the development of energetic frameworks), the relative likelihood or degree of impacts on species or stocks may often be inferred given a detailed understanding of the activity, the environment, and the affected species or stocks—and the best available science has been used here. This same information is used in the development of mitigation measures and helps us understand how mitigation measures contribute to lessening effects (or the risk thereof) to species or stocks. We also acknowledge that there is always the potential that new information, or a new recommendation could become available in the future and necessitate reevaluation of mitigation measures (which may be addressed through adaptive management) to see if further reductions of population impacts are possible and practicable. In the evaluation of specific measures, the details of the specified activity will necessarily inform each of the two primary factors discussed above (expected reduction of impacts and practicability), and are carefully considered to determine the types of mitigation that are appropriate under the least practicable adverse impact standard. Analysis of how a potential mitigation measure may reduce adverse impacts on a marine mammal stock or species, consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and consideration of the impact on effectiveness of military readiness activities are not issues that can be meaningfully evaluated through a yes/ no lens. The manner in which, and the degree to which, implementation of a measure is expected to reduce impacts, as well as its practicability in terms of these considerations, can vary widely. For example, a time/area restriction could be of very high value for decreasing population-level impacts (e.g., avoiding disturbance of feeding females in an area of established biological importance) or it could be of lower value (e.g., decreased disturbance in an area of high productivity but of less firmly established biological importance). Regarding practicability, a measure might involve restrictions in an area or time that impede the Navy’s ability to certify a strike group (higher impact on mission effectiveness), or it could mean delaying a small in-port training event by 30 minutes to avoid exposure of a marine mammal to injurious levels of sound (lower impact). A responsible evaluation of ‘‘least practicable adverse impact’’ will consider the factors along these realistic scales. Accordingly, the greater the likelihood that a measure will contribute to reducing the probability or severity of adverse impacts to the species or stock or their habitat, the greater the weight that measure is given when considered in combination with practicability to determine the appropriateness of the mitigation measure, and vice versa. In the evaluation of specific measures, the details of the specified activity will necessarily inform each of the two primary factors discussed above (expected reduction of impacts and practicability), and will be carefully considered to determine the types of mitigation that are appropriate under the least practicable adverse impact standard. For more detail on how we apply these factors, see the discussion in the Mitigation Measures section of the 2018 AFTT final rule. NMFS fully reviewed the Navy’s specified activities and the mitigation measures for the 2018 AFTT rulemaking and determined that the mitigation measures would result in the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammals. There is no change in either the activities or the mitigation measures for this rule. See the 2019 Navy application and the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed information on the Navy’s mitigation measures. NMFS worked with the Navy in the development of the Navy’s initially proposed measures, which were informed by years of implementation and monitoring. A complete discussion of the Navy’s evaluation process used to develop, assess, and select mitigation measures, which was informed by input from NMFS, can be found in Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/ OEIS. The process described in Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/ OEIS robustly supported NMFS’ independent evaluation of whether the mitigation measures would meet the least practicable adverse impact standard. The Navy has implemented the mitigation measures under the 2018 AFTT regulations and would be required to continue implementation of the mitigation measures identified in this rule for the full seven years it covers to avoid or reduce potential impacts from acoustic, explosive, and physical disturbance and ship strike stressors. In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the mitigation measures in the 2018 AFTT final rule and there is no new information that affects NMFS’ assessment of the applicability or effectiveness of those measures over the new seven-year period. See the 2018 AFTT proposed rule and the 2018 AFTT final rule for our full assessment of these measures. In summary, the Navy has agreed to procedural mitigation measures that will reduce the probability and/or severity of impacts expected to result from acute exposure to acoustic sources or explosives, ship strike, and impacts to marine mammal habitat. Specifically, the Navy will use a combination of delayed starts, powerdowns, and shutdowns to minimize or avoid serious injury or mortality, minimize the likelihood or severity of PTS or other injury, and reduce instances of TTS or more severe behavioral disruption caused by acoustic sources or explosives. The Navy also will implement multiple time/area restrictions (several of which were added in the 2018 AFTT final rule since the previous AFTT MMPA incidental take rule) that would reduce take of marine mammals in areas or at times where they are known to engage in important behaviors, such as feeding or calving, where the disruption of those behaviors would have a higher probability of resulting in impacts on reproduction or survival of individuals that could lead to population-level impacts. Summaries of the Navy’s procedural mitigation measures and mitigation areas for the AFTT Study Area are provided in Tables 14 and 15. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 TABLE 14—SUMMARY OF PROCEDURAL MITIGATION Stressor or activity Mitigation zones sizes and other requirements Environmental Awareness and Education .......... Active Sonar ....................................................... Air Guns .............................................................. Pile Driving .......................................................... Weapons Firing Noise ........................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Æ Afloat Environmental Compliance Training program for applicable personnel. Depending on sonar source: Æ 1,000 yd. power down, 500 yd. power down, and 200 yd. shut down. Æ 200 yd. shut down. Æ 150 yd. Æ 100 yd. Æ 30° on either side of the firing line out to 70 yd. PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21159 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21160 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 14—SUMMARY OF PROCEDURAL MITIGATION—Continued Stressor or activity Mitigation zones sizes and other requirements Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Explosive Sonobuoys ......................................... Explosive Torpedoes .......................................... Explosive Medium-Caliber and Large-Caliber Projectiles.. 600 yd. 2,100 yd. 1,000 yd. (large-caliber projectiles). 600 yd. (medium-caliber projectiles during surface-to-surface activities). 200 yd. (medium-caliber projectiles during air-to-surface activities). 2,000 yd. (21–500 lb. net explosive weight). 900 yd. (0.6–20 lb. net explosive weight). 2,500 yd. 2.5 NM. 2,100 yd. (6–650 lb. net explosive weight). 600 yd. (0.1–5 lb. net explosive weight). 1,000 yd. (21–60 lb. net explosive weight for positive control charges and charges using time-delay fuses). Æ 500 yd. (0.1–20 lb. net explosive weight for positive control charges). Æ 200 yd. Explosive Missiles and Rockets ......................... Explosive Bombs ................................................ Sinking Exercises ............................................... Explosive Mine Countermeasure and Neutralization Activities. Explosive Mine Neutralization Activities Involving Navy Divers. Maritime Security Operations—Anti-Swimmer Grenades. Line Charge Testing ........................................... Ship Shock Trials ................................................ Vessel Movement ............................................... Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Æ Towed In-Water Devices .................................... Small-, Medium-, and Large-Caliber Non-Explosive Practice Munitions. Non-Explosive Missiles and Rockets ................. Non-Explosive Bombs and Mine Shapes ........... 900 yd. 3.5 NM. 500 yd. (whales). 200 yd. (other marine mammals). North Atlantic right whale Dynamic Management Area notification messages. 250 yd. 200 yd. Æ 900 yd. Æ 1,000 yd. Notes: lb: pounds; nmi: nautical miles; yd: yards. TABLE 15—SUMMARY OF MITIGATION AREAS FOR MARINE MAMMALS jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Summary of mitigation area requirements Northeast North Atlantic Right Whale Mitigation Area: Æ The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual training and testing activity reports. Æ The Navy will minimize use of active sonar to the maximum extent practicable and will not use explosives that detonate in the water. Æ The Navy will conduct non-explosive torpedo testing during daylight hours in Beaufort sea state 3 or less using three Lookouts (one on a vessel, two in an aircraft during aerial surveys) and an additional Lookout on the submarine when surfaced; during transits, ships will maintain a speed of no more than 10 knots; during firing, ships will maintain a speed of no more than 18 knots except brief periods of time during vessel target firing. Æ Vessels will obtain the latest North Atlantic right whale sightings data and implement speed reductions after they observe a North Atlantic right whale, if within 5 NM of a sighting reported within the past week, and when operating at night or during periods of reduced visibility. Gulf of Maine Planning Awareness Mitigation Area: Æ The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual training and testing activity reports. Æ The Navy will not conduct major training exercises and will not conduct >200 hours of hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar per year. Northeast Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas and Mid-Atlantic Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas: Æ Navy will avoid conducting major training exercises to the maximum extent practicable. Æ The Navy will not conduct more than four major training exercises per year. Southeast North Atlantic Right Whale Mitigation Area (November 15–April 15): Æ The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual training and testing activity reports. Æ The Navy will not use active sonar except as necessary for navigation training, object detection training, and dipping sonar. Æ The Navy will not expend explosive or non-explosive ordnance. Æ Vessels will obtain the latest North Atlantic right whale sightings data; will implement speed reductions after they observe a North Atlantic right whale, if within 5 NM of a sighting reported within the past 12 hours, and when operating at night or during periods of reduced visibility; and will minimize north-south transits to the maximum extent practicable. Jacksonville Operating Area (November 15–April 15): Æ Navy units conducting training or testing activities in the Jacksonville Operating Area will obtain and use Early Warning System North Atlantic right whale sightings data as they plan specific details of events to minimize potential interactions with North Atlantic right whales to the maximum extent practicable. The Navy will use the reported sightings information to assist visual observations of applicable mitigation zones and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation. Southeast North Atlantic Right Whale Critical Habitat Special Reporting Area (November 15–April 15): Æ The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual training and testing activity reports. Navy Cherry Point Range Complex Nearshore Mitigation Area (March–September): Æ The Navy will not conduct explosive mine neutralization activities involving Navy divers in the mitigation area. Æ To the maximum extent practicable, the Navy will not use explosive sonobuoys, explosive torpedoes, explosive medium-caliber and largecaliber projectiles, explosive missiles and rockets, explosive bombs, explosive mines during mine countermeasure and neutralization activities, and anti-swimmer grenades in the mitigation area. Bryde’s Whale Mitigation Area: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 21161 TABLE 15—SUMMARY OF MITIGATION AREAS FOR MARINE MAMMALS—Continued Summary of mitigation area requirements Æ The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual training and testing activity reports. Æ The Navy will not conduct >200 hours of hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar per year and will not use explosives (except during explosive mine warfare activities). Gulf of Mexico Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas Notes: min.: minutes; nmi: nautical miles. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Mitigation Conclusions NMFS has carefully evaluated the Navy’s proposed mitigation measures— many of which were developed with NMFS’ input during the previous phases of Navy training and testing authorizations and none of which have changed since our evaluation during the 2018 AFTT rulemaking—and considered a broad range of other measures (i.e., the measures considered but eliminated in the Navy’s 2018 FEIS/ OEIS, which reflect many of the comments that have arisen via NMFS or public input in past years) in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another: The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the mitigation measures is expected to reduce the likelihood and/or magnitude of adverse impacts to marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat; the proven or likely efficacy of the measures; and the practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, including consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. There is no new information that affects our analysis from the 2018 AFTT rulemaking, all of which remains applicable and valid for our assessment of the appropriateness of the mitigation measures during the seven-year period of this rule. Based on our evaluation of the Navy’s proposed measures (which are being implemented under the 2018 AFTT regulations), as well as other measures considered by the Navy and NMFS, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the Navy’s proposed mitigation measures (which are identical to those in the 2018 AFTT final rule) are appropriate means of effecting the least practicable adverse impacts on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and considering specifically personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. Additionally, as described in more detail below, the 2018 AFTT final rule includes an adaptive management provision, which the Navy proposes to extend, which ensures that mitigation is regularly assessed and provides a mechanism to improve the mitigation, based on the factors above, through modification as appropriate. The proposed rule comment period provides the public an opportunity to submit recommendations, views, and/or concerns regarding the Navy’s activities and the proposed mitigation measures. While NMFS has preliminarily determined that the Navy’s proposed mitigation measures would effect the least practicable adverse impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, NMFS will consider all public comments to help inform our final decision. Consequently, the proposed mitigation measures may be refined, modified, removed, or added to prior to the issuance of the final rule based on public comments received, and where appropriate, further analysis of any additional mitigation measures. Monitoring Program and Strategic Planning Process described in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The Navy’s monitoring strategy, currently required by the 2018 AFTT regulations, is well-designed to work across Navy ranges to help better understand the impacts of the Navy’s activities on marine mammals and their habitat by focusing on learning more about marine mammal occurrence in different areas and exposure to Navy stressors, marine mammal responses to different sound sources, and the consequences of those exposures and responses on marine mammal populations. Similarly, the proposed seven-year regulations would include identical adaptive management provisions and reporting requirements as the 2018 AFTT regulations. There is no new information that would indicate that the monitoring measures put in place under the 2018 AFTT final rule would not remain applicable and appropriate for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Monitoring section of the 2018 AFTT final rule for more details on the monitoring that would be required under this rule. In addition, please see the 2019 Navy application, which references Chapter 13 of the 2017 Navy application for full details on the monitoring and reporting proposed by the Navy. Proposed Monitoring Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA states that in order to authorize incidental take for an activity, 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 incidental take 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 its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the monitoring described in the 2018 AFTT final rule. They would continue implementation of the robust Integrated Comprehensive Adaptive Management The 2018 AFTT regulations governing the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities in the AFTT Study Area contain an adaptive management component. Our understanding of the effects of Navy training and testing activities (e.g., acoustic and explosive stressors) on marine mammals continues to evolve, which makes the inclusion of an adaptive management component both valuable and necessary within the context of seven-year regulations. The 2019 Navy application proposes no changes to the adaptive management component included in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The reporting requirements associated with this rule are designed to provide NMFS with monitoring data from the previous year to allow NMFS to PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21162 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 consider whether any changes to existing mitigation and monitoring requirements are appropriate. The use of adaptive management allows NMFS to consider new information from different sources to determine (with input from the Navy regarding practicability) on an annual or biennial basis if mitigation or monitoring measures should be modified (including additions or deletions). Mitigation measures could be modified if new data suggests that such modifications would have a reasonable likelihood of more effectively accomplishing the goals of the mitigation and monitoring and if the measures are practicable. If the modifications to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures are substantial, NMFS will publish a notice of the planned LOA in the Federal Register and solicit public comment. The following are some of the possible sources of applicable data to be considered through the adaptive management process: (1) Results from monitoring and exercises reports, as required by MMPA authorizations; (2) compiled results of Navy funded research and development studies; (3) results from specific stranding investigations; (4) results from general marine mammal and sound research; and (5) any information which reveals that marine mammals may have been taken in a manner, extent, or number not authorized by these regulations or subsequent LOAs. The results from monitoring reports and other studies may be viewed at https:// www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us/. Reporting In order to issue incidental take authorization for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring. Reports from individual monitoring events, results of analyses, publications, and periodic progress reports for specific monitoring projects will be posted to the Navy’s Marine Species Monitoring web portal: http:// www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us. The 2019 Navy application proposes no changes to the reporting requirements identified in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Reporting requirements would remain identical to those described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, and there is no new information that would indicate that the reporting requirements put in place under the 2018 AFTT final rule would not remain applicable and appropriate VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Reporting section of the 2018 AFTT final rule for more details on the reporting that would be required under this rule. Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact 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 mortality, serious injury, and Level A or Level B harassment (as presented in Tables 10–13), 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’ 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, other ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, ambient noise levels, and specific consideration of take by Level A harassment or M/SI previously authorized for other NMFS activities). In the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals sections of this proposed rule and the 2018 AFTT final rule (where the activities, species and stocks, potential effects, and mitigation measures are the same as for this rule), we identified the subset of potential effects that would be expected to rise to the level of takes both annually and over the seven-year period covered by this rule, and then identified the number of each of those mortality takes that we believe could occur or the maximum number of harassment takes that are reasonably expected to occur based on the methods described. The impact that any given PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 take will have is dependent on many case-specific factors that need to be considered in the negligible impact analysis (e.g., the context of behavioral exposures such as duration or intensity of a disturbance, the health of impacted animals, the status of a species that incurs fitness-level impacts to individuals, etc.). For this proposed rule we evaluated the likely impacts of the enumerated maximum number of harassment takes that are proposed for authorization and reasonably expected to occur, in the context of the specific circumstances surrounding these predicted takes. We also assessed M/SI takes that have the potential to occur, as well as considering the traits and statuses of the affected species and stocks. Last, we collectively evaluated this information, as well as other more taxa-specific information and mitigation measure effectiveness, in group-specific assessments that support our negligible impact conclusions for each stock. The Navy proposes no changes to the nature or level of the specified activities or the boundaries of the AFTT Study Area, and therefore the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted) are the same as those analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. In addition, the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. As described above, there is no new information available since the publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule regarding the impacts of the specified activities on marine mammals, the status and distribution of any of the affected marine mammal species or stocks, or the effectiveness of the mitigation and monitoring measures that would change our analyses. Harassment As described in the Estimated Takes of Marine Mammals section, the annual number of takes proposed for authorization and reasonably expected to occur by Level A harassment and Level B harassment (based on the maximum number of activities per 12month period) are identical to those presented in Tables 39 through 41 in the Take Requests section of the 2018 AFTT final rule. As such the negligible impact analyses and determinations of the effects of the estimated Level A harassment and Level B harassment takes on annual rates of recruitment or survival for each species and stock are identical to that presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The only difference is that the annual levels of take and the associated effects on reproduction or survival would occur for the seven-year E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21163 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules period of the proposed rule instead of the five-year period of the 2018 AFTT final rule, which would make no difference in effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For detailed discussion of the impacts that affected individuals may experience given the specific characteristics of the specified activities and required mitigation (e.g., from behavioral harassment, masking, and temporary or permanent threshold shift), along with the effects of the expected Level A harassment and Level B harassment take on reproduction and survival, see the applicable subsections in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 AFTT final rule (83 FR 57211–57217). Serious Injury or Mortality In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no additional ship shock trials during the seven-year period of the proposed rule to those covered by the existing 2018 AFTT regulations, so the expected and requested total takes by M/SI due to explosives over seven years are the same as those authorized in the existing 2018 AFTT regulations. There is no new information that affects the methodology or results of the shipshock analysis presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule. But as these same activities would occur over seven years rather than five years, the estimated annual take is calculated as the number of total takes divided by seven. For each of the dolphin species or stocks listed in Table 16 there would be an annual take of 0.14 dolphins (i.e., for those species or stocks where one take could occur divided by seven years to get the annual number of M/SIs) or 0.86 dolphins in the case of short-beaked common dolphin (i.e., where six takes could occur divided by seven years to get the annual number of M/SIs). This is a decrease from the annual take of 0.2 dolphins (for the three species where one lethal take could occur) and annual take of 1.2 short-beaked dolphins (where six lethal takes could occur) over the five-year period of the 2018 AFTT regulations, as shown in Table 70 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. As the proposed annual number is less than that analyzed and authorized in the 2018 AFTT final rule and no other relevant information about the status, abundance, or effects of mortality on each species or stock has changed, the analysis of the effects of take from ship shock trials mirrors that presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule. TABLE 16—SUMMARY INFORMATION RELATED TO AFTT SERIOUS INJURY OR MORTALITY FROM EXPLOSIVE [(Ship Shock Trials), 2018–2025] Species (stock) Stock abundance (Nbest) * Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Western N. Atlantic). Pantropical spotted dolphin (Northern GOMEX). Short-beaked common dolphin (Western N. Atlantic). Spinner dolphin (Northern GOMEX) ... Annual estimated take by serious injury or mortality (M/SI) 1 Fisheries interactions (Y/N); annual rate of M/SI from fisheries interactions * Total annual M/SI * 2 NEFSC authorized take (annual) PBR * Residual PBR— PBR minus annual M/SI and NEFSC authorized take 3 UME (Y/N); number and year Stock trend * 4 48,819 0.14 30 30 304 0.6 273.4 ? N. 50,880 0.14 4.4 4.4 407 0 402.6 ? Y; 3 in 2010–2014. 70,184 0.86 406 406 557 2 149 ? N. 11,441 0.14 0 0 62 0 62 ? Y; 7 in 2010–2014. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 * Presented in the draft 2018 SARS. 1 This column represents the annual take by M/SI during ship shock trials and was calculated by the number of mortalities planned for authorization divided by seven years (the length of the rule and LOAs). 2 This column represents the total number of incidents of M/SI that could potentially accrue to the specified species or stock. This number comes from the SAR, but deducts the takes accrued from either Navy or NEFSC takes as noted in the SARs to ensure they are not double-counted against PBR. However, for these species, there were no were no takes from either Navy or NEFSC as noted in the SARs to deduct that would be considered double-counting. 3 This value represents the calculated PBR less the average annual estimate of ongoing anthropogenic mortalities (i.e., total annual human-caused M/SI, which is presented in the draft 2018 SARs) and authorized take for NEFSC. 4 See relevant SARs for more information regarding stock status and trends. The other facet of the analysis for which there is a quantitative change from the 2018 AFTT final rule is the number of potential mortalities due to ship strike proposed to be authorized over the seven-year period. First, based on the information and methods discussed in the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals section (which are identical to those used in the 2018 AFTT final rule), NMFS has predicted that mortal takes of four large whales over the course of the seven-year rule could occur (as compared to three large whales over five years in the 2018 AFTT final rule). Second, while no more than one whale over the seven years of any species of fin whale, sei whale, minke whale, or sperm whale (North Atlantic stock) would occur (which is the same as in the five-year 2018 AFTT final rule), as described above in the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals section, the number of potential mortality takes of humpback whales has VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 increased from one to two. This means an annual average of 0.29 humpback whales and an annual average of 0.14 whales from each of the other four species or stocks as described in Table 17 (i.e., one, or two, take(s) over seven years divided by seven to get the annual number) are expected to potentially occur and are proposed for authorization. As this annual number is less than that analyzed and authorized in the 2018 AFTT final rule for fin whale, sei whale, minke whale, and sperm whale (North Atlantic stock), which was an annual average of 0.2 whales for the same four species and stocks, and no other relevant information about the status, abundance, or effects of mortality on each species or stock has changed, the analysis of the effects of vessel strike mirrors that presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule. For humpback whales, the annual number for potential mortality takes is slightly higher than in the 2018 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 AFTT final rule, but the number still falls below the insignificance threshold of 10 percent of residual Potential Biological Removal (PBR), which indicates an insignificant incremental increase in ongoing anthropogenic mortality that alone will not adversely affect annual rates of recruitment or survival. The analysis of the effects of this potential mortality on humpback whales, considered in combination with other estimated harassment takes, on annual rates of recruitment and survival appears in the Group and SpeciesSpecific Analyses section for Mysticetes below. See the Serious Injury and Mortality subsection in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 AFTT final rule (83 FR 57217–57223) for detailed discussions of the impacts of M/SI, including a description of how the agency uses the PBR metric and other factors to inform our analysis, and an analysis of the E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21164 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules impacts on each species and stock for which mortality is proposed for authorization including the relationship of potential mortality for each species to the insignificance threshold and residual PBR. Because the annual number of potential mortality takes for humpback whales remains below the insignificance threshold, the discussion for humpback whales (83 FR 57221– 57222) remains fully applicable. For discussion specifically on the role of the calculated PBR in evaluating the effects of M/SI, see both the 2018 AFTT final rule and the 2018 HSTT final rule. TABLE 17—SUMMARY INFORMATION RELATED TO AFTT SHIP STRIKE, 2018–2025 Stock abundance (Nbest) * Species (stock) Fin whale (Western North Atlantic). Sei whale (Nova Scotia) Minke Whale (Canadian East Coast). Humpback whale (Gulf of Maine). Sperm whale (North Atlantic). Annual estimated take by serious injury or mortality (M/SI) 1 Total annual M/SI * 2 Fisheries interactions (Y/N); annual rate of M/SI from fisheries interactions * Vessel collisions (Y/N); annual rate of M/SI from vessel collision * PBR * NEFSC authorized take (annual) Residual PBR— PBR minus annual M/SI and NEFSC authorized take 3 UME (Y/N); number and year 5 Stock trend * 4 1,618 0.14 2.5 Y; 1.1 ..................... Y; 1.4 ..................... 2.5 0 0 ? N. 357 2,591 0.14 0.14 0.8 7.5 N; 0 ........................ Y; 6.5 ..................... † Y; 0.8 ................... † Y; 1 ...................... 0.5 14 0 1 ¥0.3 5.5 ? ? 896 0.29 9.8 Y; 7.1 ..................... Y; 2.7 ..................... 14.6 0 4.8 &«↑&&∠ 2,288 0.14 0.8 Y; 0.6 ..................... Y; 0.2 ..................... 3.6 0 2.8 ? N. Y; 2 in 2019 as of 4/1/ 2019 (27 in 2017 and 20 in 2018). Y; 9 in 2019 as of 4/1/ 2019 (26 in 2016, 34 in 2017 and 25 in 2018). ?. * Presented in the draft 2018 SARS. † Value presented incorrectly in the 2018 AFTT final rule and corrected here. 1 This column represents the annual take by M/SI by vessel collision and was calculated by the number of mortalities planned for authorization divided by seven years (the length of the rule and LOAs). 2 This column represents the total number of incidents of M/SI that could potentially accrue to the specified species or stock. This number comes from the SAR, but deducts the takes accrued from either Navy strikes or NEFSC takes as noted in the SARs to ensure they are not double-counted against PBR. However, for these species, there were no takes from either Navy or NEFSC as noted in the SARs to deduct that would be considered double-counting. 3 This value represents the calculated PBR less the average annual estimate of ongoing anthropogenic mortalities (i.e., total annual human-caused M/SI, which is presented in the draft 2018 SARs) and authorized take for NEFSC. 4 See relevant SARs for more information regarding stock status and trends. 5 This column presents UME information updated since the 2018 AFTT final rule, as discussed in the earlier section Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and their Habitat. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Group and Species-Specific Analyses In addition to broader analyses of the impacts of the Navy’s activities on mysticetes, odontocetes, and pinnipeds, the 2018 AFTT final rule contained detailed analyses of the effects of the Navy’s activities in the AFTT Study Area on each affected species and stock. All of that information and analyses remain applicable and valid for our analyses of the effects of the same Navy activities on the same species and stocks for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Group and Species-Specific Analyses subsection in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 AFTT final rule (83 FR 57223–57247). In addition, no new information has been received since the publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule that significantly changes the analyses on the effects of the Navy’s activities on each species and stock presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule. In the discussions below, the estimated Level B harassment takes represent instances of take, not the number of individuals taken (the much lower and less frequent Level A harassment takes are far more likely to be associated with separate individuals), and in many cases some individuals are expected to be taken more than one time, while in other cases a portion of individuals will not be taken at all. Below, we compare the total take VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 numbers (including PTS, TTS, and behavioral disruption for stocks to their associated abundance estimates to evaluate the magnitude of impacts across the stock and to individuals. Specifically, when an abundance percentage comparison is below 100, it means that that percentage or less of the individuals in the stock will be affected (i.e., some individuals will not be taken at all), that the average for those taken is one day per year, and that we would not expect any individuals to be taken more than a few times in a year. When it is more than 100 percent, it means there will definitely be some number of repeated takes of individuals. For example, if the percentage is 300, the average would be each individual is taken on three days in a year if all were taken, but it is more likely that some number of individuals will be taken more than three times and some number of individuals fewer or not at all. While it is not possible to know the maximum number of days across which individuals of a stock might be taken, in acknowledgement of the fact that it is more than the average, for the purposes of this analysis, we assume a number approaching twice the average. For example, if the percentage of take compared to the abundance is 800, we estimate that some individuals might be taken as many as 16 times. Those comparisons are included in the sections below. For some stocks these PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 numbers have been adjusted slightly (with these adjustments being in the single digits) so as to more consistently apply this approach, but these minor changes did not change the analysis or findings. To assist in understanding what this analysis means, we clarify a few issues related to estimated takes and the analysis here. An individual that incurs a PTS or TTS take may sometimes, for example, also be behaviorally disturbed at the same time. As described in the Harassment subsection of the Negligible Impact Analysis section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, the degree of PTS, and the degree and duration of TTS, expected to be incurred from the Navy’s activities are not expected to impact marine mammals such that their reproduction or survival could be affected. Similarly, data do not suggest that a single instance in which an animal accrues PTS or TTS and is also behaviorally harassed would result in impacts to reproduction or survival. Alternately, we recognize that if an individual is behaviorally harassed repeatedly for a longer duration and on consecutive days, effects could accrue to the point that reproductive success is jeopardized (as discussed below in the stock-specific summaries). Accordingly, in analyzing the number of takes and the likelihood of repeated and sequential takes (which could result in reproductive impacts), we consider the E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21165 total takes, not just the behavioral Level B harassment takes, so that individuals potentially exposed to both threshold shift and behavioral disruption are appropriately considered. We note that the same reasoning applies with the potential addition of behavioral disruption (harassment) to tissue damage from explosives, the difference being that we do already consider the likelihood of reproductive impacts whenever tissue damage occurs. Further, the number of Level A harassment takes by either PTS or tissue damage are so low compared to abundance numbers that it is considered highly unlikely that any individual would be taken at those levels more than once. Having considered all of the information and analyses previously presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule, including the information presented in the Overview, the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Oil Spill discussion, and the Group and Species-Specific Analyses discussions organized by the different groups and species, below we present tables showing instances of total take as a percentage of stock abundance for each group, updated with the new vessel strike and ship shock calculations for some species. We then summarize the information for each species or stock, considering the analysis from the 2018 AFTT final rule and any new analysis. The analyses below in some cases address species collectively if they occupy the same functional hearing group (i.e., low, mid, and highfrequency cetaceans and pinnipeds in water), share similar life history strategies, and/or are known to behaviorally respond similarly to acoustic stressors. Because some of these groups or species share characteristics that inform the impact analysis similarly, it would be duplicative to repeat the same analysis for each species or stock. In addition, animals belonging to each stock within a species typically have the same hearing capabilities and behaviorally respond in the same manner as animals in other stocks within the species. Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected mysticete species and stocks. and they are listed as endangered under the ESA. There is an active UME associated with the recent unusually high number of deaths, some of which have been attributed to entanglement or vessel strike, although no vessel strikes VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 North Atlantic Right Whale (Western Stock) As described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the status of NARW is precarious PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Mysticetes In Table 18 below for mysticetes, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 18 is unchanged from Table 72 in the 2018 AFTT final rule, except for updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Mysticetes discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 EP13MY19.011</GPH> jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21166 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules have been attributed to the Navy and no new NARW deaths have been documented since the 2018 AFTT final rule was published. The number of births in recent years has been unusually low and recent studies have reported individuals showing poor health or high stress levels. Accordingly, as described above and in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Navy is implementing and would continue to implement a suite of mitigation measures that not only avoid the likelihood of ship strikes, but also minimize the severity of behavioral disruption by minimizing impacts in areas that are important for feeding and calving, thus ensuring that the relatively small number of Level B harassment takes that do occur are not expected to affect reproductive success or survivorship via detrimental impacts to energy intake or cow/calf interactions. Specifically, no mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed for authorization. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to the abundance (137 percent) combined with the fact that the AFTT Study Area overlaps most if not all of the range, suggests that many to most of the individuals in the stock will likely be taken, but only on one or two days per year, with no reason to think the days would likely be sequential. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short), the received sound levels are largely below 172 dB with some lesser portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response), and because of the mitigation measures the exposures will not occur in areas or at times where impacts would be likely to affect feeding and energetics or important cow/calf interactions that could lead to reduced reproductive success or survival. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. Altogether, any individual NARW is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level on no more than a couple of likely non-sequential days per year (and not in biologically important areas). Even given the fact that some of the affected individuals may have compromised VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 health, there is nothing to suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of effects would result in impacts on reproduction or survival of any individual, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on NARW. Blue Whale (Western North Atlantic Stock) This is a wide-ranging stock that is best considered as ‘‘an occasional visitor’’ to the U.S. EEZ, which may represent the southern limit of its feeding range (Hayes et al., 2018), though no specific feeding areas have been identified. For this reason, the abundances calculated by the Navy based on survey data in the U.S. EEZ are very low (9 and 104, in the U.S. EEZ and throughout the range respectively) and while NMFS’ SAR does not predict an abundance, it does report an Nmin (minimum abundance) of 440. There is no currently reported trend for the population and there are no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs), although the species is listed as endangered under the ESA. We note, however, that this species was originally listed under the ESA as a result of the impacts from commercial whaling, which is no longer affecting the species. No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed for authorization for blue whales. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), given the number of total takes (47), the large range and wide-ranging nature of blue whales, and the minimum abundance identified in the SAR, there is no reason to think that any single animal will be taken by Level B harassment more than one time (though perhaps a few could be) and less than 10 percent of the population is likely to be impacted. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment behavioral takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels are largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be lowlevel and of short duration and the associated lost opportunities and PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 capabilities not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. Altogether, less than 10 percent of the stock is likely to be impacted and any individual blue whale is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level on no more than a day or two days per year and not in any known biologically important areas. This low magnitude and severity of effects is unlikely to result in impacts on the reproduction or survival of any individual, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on blue whales. Bryde’s Whale (Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock) The Northern Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale is a small resident population and is listed as endangered under the ESA. Although there is no current UME, the small size of the population and its constricted range, combined with the lingering effects of exposure to oil from the DWH oil spill (which include adverse health effects on individuals, as well as population effects) are cause for considerable caution. Accordingly, as described above, the Navy is implementing and would continue to implement considerable time/area mitigation to minimize impacts within their limited range, including not planning major training exercises, which include the most powerful sound sources operating in a more concentrated area, limiting the hours of other sonar use, and not using explosives, with the exception of mine warfare activities, which has both reduced the amount of take and reduced the likely severity of impacts. No mortality or Level A harassment by tissue damage injury is anticipated or proposed for authorization, and only one Level A harassment by PTS take is estimated and proposed for authorization. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to the abundance (112 percent, Table 18) combined with the fact that the AFTT Study Area overlaps all of the small range, suggests that most to all of the individuals in the stock will likely be taken, but only on one or two days per year, with no reason to think the days would likely be sequential. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment behavioral takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short); the received sound levels are largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response); and because of the mitigation the exposures will be of a less impactful nature. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be lowlevel and of short duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons the one estimated Level A harassment take by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of that individual, even if it were to be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, any individual Bryde’s whale is likely to be disturbed at a lowmoderate level on no more than one or two days per year. Even given the fact that some of the affected individuals may have compromised health, there is nothing to suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of effects would result in impacts on the reproduction or survival of any individual, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on the Gulf of Mexico stock of Bryde’s whales. Bryde’s Whale (No Stock Designated— NSD) These Bryde’s whales span the midand southern Atlantic and have not been designated as a stock under the MMPA. There is no currently reported trend for the population and there are no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause particular concern (e.g., UMEs). No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed for authorization. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 626 percent and 60 percent (Table 18), though the percentages would be far lower if compared against the abundance of the entire range of this species in the Atlantic. This information suggests that only a portion of the stock is likely impacted (significantly less than 60 percent given the large range), but that there is likely some repeat exposure (5 to 12 days within a year) of some subset VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 of individuals within the U.S. EEZ if some animals spend extended time within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment behavioral takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels are largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. Altogether, only a portion of the population is impacted and any individual Bryde’s whale is likely to be disturbed at a low to moderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset potentially disturbed across 5 to 12 likely nonsequential days not in any known biologically important areas. This low magnitude and severity of effects is not expected to result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on the NSD stock of Bryde’s whales. Minke Whale (Canadian East Coast Stock) This stock of minke whales spans the East Coast and far into Northern Canada waters. Minke whales in the Atlantic are currently experiencing a UME wherein there have been unexpectedly elevated deaths along the Atlantic Coast, some of which have been preliminarily attributed to human interaction (primarily fisheries interactions) or infectious disease. Two whales have stranded in 2019 (20 whales stranded in 2018 and 27 whales stranded in 2017). Because the most recent population estimate is based only on surveys in U.S. waters and slightly into Canada, and did not cover the habitat of the entire Canadian East Coast stock, the abundance is underestimated in the SAR and is likely significantly greater than what is reflected in the current SAR. NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality in seven years, and the resulting 0.14 annual mortality which falls below 10 percent of residual PBR (0.55), remains under the insignificance threshold, and would be considerably even lower if compared against a more appropriate PBR. PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21167 Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 536 percent and 53 percent (Table 18). This information suggests that something less than half of the individuals are likely impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure (5 to 10 days within a year) of some subset of individuals within the U.S. EEZ if some animals spend extended time within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB, with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Also, the Navy currently implements and would continue to implement time/area mitigation in the Northeast that minimizes major training exercises and total sonar hours in an area that significantly overlaps an important feeding area for minke whales. This mitigation will reduce the severity of impacts to minke whales by reducing interference in feeding that could result in lost feeding opportunities or necessitate additional energy expenditure to find other good foraging opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons the five estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for this stock are unlikely to have an effect on the reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, only a portion of the stock would be impacted and any individual minke whale is likely to be disturbed at a low to moderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset potentially disturbed across 5 to 10 likely non-sequential days, minimized in biologically important areas. Even given the potential for compromised health of some individuals, this low magnitude and severity of effects is not expected to result in impacts on the reproduction or survival of individuals, nor are these harassment takes combined with the E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21168 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 potential mortality expected to adversely affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on minke whales. Fin Whale (Western North Atlantic Stock) This stock spans the East Coast north into the Newfoundland waters of Canada. There is no currently reported trend for the population and there are no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs), although the species is listed as endangered under the ESA. NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality over the seven years of the rule, or 0.14 annually. With the addition of this 0.14 annual mortality, residual PBR is exceeded, which means the total human-caused mortality would exceed residual PBR by 0.14. However, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, this does not mean that the stock is not at or increasing toward its optimum sustainable population level (OSP) or that one lethal take by the Navy over the seven years covered by this rule would adversely affect the stock through effects on annual rates of reproduction or survival. Consideration of all applicable information indicates that the proposed authorized mortality would not result in more than a negligible impact on this stock. The abundance of fin whales is likely significantly greater than what is reflected in the current SAR because, as noted in the SAR, the most recent population estimate is based only on surveys in U.S. waters and slightly into Canada which does not include the habitat of the entire stock as it extends over a very large additional area into Nova Scotian and Newfoundland waters. Accordingly, if the PBR in the SAR reflected the actual abundance across the entire range of the stock, residual PBR would be notably higher. Additionally, the current abundance estimate does not account for availability bias due to submerged animals (i.e., estimates are not corrected to account for the fact that given X number of animals seen at the surface, we can appropriately assume that Y number were submerged and not counted). Without a correction for this bias, the abundance estimate is likely further biased low. Because of these limitations, the current calculated PBR is not a reliable indicator of how removal of animals will affect the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 stock’s ability to reach or maintain OSP. We note that, generally speaking, while the abundance may be underestimated in this manner for some stocks due to the lack of surveys in areas outside of the U.S. EEZ, it is also possible that the human-caused mortality could be underestimated in the un-surveyed area. However, in the case of fin whales, most mortality is caused by entanglement in gear that is deployed relatively close to shore and, therefore, unrecorded mortality offshore would realistically be proportionally less as compared to the unsurveyed abundance and therefore the premise that PBR is likely underestimated still holds. Given the small amount by which residual PBR is exceeded and more significant degree (proportionally) to which abundance is likely underestimated, it is reasonable to conclude that if a more realistic PBR were used, the anticipated total humancaused mortality would be notably under it. We also note that 0.14 mortalities/ serious injuries means one mortality/ serious injury in one of the seven years and zero mortalities/serious injuries in six of the seven years. Therefore residual PBR would not be exceeded in 86 percent of the years covered by this rule. In situations where mortality/ serious injury is fractional, consideration must be given to the lessened impacts due to the absence of mortality in six of the seven years. Further, as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan directs multiple efforts and requirements towards reducing mortality from commercial fishing (via gear modifications, area closures, and other mechanisms) and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement has reported high compliance rates. Nonetheless, the exceedance of residual PBR calls for close attention to the remainder of impacts on fin whales from this activity to ensure that the total authorized impacts would be negligible. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 323 percent and 37 percent (Table 18). This information suggests that something less than a third of the individuals are likely impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure (2– 6 days within a year) of some subset of individuals within the U.S. EEZ if some animals spend extended time within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Also, the Navy currently implements, and would continue to implement time/area mitigation in the Northeast that minimizes major training exercises and total sonar hours in an area that significantly overlaps an important BIA feeding area for fin whales. This mitigation will reduce the severity of impacts to fin whales by reducing interference in feeding that could result in lost feeding opportunities or necessitate additional energy expenditure to find other good opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with fin whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues, and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at the expected scale the 33 estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for fin whales would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals, even if PTS were experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, only a portion of the stock would be impacted and any individual fin whale is likely to be disturbed at a low to moderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset potentially disturbed across approximately six likely non-sequential days, minimized in biologically important areas. This low magnitude and severity of effects is not expected to result in impacts on reproduction or survival of individuals, nor are these harassment takes combined with the single potential mortality expected to adversely affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on fin whales. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Humpback Whale (Gulf of Maine Stock) This feeding group stock of humpback whales is one of several associated with the larger, and increasing, West Indies DPS. The Gulf of Maine stock is reported in the SAR as increasing in abundance. Nonetheless, humpback whales in the Atlantic are currently experiencing a UME in which a portion of the whales have shown evidence of entanglement or vessel strike. There have been nine strandings so far in 2019 (2018 had 25 total strandings and 2017 had 24 total strandings). NMFS proposes authorizing two mortalities over the seven-year period (versus the one mortality over the five-year period of the 2018 AFTT Final Rule), as described in the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals section above. Though an increase from the 2018 AFTT final rule, this amount of mortality (0.29 per year) still falls below the insignificance threshold of 10 percent of residual PBR (0.48) for the Gulf of Maine stock based on a stock abundance of 896 from the 2018 draft SAR. Also, importantly, deaths of humpback whales along the Atlantic coast (whether by ship strike or other source) must be considered within the context of the larger West Indies DPS, as animals along the coast could come from the Gulf of Maine stock or any of three or more other associated feeding groups. Specifically, the West Indies DPS numbers in excess of 10,000 whales and has an increasing growth trend of 3.1 percent (Bettridge et al., 2015), with an associated PBR, if calculated, much larger than that presented for the Gulf of Maine stock. Further, as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan directs multiple efforts and requirements towards reducing mortality from commercial fishing (via gear modifications, area closures, and other mechanisms) and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement has reported high compliance rates. Therefore, even though the potential for M/SI from the Navy’s activities has increased since the 2018 AFTT final rule, there is no information to indicate that the loss of two whales over seven years, even if it were to occur, would adversely affect the stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. See the Humpback Whale section in the 2018 AFTT final rule for additional supporting information. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances (of any humpbacks) compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 141 percent and 16 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 percent (Table 18). This suggests that only a small portion of the humpback whales in the AFTT Study Area would be likely impacted, with perhaps some individuals taken on a few days of the year. It would be impossible to determine exactly what portion of the takes are from the Gulf of Maine stock. However, based on information in the 2018 AFTT final rule, which indicated about one third of the humpback whales traversing the Atlantic Coast likely come from the Gulf of Maine stock, we estimate that approximately 250 of the 749 total humpback whale takes might be from the Gulf of Maine stock. Two hundred and fifty represents about 28 percent of the minimum population estimate for the Gulf of Maine humpback whale abundance in NMFS’ draft 2018 SAR, equating to an expectation that few animals would be exposed more than one time. The remaining approximately 499 Level B harassment takes would affect individuals from the much larger West Indies DPS, with a relatively small percentage of individuals affected as the estimated abundance is greater than 10,000. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion above 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Also, the Navy currently implements and would continue to implement time/ area mitigation in the Northeast that minimizes major training exercises and total sonar hours in an area that significantly overlaps with an important feeding area for humpbacks. This mitigation will reduce the severity of impacts to humpbacks by reducing interference in feeding that could result in lost feeding opportunities or necessitate additional energy expenditure to find other good opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons the three estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for this stock are unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21169 Altogether, only a portion of the stock or DPS is impacted and any individual humpback whale would likely be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with most animals exposed only once or twice, and minimized in biologically important areas. This low magnitude and severity of effects is not expected to result in impacts on the reproduction or survival of any individuals, nor are these harassment takes combined with the proposed authorized mortalities expected to adversely affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on humpback whales. Sei Whale (Nova Scotia Stock) This stock spans the northern East Coast and up to southern Newfoundland. There is no currently reported trend for the population and there are no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs), although the species is listed as endangered under the ESA. NMFS would authorize one mortality over the seven years of the rule, or 0.14 annually. With the addition of this 0.14 annual mortality, residual PBR is exceeded, which means the total human-caused mortality would exceed residual PBR by 0.44. However, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, this does not mean that the stock is not at or increasing toward its OSP or that one lethal take by the Navy over the seven years covered by this rule would adversely affect the stock through effects on annual rates of reproduction or survival. Consideration of all applicable information indicates that the proposed authorized mortality would not result in more than a negligible impact on this stock. As noted in the SAR, the abundance of sei whales is likely significantly greater than what is reflected in the current SAR because the population estimate is based only on surveys in U.S. waters and slightly into Canada, which does not cover the habitat of the entire stock, as it extends over a large additional area around to the south of Newfoundland. Accordingly, if a PBR were calculated based on an appropriately enlarged abundance, it would be higher. Additionally, the current abundance estimate does not account for availability bias due to submerged animals (i.e., estimates are not corrected to account for the fact that given X number of animals seen at the surface, we can appropriate assume that E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21170 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Y number were submerged and not counted). Without a correction for this bias, the abundance estimate is likely biased low. Because of these limitations, the current calculated PBR is not a reliable indicator of how removal of animals will affect the stock’s ability to reach or maintain OSP. We note that, generally speaking, while the abundance may be underestimated in this manner for some stocks due to the lack of surveys in areas outside of the U.S. EEZ, it is also possible that the human-caused mortality could be underestimated in the un-surveyed area. However, in the case of sei whales, most mortality is caused by ship strike and the density of ship traffic is higher the closer you are to shore (making strikes more likely closer to shore) and, therefore, unrecorded mortality offshore would realistically be proportionally less as compared to the unsurveyed abundance and therefore the premise that PBR is likely underestimated still holds. Given the small amount by which residual PBR is exceeded and more significant degree (proportionally) to which abundance is likely underestimated, it is reasonable to think that if a more realistic PBR were used, the anticipated total human-caused mortality would be notably under residual PBR. We also note that 0.14 mortalities/serious injuries means one mortality/serious injury in one of the seven years and zero mortalities/serious injuries in six of the seven years. Further, as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan directs multiple efforts and requirements towards reducing mortality from commercial fishing (via gear modifications, area closures, and other mechanisms) and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement has reported high compliance rates. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 317 percent and 7 percent (Table 18). This information suggests that only a very small portion of individuals in the stock would be likely impacted, but that there would likely be some repeat exposure (several days within a year) of some subset of individuals within the U.S. EEZ if some animals spend extended time within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Also, the Navy implements time/area mitigation in the Northeast that minimizes major training exercises and total sonar hours in an area that significantly overlaps an important BIA feeding area for sei whales, which will reduce the severity of impacts to sei whales by reducing interference in feeding that could result in lost feeding opportunities or necessitate additional energy expenditure to find other good opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons the four estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for this stock are unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, only a small portion of the stock would be impacted and any individual sei whale would likely be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset potentially disturbed across a few days, minimized in biologically important areas. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, nor are these harassment takes combined with the single potential mortality expected to adversely affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on sei whales. Odontocetes Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales In Table 19 below for sperm whale, dwarf sperm whales, and pygmy sperm whales, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 19 is unchanged from Table 73 in the 2018 AFTT final rule, except for updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligibleimpact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected species and stocks addressed in this section. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Sperm Whale (North Atlantic Stock) This stock spans the East Coast out into oceanic waters well beyond the U.S. EEZ. There is no currently reported trend for the stock and, although the species is listed as endangered under the ESA, there are no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs). NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality over the seven years covered by this rule, and the resulting 0.14 annual mortality which falls below 10 percent of residual PBR (0.28), remains below the PBR insignificance threshold. As discussed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, there are no known factors, information, or unusual circumstances that indicate that this potential M/SI below the insignificance threshold could have adverse effects on the stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. One Level A harassment take by tissue damage is also estimated and proposed for VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 authorization which, as discussed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy’s mitigation and the sperm whale’s large size, which improves detection by Lookouts, exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the spectrum is less likely, and we cautiously assume some moderate impact for this single take that could lower one individual’s fitness within the year such that a female (assuming a 50 percent chance of the one take being a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As discussed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, foregone reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for one year) and one instance would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, even if it were a female. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 544 percent and 41 percent (Table 19). This information, combined with the known range of the stock, suggests that something less than one half of the individuals in the stock PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21171 would likely be impacted, but that there would likely be some repeat exposure (2–11 days within a year) of some subset of individuals that remain within the U.S. EEZ for an extended time. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely between 160 and 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, to occasionally moderate, level). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons three estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, only a small portion of the stock would be impacted and any individual sperm whale would likely be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the majority of animals likely disturbed E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 EP13MY19.012</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 21172 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 once or not at all, and a subset potentially disturbed across 2–11 likely non-sequential days. Even for an animal disturbed at the high end of this range (11 days over a year), given the low to moderate impact from each incident, and the fact that few days with take would likely be sequential, no impacts to individual fitness are expected. This low to occasionally moderate magnitude and severity of effects is not expected to result in impacts on reproduction or survival, and nor are these harassment takes combined with the single proposed authorized mortality and one possible instance of foregone reproduction expected to adversely affect the stock through annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on North Atlantic sperm whales. Sperm Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whale, and Pygmy Sperm Whale (Gulf of Mexico Stocks) These stocks suffer from lingering health issues from the DWH oil spill (6– 7 percent of individuals of these stocks with adverse health effects), which means that some could be more susceptible to exposure to other stressors, and negative population effects (21–42 years until the DWH oilinjured population trajectory is projected to catch up with the baseline population trajectory (i.e., in the absence of DWH, reported as years to recovery). Neither mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is anticipated or proposed to be authorized for any of these three stocks, and sperm whales are not expected to incur PTS. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance is 54–78 percent (Table 19), which suggests that for each of the three species/stocks either this percentage of the individuals in these stocks would all be taken by harassment on a single day, or a small subset may be taken on a few days and the remainder not taken at all. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels are largely between 160 and 172 dB (i.e., of a lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Additionally, the Navy is currently implementing and would continue to implement VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 mitigation areas for sperm whales that are expected to reduce impacts in important feeding areas, further lessening the severity of impacts. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important lowfrequency cues. Also, there is no reason to believe that any individual would incur these TTS takes more than a few days in a year, and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, 70 estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for each of the two Kogia stocks in the Gulf of Mexico would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an animal that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, only a portion of these stocks would be impacted and any individual sperm, dwarf sperm, or pygmy sperm whale is likely to be disturbed at a low to occasionally moderate level and no more than a few days per year. Even given the fact that some of the affected individuals may have compromised health, there is nothing to suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of effects would result in impacts on the reproduction or survival of individuals, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the stocks. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on the Gulf of Mexico stocks of sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales, and pygmy sperm whales. Pygmy and Dwarf Sperm Whales (Western North Atlantic Stocks) These stocks span the deeper waters of the East Coast north to Canada and out into oceanic waters beyond the U.S. EEZ. There is no currently reported trend for these populations and there are no specific issues with the status of the stocks that cause particular concern. Neither mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is anticipated or PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 proposed to be authorized for these stocks. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 2,105 percent and 360 percent (Table 19). This information, combined with the known range of the stock, suggests that while not all of the individuals in these stocks would most likely be taken (because they span well into oceanic waters) of those that are taken, most would be taken over several repeated days (though likely not sequential) and some subset that spends extended time within the U.S. EEZ would likely be taken over a larger amount of days (likely 15–42 days during a year), some of which could be sequential. Regarding the severity of the individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (and likely not more than 24 hours) and the received sound levels are largely between 160 and 172 dB (i.e., of a lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Additionally, while interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important lowfrequency cues. Also, there is no reason to believe that any individual would incur these TTS takes more than a few days in a year, and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at the expected scale the 94 estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for each of the two Kogia stocks in the North Atlantic would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, most of the stock would likely be taken (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, and some smaller portion of the stock would likely be taken on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the year, some of which could be sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, the larger number of takes (in total and for certain individuals) makes it more likely (probabilistically) that a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year (energetic VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 impacts to males generally have little impact on population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal). As noted previously and discussed more fully in the 2018 AFTT final rule, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality, and a small number of instances of foregone reproduction would not be expected to adversely impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given that PBR for both of these stocks is 21. For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on the Western North Atlantic PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21173 stocks of pygmy and dwarf sperm whales. Dolphins and Small Whales In Table 20 below for dolphins and small whales, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 20 is unchanged from Table 74 in the 2018 AFTT final rule, except for updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligibleimpact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Dolphins and Small Whales discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21174 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 EP13MY19.013</GPH> jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Table 20. Annual estimated takes by Level B harassment, Level A harassment, and mortality for dolphins and small whales in the AFTT Study Area and number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of stock abundance.+ Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this section. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Atlantic White-Sided Dolphin and Short-Beaked Common Dolphin (Western North Atlantic Stocks) There is no currently reported trend for these stocks and there are no specific issues with the status of these stocks that cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs). We anticipate and therefore propose to authorize one and six mortalities over the course of seven years for these two stocks, which is 0.14 and 0.86 annual mortalities for each stock, respectively. Given the large residual PBR values for these stocks (248 and 148), this number of mortalities falls well under the insignificance threshold. There are no known factors, information, or unusual circumstances that indicate that this estimated M/SI below the insignificance threshold could have adverse effects on these stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Some Level A harassment take by tissue damage from explosives has also been estimated and proposed to be authorized for these stocks (3 and 36, respectively). As discussed previously and in the 2018 AFTT final rule, tissue damage effects could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy’s mitigation, which makes exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the spectrum less likely, we cautiously assume some moderate impact for this category of take that could lower an individual’s fitness within the year such that females (assuming a 50 percent chance that a take is a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for one year) VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 and the number of takes anticipated for each stock would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, even if all of the takes were females (which would be highly unlikely), especially given the high residual PBRs of these stocks. In other words, if the stocks can absorb the numbers of mortalities indicated through each stock’s residual PBR without impacting ability to approach OSP, they could absorb the significantly lesser effects of a small number of oneyear delay in calving. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ for these two stocks, respectively, is 308– 777 percent and 34–110 percent (Table 20). This information suggests that some portion of these stocks would likely not be taken at all, but that there would likely be some repeat exposure (2–15 days within a year) of some subset of individuals. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Additionally, while we do not have a specific reason to expect that these takes would occur sequentially on more than several days in a row or be more severe in nature, the probability of this occurring increases the higher the total take numbers. While interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Given the higher number of takes and the associated abundances (especially for short-beaked common dolphin) we acknowledge the possibility that some smaller subset of individuals could experience behavioral disruption of a degree that impacts energetic budgets PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21175 such that reproduction could be delayed for a year. However, considering the potential reproductive effects from tissue damage and from these levels of take by behavioral Level B harassment, in combination with the estimated mortality, this degree of effect on the small subset of individuals that could be affected is still not expected to adversely affect the stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly interfere with dolphin communication, or echolocation or other important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival of any individuals. For these same reasons (low level and the likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the two dolphin stocks (7 and 101, respectively) would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an animal that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, individual dolphins would likely be taken at a low level, with some animals likely taken once or not at all, many potentially disturbed at low levels across 2–15 predominantly non-sequential days, and a small number potentially experiencing a level of effects that could result in curtailed reproduction for one year. This magnitude and severity of effects, including consideration of the estimated mortality, is not expected to result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 EP13MY19.014</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 21176 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 or survival for either of the stocks, especially given the status of the stocks. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on these two Western North Atlantic stocks of dolphins. Pantropical Spotted Dolphin and Spinner Dolphin (Gulf of Mexico Stocks) As described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Gulf of Mexico dolphin stocks indicated in Table 20 suffer from lingering health issues resulting from the DWH oil spill (7 and 17 percent of individuals of these stocks, respectively, have adverse health effects), which means that some of them could be more susceptible to exposure to other stressors, as well as negative population effects (predicting it will take up to 39 and 105 years, respectively, for stocks to return to population growth rates predicted in the absence of DWH effects). We propose to authorize one mortality over the course of seven years for each of these two stocks, respectively, which is 0.14 annual mortalities for each stock. Given the large residual PBR values for these stocks (402 and 62, respectively), this number of mortalities falls well under the insignificance threshold. As discussed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, there are no known factors, information, or unusual circumstances that indicate that this estimated M/SI below the insignificance threshold could have adverse effects on these stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Some Level A harassment take by tissue damage from explosives has also been estimated and proposed to be authorized for these stocks (6 and 14, respectively). As noted previously, tissue damage effects could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy’s mitigation, which makes exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the spectrum less likely, we cautiously assume some moderate impact for this category of take that could lower an individual’s fitness within the year such that females (assuming a 50 percent chance that a take is a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for one year) and the number of takes anticipated for each stock would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, even if all of the takes were females VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 (which would be highly unlikely), especially given the high residual PBRs of these stocks. In other words, if the stocks can absorb the numbers indicated through each stock’s residual PBR without impacting ability to approach OSP, they can absorb the significantly lesser effect of a very small number of one-year delay in calving. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance is 32 percent and 60 percent, respectively, reflecting that only a subset of each stock would be taken by behavioral Level B harassment within a year. Of that subset, those taken would likely be taken one time, but if taken more than that, the 2 or 3 days would not likely be sequential (Table 20). Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower to occasionally moderate severity). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly interfere with dolphin communication, or echolocation or other important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the dolphin stocks addressed here (15 and 31, respectively) would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals. Altogether, any individual dolphin would likely be taken at a low to occasionally moderate level, with most animals likely not taken at all and with a subset of animals being taken up to a few non-sequential days. Even given the fact that some of the affected individuals may have compromised health, there is nothing to suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of effects, including the potential tissue damage, would result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 for either of these two stocks. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on the Gulf of Mexico stocks of pantropical spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins. Western North Atlantic Dolphin Stocks (All Stocks in Table 20 Except Atlantic White-Sided Dolphin and Short-Beaked Common Dolphin) There are no specific issues with the status of these stocks that cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs). No mortality is expected nor it proposed for authorization for these stocks. For some of these stocks, some tissue damage has been estimated and proposed to be authorized (1–9 depending on the stock). As discussed previously, tissue damage effects could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy’s mitigation, which makes exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the spectrum less likely, we cautiously assume some moderate impact for all these takes that could lower an individual’s fitness within the year such that a small number of females (assuming a 50 percent chance of being a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for one year) and one to a few instances would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, even if all of the takes were females (which would be highly unlikely), especially given the higher residual PBRs, which is known for the majority of stocks. For stocks with no calculated residual PBR or where abundance is unknown, the limited information available on population size indicates that the very low number of females who might forego reproduction would have no effect on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance ranges up to 984 percent inside the U.S. EEZ (though some are significantly lower) and is generally much lower across the whole range of most stocks, reflecting that for many stocks only a subset of the stock will be impacted—although alternately for a few of the smaller bay stocks all individuals are expected to be taken across multiple days (Table 20). Generally, individuals of most stocks (especially bottlenose dolphins) might E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules be taken no more than several times each, while the other species in this group will only accrue takes to a portion of the stock, but individuals might be taken across 2–20 days within a year. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). While we do not have reason to expect that these takes would occur sequentially on more than several days in a row or be more severe in nature, the probability of this occurring increases the higher the total take numbers. Given higher percentages when compared to abundances, and especially where the absolute number of takes is higher (e.g., spinner dolphin), we acknowledge the possibility that some smaller subset of individuals (especially in the larger stocks with higher total take numbers) could experience behavioral disruption of a degree that impacts energetic budgets such that reproduction could be delayed for a year. However, considering the very small number of potential reproductive effects from Level A harassment by tissue damage (1–9 depending on stock and assuming all individuals are female, which is very unlikely) in addition to the possible reproductive effect on a small subset of individuals from the takes by behavioral Level B harassment, this degree of effects on a small subset of individuals is still not expected to adversely affect annual rates of recruitment or survival. For the smaller Estuarine stocks with the potential repeated days of disturbance, we note that as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the activities that the Navy conducts in inland areas (not MTEs, etc.) are expected to generally result in lower severity responses, further decreasing the likelihood that they would cause effects on reproduction or survival, even if accrued over several sequential days. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly interfere with dolphin communication, or echolocation or other important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the dolphin stocks addressed here (between 1 and 77) would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, any individual dolphin would likely be taken at a low to occasionally moderate level, with some animals likely taken once or not at all, a subset potentially disturbed across 2– 20 predominantly non-sequential days, and a small number potentially experiencing a level of effects that could curtail reproduction for one year. The magnitude and severity of effects described is not expected to result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the stocks. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on these Western North Atlantic stocks of dolphins. Gulf of Mexico Dolphin Stocks (All of the Stocks Indicated in Table 20 Except Pantropical Spotted Dolphin and Spinner Dolphin) As mentioned above and discussed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Gulf of Mexico stocks indicated in Table 20 suffer from lingering health issues resulting from the DWH oil spill (3–30 percent of individuals of these stocks have adverse health effects), which means that some of them could be more susceptible to exposure to other stressors, as well as negative population effects (predicting it will take up to 76 years, with that number varying across stocks, for stocks to return to population growth rates predicted in the absence of DWH effects). Of note, the Northern Coastal bottlenose dolphin adverse effect statistics are about twice as high as the others (i.e., all other stocks are below 17 percent). No mortality has been estimated or proposed to be authorized for these stocks, however a few Level A harassment takes by tissue damage from explosives (zero for most, 1–2 for a few, and 6 for the Atlantic spotted dolphin stock) are estimated and proposed to be authorized. As noted previously, tissue damage effects could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21177 the Navy’s mitigation, which makes exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the spectrum less likely, we cautiously assume some moderate impact for these Level A harassment takes that could lower an individual’s fitness within the year such that a female (assuming a 50 percent chance of being a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for one year) and a few instances, even up to six for the Atlantic spotted dolphin stock, would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, even if all of the takes were of females (which is highly unlikely). Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance ranges up to 177 percent, but is generally much lower for most stocks, reflecting that generally only a subset of each stock would be taken, with those in the subset taken only a few nonsequential days of the year (Table 20). Regarding the severity of those individual takes by Level B behavioral harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower to occasionally moderate severity). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly interfere with dolphin communication, or echolocation or other important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the dolphin stocks addressed here (all 3 or below, with the exception of three stocks with much larger abundances with 4, 8, and 15 PTS takes) would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an animal that also E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, any individual dolphin would likely be taken at a low to occasionally moderate level, with many animals likely not taken at all and with a subset of animals being taken up to a few times. A very small number could potentially experience tissue damage that could curtail reproduction for one year. Even given the fact that some of the affected individuals may have compromised health, there is nothing to suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of effects would result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the Gulf of Mexico stocks indicated in Table 20. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on these Gulf of Mexico stocks of dolphins. In Table 21 below for porpoises, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 21 is unchanged from Table 75 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Harbor Porpoise discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. Table 21. Annual estimated takes by Level B harassment, Level A harassment, and mortality for porpoises in the AFTT Study Area and number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of stock abundance. Note: In the table we compare estimated takes to abundance estimates generated from the same underlying density estimate (as described in the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals section of the 2018 AFTT final rule), versus abundance estimates directly from NMFS’ SARs, which are not based on the same data and would not be appropriate for this purpose. Note that comparisons are made both within the U.S. EEZ only (where density estimates have lesser uncertainty) and across the whole Study Area (which offers a more comprehensive comparison for many stocks). Total takes inside and outside U.S. EEZ represent the sum of annual Level A and Level B harassment from training and testing plus harassment take from one large ship shock trial. Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect harbor porpoises through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. The Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy stock of harbor porpoise is found predominantly in northern U.S. coastal waters (<150 m depth) and up into Canada’s Bay of Fundy. No mortality or tissue damage by explosives are anticipated or proposed for authorization for this stock and there are no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs). Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 941 percent and 80 percent (Table 21). This information, combined with the known range of the stock, suggests that only a portion of the individuals in the stock would likely be impacted (i.e., notably less than 80 percent given the likely repeats; in other words more than 20 percent would be taken zero times), but that there would likely be some amount of repeat exposures across days (perhaps 6–19 days within a year) for some subset of individuals that spend extended times within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be from minutes to hours and not likely exceeding 24 hrs, and the received sound levels of the MF1 bin are largely between 154 and 166 dB, which, for a harbor porpoise (which have a lower behavioral Level B harassment threshold) would mostly be considered a moderate level. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly interfere with harbor porpoise communication, or echolocation or other important lowfrequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Harbor Porpoise PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 EP13MY19.015</GPH> jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21178 21179 may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the estimated 454 Level A harassment takes by PTS for harbor porpoise would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival for most individuals, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Because of the high number of PTS takes, we acknowledge that a few animals could potentially incur permanent hearing loss of a higher degree that could potentially interfere with their successful reproduction and growth. However, given the status of the stock (high abundance and residual PBR of 451), even if this occurred, it would not adversely impact rates of recruitment or survival. Altogether, because harbor porpoises are particularly sensitive, it is likely that a fair number of the responses would be of a moderate nature. Additionally, as noted, some portion of the stock may be taken repeatedly on up to 19 days within a year, with some of those being sequential. Given this and the larger number of total takes (both to the stock and to individuals), it is more likely (probabilistically) that some small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year (energetic impacts to males generally have limited impact on population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal). As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a small number of instances would not be expected to adversely impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given that the residual PBR of harbor porpoises is 451. All indications are that the number of times in which reproduction would be likely to be foregone would not affect the stock’s annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on harbor porpoises. Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this section. Beaked Whales, Including Northern Bottlenose Whale (Western North Atlantic Stocks) mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is anticipated or proposed for authorization for these stocks. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ is 1,567–1,836 percent and 148–297 percent, respectively (Table 22). This information, combined with the known VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 These stocks span the deeper waters of the East Coast of the U.S. north to Canada and out into oceanic waters beyond the U.S. EEZ. There is no currently reported trend for these populations and there are no specific issues with the status of the stocks that cause particular concern. Neither PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Beaked Whales In Table 22 below for beaked whales, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 22 is unchanged from Table 76 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Beaked Whales discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 EP13MY19.016</GPH> jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21180 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules range of the stocks, suggests that while not all of the individuals in these stocks would most likely be taken (because they span well into oceanic waters), of those that are, most would be taken over a few days (though likely not sequential) and some subset that spends extended time within the U.S. EEZ would likely be taken over a larger amount of days (maybe 15–37), some of which could be sequential. Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to generally be between minutes and hours and largely between 148 and 160 dB, though with beaked whales, which are considered somewhat more sensitive, this could mean that some individuals will leave preferred habitat for a day or two. However, while interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity in the Western North Atlantic. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and not in a frequency band that would adversely affect communication, inhibit echolocation, or otherwise interfere with other lowfrequency cues. Therefore any associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not impact reproduction or survival. For the same reasons (low level and frequency band) the one to three estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for these stocks are unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Altogether, a small portion of the stock would likely be taken (at a relatively moderate level) on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the year, some of which could be sequential. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a sometimes low, but more likely, moderate magnitude and severity, the sensitivity of beaked whales and larger number of takes makes it more likely (probabilistically) that a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year (energetic impacts to males generally have limited impact on population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal). As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a small number of instances would not be expected to adversely impact annual rates of recruitment or survival. Based on the abundance of these stocks in the area and the evidence of little, if any, known human-caused mortality, all indications are that the small number of times in which reproduction would be likely to be foregone would not affect the stocks’ annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on the Western North Atlantic stocks of beaked whales. Beaked Whales (Gulf of Mexico Stocks) The animals in these stocks suffer from lingering health issues resulting from the DWH oil spill (four percent of individuals of these stocks have adverse health effects), which means that some of them could be more susceptible to exposure to other stressors, and negative population effects (10 years for their growth rate to recover to the rate predicted for the stocks if they had not incurred spill impacts). Neither mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is anticipated or proposed for authorization for these stocks. Level A harassment take from PTS is also unlikely to occur. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance is 148–155 percent (Table 22). This information indicates that either the individuals in these stocks would all be taken by harassment one or two days within a year, or that a subset would not be taken at all and a small subset may be taken several times. Regarding the PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 severity of those individual takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to generally be between minutes and hours and largely between 148 and 160 dB, though with beaked whales, which are considered somewhat more sensitive, this could mean that some individuals will leave preferred habitat for a day or two. However, while interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity in the Gulf of Mexico. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and not in a frequency band that would adversely affect communication, inhibit echolocation, or otherwise interfere with other low frequency cues. Therefore any associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not impact reproduction or survival. Altogether, likely only a portion of these stocks would be impacted and any individual beaked whale likely would be disturbed at a moderate level for no more than a few days per year. Even given the fact that some of the affected individuals may have compromised health, there is nothing to suggest that this magnitude and severity of effects would result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the stocks. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on the Gulf of Mexico stocks of beaked whales included in Table 22. Pinnipeds In Table 23 below for pinnipeds, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 23 is unchanged from Table 77 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Pinnipeds discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any pinnipeds through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this section. The Western North Atlantic pinniped (harp seal, harbor seal, hooded seal, and gray seal) stocks are northern, but highly migratory species. While harp seals are limited to the northern portion of the U.S. EEZ, gray and harbor seals may be found as far south as the Chesapeake Bay in late fall and hooded seals migrate as far south as Puerto Rico. A UME has been designated for seals from Maine to Virginia and the main pathogen found in the seals that have been tested is phocine distemper virus. Neither mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is anticipated or proposed for authorization for any of these stocks. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance that is expected within the AFTT Study Area is 34–225 percent, which suggests that only a subset of the animals in the AFTT Study Area would be taken, but that a few might be taken on several days within the year (1–5 days), but not likely on sequential days. When the fact that some of these seals are residing in areas near Navy activities is considered, we can estimate that perhaps some of those individuals might be taken some higher number of days within the year (up to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 approximately 10 days), but still with no reason to think that these takes would occur on sequential days, which means that we would not expect effects on reproduction or survival. Regarding the severity of those individual behavioral Level B harassment takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels are largely below 172 dB, with some up to 178 dB (i.e., of a lower to moderate level, less likely to evoke a severe response) and therefore there is no indication that the expected takes by behavioral Level B harassment would have any effect on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and not in a frequency band that would adversely affect communication or otherwise interfere with other low-frequency cues. Therefore any associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not impact reproduction or survival. For the same reasons (low level and frequency band) the two to four estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for these stocks are unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an animal that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes. Even given the fact that some of the affected harbor seal individuals may have compromised health due to the PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21181 UME, there is nothing to suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of effects would result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given that the stock abundance in the SAR is 75,839 with a residual PBR of 1,651. Similarly, given the low magnitude and severity of effects, there is no indication that these activities would affect reproduction or survival of harp or hooded seals, much less adversely affect rates of recruitment or survival, especially given that harp seal abundance is estimated at 6.9 million and hooded seal residual PBR is 13,950. Gray seals are experiencing a UME as well as an exceedance of more than 4,299 M/SI above PBR. The NMFS SAR notes that the U.S. portion of average annual human-caused M/SI in U.S. waters does not exceed the portion of PBR in U.S. waters, and that while the status of the gray seal population relative to OSP in U.S. Atlantic EEZ waters is unknown the stock abundance appears to be increasing in U.S. and Canadian waters (Hayes et al., 2018). Also, given the low magnitude (take compared to abundance is 95 percent, meaning the subset of individuals taken may be taken a few times on nonsequential days) and low to occasionally moderate severity of impacts, no impacts to individual reproduction or survival are expected and therefore no effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival would occur. For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the proposed authorized take would have a E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 EP13MY19.017</GPH> jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 21182 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 negligible impact on the Western North Atlantic stocks of gray seals, harbor seals, hooded seals, and harp seals. Determination The 2018 AFTT final rule included a detailed discussion of all of the anticipated impacts on the affected species and stocks from serious injury and mortality, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment; impacts on habitat; and how the Navy’s mitigation and monitoring measures reduced the number and/or severity of adverse effects. We evaluated how these impacts and mitigation measures are expected to combine, annually, to affect individuals of each stock. Those effects were then evaluated in the context of whether they are reasonably likely to impact reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and then, if so, further analyzed to determine whether there would be effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival that would adversely affect the species or stock. As described above, the basis for the negligible impact determination is the assessment of effects on annual rates of recruitment and survival. Accordingly, the analysis included in the 2018 AFTT final rule used annual activity levels, the best available science, and approved methods to predict the annual impacts to marine mammals, which were then analyzed in the context of whether each species or stock would incur more than a negligible impact based on anticipated adverse impacts to annual rates of recruitment or survival. As we have described above, none of the factors upon which the annually-based conclusions in the 2018 AFTT final rule were based have changed in a manner that would change our determinations. Therefore, even though this proposed rule includes two additional years, because our findings are based on annual rates of recruitment and survival, and nothing has changed in a manner that would change our 2018 AFTT rule annual analyses, it is appropriate to rely on those analyses, as well as the information and analysis discussed above, for this proposed rule. Based on the applicable information and analysis from the 2018 AFTT final rule as updated with the information and analysis contained herein on the potential and likely effects of the specified activities on the affected marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the incidental take from the specified activities will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species and stocks. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Subsistence Harvest of Marine Mammals There are no subsistence uses or harvest of marine mammals in the geographic area affected by the specified activities. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the total taking affecting species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes. ESA There are six marine mammal species under NMFS jurisdiction that are listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA with confirmed or possible occurrence in the AFTT Study Area: Blue whale (Western North Atlantic stock), fin whale (Western North Atlantic stock), sei whale (Nova Scotia stock), sperm whale (Gulf of Mexico Oceanic stock and North Atlantic stock), North Atlantic right whale (Western North Atlantic stock), and Bryde’s whale (Northern Gulf of Mexico stock). The Navy consulted with NMFS pursuant to section 7 of the ESA for AFTT activities. NMFS also consulted internally on the issuance of the 2018 AFTT regulations and LOAs under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA. NMFS issued a Biological and Conference Opinion on October 22, 2018 concluding that the issuance of the 2018 AFTT final rule and subsequent LOAs are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the threatened and endangered species under NMFS’ jurisdiction and are not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat in the AFTT Study Area. The Biological and Conference Opinion for this action is available at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities. NMFS’ Permits and Conservation Division is currently discussing the 2019 Navy application with NMFS’ ESA Interagency Cooperation Division. National Marine Sanctuaries Act Federal agency actions that are likely to injure national marine sanctuary resources are subject to consultation with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) under section 304(d) of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA). On December 15, 2017, the Navy initiated consultation with ONMS and submitted a Sanctuary Resource Statement (SRS) that discussed the effects of the Navy’s AFTT activities in the vicinity of Stellwagen Bank, Gray’s PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Reef, and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaries on sanctuary resources. NMFS worked with the Navy in the development of the SRS to ensure that it could serve jointly as an SRS for NMFS’ action under the MMPA as well. On December 20, 2017, NMFS initiated consultation with ONMS on MMPA incidental take regulations for the Navy’s AFTT activities. NMFS requested that ONMS consider the description and assessment of the effects of the Navy’s activities, which included an assessment of the effects on marine mammals, included in the joint SRS submitted by the Navy as satisfying NMFS’ need to provide an SRS. ONMS reviewed the SRS, as well as an addendum the Navy provided on April 3, 2018. On April 12, 2018, ONMS found the SRS addendum sufficient for the purposes of making an injury determination to develop recommended alternatives as required by the NMSA. On May 15, 2018, ONMS recommended two reasonable and prudent measures to Navy and NMFS (one of which applied to NMFS) to minimize injury and to protect sanctuary resources. ONMS subsequently provided a slight modification of those recommendations to the Navy and NMFS on August 1, 2018. On August 17, 2018, the Navy agreed to implement both ONMS recommendations and on October 30, 2018, NMFS agreed to implement the recommendation that applied to NMFS. NMFS’ Permits and Conservation Division is currently discussing the 2019 Navy application with ONMS. NEPA 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 evaluate our proposed actions and alternatives with respect to potential impacts on the human environment. NMFS participated as a cooperating agency on the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS (published on September 14, 2018, http:// www.aftteis.com) which evaluated impacts from Navy training and testing activities in the AFTT Study Area for the reasonably foreseeable future. In accordance with 40 CFR 1506.3, NMFS independently reviewed and evaluated the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS and determined that it was adequate and sufficient to meet our responsibilities under NEPA for the issuance of the 2018 AFTT final rule and associated LOAs. NOAA therefore adopted the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS. In accordance with 40 CFR 1502.9 and the information and analysis contained in this proposed rule, the Navy and NMFS as a E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules cooperating agency have made a preliminary determination that this proposed rule and any subsequent LOAs would not result in impacts that were not fully considered in the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS. As indicated in this proposed rule, the Navy has made no substantial changes to the proposed action nor are there significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns or its impacts. NMFS will make a final NEPA determination prior to a decision whether to issue a final rule. Classification jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this proposed rule is not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The RFA requires Federal agencies to prepare an analysis of a rule’s impact on small entities whenever the agency is required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking. However, a Federal agency may certify, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), that the action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Navy is the sole entity that would be affected by this rulemaking, and the Navy is not a small governmental jurisdiction, small organization, or small business, as defined by the RFA. Any requirements imposed by an LOA issued pursuant to these regulations, and any monitoring or reporting requirements imposed by these regulations, would be applicable only to the Navy. NMFS does not expect the issuance of these regulations or the associated LOAs to result in any impacts to small entities pursuant to the RFA. Because this action, if adopted, would directly affect the Navy and not a small entity, NMFS concludes the action would not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 218 Exports, Fish, Imports, Incidental take, Indians, Labeling, Marine mammals, Navy, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seafood, Sonar, Transportation. Dated: May 6, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For reasons set forth in the preamble, 50 CFR part 218 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 218—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS 1. The authority citation for part 218 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., unless otherwise noted. 2. Revise subpart I of part 218 to read as follows: ■ Subpart I—Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Sec. 218.80 Specified activity and specified geographical region. 218.81 Effective dates. 218.82 Permissible methods of taking. 218.83 Prohibitions. 218.84 Mitigation requirements. 218.85 Requirements for monitoring and reporting. 218.86 Letters of Authorization. 218.87 Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization. 218.88–218.89 [Reserved] Subpart I—Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) § 218.80 Specified activity and geographical region. (a) Regulations in this subpart apply only to the U.S. Navy for the taking of marine mammals that occurs in the area described in paragraph (b) of this section and that occurs incidental to the activities listed in paragraph (c) of this section. (b) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy under this subpart may be authorized in Letters of Authorization (LOAs) only if it occurs within the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area, which includes areas of the western Atlantic Ocean along the East Coast of North America, portions of the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. The AFTT Study Area begins at the mean high tide line along the U.S. East Coast and extends east to the 45-degree west longitude line, north to the 65-degree north latitude line, and south to approximately the 20-degree north latitude line. The AFTT Study Area also includes Navy pierside locations, bays, harbors, and inland waterways, and civilian ports where training and testing occurs. (c) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy is only authorized if it occurs incidental to the Navy conducting training and testing activities, including: (1) Training. (i) Amphibious warfare; (ii) Anti-submarine warfare; (iii) Electronic warfare; (iv) Expeditionary warfare; (v) Mine warfare; (vi) Surface warfare, and (vii) Pile driving. (2) Testing. (i) Naval Air Systems Command Testing Activities; (ii) Naval Sea System Command Testing Activities; and (iii) Office of Naval Research Testing Activities. § 218.81 Effective dates. Regulations in this subpart are effective from [DATE OF PUBLICATION OF FINAL RULE IN THE Federal Register] through November 13, 2025. § 218.82 Permissible methods of taking. (a) Under LOAs issued pursuant to §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.86, the Holder of the LOAs (hereinafter ‘‘Navy’’) may incidentally, but not intentionally, take marine mammals within the area described in § 218.80(b) by Level A harassment and Level B harassment associated with the use of active sonar and other acoustic sources and explosives as well as serious injury or mortality associated with ship shock trials and vessel strikes, provided the activity is in compliance with all terms, conditions, and requirements of these regulations in this subpart and the applicable LOAs. (b) The incidental take of marine mammals by the activities listed in § 218.80(c) is limited to the following species: TABLE 1 TO § 218.82 Species Stock Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Balaenidae (right whales): North Atlantic right whale * ................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4701 Western. Sfmt 4702 21183 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21184 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1 TO § 218.82—Continued Species Stock Family Balaenopteridae (roquals): Blue whale * ....................................................................................... Bryde’s whale * .................................................................................. Minke whale ...................................................................................... Fin whale * ......................................................................................... Humpback whale ............................................................................... Sei whale * ......................................................................................... Western North Atlantic (Gulf of St. Lawrence). Northern Gulf of Mexico. NSD. Canadian East Coast. Western North Atlantic. Gulf of Maine. Nova Scotia. Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales). Family Physeteridae (sperm whale): Sperm whale * ................................................................................... Family Kogiidae (sperm whales): Dwarf sperm whale. .......................................................................... Pygmy sperm whale .......................................................................... Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales): Blainville’s beaked whale .................................................................. Cuvier’s beaked whale ...................................................................... Gervais’ beaked whale ...................................................................... Northern bottlenose whale ................................................................ Sowersby’s beaked whale ................................................................. True’s beaked whale ......................................................................... Family Delphinidae (dolphins) Atlantic spotted dolphin ..................................................................... Atlantic white-sided dolphin ............................................................... Bottlenose dolphin ............................................................................. Clymene dolphin ................................................................................ False killer whale ............................................................................... Fraser’s dolphin ................................................................................. Killer whale ........................................................................................ Long-finned pilot whale ..................................................................... Melon-headed whale ......................................................................... jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Pantropical spotted dolphin ............................................................... Pygmy killer whale ............................................................................ Risso’s dolphin .................................................................................. Rough-toothed dolphin ...................................................................... Short-beaked common dolphin ......................................................... Short-finned pilot whale ..................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:22 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4701 Gulf of Mexico Oceanic. North Atlantic. Gulf of Mexico Oceanic. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Choctawhatchee Bay. Gulf of Mexico Eastern Coastal. Gulf of Mexico Northern Coastal. Gulf of Mexico Western Coastal. Indian River Lagoon Estuarine System. Jacksonville Estuarine System. Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne, Bay Boudreau. Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Shelf. Northern Gulf of Mexico Oceanic. Northern North Carolina Estuarine System. Southern North Carolina Estuarine System. Western North Atlantic Northern Florida Coastal. Western North Atlantic Central Florida Coastal. Western North Atlantic Northern Migratory Coastal. Western North Atlantic Offshore. Western North Atlantic South Carolina/Georgia Coastal. Western North Atlantic Southern Migratory Coastal. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 21185 TABLE 1 TO § 218.82—Continued Species Stock Spinner dolphin ................................................................................. Striped dolphin .................................................................................. White-beaked dolphin ........................................................................ Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): Harbor porpoise ................................................................................. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Northern Gulf of Mexico. Western North Atlantic. Western North Atlantic. Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy. Suborder Pinnipedia Family Phocidae (true seals): Gray seal ........................................................................................... Harbor seal ........................................................................................ Harp seal ........................................................................................... Hooded seal ...................................................................................... § 218.83 Prohibitions. Notwithstanding incidental takings contemplated in § 218.82(a) and authorized by LOAs issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.86, no person in connection with the activities listed in § 218.80(c) may: (a) Violate, or fail to comply with the terms, conditions, and requirements of this subpart or an LOA issued under § 216.106 of this chapter and § 218.86; (b) Take any marine mammal not specified in § 218.82(b); (c) Take any marine mammal specified § 218.82(b) in any manner other than as specified in the LOAs; or (d) Take a marine mammal specified § 218.82(b) if NMFS determines such taking results in more than a negligible impact on the species or stocks of such marine mammal. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 § 218.84 Mitigation requirements. When conducting the activities identified in § 218.80(c), the mitigation measures contained in any LOAs issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.86 must be implemented. These mitigation measures include, but are not limited to: (a) Procedural mitigation. Procedural mitigation is mitigation that the Navy must implement whenever and wherever an applicable training or testing activity takes place within the AFTT Study Area for each applicable activity category or stressor category and includes acoustic stressors (i.e., active sonar, air guns, pile driving, weapons firing noise), explosive stressors (i.e., sonobuoys, torpedoes, medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles, missiles and rockets, bombs, sinking exercises, mines, anti-swimmer grenades, line charge testing and ship shock trials), and physical disturbance and strike stressors (i.e., vessel movement; towed in-water devices; small-, medium-, and large-caliber non-explosive practice VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Western Western Western Western North North North North Atlantic. Atlantic. Atlantic. Atlantic. munitions; non-explosive missiles and rockets; non-explosive bombs and mine shapes). (1) Environmental awareness and education. Appropriate personnel (including civilian personnel) involved in mitigation and training or testing activity reporting under the specified activities must complete one or more modules of the U.S. Navy Afloat Environmental Compliance Training Series, as identified in their career path training plan. Modules include: Introduction to the U.S. Navy Afloat Environmental Compliance Training Series, Marine Species Awareness Training, U.S. Navy Protective Measures Assessment Protocol, and U.S. Navy Sonar Positional Reporting System and Marine Mammal Incident Reporting. (2) Active sonar. Active sonar includes low-frequency active sonar, mid-frequency active sonar, and highfrequency active sonar. For vessel-based active sonar activities, mitigation applies only to sources that are positively controlled and deployed from manned surface vessels (e.g., sonar sources towed from manned surface platforms). For aircraft-based active sonar activities, mitigation applies only to sources that are positively controlled and deployed from manned aircraft that do not operate at high altitudes (e.g., rotary-wing aircraft). Mitigation does not apply to active sonar sources deployed from unmanned aircraft or aircraft operating at high altitudes (e.g., maritime patrol aircraft). (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) Hull-mounted sources. One Lookout for platforms with space or manning restrictions while underway (at the forward part of a small boat or ship) and platforms using active sonar while moored or at anchor (including pierside); two Lookouts for platforms without space or manning restrictions while underway (at the PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 forward part of the ship); and four Lookouts for pierside sonar testing activities at Port Canaveral, Florida and Kings Bay, Georgia. (B) Sources that are not hull-mounted sources. One Lookout on the ship or aircraft conducting the activity. (ii) Mitigation zones and requirements. During the activity, at 1,000 yard (yd) Navy personnel must power down 6 decibels (dB), at 500 yd Navy personnel must power down an additional 4 dB (for a total of 10 dB), and at 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for low-frequency active sonar ≥200 dB and hull-mounted midfrequency active sonar; or at 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for low-frequency active sonar <200 dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull-mounted, and highfrequency active sonar. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of active sonar transmission. (B) During low-frequency active sonar at or above 200 dB and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and power down active sonar transmission by 6 dB if marine mammals are observed within 1,000 yd of the sonar source; power down by an additional 4 dB (10 dB total) if marine mammals are observed within 500 yd of the sonar source; and cease transmission if marine mammals are observed within 200 yd of the sonar source. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21186 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules (C) During low-frequency active sonar below 200 dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull mounted, and high-frequency active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and cease active sonar transmission if marine mammals are observed within 200 yd of the sonar source. (D) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing or powering up active sonar transmission) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the sonar source; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 minutes (min) for aircraft-deployed sonar sources or 30 min for vessel-deployed sonar sources; for mobile activities, the active sonar source has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting; or for activities using hull-mounted sonar where a dolphin(s) is observed in the mitigation zone, the Lookout concludes that the dolphin(s) is deliberately closing in on the ship to ride the ship’s bow wave, and is therefore out of the main transmission axis of the sonar (and there are no other marine mammal sightings within the mitigation zone). (3) Air guns. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on a ship or pierside. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 150 yd around the air gun. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of air gun use. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease use of air guns. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing air gun use) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the air gun; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the air gun has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (4) Pile driving. Pile driving and pile extraction sound during Elevated Causeway System training. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the shore, the elevated causeway, or a small boat. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 100 yd around the pile driver. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (for 30 min), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of pile driving or vibratory pile extraction. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease impact pile driving or vibratory pile extraction. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing pile driving or pile extraction) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the pile driving location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min. (5) Weapons firing noise. Weapons firing noise associated with large-caliber gunnery activities. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the ship conducting PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 the firing. Depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one provided for under Explosive mediumcaliber and large-caliber projectiles or under Small-, medium-, and largecaliber non-explosive practice munitions in paragraph (a)(8)(i) and (a)(19)(i) of this section. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. Thirty degrees on either side of the firing line out to 70 yd from the muzzle of the weapon being fired. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of weapons firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease weapons firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing weapons firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the firing ship; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the firing ship has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (6) Explosive Sonobuoys. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft or on small boat. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 600 yd around an explosive sonobuoy. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during deployment of a sonobuoy field, which typically lasts 20–30 min), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel also must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the sonobuoy; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints (e.g., helicopter), or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station)— when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (7) Explosive torpedoes. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout positioned in an aircraft. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,100 yd around the intended impact location. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during deployment of the target), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use the information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station)— when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (8) Explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles. Gunnery activities using explosive mediumcaliber and large-caliber projectiles. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21187 be on the vessel or aircraft conducting the activity. For activities using explosive large-caliber projectiles, depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one described in Weapons Firing Noise in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 200 yd around the intended impact location for air-to-surface activities using explosive medium-caliber projectiles. (B) 600 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-surface activities using explosive mediumcaliber projectiles. (C) 1,000 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-surface activities using explosive large-caliber projectiles. (D) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (E) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (F) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for vessel-based firing; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21188 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules (G) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station)— when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (9) Explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed explosive missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 900 yd around the intended impact location for missiles or rockets with 0.6– 20 lb net explosive weight. (B) 2,000 yd around the intended impact location for missiles with 21– 500 lb net explosive weight. (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (F) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station)— when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (10) Explosive bombs. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft conducting the activity. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,500 yd around the intended target. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment. (B) During the activity (e.g., during target approach), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing bomb deployment) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 movement relative to the intended target; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended target has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station)— when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (11) Sinking exercises. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. Two Lookouts (one must be positioned in an aircraft and one must be positioned on a vessel). If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2.5 nautical miles (nmi) around the target ship hulk. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (90 min prior to the first firing), Navy personnel must conduct aerial observations of the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed Navy personnel must delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must conduct aerial observations of the mitigation zone for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals from the vessel; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. Immediately after any planned or unplanned breaks in weapons firing of longer than two hours, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals from the aircraft and vessel; if marine mammals are observed, E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Navy personnel must delay recommencement of firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the target ship hulk; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min. (D) After completion of the activity (for two hours after sinking the vessel or until sunset, whichever comes first), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (12) Explosive mine countermeasure and neutralization activities. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) One Lookout must be positioned on a vessel or in an aircraft when implementing the smaller mitigation zone defined at paragraph (a)(12)(ii)(A) of this section (using 0.1–5 lb net explosive weight charges). (B) Two Lookouts (one must be in an aircraft and one must be on a small boat) when implementing the larger mitigation zone defined at paragraph (a)(12)(ii)(B) of this section (using 6–650 lb net explosive weight charges). (C) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 600 yd around the detonation site for activities using 0.1–5 lb net explosive weight. (B) 2,100 yd around the detonation site for activities using 6–650 lb net explosive weight (including high explosive target mines). (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station; typically, 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations. (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, the Navy must cease detonations. (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to detonation site; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (F) After completion of the activity (typically 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (13) Explosive mine neutralization activities involving navy divers—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) Two Lookouts must be positioned (two small boats with one Lookout each, or one Lookout must be on a small boat and one must be in a rotary-wing aircraft) when implementing the smaller mitigation zone defined at paragraph (a)(13)(ii)(A) of this section. (B) Four Lookouts must be positioned (two small boats with two Lookouts each), and a pilot or member of an aircrew must serve as an additional PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21189 Lookout if aircraft are used during the activity, when implementing the larger mitigation zone defined at paragraph (a)(13)(ii)(B) of this section. (C) All divers placing the charges on mines must support the Lookouts while performing their regular duties and must report applicable sightings to their supporting small boat or Range Safety Officer. (D) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around the detonation site during activities under positive control using 0.1–20 lb net explosive weight. (B) 1,000 yd around the detonation site during all activities using timedelay fuses (0.1–20 lb net explosive weight) and during activities under positive control using 21–60 lb net explosive weight charges. (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station for activities under positive control; 30 min for activities using timedelay firing devices), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonation or fuse initiation. (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonation or fuse initiation. To the maximum extent practicable depending on mission requirements, safety, and environmental conditions, boats must position themselves near the mid-point of the mitigation zone radius (but outside of the detonation plume and human safety zone), must position themselves on opposite sides of the detonation location (when two boats are used), and must travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location with one Lookout observing inward toward the detonation site and the other observing outward toward the perimeter of the mitigation zone. If used, aircraft must travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location to the maximum extent practicable. Navy personnel must not set time-delay firing devices (0.1–20 lb. net explosive weight) to exceed 10 min. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21190 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the detonation site; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min during activities under positive control with aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min during activities under positive control with aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained and during activities using time-delay firing devices. (F) After completion of an activity (for 30 min), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where any detonations have occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (14) Maritime security operations— anti-swimmer grenades—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the small boat conducting the activity. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended detonation location. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonation. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonation. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended detonation location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or the intended detonation location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (15) Line charge testing—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on a vessel. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 900 yd around the intended detonation location. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of detonations. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations. PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended detonation location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min. (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (16) Ship shock trials—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) A minimum of ten Lookouts or trained marine species observers (or a combination thereof) must be positioned either in an aircraft or on multiple vessels (i.e., a Marine Animal Response Team boat and the test ship). (1) If aircraft are used, Lookouts or trained marine species observers must be in an aircraft and on multiple vessels. (2) If aircraft are not used, a sufficient number of additional Lookouts or trained marine species observers must be used to provide vessel-based visual observation comparable to that achieved by aerial surveys. (B) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 3.5 nmi around the ship hull. (A) The Navy must not conduct ship shock trials in the Jacksonville Operating Area during North Atlantic right whale calving season from November 15 through April 15. (B) The Navy must develop detailed ship shock trial monitoring and mitigation plans approximately one-year E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules prior to an event and must continue to provide these to NMFS for review and approval. (C) Pre-activity planning must include selection of one primary and two secondary areas where marine mammal populations are expected to be the lowest during the event, with the primary and secondary locations located more than 2 nmi from the western boundary of the Gulf Stream for events in the Virginia Capes Range Complex or Jacksonville Range Complex. (D) If it is determined during preactivity surveys that the primary area is environmentally unsuitable (e.g., observations of marine mammals or presence of concentrations of floating vegetation), the shock trial can be moved to a secondary site in accordance with the detailed mitigation and monitoring plan provided to NMFS. (E) Prior to the initial start of the activity at the shock trial location (in intervals of 5 hrs, 3 hrs, 40 min, and immediately before the detonation), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay triggering the detonation. (F) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals, large schools of fish, jellyfish aggregations, and flocks of seabirds; if marine mammals, large schools of fish, jellyfish aggregations, and flocks of seabirds are observed, Navy personnel must cease triggering the detonation. After completion of each detonation, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures and halt any remaining detonations until Navy personnel can consult with NMFS and review or adapt the mitigation, if necessary. (G) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the ship hull; or VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min. (H) After completion of the activity (during the following two days at a minimum, and up to seven days at a maximum), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (17) Vessel movement. The mitigation must not be applied if: The vessel’s safety is threatened; the vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver (e.g., during launching and recovery of aircraft or landing craft, during towing activities, when mooring, etc.); or the vessel is operated autonomously. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be on the vessel that is underway. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around whales. (B) 200 yd around all other marine mammals (except bow-riding dolphins and pinnipeds hauled out on man-made navigational structures, port structures, and vessels). (C) During the activity, when underway, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if any marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance. (D) Additionally, Navy personnel must broadcast awareness notification messages with North Atlantic right whale Dynamic Management Area information (e.g., location and dates) to applicable Navy assets operating in the vicinity of the Dynamic Management Area. The information will alert assets to the possible presence of a North Atlantic right whale to maintain safety of navigation and further reduce the potential for a vessel strike. Platforms must use the information to assist their visual observation of applicable mitigation zones during training and testing activities and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation, including but not limited to, mitigation for vessel movement. If a marine mammal vessel strike occurs, Navy personnel must follow the established incident reporting procedures. (18) Towed in-water devices. Mitigation applies to devices that are towed from a manned surface platform or manned aircraft. The mitigation will not be applied if the safety of the towing PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21191 platform or in-water device is threatened. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on a manned towing platform. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 250 yd around marine mammals. During the activity, when towing an in-water device, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance. (19) Small-, medium-, and largecaliber non-explosive practice munitions. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the platform conducting the activity. Depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one described for Weapons Firing Noise in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended impact location. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for vessel-based firing; or for activities using a mobile target, the intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 21192 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules (20) Non-explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed nonexplosive missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 900 yd around the intended impact location. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting prior to or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (21) Non-explosive bombs and mine shapes. Non-explosive bombs and nonexplosive mine shapes during mine laying activities. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 1,000 yd around the intended target. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment or mine laying. (B) During the activity (e.g., during approach of the target or intended minefield location), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment or mine laying. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting prior to or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing bomb deployment or mine laying) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended target or minefield location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended target has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (b) Mitigation areas. In addition to procedural mitigation, the Navy must implement mitigation measures within mitigation areas to avoid potential impacts on marine mammals. (1) Mitigation areas off the Northeastern United States for sonar, explosives, and physical disturbance and strikes. (i) Mitigation area requirements. (A) Northeast North Atlantic Right Whale Mitigation Area (year-round): (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area (which includes North Atlantic right whale ESA-designated critical habitat) in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. (2) Navy personnel must minimize the use of low-frequency active sonar, midfrequency active sonar, and highfrequency active sonar to the maximum extent practicable within the mitigation area. (3) Navy personnel must not use Improved Extended Echo Ranging sonobuoys in or within 3 nmi of the mitigation area or use explosive and non-explosive bombs, in-water detonations, and explosive torpedoes within the mitigation area. (4) For activities using non-explosive torpedoes within the mitigation area, Navy personnel must conduct activities PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 during daylight hours in Beaufort sea state 3 or less. The Navy must use three Lookouts (one positioned on a vessel and two positioned in an aircraft during dedicated aerial surveys) to observe the vicinity of the activity. An additional Lookout must be positioned on the submarine, when surfaced. Immediately prior to the start of the activity, Navy personnel must observe for floating vegetation and marine mammals; if floating vegetation or marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must not commence the activity until the vicinity is clear or the activity is relocated to an area where the vicinity is clear. During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if observed, Navy personnel must cease the activity. To allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the area, Navy personnel must not recommence the activity until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the vicinity of the activity; the animal is thought to have exited the vicinity of the activity based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the activity location; or the area has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min. During transits and normal firing, ships must maintain a speed of no more than 10 knots (kn). During submarine target firing, ships must maintain speeds of no more than 18 kn. During vessel target firing, vessel speeds may exceed 18 kn for brief periods of time (e.g., 10–15 min). (5) For all activities, before a vessel transits within the mitigation area, Navy personnel must conduct a web query or email inquiry to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s North Atlantic Right Whale Sighting Advisory System to obtain the latest North Atlantic right whale sightings information. Navy personnel on vessels must use the sightings information to reduce potential interactions with North Atlantic right whales during transits. Navy personnel on vessels must implement speed reductions within the mitigation area after observing a North Atlantic right whale, if transiting within 5 nmi of a sighting reported to the North Atlantic Right Whale Sighting Advisory System within the past week, and if transiting at night or during periods of reduced visibility. (B) Gulf of Maine Planning Awareness Mitigation Area (year-round): (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual training E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. (2) Navy personnel must not conduct greater than 200 hrs of hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar per year within the mitigation area. (3) Navy personnel must not conduct major training exercises (Composite Training Unit Exercises or Fleet Exercises/Sustainment Exercises) within the mitigation area. If the Navy needs to conduct a major training exercise within the mitigation area in support of training requirements driven by national security concerns, Navy personnel must confer with NMFS to verify that potential impacts are adequately addressed. (C) Northeast Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas (year-round): (1) Navy personnel will avoid planning major training exercises (Composite Training Unit Exercises or Fleet Exercises/ Sustainment Exercises) within the mitigation area to the maximum extent practicable. (2) Navy personnel must not conduct more than four major training exercises per year (all or a portion of the exercise) within the mitigation area. (3) If the Navy needs to conduct additional major training exercises in the mitigation area in support of training requirements driven by national security concerns, Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. (ii) [Reserved] (2) Mitigation areas off the MidAtlantic and Southeastern United States for sonar, explosives, and physical disturbance and strikes. (i) Mitigation area requirements. (A) Southeast North Atlantic Right Whale Mitigation Area (November 15 through April 15): (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. (2) The Navy must not conduct: Lowfrequency active sonar (except as noted in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(3) of this section), mid-frequency active sonar (except as noted in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(3) of this section), highfrequency active sonar, missile and rocket activities (explosive and nonexplosive), small-, medium-, and largecaliber gunnery activities, Improved Extended Echo Ranging sonobuoy activities, explosive and non-explosive bombing activities, in-water detonations, and explosive torpedo activities within the mitigation area. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 (3) To the maximum extent practicable, Navy personnel must minimize the use of: helicopter dipping sonar, low-frequency active sonar and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar used for navigation training, and low-frequency active sonar and hullmounted mid-frequency active sonar used for object detection exercises within the mitigation area. (4) Before transiting or conducting training or testing activities within the mitigation area, Navy personnel must initiate communication with the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville to obtain Early Warning System North Atlantic right whale sightings data. The Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville must advise Navy personnel on vessels of all reported whale sightings in the vicinity to help Navy personnel on vessels and aircraft reduce potential interactions with North Atlantic right whales. Commander Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet must coordinate any submarine activities that may require approval from the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville. Navy personnel on vessels must use the sightings information to reduce potential interactions with North Atlantic right whales during transits. (5) Navy personnel on vessels must implement speed reductions after they observe a North Atlantic right whale, if they are within 5 nmi of a sighting reported within the past 12 hrs, or when operating in the mitigation area at night or during periods of poor visibility. (6) To the maximum extent practicable, Navy personnel on vessels must minimize north-south transits in the mitigation area. (B) Southeast North Atlantic Right Whale Critical Habitat Special Reporting Area (November 15 through April 15): (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the Special Reporting Area (which includes southeast North Atlantic right whale ESA-designated critical habitat) in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. (2) [Reserved] (C) Jacksonville Operating Area (November 15 through April 15): (1) Navy units conducting training or testing activities in the Jacksonville Operating Area must initiate communication with the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville to obtain Early Warning System North Atlantic right whale sightings data. The Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville must advise Navy personnel on vessels PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21193 of all reported whale sightings in the vicinity to help Navy personnel on vessels and aircraft reduce potential interactions with North Atlantic right whales. Commander Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet must coordinate any submarine activities that may require approval from the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville. Navy personnel must use the reported sightings information as they plan specific details of events (e.g., timing, location, duration) to minimize potential interactions with North Atlantic right whales to the maximum extent practicable. Navy personnel must use the reported sightings information to assist visual observations of applicable mitigation zones and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation. (2) [Reserved] (D) Navy Cherry Point Range Complex Nearshore Mitigation Area (March through September): (1) Navy personnel must not conduct explosive mine neutralization activities involving Navy divers in the mitigation area. (2) To the maximum extent practicable, Navy personnel must not use explosive sonobuoys, explosive torpedoes, explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles, explosive missiles and rockets, explosive bombs, explosive mines during mine countermeasure and neutralization activities, and anti-swimmer grenades in the mitigation area. (E) Mid-Atlantic Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas (year-round): (1) Navy personnel will avoid planning major training exercises (Composite Training Unit Exercises or Fleet Exercises/Sustainment Exercises) to the maximum extent practicable. (2) Navy personnel must not conduct more than four major training exercises per year (all or a portion of the exercise) within the mitigation area. (3) If the Navy needs to conduct additional major training exercises in the mitigation area in support of training requirements driven by national security concerns, Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. (ii) [Reserved] (3) Mitigation areas in the Gulf of Mexico for sonar and explosives. (i) Mitigation area requirements. (A) Gulf of Mexico Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas (year-round): (1) Navy personnel must not conduct major training exercises within the mitigation area (all or a portion of the exercise). E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21194 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules (2) If the Navy needs to conduct a major training exercise within the mitigation areas in support of training requirements driven by national security concerns, Navy personnel must confer with NMFS to verify that potential impacts are adequately addressed. (B) Bryde’s Whale Mitigation Area (year-round): (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. (2) Navy personnel must not conduct greater than 200 hrs of hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar per year within the mitigation area. (3) Navy personnel must not use explosives (except during mine warfare activities) within the mitigation area. (ii) [Reserved] jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 § 218.85 Requirements for monitoring and reporting. (a) Unauthorized take. The Navy must notify NMFS immediately (or as soon as operational security considerations allow) if the specified activity identified in § 218.80 is thought to have resulted in the mortality or serious injury of any marine mammals, or in any Level A or Level B harassment take of marine mammals not identified in this subpart. (b) Monitoring and reporting under the LOAs. The Navy must conduct all monitoring and required reporting under the LOAs, including abiding by the AFTT Study Area monitoring program. Details on program goals, objectives, project selection process, and current projects are available at www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us. (c) Notification of injured, live stranded, or dead marine mammals. The Navy must consult the Notification and Reporting Plan, which sets out notification, reporting, and other requirements when dead, injured, or live stranded marine mammals are detected. The Notification and Reporting Plan is available at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities. (d) Annual AFTT Study Area marine species monitoring report. The Navy must submit an annual report of the AFTT Study Area monitoring describing the implementation and results from the previous calendar year. Data collection methods must be standardized across range complexes and study areas to allow for comparison in different geographic locations. The report must be submitted to the Director, Office of VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 Protected Resources of NMFS either within 90 days after the calendar year, or within 90 days after the conclusion of the monitoring year to be determined by the Adaptive Management process. This report will describe progress of knowledge made with respect to monitoring plan study questions across all Navy ranges associated with the Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program. Similar study questions must be treated together so that progress on each topic can be summarized across all Navy ranges. The report need not include analyses and content that does not provide direct assessment of cumulative progress on the monitoring plan study questions. (e) Annual AFTT Study Area training and testing reports. Each year, the Navy must submit a preliminary report (Quick Look Report) detailing the status of authorized sound sources within 21 days after the anniversary of the date of issuance of each LOA to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS. Each year, the Navy must submit a detailed report within 3 months after the anniversary of the date of issuance of each LOA to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS. The annual reports must contain information on Major Training Exercises (MTEs), Sinking Exercise (SINKEX) events, and a summary of all sound sources used, including within specified mitigation reporting areas, as described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section. The analysis in the detailed report must be based on the accumulation of data from the current year’s report and data collected from the previous report. The detailed reports must contain information identified in paragraphs (e)(1) through (5) of this section. (1) Major Training Exercises (MTEs). This section of the report must contain the following information for MTEs conducted in the AFTT Study Area: (i) Exercise information (for each MTE): (A) Exercise designator; (B) Date that exercise began and ended; (C) Location; (D) Number and types of active sonar sources used in the exercise; (E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise; (F) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms participating in exercise; (G) Total hours of all active sonar source operation; (H) Total hours of each active sonar source bin; and (I) Wave height (high, low, and average) during exercise. PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (ii) Individual marine mammal sighting information for each sighting in each exercise where mitigation was implemented: (A) Date/time/location of sighting; (B) Species (if not possible, indication of whale/dolphin/pinniped); (C) Number of individuals; (D) Initial detection sensor (e.g., sonar, Lookout); (E) Indication of specific type of platform observation made from (including, for example, what type of surface vessel or testing platform); (F) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine mammal; (G) Sea state; (H) Visibility; (I) Sound source in use at the time of sighting; (J) Indication of whether animal was less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd from sonar source; (K) Mitigation implementation (e.g., whether operation of sonar sensor was delayed, or sonar was powered or shut down, and how long the delay was); (L) If source in use was hull-mounted, true bearing of animal from the vessel, true direction of vessel’s travel, and estimation of animal’s motion relative to vessel (opening, closing, parallel); and (M) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on surface and not swimming, etc.) and if any calves were present. (iii) An evaluation (based on data gathered during all of the MTEs) of the effectiveness of mitigation measures designed to minimize the received level to which marine mammals may be exposed. This evaluation must identify the specific observations that support any conclusions the Navy reaches about the effectiveness of the mitigation. (2) Sinking exercises (SINKEXs). This section of the report must include the following information for each SINKEX completed that year: (i) Exercise information (gathered for each SINKEX): (A) Location; (B) Date and time exercise began and ended; (C) Total hours of observation by Lookouts before, during, and after exercise; (D) Total number and types of explosive source bins detonated; (E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise; (F) Total hours of passive acoustic search time; E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules (G) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms participating in exercise; (H) Wave height in feet (high, low, and average) during exercise; and (I) Narrative description of sensors and platforms utilized for marine mammal detection and timeline illustrating how marine mammal detection was conducted. (ii) Individual marine mammal sighting information for each sighting where mitigation was implemented: (A) Date/time/location of sighting; (B) Species (if not possible, indicate whale, dolphin, or pinniped); (C) Number of individuals; (D) Initial detection sensor (e.g., sonar or Lookout); (E) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine mammal; (F) Sea state; (G) Visibility; and (H) Whether sighting was before, during, or after detonations/exercise, and how many minutes before or after. (I) Distance of marine mammal from actual detonations (e.g. less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd, or target spot if not yet detonated). (J) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on surface and not swimming etc.), including speed and direction and if any calves were present. (K) Resulting mitigation implementation: The report must indicate whether explosive detonations were delayed, ceased, modified, or not modified due to marine mammal presence and for how long. (L) If observation occurred while explosives were detonating in the water, indicate munition type in use at time of marine mammal detection. (3) Summary of sources used. This section must include the following information summarized from the authorized sound sources used in all training and testing events: (i) Total annual hours or quantity (per the LOA) of each bin of sonar or other acoustic sources (pile driving and air gun activities); and (ii) Total annual expended/detonated ordnance (missiles, bombs, sonobuoys, etc.) for each explosive bin. (4) Geographic information presentation. The reports must present an annual (and seasonal, where practical) depiction of training and testing bin usage (as well as pile driving activities) geographically across the AFTT Study Area. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 (5) Sonar exercise notification. The Navy must submit to NMFS (contact as specified in the LOA) an electronic report within fifteen calendar days after the completion of any MTE indicating: (i) Location of the exercise; (ii) Beginning and end dates of the exercise; and (iii) Type of exercise. (f) Seven-year close-out comprehensive training and testing report. This report must be included as part of the 2025 annual training and testing report. This report must provide the annual totals for each sound source bin with a comparison to the annual allowance and the seven-year total for each sound source bin with a comparison to the seven-year allowance. Additionally, if there were any changes to the sound source allowance, this report must include a discussion of why the change was made and include the analysis to support how the change did or did not result in a change in the EIS and final rule determinations. The draft report must be submitted within three months after the expiration of this subpart to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS. NMFS must submit comments on the draft close-out report, if any, within three months of receipt. The report will be considered final after the Navy has addressed NMFS’ comments, or 3 months after the submittal of the draft if NMFS does not provide comments. § 218.86 Letters of Authorization. (a) To incidentally take marine mammals pursuant to the regulations in this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain Letters of Authorization (LOAs) in accordance with § 216.106 of this chapter. (b) LOAs, unless suspended or revoked, may be effective for a period of time not to exceed the expiration date of the regulations in this subpart. (c) If an LOA expires prior to the expiration date of the regulations in this subpart, the Navy may apply for and obtain a renewal of the LOA. (d) In the event of projected changes to the activity or to mitigation, monitoring, or reporting (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision of § 218.87(c)(1) as required by an LOA issued under this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain a modification of the LOA as described in § 218.87. (e) Each LOA will set forth: (1) Permissible methods of incidental taking; (2) Specified geographic areas for incidental taking; (3) Means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact (i.e., PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 21195 mitigation) on the species or stocks of marine mammals and their habitat; and (4) Requirements for monitoring and reporting. (f) Issuance of the LOA(s) will be based on a determination that the level of taking must be consistent with the findings made for the total taking allowable under the regulations in this subpart. (g) Notice of issuance or denial of the LOA(s) will be published in the Federal Register within 30 days of a determination. § 218.87 Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization. (a) An LOA issued under §§ 216.106 of this subchapter and 218.86 may be renewed or modified upon request by the applicant, provided that: (1) The planned specified activity and mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures, as well as the anticipated impacts, are the same as those described and analyzed for the regulations in this subpart (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section); and (2) NMFS determines that the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures required by the previous LOA(s) under the regulations in this subpart were implemented. (b) For LOA modification or renewal requests by the applicant that include changes to the activity or to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section) that do not change the findings made for the regulations or result in no more than a minor change in the total estimated number of takes (or distribution by species or stock or years), NMFS may publish a notice of planned LOA in the Federal Register, including the associated analysis of the change, and solicit public comment before issuing the LOA. (c) An LOA issued under §§ 216.106 of this subchapter and 218.86 may be modified by NMFS under the following circumstances: (1) Adaptive management. After consulting with the Navy regarding the practicability of the modifications, NMFS may modify (including adding or removing measures) the existing mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures if doing so creates a reasonable likelihood of more effectively accomplishing the goals of the mitigation and monitoring. (i) Possible sources of data that could contribute to the decision to modify the E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4 21196 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with PROPOSALS4 mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures in an LOA include: (A) Results from the Navy’s monitoring from the previous year(s); (B) Results from other marine mammal and/or sound research or studies; or (C) Any information that reveals marine mammals may have been taken in a manner, extent, or number not authorized by the regulations in this subpart or subsequent LOAs. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:25 May 10, 2019 Jkt 247001 (ii) If, through adaptive management, the modifications to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures are substantial, NMFS will publish a notice of planned LOA in the Federal Register and solicit public comment. (2) Emergencies. If NMFS determines that an emergency exists that poses a significant risk to the well-being of the species or stocks of marine mammals specified in LOAs issued pursuant to PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.86, an LOA may be modified without prior notice or opportunity for public comment. Notice would be published in the Federal Register within thirty days of the action. § § 218.88–218.89 [Reserved] [FR Doc. 2019–09541 Filed 5–10–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\13MYP4.SGM 13MYP4

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 92 (Monday, May 13, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 21126-21196]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-09541]



[[Page 21125]]

Vol. 84

Monday,

No. 92

May 13, 2019

Part IV





Department of Commerce





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





National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration





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





50 CFR Part 218





Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental 
to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Atlantic Fleet 
Training and Testing Study Area; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2019 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 21126]]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 218

[Docket No. 190220145-9145-01]
RIN 0648-BI85


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the 
Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comment.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) to 
extend the time period from November 2023 to November 2025 for Marine 
Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations authorizing the take of marine 
mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in 
the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area. In August 
2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National Defense 
Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for seven-year 
authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to the 
previously allowed five years. The Navy's activities qualify as 
military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the 
NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004. In making the request to extend the time 
period covered by the MMPA AFTT regulations from five to seven years, 
the Navy proposes no changes to their specified activities, the 
geographical region in which those activities would be conducted, 
mitigation measures, monitoring, or reporting over the longer seven-
year period. Pursuant to the MMPA, NMFS is requesting comments on the 
proposed seven-year rule and associated Letters of Authorization (LOAs) 
to cover the same activities covered by the existing 2018 AFTT 
regulations. NMFS will consider all public comments prior to issuing 
any final rule and making final decisions on the issuance of the 
requested LOAs, and agency responses will be summarized in the notice 
of the final decision.

DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than June 12, 
2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2019-0050, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0050, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Jolie Harrison, Chief, 
Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East West Highway, Silver 
Spring, MD 20910.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter 
``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). 
Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, 
Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    A copy of the Navy's applications, NMFS' proposed and final rules 
and subsequent LOAs for the existing regulations, and other supporting 
documents and documents cited herein may be obtained online at: 
www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities. In case of problems 
accessing these documents, please use the contact listed here (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose of Regulatory Action

    These proposed regulations, issued under the authority of the MMPA 
(16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), would extend the framework for authorizing 
the take of marine mammals incidental to the Navy's training and 
testing activities (which qualify as military readiness activities) 
from the use of sonar and other transducers, in-water detonations, air 
guns, impact pile driving/vibratory extraction, and the movement of 
vessels throughout the AFTT Study Area, which includes areas of the 
western Atlantic Ocean along the East Coast of North America, portions 
of the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
    NMFS received an application from the Navy requesting to extend 
NMFS' existing MMPA regulations (50 CFR part 218, subpart I; hereafter 
``2018 AFTT regulations'') that authorize the take of marine mammals 
incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the 
AFTT Study Area to cover seven years of the Navy's activities, instead 
of five. Take is anticipated to occur by Level A harassment and Level B 
harassment as well as a very small number of serious injuries or 
mortalities incidental to the Navy's training and testing activities.

Background

    The MMPA prohibits the ``take'' of marine mammals, with certain 
exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA 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 is provided to the public for review and the opportunity 
to submit comments.
    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS 
finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stocks and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of the species or stocks 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 this rule as 
``mitigation measures''); and requirements pertaining to the monitoring 
and reporting of such takings. The MMPA defines ``take'' to mean to 
harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or 
kill any marine mammal. The Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact 
Determination section below discusses the definition of ``negligible 
impact.''
    The NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004 (2004 NDAA) (Pub. L. 108-136) amended 
section 101(a)(5) of the MMPA to remove the ``small numbers'' and 
``specified geographical region'' provisions indicated above and 
amended the definition of ``harassment''

[[Page 21127]]

as it applies to a ``military readiness activity'' to read as follows 
(Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): (i) Any act that injures or has the 
significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock 
in the wild (Level A Harassment); or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is 
likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by 
causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not 
limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or 
significantly altered (Level B Harassment). In addition, the 2004 NDAA 
amended the MMPA as it relates to military readiness activities such 
that least practicable adverse impact shall include consideration of 
personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the 
effectiveness of the military readiness activity.
    More recently, section 316 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2019 (2019 
NDAA) (Pub. L. 115-232), signed on August 13, 2018, amended the MMPA to 
allow incidental take rules for military readiness activities under 
section 101(a)(5)(A) to be issued for up to seven years. Prior to this 
amendment, all incidental take rules under section 101(a)(5)(A) were 
limited to five years.

Summary of Request

    On November 14, 2018, NMFS issued a five-year final rule governing 
the taking of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing 
activities conducted in the AFTT Study Area (83 FR 57076; hereafter 
``2018 AFTT final rule''). Previously on August 13, 2018, and towards 
the end of the time period in which NMFS was processing the Navy's 
request for the 2018 regulations, the 2019 NDAA amended the MMPA for 
military readiness activities to allow incidental take regulations to 
be issued for up to seven years instead of the previous five years. The 
Navy's training and testing activities conducted in the AFTT Study Area 
qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as 
amended by the 2004 NDAA. On November 16, 2018, the Navy submitted an 
application requesting that NMFS extend the 2018 AFTT regulations and 
associated LOAs such that they would cover take incidental to seven 
years of training and testing activities instead of five, extending the 
expiration date from November 13, 2023 to November 13, 2025. A revised 
application correcting the estimated takes due to ship shock trials 
(Table 5.1-2) was submitted to NMFS by the Navy on January 18, 2019.
    In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the nature 
of the specified activities covered by the 2018 AFTT final rule, the 
level of activity within and between years would be consistent with 
that previously analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, and all 
activities would be conducted within the same boundaries of the AFTT 
Study Area identified in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Therefore, the 
training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and sources used, 
exercises conducted) and the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting 
measures are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule. The only changes included in the Navy's request are to 
conduct those same activities in the same region for an additional two 
years. In its request, the Navy included all information necessary to 
identify the type and amount of incidental take that may occur in the 
two additional years so NMFS could determine whether the analyses and 
conclusions regarding the impacts of the proposed activities on marine 
mammal species and stocks previously reached for five years of 
activities remain the same for seven years of identical activity.
    The Navy's mission is to organize, train, equip, and maintain 
combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring 
aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas. This mission is 
mandated by federal law (10 U.S.C. 8062), which ensures the readiness 
of the naval forces of the United States. The Navy executes this 
responsibility by establishing and executing training programs, 
including at-sea training and exercises, and ensuring naval forces have 
access to the ranges, operating areas (OPAREAs), and airspace needed to 
develop and maintain skills for conducting naval activities.
    The Navy proposes to continue conducting training and testing 
activities within the AFTT Study Area. The Navy's January 18, 2019, 
rulemaking and LOA extension application (hereafter ``2019 Navy 
application'') reflects the same compilation of training and testing 
activities presented in the Navy's June 16, 2017, initial rulemaking 
and LOA application (hereafter ``2017 Navy application'') and the 2018 
AFTT regulations that were subsequently promulgated, which can be found 
at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities. These 
activities are deemed by the Navy necessary to accomplish military 
readiness requirements and are anticipated to continue into the 
reasonably foreseeable future. The 2019 Navy application and this rule 
cover training and testing activities that would occur over seven 
years, including the five years already authorized under the 2018 AFTT 
regulations, with the regulations valid from the publication date of 
the final rule (if issued) through November 13, 2025.

Summary of the Proposed Regulations

    NMFS is proposing to extend the incidental take regulations and 
associated LOAs through November 13, 2025 to cover the same Navy 
activities covered by the 2018 AFTT regulations. The 2018 AFTT final 
rule was only recently published and its analysis remains current and 
valid. In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the 
nature (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted) or level 
of the specified activities within or between years or to the 
boundaries of the AFTT Study Area. The mitigation, monitoring, and 
reporting measures would be identical to those described and analyzed 
in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The proposed regulatory language included 
at the end of this proposed rule, which would be published at 50 CFR 
part 218, subpart I, also is the same as that under the AFTT 2018 
regulations, except for a small number of minor, technical changes. No 
new information has been received from the Navy, or otherwise become 
available to NMFS, since publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule that 
significantly changes the analyses supporting the 2018 findings. Where 
there is any new information pertinent to the descriptions, analyses, 
or findings required to authorize incidental take for military 
readiness activities under MMPA section 101(a)(5)(A), that information 
is provided in the appropriate sections below.
    Because the activities included in the 2019 Navy application have 
not changed and the analyses and findings included in the documents 
provided and produced in support of the recently published 2018 AFTT 
final rule remain current and applicable, this proposed rule relies 
heavily on and references to the applicable information and analyses in 
those documents. Below is a list of the regulatory documents referenced 
in this proposed rule. The list indicates the short name by which the 
document is referenced in this proposed rule, as well as the full 
titles of the cited documents. All of the documents can be found at: 
www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities and http://www.aftteis.com/.

[[Page 21128]]

     NMFS March 13, 2018, Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing 
(AFTT) proposed rule (83 FR 10954; hereafter ``2018 AFTT proposed 
rule'');
     NMFS November 14, 2018, Atlantic Fleet Training and 
Testing (AFTT) final rule (83 FR 57076; hereafter ``2018 AFTT final 
rule'');
     NMFS December 27, 2018, Hawaii-Southern California 
Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area final rule (83 FR 66846; 
hereafter ``2018 HSTT final rule'');
     Navy June 16, 2017, MMPA rulemaking and LOA application 
(hereafter ``2017 Navy application'');
     Navy January 18, 2019, MMPA rulemaking and LOA extension 
application (hereafter ``2019 Navy application''); and
     September 14, 2018, Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing 
(AFTT) Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental 
Impact Statement (FEIS/OEIS) (hereafter ``2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS'').

Description of the Specified Activity

    The Navy requests authorization to take marine mammals incidental 
to conducting training and testing activities. The Navy has determined 
that acoustic and explosives stressors are most likely to result in 
impacts on marine mammals that could rise to the level of harassment. 
Detailed descriptions of these activities are provided in Chapter 2 of 
the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS and in the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications.

Overview of Training and Testing Activities

    The Navy routinely trains in the AFTT Study Area in preparation for 
national defense missions. Training and testing activities and 
components covered in the 2019 Navy application are described in detail 
in the Overview of Training and Testing Activities sections of the 2018 
AFTT proposed rule and the 2018 AFTT final rule and Chapter 2 of the 
2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS (http://www.aftteis.com/). Each military training 
and testing activity described meets mandated Fleet requirements to 
deploy ready forces. The Navy proposes no changes to the specified 
activities described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The 
boundaries of the AFTT Study Area (see Figure 1.2-1 of the 2019 Navy 
application); the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and 
sources used, exercises conducted); manner of or amount of vessel 
movement; and standard operating procedures presented in this proposed 
rule are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule.

Dates and Duration

    The specified activities would occur at any time during the seven-
year period of validity of the regulations. The proposed number of 
training and testing activities are described in the Detailed 
Description of the Specified Activities section (Tables 1 through 4).

Specified Geographical Region

    The Navy proposes no changes to the geographic extent of the AFTT 
Study Area as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule. The AFTT Study 
Area (see Figure 2-1 of the 2019 Navy application) includes areas of 
the western Atlantic Ocean along the east coast of North America, the 
Gulf of Mexico, and portions of the Caribbean Sea. The AFTT Study Area 
begins at the mean high tide line along the U.S. coast and extends east 
to the 45-degree west longitude line, north to the 65-degree north 
latitude line, and south to approximately the 20-degree north latitude 
line. The AFTT Study Area also includes Navy pierside locations, bays, 
harbors, and inland waterways, and civilian ports where training and 
testing occurs. The AFTT Study Area generally follows the Commander 
Task Force 80 area of operations, covering approximately 2.6 million 
nautical miles squared (nmi\2\) of ocean area, and includes designated 
Navy range complexes and associated operating areas (OPAREAs) and 
special use airspace. While the AFTT Study Area itself is very large, 
the vast majority of Navy training and testing occurs in designated 
range complexes and testing ranges.
    A Navy range complex consists of geographic areas that encompass a 
water component (above and below the surface) and airspace, and may 
encompass a land component where training and testing of military 
platforms, tactics, munitions, explosives, and electronic warfare 
systems occur. Range complexes include established OPAREAs, which may 
be further divided to provide better control of the area for safety 
reasons. Additional detail on range complexes and testing ranges was 
provided in the Duration and Location section of the 2018 AFTT proposed 
rule; please see the 2018 AFTT proposed rule or the 2017 Navy 
application for more information.

Description of Acoustic and Explosive Stressors

    The Navy uses a variety of sensors, platforms, weapons, and other 
devices, including ones used to ensure the safety of Sailors and 
Marines, to meet its mission. Training and testing with these systems 
may introduce acoustic (sound) energy or shock waves from explosives 
into the environment. The specific components that could act as 
stressors by having direct or indirect impacts on the environment are 
described in detail in the Description of Acoustic and Explosive 
Stressors section of the 2018 AFTT final rule and Chapter 2 of the 2018 
AFTT FEIS/OEIS. The Navy proposes no changes to the nature of the 
specified activities and, therefore, the acoustic and explosive 
stressors are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 
AFTT final rule.

Other Stressor--Vessel Strike

    Vessel strikes are not specific to any particular training or 
testing activity, but rather a limited, sporadic, and incidental result 
of Navy vessel movement within the AFTT Study Area. Navy vessels 
transit at speeds that are optimal for fuel conservation or to meet 
training and testing requirements. The average speed of large Navy 
ships ranges between 10 and 15 knots and submarines generally operate 
at speeds in the range of 8-13 knots, while a few specialized vessels 
can travel at faster speeds. By comparison, this is slower than most 
commercial vessels where full speed for a container ship is typically 
24 knots (Bonney and Leach, 2010).
    Should a vessel strike occur, it would likely result in incidental 
take from serious injury and/or mortality and, accordingly, for the 
purposes of the analysis we assume that any ship strike would result in 
serious injury or mortality. The Navy proposes no changes to the nature 
of the specified activities, the training and testing activities, the 
manner of or amount of vessel movement, and standard operating 
procedures. Therefore, the description of vessel strikes as a stressor 
is the same as those presented in the Other Stressor--Vessel Strike 
sections of the 2018 AFTT proposed rule and 2018 AFTT final rule.

Detailed Description of the Specified Activities

    The Navy's proposed activities are presented and analyzed as a 
representative year of training to account for the natural fluctuation 
of training cycles and deployment schedules in any seven-year period. 
In the 2018 AFTT final rule, NMFS analyzed activities based on the Navy 
conducting three years of a representative level of activity and two 
years of a maximum level of activity. For the purposes of this 
rulemaking, the Navy proposes that the additional two

[[Page 21129]]

years of training and testing would consist of one additional year of 
maximum training tempo and one representative year of training tempo 
consistent with the pattern set forth in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the 
2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS, and the 2017 Navy application.
Proposed Training Activities
    The number of proposed training activities that could occur 
annually and the duration of those activities remains identical to 
those presented in Table 4 of the 2018 AFTT final rule, and are not 
repeated here. The number of proposed training activities that could 
occur over the seven-year period are presented in Table 1. The table is 
organized according to primary mission areas and includes the activity 
name, associated stressors applicable to these proposed regulations, 
sound source bin, number of proposed activities, and locations of those 
activities in the AFTT Study Area. For further information regarding 
the primary platform used (e.g., ship or aircraft type) see Appendix A 
(Navy Activity Descriptions) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS.

                               Table 1--Proposed Training Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in the AFTT Study Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                     7-Year number
     Stressor category            Activity name       Activity description         Source bin        of activities              Location \2\
                                                                                                          \1\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Major Training Exercise--Large Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Composite Training      Aircraft carrier and    ASW1, ASW2, ASW3,                  17  VACAPES RC; Navy Cherry
                              Unit Exercise.          its associated          ASW4, ASW5, HF1,                      Point RC; JAX RC.
                                                      aircraft integrate      LF6, MF1, MF3, MF4,
                                                      with surface and        MF5, MF11, MF12.
                                                      submarine units in a
                                                      challenging multi-
                                                      threat operational
                                                      environment in order
                                                      to certify them for
                                                      deployment.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Major Training Exercises--Medium Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Fleet Exercises/        Aircraft carrier and    ASW1, ASW2, ASW3,                  28  JAX RC.
                              Sustainment Exercise.   its associated          ASW4, HF1, LF6, MF1,              14  VACAPES RC.
                                                      aircraft integrates     MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11,
                                                      with surface and        MF12.
                                                      submarine units in a
                                                      challenging multi-
                                                      threat operational
                                                      environment in order
                                                      to maintain their
                                                      ability to deploy.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Integrated/Coordinated Training--Small Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Naval Undersea Warfare  Multiple ships,         ASW1, ASW3, ASW4,                  42  JAX RC.
                              Training Assessment     aircraft, and           HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3,               21  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                              Course.                 submarines integrate    MF4, MF5, MF12.                   21  VACAPES RC.
                                                      the use of their
                                                      sensors to search
                                                      for, detect,
                                                      classify, localize,
                                                      and track a threat
                                                      submarine in order to
                                                      launch an exercise
                                                      torpedo.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Integrated/Coordinated Training--Medium Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  Surface ships,          ASW1, ASW3, ASW4,                  14  JAX RC.
                              Tactical Development    aircraft, and           HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3,                7  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                              Exercise.               submarines coordinate   MF4, MF5, MF11, MF12.              7  VACAPES RC.
                                                      to search for,
                                                      detect, and track
                                                      submarines.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Integrated/Coordinated Training--Small Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Group Sail............  Surface ships and       ASW2, ASW3, ASW4,                  28  JAX RC.
                                                      helicopters search      HF1, MF1, MF3, MF4,               28  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      for, detect, and        MF5, MF11, MF12.                  35  VACAPES RC.
                                                      track threat
                                                      submarines.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Amphibious Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Naval Surface Fire      Surface ship crews use  E5...................              28  GOMEX RC.
                              Support Exercise--At    large-caliber guns to                                     84  JAX RC.
                              Sea.                    support forces                                            14  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      ashore; however, the                                     266  VACAPES RC.
                                                      land target is
                                                      simulated at sea.
                                                      Rounds are scored by
                                                      passive acoustic
                                                      buoys located at or
                                                      near the target area.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Anti-Submarine Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-submarine Warfare  Helicopter aircrews     MF4, MF5, TORP1......              98  JAX RC.
                              Torpedo Exercise--      search for, track,                                        28  VACAPES RC.
                              Helicopter.             and detect
                                                      submarines.
                                                      Recoverable air
                                                      launched torpedoes
                                                      are employed against
                                                      submarine targets.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-submarine Warfare  Maritime patrol         MF5, TORP1...........              98  JAX RC.
                              Torpedo Exercise--      aircraft aircrews                                         28  VACAPES RC.
                              Maritime Patrol         search for, track,
                              Aircraft.               and detect
                                                      submarines.
                                                      Recoverable air
                                                      launched torpedoes
                                                      are employed against
                                                      submarine targets.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  Surface ship crews      ASW3, MF1, TORP1.....             112  JAX RC.
                              Torpedo Exercise--      search for, track,                                        35  VACAPES RC.
                              Ship.                   and detect
                                                      submarines. Exercise
                                                      torpedoes are used.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  Submarine crews search  ASW4, HF1, MF3, TORP2              84  JAX RC.
                              Torpedo Exercise--      for, track, and                                           42  Northeast RC.
                              Submarine.              detect submarines.                                        14  VACAPES RC.
                                                      Exercise torpedoes
                                                      are used.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  Helicopter aircrews     MF4, MF5.............             168  Other AFTT Areas.
                              Tracking Exercise--     search for, track,                                     2,590  JAX RC.
                              Helicopter.             and detect submarines.                                    84  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                                56  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  Maritime patrol         ASW5, ASW2, MF5......             630  Northeast RC.
                              Tracking Exercise--     aircraft aircrews                                      1,232  VACAPES RC.
                              Maritime Patrol         search for, track,                                     3,675  JAX RC.
                              Aircraft.               and detect submarines.                                   322  Navy Cherry Point RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 21130]]

 
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  Surface ship crews      ASW1, ASW3, MF1,                 * 35  Northeast RC.
                              Tracking Exercise--     search for, track,      MF11, MF12.                    * 770  Other AFTT Areas.
                              Ship.                   and detect submarines.                                  * 35  GOMEX RC.
                                                                                                           * 3,080  JAX RC.
                                                                                                             * 385  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                           * 1,540  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  Submarine crews search  ASW4, HF1, MF3.......             308  Other AFTT Areas.
                              Tracking Exercise--     for, track, and                                           91  JAX RC.
                              Submarine.              detect submarines.                                         7  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                               126  Northeast RC.
                                                                                                                42  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Expeditionary Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Maritime Security       Small boat crews        E2...................              14  GOMEX RC.
                              Operations--Anti-       engage in force                                           14  JAX RC.
                              Swimmer Grenades.       protection activities                                     14  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      by using anti-swimmer                                     28  Northeast RC.
                                                      grenades to defend                                        35  VACAPES RC.
                                                      against hostile
                                                      divers.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Mine Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Airborne Mine           Helicopter aircrews     HF4..................             462  GOMEX RC.
                              Countermeasure--Mine    detect mines using                                     2,219  JAX RC.
                              Detection.              towed or laser mine                                    2,597  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      detection systems.                                     1,708  NSWC Panama City.
                                                                                                            10,780  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Civilian Port Defense-- Maritime security       HF4, SAS2, E2, E4....               4  Beaumont, TX; Boston, MA; Corpus
                              Homeland Security       personnel train to                                             Christi, TX; Delaware Bay, DE;
                              Anti-Terrorism/Force    protect civilian                                               Earle, NJ; GOMEX RC; Hampton Roads,
                              Protection Exercise.    ports against enemy                                            VA; JAX RC; Kings Bay, GA; NS
                                                      efforts to interfere                                           Mayport; Morehead City, NC; Port
                                                      with access to those                                           Canaveral, FL; Savannah, GA; Tampa
                                                      ports.                                                         Bay, FL; VACAPES RC; Wilmington,
                                                                                                                     NC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Coordinated Unit Level  A detachment of         HF4..................              14  GOMEX RC.
                              Helicopter Airborne     helicopter aircrews                                       14  JAX RC.
                              Mine Countermeasure     train as a unit in                                        14  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                              Exercise.               the use of airborne                                       14  VACAPES RC.
                                                      mine countermeasures,
                                                      such as towed mine
                                                      detection and
                                                      neutralization
                                                      systems.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Mine Countermeasures--  Ship, small boat, and   HF4, E4..............             924  GOMEX RC.
                              Mine Neutralization--   helicopter crews                                         497  JAX RC.
                              Remotely Operated       locate and disable                                       497  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                              Vehicle.                mines using remotely                                   4,410  VACAPES RC.
                                                      operated underwater
                                                      vehicles.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Mine Countermeasures--  Ship crews detect and   HF4..................             154  GOMEX RC.
                              Ship Sonar.             avoid mines while                                        371  JAX RC.
                                                      navigating restricted                                    371  VACAPES RC.
                                                      areas or channels
                                                      using active sonar.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Mine Neutralization--   Personnel disable       E4, E5, E6, E7.......              42  Lower Chesapeake Bay.
                              Explosive Ordnance      threat mines using                                       112  GOMEX RC.
                              Disposal.               explosive charges.                                       140  JAX RC.
                                                                                                               119  Key West RC.
                                                                                                               112  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                             3,668  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Surface Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Bombing Exercise Air-   Fixed-wing aircrews     E9, E10, E12.........             469  GOMEX RC.
                              to-Surface.             deliver bombs against                                  3,038  JAX RC.
                                                      surface targets.                                         756  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                             2,303  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Gunnery Exercise        Small boat crews fire   E1...................              42  GOMEX RC.
                              Surface-to-Surface      medium-caliber guns                                      182  JAX RC.
                              Boat Medium-Caliber.    at surface targets.                                      896  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                                14  Northeast RC.
                                                                                                             1,820  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Gunnery Exercise        Surface ship crews      E3, E5...............              70  Other AFTT Areas.
                              Surface-to-Surface      fire large-caliber                                        63  GOMEX RC.
                              Ship Large-Caliber.     guns at surface                                          357  JAX RC.
                                                      targets.                                                 245  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                               525  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Gunnery Exercise        Surface ship crews      E1...................             287  Other AFTT Areas.
                              Surface-to-Surface      fire medium-caliber                                      231  GOMEX RC.
                              Ship Medium-Caliber.    guns at surface                                        1,127  JAX RC.
                                                      targets.                                                 504  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                             2,247  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Integrated Live Fire    Naval forces defend     E1, E3, E6, E10......              14  VACAPES RC.
                              Exercise.               against a swarm of                                        14  JAX RC.
                                                      surface threats
                                                      (ships or small
                                                      boats) with bombs,
                                                      missiles, rockets,
                                                      and small-, medium- ,
                                                      and large-caliber
                                                      guns.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 21131]]

 
Explosive..................  Missile Exercise Air-   Fixed-wing and          E6, E8, E10..........             714  JAX RC.
                              to-Surface.             helicopter aircrews                                      364  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      fire air-to-surface                                      616  VACAPES RC.
                                                      missiles at surface
                                                      targets.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Missile Exercise Air-   Helicopter aircrews     E3...................              70  GOMEX RC.
                              to-Surface--Rocket.     fire both precision-                                     714  JAX RC.
                                                      guided and unguided                                       70  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      rockets at surface                                       644  VACAPES RC.
                                                      targets.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Missile Exercise        Surface ship crews      E6, E10..............             112  JAX RC.
                              Surface-to-Surface.     defend against                                            84  VACAPES RC.
                                                      surface threats
                                                      (ships or small
                                                      boats) and engage
                                                      them with missiles.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Sinking Exercise......  Aircraft, ship, and     TORP2, E5, E8, E9,                  7  SINKEX Box.
                                                      submarine crews         E10, E11.
                                                      deliberately sink a
                                                      seaborne target,
                                                      usually a
                                                      decommissioned ship
                                                      (made environmentally
                                                      safe for sinking
                                                      according to U.S.
                                                      Environmental
                                                      Protection Agency
                                                      standards), with a
                                                      variety of munitions.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Other Training Activities
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Elevated Causeway       A temporary pier is     Impact hammer or                    7  Lower Chesapeake Bay.
                              System.                 constructed off the     vibratory extractor.               7  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      beach. Supporting
                                                      pilings are driven
                                                      into the sand and
                                                      then later removed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Submarine Navigation..  Submarine crews         HF1, MF3.............           1,183  NSB New London.
                                                      operate sonar for                                         21  NSB Kings Bay.
                                                      navigation and object                                     21  NS Mayport.
                                                      detection while                                          588  NS Norfolk.
                                                      transiting into and                                      161  Port Canaveral, FL.
                                                      out of port during
                                                      reduced visibility.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Submarine Sonar         Maintenance of          MF3..................              84  Other AFTT Areas.
                              Maintenance.            submarine sonar                                          462  NSB New London.
                                                      systems is conducted                                      63  JAX RC.
                                                      pierside or at sea.                                       14  NSB Kings Bay.
                                                                                                               238  NS Norfolk.
                                                                                                               602  Northeast RC.
                                                                                                                14  Port Canaveral, FL.
                                                                                                                88  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                               326  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Submarine Under Ice     Submarine crews train   HF1..................              21  JAX RC.
                              Certification.          to operate under ice.                                     21  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      Ice conditions are                                        63  Northeast RC.
                                                      simulated during                                          63  VACAPES RC.
                                                      training and
                                                      certification events.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Surface Ship Object     Surface ship crews      HF8, MF1K............             532  NS Mayport.
                              Detection.              operate sonar for                                      1,134  NS Norfolk.
                                                      navigation and object
                                                      detection while
                                                      transiting in and out
                                                      of port during
                                                      reduced visibility.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Surface Ship Sonar      Maintenance of surface  HF8, MF1.............             350  JAX RC.
                              Maintenance.            ship sonar systems is                                    350  NS Mayport.
                                                      conducted pierside or                                    840  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      at sea.                                                1,645  NS Norfolk.
                                                                                                               840  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The number of proposed training activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities remains identical to those presented in
  Table 4 of the 2018 AFTT final rule.
\2\ Locations given are areas where activities typically occur. However, activities could be conducted in other locations within the Study Area. Where
  multiple locations are provided within a single cell, the number of activities could occur in any of the locations, not in each of the locations.
* For Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise--Ship, 50 percent of requirements are met through synthetic training or other training exercises.
Notes: GOMEX: Gulf of Mexico; JAX: Jacksonville; NS: Naval Station; NSB: Naval Submarine Base; NSWC: Naval Surface Warfare Center; RC: Range Complex;
  VACAPES: Virginia Capes.

Proposed Testing Activities
    The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually 
and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented 
in Tables 5 through 7 of the 2018 AFTT final rule, and are not repeated 
here. Similar to the 2017 Navy application, the Navy's proposed testing 
activities here are based on the level of testing activities 
anticipated to be conducted into the reasonably foreseeable future, 
with adjustments that account for changes in the types and tempo 
(increases or decreases) of testing activities to meet current and 
future military readiness requirements. The number of proposed testing 
activities that could occur for the seven-year period are presented in 
Tables 2 through 4. The number of ship shock trials for the seven-year 
period would remain the same as the number authorized under the 2018 
AFTT final rule.

Naval Air Systems Command

    The proposed Naval Air Systems Command testing activities that 
could occur over the seven-year period within the AFTT Study Area are 
presented in Table 2.

                  Table 2--Proposed Naval Air Systems Command Testing Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in the AFTT Study Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                     7-Year number
     Stressor category            Activity name       Activity description         Source bin        of activities              Location \2\
                                                                                                          \1\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Anti-Submarine Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  This event is similar   MF5, TORP1...........             209  JAX RC.
                              Torpedo Test.           to the training event                                    523  VACAPES RC.
                                                      torpedo exercise.
                                                      Test evaluates anti-
                                                      submarine warfare
                                                      systems onboard
                                                      rotary-wing (e.g.,
                                                      helicopter) and fixed-
                                                      wing aircraft and the
                                                      ability to search
                                                      for, detect,
                                                      classify, localize,
                                                      track, and attack a
                                                      submarine or similar
                                                      target.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 21132]]

 
Acoustic, Explosive........  Anti-Submarine Warfare  This event is similar   MF4, MF5, E3.........              34  GOMEX RC.
                              Tracking Test--         to the training event                                     36  JAX RC.
                              Helicopter.             anti-submarine                                            64  Key West RC.
                                                      warfare tracking                                         442  Northeast RC.
                                                      exercise--helicopter.                                  1,368  VACAPES RC.
                                                      The test evaluates
                                                      the sensors and
                                                      systems used to
                                                      detect and track
                                                      submarines and to
                                                      ensure that
                                                      helicopter systems
                                                      used to deploy the
                                                      tracking system
                                                      perform to
                                                      specifications.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Anti-Submarine Warfare  The test evaluates the  ASW2, ASW5, E1, E3,                85  GOMEX RC.
                              Tracking Test--         sensors and systems     MF5, MF6.                        133  JAX RC.
                              Maritime Patrol         used by maritime                                          76  Key West RC.
                              Aircraft.               patrol aircraft to                                       101  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                      detect and track                                         279  Northeast RC.
                                                      submarines and to                                        175  VACAPES RC.
                                                      ensure that aircraft
                                                      systems used to
                                                      deploy the tracking
                                                      systems perform to
                                                      specifications and
                                                      meet operational
                                                      requirements.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Kilo Dip..............  Functional check of a   MF4..................              22  GOMEX RC.
                                                      helicopter deployed                                       12  JAX RC.
                                                      dipping sonar system                                      12  Key West RC.
                                                      prior to conducting a                                     12  Northeast RC.
                                                      testing or training                                      200  VACAPES RC.
                                                      event using the
                                                      dipping sonar system.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Sonobuoy Lot            Sonobuoys are deployed  ASW2, ASW5, HF5, HF6,           1,120  Key West RC.
                              Acceptance Test.        from surface vessels    LF4, MF5, MF6, E1,
                                                      and aircraft to         E3, E4.
                                                      verify the integrity
                                                      and performance of a
                                                      production lot or
                                                      group of sonobuoys in
                                                      advance of delivery
                                                      to the fleet for
                                                      operational use.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Mine Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Airborne Dipping Sonar  A mine-hunting dipping  HF4..................             144  NSWC Panama City.
                              Minehunting Test.       sonar system that is                                      66  VACAPES RC.
                                                      deployed from a
                                                      helicopter and uses
                                                      high-frequency sonar
                                                      for the detection and
                                                      classification of
                                                      bottom and moored
                                                      mines.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Airborne Mine           A test of the airborne  E4...................             154  NSWC Panama City.
                              Neutralization System   mine neutralization                                      215  VACAPES RC.
                              Test.                   system evaluates the
                                                      system's ability to
                                                      detect and destroy
                                                      mines from an
                                                      airborne mine
                                                      countermeasures
                                                      capable helicopter.
                                                      The airborne mine
                                                      neutralization system
                                                      uses up to four
                                                      unmanned underwater
                                                      vehicles equipped
                                                      with high-frequency
                                                      sonar, video cameras,
                                                      and explosive and non-
                                                      explosive
                                                      neutralizers.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Airborne Sonobuoy       A mine-hunting system   HF6..................             364  NSWC Panama City.
                              Minehunting Test.       made up of a field of                                    168  VACAPES RC.
                                                      sonobuoys deployed by
                                                      a helicopter. A field
                                                      of sonobuoys, using
                                                      high-frequency sonar,
                                                      is used to detect and
                                                      classify bottom and
                                                      moored mines.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Surface Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Air-to-Surface Bombing  This event is similar   E9...................             140  VACAPES RC.
                              Test.                   to the training event
                                                      bombing exercise air-
                                                      to-surface. Fixed-
                                                      wing aircraft test
                                                      the delivery of bombs
                                                      against surface
                                                      maritime targets with
                                                      the goal of
                                                      evaluating the bomb,
                                                      the bomb carry and
                                                      delivery system, and
                                                      any associated
                                                      systems that may have
                                                      been newly developed
                                                      or enhanced.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Air-to-Surface Gunnery  This event is similar   E1...................             295  JAX RC.
                              Test.                   to the training event                                    890  VACAPES RC.
                                                      gunnery exercise air-
                                                      to-surface. Fixed-
                                                      wing and rotary-wing
                                                      aircrews evaluate new
                                                      or enhanced aircraft
                                                      guns against surface
                                                      maritime targets to
                                                      test that the guns,
                                                      gun ammunition, or
                                                      associated systems
                                                      meet required
                                                      specifications or to
                                                      train aircrews in the
                                                      operation of a new or
                                                      enhanced weapon
                                                      system.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Air-to-Surface Missile  This event is similar   E6, E9, E10..........              30  GOMEX RC.
                              Test.                   to the training event                                    234  JAX RC.
                                                      missile exercise air-                                    928  VACAPES RC.
                                                      to-surface. Test may
                                                      involve both fixed-
                                                      wing and rotary-wing
                                                      aircraft launching
                                                      missiles at surface
                                                      maritime targets to
                                                      evaluate the weapon
                                                      system or as part of
                                                      another system's
                                                      integration test.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Rocket Test...........  Rocket tests evaluate   E3...................             121  JAX RC.
                                                      the integration,                                         233  VACAPES RC.
                                                      accuracy,
                                                      performance, and safe
                                                      separation of guided
                                                      and unguided 2.75-
                                                      inch rockets fired
                                                      from a hovering or
                                                      forward-flying
                                                      helicopter.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Other Testing Activities
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Undersea Range System   Following installation  MF9, BB4.............              66  JAX RC.
                              Test.                   of a Navy underwater
                                                      warfare training and
                                                      testing range, tests
                                                      of the nodes
                                                      (components of the
                                                      range) will be
                                                      conducted to include
                                                      node surveys and
                                                      testing of node
                                                      transmission
                                                      functionality.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented in Table 5
  of the 2018 AFTT final rule.
\2\ Locations given are areas where activities typically occur. However, activities could be conducted in other locations within the Study Area.
Notes: GOMEX: Gulf of Mexico; JAX: Jacksonville; NSWC: Naval Surface Warfare Center; RC: Range Complex; VACAPES: Virginia Capes.

Naval Sea Systems Command

    The proposed Naval Sea Systems Command testing activities that 
could occur over the seven-year period within the AFTT Study Area are 
presented in Table 3.

[[Page 21133]]



                  Table 3--Proposed Naval Sea Systems Command Testing Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in the AFTT Study Area.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    7-Year  number
     Stressor category            Activity name       Activity description         Source bin       of  activities              Location \2\
                                                                                                          \1\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Anti-Submarine Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Anti-Submarine Warfare  Ships and their         ASW1, ASW2, ASW3,                 294  JAX RC.
                              Mission Package         supporting platforms    ASW5, MF1, MF4, MF5,              28  Newport, RI.
                              Testing.                (e.g., helicopters,     MF12, TORP1.                      28  NUWC Newport.
                                                      unmanned aerial                                          182  VACAPES RC.
                                                      systems) detect,
                                                      localize, and attack
                                                      submarines.
Acoustic...................  At-Sea Sonar Testing..  At-sea testing to       ASW3, ASW4, HF1, LF5,              14  JAX RC; Navy Cherry Point RC;
                                                      ensure systems are      M3, MF1, MF1K, MF3,                    Northeast RC; VACAPES RC.
                                                      fully functional in     MF5, MF9, MF11,
                                                      an open ocean           TORP2.
                                                      environment.
                                                                                                                 7  JAX RC; Navy Cherry Point RC;
                                                                                                                     VACAPES RC.
                                                                                                                14  offshore Fort Pierce, FL; GOMEX RC;
                                                                                                                     JAX RC; SFOMF; Northeast RC;
                                                                                                                     VACAPES RC.
                                                                                                                28  JAX RC.
                                                                                                                14  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                                56  NUWC Newport.
                                                                                                                84  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Pierside Sonar Testing  Pierside testing to     ASW3, HF1, HF3, HF8,                7  NSB New London; NS Norfolk; Port
                                                      ensure systems are      M3, MF1, MF1K, MF3,                    Canaveral, FL
                                                      fully functional in a   MF9, MF10.
                                                      controlled pierside
                                                      environment prior to
                                                      at-sea test
                                                      activities.
                                                                                                                77  Bath, ME.
                                                                                                                35  NSB New London.
                                                                                                                28  NSB Kings Bay.
                                                                                                                56  Newport, RI.
                                                                                                                91  NS Norfolk.
                                                                                                                14  Pascagoula, MS.
                                                                                                                21  Port Canaveral, FL.
                                                                                                                14  PNS.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Submarine Sonar         Pierside testing of     HF1, HF3, M3, MF3....             112  Norfolk, VA.
                              Testing/Maintenance.    submarine systems                                        168  PNS.
                                                      occurs periodically
                                                      following major
                                                      maintenance periods
                                                      and for routine
                                                      maintenance.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Surface Ship Sonar      Pierside and at-sea     ASW3, MF1, MF1K, MF9,               7  JAX RC.
                              Testing/Maintenance.    testing of ship         MF10.                              7  NS Mayport.
                                                      systems occur                                             21  NS Norfolk.
                                                      periodically                                              21  VACAPES RC.
                                                      following major
                                                      maintenance periods
                                                      and for routine
                                                      maintenance.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Torpedo (Explosive)     Air, surface, or        ASW3, HF1, HF5, HF6,               28  GOMEX RC; offshore Fort Pierce, FL;
                              Testing.                submarine crews         MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5,                    Key West RC; Navy Cherry Point RC;
                                                      employ explosive and    MF6, TORP1, TORP2,                     Northeast RC; VACAPES RC.
                                                      non-explosive           E8, E11.
                                                      torpedoes against
                                                      artificial targets.
                                                                                                                14  GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Northeast RC;
                                                                                                                     VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Torpedo (Non-           Air, surface, or        ASW3, ASW4, HF1, HF6,              49  GOMEX RC.
                              Explosive) Testing.     submarine crews         MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5,               77  offshore Fort Pierce, FL.
                                                      employ non-explosive    MF6, TORP1, TORP2,
                                                      torpedoes against       TORP 3.
                                                      submarines or surface
                                                      vessels. When
                                                      performed on a
                                                      testing range, these
                                                      torpedoes may be
                                                      launched from a range
                                                      craft or fixed
                                                      structures and may
                                                      use artificial
                                                      targets.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                12  JAX, RC.
                                                                                                                49  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                                54  Northeast RC.
                                                                                                               210  NUWC Newport.
                                                                                                                77  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Countermeasure Testing  Countermeasure testing  ASW3, HF5, TORP1,                  35  GOMEX RC; JAX RC; NUWC Newport;
                                                      involves the testing    TORP2.                                 VACAPES RC; Key West RC.
                                                      of systems that will
                                                      detect, localize,
                                                      track, and attack
                                                      incoming weapons
                                                      including marine
                                                      vessel targets.
                                                      Testing includes
                                                      surface ship torpedo
                                                      defense systems and
                                                      marine vessel
                                                      stopping payloads.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                20  GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Northeast RC;
                                                                                                                     VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Mine Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Mine Countermeasure     Air, surface, and       E4, E11..............              91  NSWC Panama City.
                              and Neutralization      subsurface vessels                                        42  VACAPES RC.
                              Testing.                neutralize threat
                                                      mines and mine-like
                                                      objects.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Mine Countermeasure     Vessels and associated  HF4, SAS2, E4........             133  GOMEX RC.
                              Mission Package         aircraft conduct mine                                     70  JAX RC.
                              Testing.                countermeasure                                            77  NSWC Panama City.
                                                      operations.                                               14  SFOMF.
                                                                                                                35  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Mine Detection and      Air, surface, and       HF1, HF4, HF8, MF1,                42  GOMEX RC.
                              Classification          subsurface vessels      MF1K, MF9.                        70  Navy Cherry Point RC.
                              Testing.                and systems detect,
                                                      classify, and avoid
                                                      mines and mine-like
                                                      objects. Vessels also
                                                      assess their
                                                      potential
                                                      susceptibility to
                                                      mines and mine-like
                                                      objects.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                               359  NSWC Panama City.
                                                                                                                66  Riviera Beach, FL.
                                                                                                                28  SFOMF.

[[Page 21134]]

 
                                                                                                                21  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Surface Warfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Gun Testing--Large      Crews defend against    E3, E5...............              84  GOMEX RC.
                              Caliber.                targets with large-                                           JAX RC.
                                                      caliber guns.                                                 Key West RC.
                                                                                                                    Navy Cherry Point RC.
                                                                                                                    Northeast RC.
                                                                                                                    VACAPES RC.
                                                                                                                 7  GOMEX RC;
                                                                                                                 7  JAX RC;
                                                                                                                 7  Key West RC;
                                                                                                                 7  Navy Cherry Point RC;
                                                                                                                 7  Northeast RC;
                                                                                                               231  NSWC Panama City.
                                                                                                                35  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Gun Testing--Medium-    Airborne and surface    E1...................              84  GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Key West RC; Navy
                              Caliber.                crews defend against                                           Cherry Point RC; Northeast RC;
                                                      targets with medium-                                           VACAPES RC.
                                                      caliber guns.
                                                                                                               714  NSWC Panama City.
                                                                                                                34  VACAPES RC.
Explosive..................  Missile and Rocket      Missile and rocket      E6, E10..............              91  GOMEX RC; JAX RC; Key West RC; Navy
                              Testing.                testing includes                                               Cherry Point RC; Northeast RC;
                                                      various missiles or                                            VACAPES RC.
                                                      rockets fired from
                                                      submarines and
                                                      surface combatants.
                                                      Testing of the
                                                      launching system and
                                                      ship defense is
                                                      performed.
                                                                                                                 7  GOMEX RC.
                                                                                                                14  JAX RC.
                                                                                                                35  Northeast RC.
                                                                                                               154  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Unmanned Systems
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive........  Unmanned Underwater     Testing involves the    ASW4, FLS2, HF1, HF4,             112  GOMEX RC; JAX RC; NUWC Newport.
                              Vehicle Testing.        development or          HF5, HF6, HF7, LF5,
                                                      upgrade of unmanned     MF9, MF10, SAS1,
                                                      underwater vehicles.    SA2, SAS3, VHF1, E8.
                                                      This may include
                                                      testing of mine
                                                      detection
                                                      capabilities,
                                                      evaluating the basic
                                                      functions of
                                                      individual platforms,
                                                      or complex events
                                                      with multiple
                                                      vehicles.
                                                                                                               287  GOMEX RC.
                                                                                                               175  JAX RC.
                                                                                                             1,018  NSWC Panama City.
                                                                                                             2,158  NUWC Newport.
                                                                                                                63  Riviera Beach, FL.
                                                                                                               294  SFOMF.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Vessel Evaluation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Large Ship Shock Trial  Underwater detonations  E17..................               1  GOMEX RC; JAX RC; VACAPES RC.
                                                      are used to test new
                                                      ships or major
                                                      upgrades.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Surface Warfare         Tests capability of     E1, E5, E8...........              14  GOMEX RC.
                              Testing.                shipboard sensors to                                      91  JAX RC.
                                                      detect, track, and                                         7  Key West RC.
                                                      engage surface                                            70  Northeast RC.
                                                      targets. Testing may                                      63  VACAPES RC.
                                                      include ships
                                                      defending against
                                                      surface targets using
                                                      explosive and non-
                                                      explosive rounds, gun
                                                      system structural
                                                      test firing and
                                                      demonstration of the
                                                      response to Call for
                                                      Fire against land-
                                                      based targets
                                                      (simulated by sea-
                                                      based locations).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Undersea Warfare        Ships demonstrate       ASW3, ASW4, HF4, HF8,              14  JAX RC; VACAPES RC.
                              Testing.                capability of           MF1, MF1K, MF4, MF5,
                                                      countermeasure          MF9, MF10, TORP1,
                                                      systems and             TORP2.
                                                      underwater
                                                      surveillance, weapons
                                                      engagement, and
                                                      communications
                                                      systems. This tests
                                                      ships' ability to
                                                      detect, track, and
                                                      engage underwater
                                                      targets.
                                                                                                                 6  JAX RC; Navy Cherry Point RC; SFOMF;
                                                                                                                     VACAPES RC.
                                                                                                                14  GOMEX RC.
                                                                                                                42  JAX RC.
                                                                                                                14  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive..................  Small Ship Shock Trial  Underwater detonations  E16..................               3  JAX RC; VACAPES RC.
                                                      are used to test new
                                                      ships or major
                                                      upgrades.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Submarine Sea Trials--  Submarine weapons and   HF1, M3, MF3, MF9,                 14  Offshore Fort Pierce, FL; GOMEX RC;
                              Weapons System          sonar systems are       MF10, TORP2.                           JAX RC; SFOMF; Northeast RC;
                              Testing.                tested at-sea to meet                                          VACAPES RC.
                                                      integrated combat
                                                      system certification
                                                      requirements.
                                                                                                                28  JAX RC.
                                                                                                                28  Northeast RC.
                                                                                                                28  VACAPES RC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Other Testing Activities
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Insertion/Extraction..  Testing of              MF3, MF9.............              28  Key West RC.
                                                      submersibles capable                                   1,848  NSWC Panama City.
                                                      of inserting and
                                                      extracting personnel
                                                      and payloads into
                                                      denied areas from
                                                      strategic distances.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Acoustic Component      Various surface         FLS2, HF5, HF7, LF5,              231  SFOMF.
                              Testing.                vessels, moored         MF9, SAS2.
                                                      equipment, and
                                                      materials are tested
                                                      to evaluate
                                                      performance in the
                                                      marine environment.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 21135]]

 
Acoustic...................  Semi-Stationary         Semi-stationary         AG, ASW3, ASW4, HF5,               28  Newport, RI.
                              Equipment Testing.      equipment (e.g.,        HF6, LF4, LF5, MF9,               77  NSWC Panama City.
                                                      hydrophones) is         MF10, SD1, SD2.                1,330  NUWC Newport.
                                                      deployed to determine
                                                      functionality.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Towed Equipment         Surface vessels or      HF6, LF4, MF9........             252  NUWC Newport.
                              Testing.                unmanned surface
                                                      vehicles deploy and
                                                      tow equipment to
                                                      determine
                                                      functionality of
                                                      towed systems.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic...................  Signature Analysis      Surface ship and        ASW2, HF1, LF4, LF5,                7  JAX RC.
                              Operations.             submarine testing of    LF6, M3, MF9, MF10.              413  SFOMF.
                                                      electromagnetic,
                                                      acoustic, optical,
                                                      and radar signature
                                                      measurements.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented in Table 6
  of the 2018 AFTT final rule.
\2\ Locations given are areas where activities typically occur. However, activities could be conducted in other locations within the Study Area. Where
  multiple locations are provided within a single cell, the number of activities could occur in any of the locations, not in each of the locations.
Notes: JEB LC-FS: Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story; NS: Naval Station; NSB: Naval Submarine Base; NSWC: Naval Surface Warfare Center;
  NUWC: Naval Undersea Warfare Center; PNS: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard; SFOMF: South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility Testing Range.

Office of Naval Research

    The proposed Office of Naval Research testing activities that could 
occur over the seven-year period within the AFTT Study Area are 
presented in Table 4.

 Table 4--Proposed Office of Naval Research Testing Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in the AFTT Study
                                                      Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  7-Year
                                                                                 number of
  Stressor category      Activity name   Activity description     Source bin    activities        Location
                                                                                    \1\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Acoustic and Oceanographic Science and Technology
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic, Explosive..  Acoustic and      Research using        AG, ASW2, BB4,           30  GOMEX RC.
                        Oceanographic     active                BB5, BB6, BB7,          60  Northeast RC.
                        Research.         transmissions from    LF3, LF4, LF5,          16  VACAPES RC.
                                          sources deployed      MF8, MF9,               14  Other AFTT Areas.
                                          from ships and        MF14, E1.
                                          unmanned underwater
                                          vehicles. Research
                                          sources can be used
                                          as proxies for
                                          current and future
                                          Navy systems.
Acoustic.............  Emerging Mine     Test involves the     BB1, BB2, SAS4.           7  JAX RC.
                        Countermeasure    use of broadband                              14  Northeast RC.
                        Technology        acoustic sources on                            7  VACAPES RC.
                        Research.         unmanned underwater
                                          vehicles.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities are
  identical to those presented in Table 7 of the 2018 AFTT final rule.
Notes: GOMEX: Gulf of Mexico; JAX: Jacksonville, Florida; RC: Range Complex; VACAPES: Virginia Capes.

Summary of Acoustic and Explosive Sources Analyzed for Training and 
Testing

    Tables 5 through 8 show the acoustic source classes and numbers, 
explosive source bins and numbers, airgun sources, and pile driving and 
removal activities associated with the Navy's proposed training and 
testing activities over a seven-year period in the AFTT Study Area that 
were analyzed in the 2019 Navy application and for this proposed rule. 
The annual numbers for acoustic source classes, explosive source bins, 
and airgun sources, as well as the annual pile driving and removal 
activities associated with Navy training and testing activities in the 
AFTT Study Area are identical to those presented in Tables 8 through 11 
of the 2018 AFTT final rule, and are not repeated here. Consistent with 
the periodicity in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Navy proposes the 
addition of two pile driving/extraction activities for each of the two 
additional years.
    Table 5 describes the acoustic source classes (i.e., low-frequency 
(LF), mid-frequency (MF), and high-frequency (HF)) that could occur 
over seven years under the proposed training and testing activities. 
Acoustic source bin use in the proposed activities would vary annually. 
The seven-year totals for the proposed training and testing activities 
take into account that annual variability.

    Table 5--Acoustic Source Classes Analyzed and Number Used for Seven-Year Period for Training and Testing
                                        Activities in the AFTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         7-Year total \2\
     Source class category               Bin            Description     Unit \1\ -------------------------------
                                                                                     Training         Testing
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low-Frequency (LF): Sources      LF3                 LF sources               H                0           9,156
 that produce signals less than  LF4                  greater than 200        H                0           6,797
 1 kHz.                                               dB.                      C               0             140
                                                     LF sources equal
                                                      to 180 dB and up
                                                      to 200 dB.
                                 LF5                 LF sources less          H               60          12,264
                                                      than 180 dB.
                                 LF6                 LF sources               H            1,104             280
                                                      greater than 200
                                                      dB with long
                                                      pulse lengths.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mid-Frequency (MF): Tactical     MF1                 Hull-mounted             H           36,833          23,358
 and non-tactical sources that                        surface ship
 produce signals between 1-10                         sonars (e.g., AN/
 kHz.                                                 SQS-53C and AN/
                                                      SQS-61).
                                 MF1K                Kingfisher mode          H              819           1,064
                                                      associated with
                                                      MF1 sonars.

[[Page 21136]]

 
                                 MF3                 Hull-mounted             H           14,604           8,799
                                                      submarine sonars
                                                      (e.g., AN/BQQ-
                                                      10).
                                 MF4                 Helicopter-              H            4,196           3,797
                                                      deployed dipping
                                                      sonars (e.g., AN/
                                                      AQS-22 and AN/
                                                      AQS-13).
                                 MF5                 Active acoustic           C          47,340          38,663
                                                      sonobuoys (e.g.,
                                                      DICASS).
                                 MF6                 Active underwater         C               0           8,986
                                                      sound signal
                                                      devices (e.g.,
                                                      MK84).
                                 MF8                 Active sources           H                0           2,436
                                                      (greater than
                                                      200 dB) not
                                                      otherwise binned.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
High-Frequency (HF): Tactical    MF9                 Active sources           H                0          52,128
 and non-tactical sources that                        (equal to 180 dB
 produce signals between 10-100                       and up to 200
 kHz.                                                 dB) not
                                                      otherwise binned.
                                 MF10                Active sources           H            6,088          39,830
                                                      (greater than
                                                      160 dB, but less
                                                      than 180 dB) not
                                                      otherwise binned.
                                 MF11                Hull-mounted             H            6,495           9,968
                                                      surface ship
                                                      sonars with an
                                                      active duty
                                                      cycle greater
                                                      than 80%.
                                 MF12                Towed array              H            2,658           9,716
                                                      surface ship
                                                      sonars with an
                                                      active duty
                                                      cycle greater
                                                      than 80%.
                                 MF14                Oceanographic MF         H                0          10,080
                                                      sonar.
                                 HF1                 Hull-mounted             H           13,504           2,772
                                                      submarine sonars
                                                      (e.g., AN/BQQ-
                                                      10).
                                 HF3                 Other hull-              H           34,275             215
                                                      mounted
                                                      submarine sonars
                                                      (classified).
                                 HF4                 Mine detection,          H           41,717         179,516
                                                      classification,
                                                      and
                                                      neutralization
                                                      sonar (e.g., AN/
                                                      SQS-20).
                                 HF5                 Active sources           H                0          13,624
                                                      (greater than            C               0             280
                                                      200 dB) not
                                                      otherwise binned.
                                 HF6                 Active sources           H                0          15,254
                                                      (equal to 180 dB
                                                      and up to 200
                                                      dB) not
                                                      otherwise binned.
                                 HF7                 Active sources           H                0           8,568
                                                      (greater than
                                                      160 dB, but less
                                                      than 180 dB) not
                                                      otherwise binned.
                                 HF8                 Hull-mounted             H              140          14,587
                                                      surface ship
                                                      sonars (e.g., AN/
                                                      SQS-61).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Very High-Frequency Sonars       VHF1                VHF sources              H                0              84
 (VHF): Non-tactical sources                          greater than 200
 that produce signals between                         dB.
 100-200 kHz.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW):    ASW1                MF systems               H            4,251           5,740
 Tactical sources (e.g., active  ASW2                 operating above          C          10,572          35,842
 sonobuoys and acoustic counter-                      200 dB.
 measures systems) used during                       MF Multistatic
 ASW training and testing                             Active Coherent
 activities.                                          sonobuoy (e.g.,
                                                      AN/SSQ-125).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 ASW3                MF towed active          H           34,275          21,737
                                                      acoustic
                                                      countermeasure
                                                      systems (e.g.,
                                                      AN/SLQ-25).
                                 ASW4                MF expendable             C           2,994          24,043
                                                      active acoustic
                                                      device
                                                      countermeasures
                                                      (e.g., MK 3).
                                 ASW5                MF sonobuoys with        H            4,244           4,316
                                                      high duty cycles.
Torpedoes (TORP): Source         TORP1               Lightweight               C             399           6,122
 classes associated with the                          torpedo (e.g.,
 active acoustic signals                              MK 46, MK 54, or
 produced by torpedoes.                               Anti-Torpedo
                                                      Torpedo).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 TORP2               Heavyweight               C             560           2,600
                                                      torpedo (e.g.,
                                                      MK 48).
                                 TORP3               Heavyweight               C               0             640
                                                      torpedo (e.g.,
                                                      MK 48).
Forward Looking Sonar (FLS):     FLS2                HF sources with          H                0           8,568
 Forward or upward looking                            short pulse
 object avoidance sonars used                         lengths, narrow
 for ship navigation and safety.                      beam widths, and
                                                      focused beam
                                                      patterns.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic Modems (M): Systems     M3                  MF acoustic              H                0           4,436
 used to transmit data through                        modems (greater
 the water.                                           than 190 dB).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 21137]]

 
Swimmer Detection Sonars (SD):   SD1-SD2             HF and VHF               H                0           1,232
 Systems used to detect divers                        sources with
 and sub- merged swimmers.                            short pulse
                                                      lengths, used
                                                      for the
                                                      detection of
                                                      swimmers and
                                                      other objects
                                                      for the purpose
                                                      of port security.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Synthetic Aperture Sonars        SAS1                MF SAS systems...        H                0           6,720
 (SAS): Sonars in which active   SAS2                HF SAS systems...        H           33,600          24,584
 acoustic signals are post-      SAS3                VHF SAS systems..        H                0           6,720
 processed to form high-         SAS4                MF to HF                 H                0           6,720
 resolution images of the                             broadband mine
 seafloor.                                            coiuntermeasure
                                                      sonar.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Broadband Sound Sources (BB):    BB1                 MF to HF mine            H                0           6,720
 Sonar systems with large        BB2                  countermeasure          H                0           6,720
 frequency spectra, used for     BB4                  sonar.                  H                0          10,884
 various purposes.               BB5                 HF to VHF mine           H                0           4,704
                                 BB6                  countermeasure          H                0           4,704
                                 BB7                  sonar.                   C               0             840
                                                     LF to MF
                                                      oceanographic
                                                      source.
                                                     LF to MF
                                                      oceanographic
                                                      source.
                                                     HF oceanographic
                                                      source.
                                                     LF oceanographic
                                                      source.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ H = hours; C = count (e.g., number of individual pings or individual sonobuoys).
\2\ The annual numbers for acoustic source classes associated with Navy training and testing activities in the
  AFTT Study Area are identical to those presented in Table 8 in the 2018 AFTT final rule.
Note: dB = decibel.

    Table 6 describes the number of air gun shots that could occur over 
seven years under the proposed training and testing activities.

          Table 6--Training and Testing Air Gun Sources Quantitatively Analyzed in the AFTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                        7-Year total \2\
            Source class category                   Bin            Unit \1\    ---------------------------------
                                                                                    Training         Testing
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Air Guns (AG): Small underwater air guns....              AG                 C               0            4,228
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ C = count. One count (C) of AG is equivalent to 100 air gun firings.
\2\ The annual numbers for airgun sources associated with Navy training and testing activities in the AFTT Study
  Area are identical to those presented in Table 9 in the 2018 AFTT final rule.

    Table 7 summarizes the impact pile driving and vibratory pile 
removal activities that would occur during a 24-hour period. Annually, 
for impact pile driving, the Navy would drive 119 piles, two times a 
year for a total of 238 piles. Over the seven-year period of the rule, 
the Navy would drive a total of 1,666 piles by impact pile driving. 
Annually, for vibratory pile removal, the Navy would remove 119 piles, 
two times a year for a total of 238 piles. Over the seven-year period 
of the rule, the Navy would remove a total of 1,666 piles by vibratory 
pile removal.

        Table 7--Summary of Pile Driving and Removal Activities per 24-Hour Period in the AFTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       Total
                                                                                                     estimated
                                                                  Piles per  24-   Time per pile  time of  noise
                             Method                                hour  period      (minutes)     per  24-hour
                                                                                                      period
                                                                                                     (minutes)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pile Driving (Impact)...........................................               6              15              90
Pile Removal (Vibratory)........................................              12               6              72
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 8 describes the number of in-water explosives that could be 
used in any year under the proposed training and testing activities. 
Under the proposed activities bin use would vary annually, and the 
seven-year totals for the proposed training and testing activities take 
into account that annual variability.

[[Page 21138]]



     Table 8--Explosive Source Bins Analyzed and Number Used for Seven-Year Period for Training and Testing
                                      Activities Within the AFTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         7-Year total \2\
             Bin               Net explosive weight \1\     Example explosive    -------------------------------
                                         (lb.)                    source             Training         Testing
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E1...........................  0.1-0.25................  Medium-caliber                   53,900         160,880
                                                          projectile.
E2...........................  >0.25-0.5...............  Medium-caliber                    1,486               0
                                                          projectile.
E3...........................  >0.5-2.5................  Large-caliber                    32,144          20,162
                                                          projectile.
E4...........................  >2.5-5..................  Mine neutralization                 913           5,330
                                                          charge.
E5...........................  >5-10...................  5-inch projectile......          10,052           9,275
E6...........................  >10-20..................  Hellfire missile.......           4,214             276
E7...........................  >20-60..................  Demo block/shaped                    28               0
                                                          charge.
E8...........................  >60-100.................  Light-weight torpedo...             154             231
E9...........................  >100-250................  500 lb. bomb...........             462              28
E10..........................  >250-500................  Harpoon missile........             630             566
E11..........................  >500-650................  650 lb. mine...........               7              70
E12..........................  >650-1,000..............  2,000 lb. bomb.........             126               0
E16 \2\......................  >7,250-14,500...........  Littoral Combat Ship                  0              12
                                                          full ship shock trial.
E17 \2\......................  >14,500-58,000..........  Aircraft carrier full                 0               4
                                                          ship shock trial.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Net Explosive Weight refers to the equivalent amount of Trinitrotoluene (TNT) the actual weight of a
  munition may be larger due to other components.
\2\ The annual numbers for explosive source bins associated with Navy training and testing activities in the
  AFTT Study Area are identical to those presented in Table 11 in the 2018 AFTT final rule.
Note: Shock trials consist of four explosions each. In any given year there could be 0-3 small ship shock trials
  (E16) and 0-1 large ship shock trials (E17). Over a 7-year period, there could be three small ship shock
  trials (E16) and one large ship shock trial (E17) which is the same amount of ship shock trial events that
  could occur over the original five-year period. Therefore, there is no increase in ship shock trial events
  under the proposed rule.

Vessel Movement

    Vessel movements associated with the proposed activities include 
both surface and sub-surface operations. Vessels used as part of the 
proposed activities include ships, submarines, unmanned vessels, and 
boats ranging in size from small, 22 feet (ft.) (7 meters (m)) rigid 
hull inflatable boats to aircraft carriers with lengths up to 1,092 ft. 
(333 m). Large Navy ships greater than 60 ft (18 m) generally operate 
at speeds in the range of 10 to 15 kn for fuel conservation. Submarines 
generally operate at speeds in the range of 8 to 13 kn in transits and 
less than those speeds for certain tactical maneuvers. Small craft, 
less than 60 ft (18 m) in length, have much more variable speeds 
(dependent on the mission). For small craft types, sizes and speeds 
vary during training and testing. Speeds generally range from 10 to 14 
kn. While these speeds for large and small crafts are representative of 
most events, some vessels need to temporarily operate outside of these 
parameters. A full description of Navy vessels that are used during 
training and testing activities can be found in the 2017 Navy 
application and Chapter 2 of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS.
    The Navy proposes no changes to the manner in which Navy vessels 
would be used during training and testing activities, the speeds at 
which they operate, the number of vessels that would be used during 
various activities, or the locations in which Navy vessel movement 
would be concentrated within the AFTT Study Area from those analyzed in 
the 2018 AFTT final rule. The only change related to the Navy's request 
regarding Navy vessel movement is the vessel use associated with the 
additional two years of Navy activities.

Standard Operating Procedures

    For training and testing to be effective, personnel must be able to 
safely use their sensors and weapon systems as they are intended to be 
used in a real-world situation and to their optimum capabilities. While 
standard operating procedures are designed for the safety of personnel 
and equipment and to ensure the success of training and testing 
activities, their implementation often yields additional benefits on 
environmental, socioeconomic, public health and safety, and cultural 
resources. Because standard operating procedures are essential to 
safety and mission success, the Navy considers them to be part of the 
proposed activities and has included them in the environmental 
analysis. Details on standard operating procedures were provided in the 
2018 AFTT proposed rule; please see the 2018 AFTT proposed rule, the 
2017 Navy application, and Chapter 2 of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS for 
more information. The Navy proposes no changes to the Standard 
Operating Procedures from those included in the 2018 AFTT final rule.

Description of Marine Mammals and Their Habitat in the Area of the 
Specified Activities

    Marine mammal species and their associated stocks that have the 
potential to occur in the AFTT Study Area are presented in Table 9 
along with the best/minimum abundance estimate and associated 
coefficient of variation value. Some marine mammal species, such as 
manatees, are not managed by NMFS, but by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service and therefore not discussed below. Consistent with the 2018 
AFTT final rule, the Navy still anticipates the take of individuals of 
39 marine mammal species by Level A harassment and B harassment 
incidental to training and testing activities from the use of sonar and 
other transducers, in-water detonations, air guns, and impact pile 
driving/vibratory extraction activities. The Navy requested 
authorization for nine serious injuries or mortalities combined from 
four marine mammal stocks during ship shock trials, and four takes of 
large whales by serious injury or mortality from vessel strikes over 
the seven-year period.
    We presented a detailed discussion of marine mammals and their 
occurrence in the AFTT Study Area, inclusive of important marine mammal 
habitat (e.g., critical habitat), biologically important areas (BIAs), 
national marine sanctuaries (NMSs), and unusual mortality events (UMEs) 
in the 2018 AFTT proposed rule and 2018 AFTT final rule; please see 
these rules and the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications for

[[Page 21139]]

additional information. There have been no changes to important marine 
mammal habitat, BIAs, NMSs, or Endangered Species Act (ESA) designated 
critical habitat since the issuance of the 2018 AFTT final rule; 
therefore the information that supports our determinations here can be 
found in the 2018 AFTT proposed and final rules. NMFS has reviewed the 
most recent Stock Assessment Reports (SARs), which have not been 
revised since the publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule); information 
on relevant UMEs; and other scientific literature, and determined that 
none of these nor any other new information changes our determination 
of which species or stocks have the potential to be affected by the 
Navy's activities or the pertinent information in the Description of 
the Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities section in the 
2018 AFTT proposed and final rules. Therefore the information presented 
in those sections of the 2018 proposed and final rules remains current 
and valid.
    As described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the species carried 
forward for analysis are those likely to be found in the AFTT Study 
Area based on the most recent data available, and do not include stocks 
or species that may have once inhabited or transited the area but have 
not been sighted in recent years and therefore are extremely unlikely 
to occur in the AFTT Study Area (e.g., species which were extirpated 
because of factors such as nineteenth and twentieth century commercial 
exploitation).
    The species not carried forward for analysis (addressed in more 
detail in the Description of Marine Mammals and Their Habitat in the 
Area of the Specified Activities section of the 2018 AFTT rule) include 
the bowhead whale, beluga whale, and narwhal as these would be 
considered extralimital and are not part of the AFTT seasonal species 
assemblage. Additionally, for multiple bottlenose dolphin stocks, there 
was no potential for overlap with any stressors from Navy activities; 
therefore, there would be no adverse effects (or takes), and those 
stocks were not considered further. Specifically, with the exception of 
the Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne, Bay Boudreau stock of bottlenose 
dolphins (which is addressed in the Analysis and Negligible Impact 
Determination section of the 2018 AFTT final rule), there is no 
potential for overlap of any Navy stressor with any other Northern Gulf 
of Mexico Bay, Sound, and Estuary stocks. Also, the following 
bottlenose dolphin stocks for the Atlantic do not have any potential 
for overlap with Navy activity stressors (or take), and therefore are 
not considered further: Northern South Carolina Estuarine System, 
Charleston Estuarine System, Northern Georgia/Southern South Carolina 
Estuarine System, Central Georgia Estuarine System, Southern Georgia 
Estuarine System, Biscayne Bay, and Florida Bay stocks. For the same 
reason, bottlenose dolphins off the coasts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. 
Virgin Islands were also not considered further.

[[Page 21140]]



                                                                     Table 9--Marine Mammals Present in the AFTT Study Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                                 Occurrence in AFTT Study Area \5\
                                 Scientific name                                                      Stock abundance \4\  best/ ---------------------------------------------------------------
          Common name                  \1\             Stock \2\            ESA/MMPA status \3\           minimum population                             Large marine
                                                                                                                                     Open ocean           ecosystems           Inland waters
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Order Cetacea--Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Balaenidae (right
 whales):
    Bowhead whale.............  Balaena            Eastern Canada-    Endangered, strategic,          7,660 (4,500-11,100) \6\..  Labrador Current  Newfoundland-Labrador  NA.
                                 mysticetus.        West Greenland.    depleted.                                                                     Shelf, West
                                                                                                                                                     Greenland Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.
    North Atlantic right whale  Eubalaena          Western..........  Endangered, strategic,          451 (0)/445...............  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 glacialis.                            depleted.                                                   Labrador          Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Current, North    Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                   Atlantic Gyre.    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf, Gulf
                                                                                                                                                     of Mexico
                                                                                                                                                     (extralimital).
Family Balaenop- teridae
 (rorquals):
    Blue whale................  Balaenoptera       Western North      Endangered, strategic,          Unknown/440 \11\..........  Gulf Stream,      Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                 musculus.          Atlantic (Gulf     depleted.                                                   North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                    of St. Lawrence).                                                              Gyre, Labrador    Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Current.          Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Southeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Caribbean Sea, and
                                                                                                                                                     Gulf of Mexico
                                                                                                                                                     (strandings only).
    Bryde's whale.............  Balaenoptera       Northern Gulf of   Endangered, strategic.........  33 (1.07)/16..............  Gulf Stream,      Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                 brydei/edeni.      Mexico.                                                                        North Atlantic
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.
    Fin whale.................  Balaenoptera       Western North      Endangered, strategic,          1,618 (0. 33)/1,234.......  Gulf Stream,      Caribbean Sea, Gulf    NA.
                                 physalus.          Atlantic.          depleted.                                                   North Atlantic    of Mexico, Southeast
                                                                                                                                   Gyre, Labrador    U.S. Continental
                                                                                                                                   Current.          Shelf, Northeast
                                                                                                                                                     U.S. Continental
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, Scotian
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   West Greenland...  Endangered, strategic,          4,468 (1,343-14,871) \9\..  Labrador Current  West Greenland Shelf.  NA.
                                                                       depleted.
                                                   Gulf of St.        Endangered, strategic,          328 (306-350) \10\........  ................  Newfoundland-Labrador  NA.
                                                    Lawrence.          depleted.                                                                     Shelf, Scotian Shelf.
    Humpback whale............  Megaptera          Gulf of Maine....  NA............................  896 (0)/896...............  Gulf Stream,      Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                 novaeangliae.                                                                                     North Atlantic    Caribbean Sea,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre, Labrador    Southeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                   Current.          Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
    Minke whale...............  Balaenoptera       Canadian Eastern   NA............................  2,591 (0.81)/1,425........  Gulf Stream,      Caribbean Sea,         NA.
                                 acutorostrata.     Coastal.                                                                       North Atlantic    Southeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                   Gyre, Labrador    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Current.          Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   West Greenland     NA............................  16,609 (7,172-38,461)/NA    Labrador Current  West Greenland Shelf.  NA.
                                                    \7\.                                               \7\.
    Sei whale.................  Balaenoptera       Nova Scotia......  Endangered, strategic,          357 (0.52)/236............  Gulf Stream,      Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                 borealis.                             depleted.                                                   North Atlantic    Caribbean Sea,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Southeast Northeast
                                                                                                                                                     U.S. Continental
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, Scotian
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   Labrador Sea.....  Endangered, strategic,          Unknown \8\...............  Labrador Current  Newfoundland-Labrador  NA.
                                                                       depleted.                                                                     Shelf, West
                                                                                                                                                     Greenland Shelf.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Physeteridae (sperm
 whale):
    Sperm whale...............  Physeter           North Atlantic...  Endangered, strategic,          2,288 (0.28)/1,815........  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 macrocephalus.                        depleted.                                                   North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre, Labrador    Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                   Current.          Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   Endangered, strategic,          763 (0.38)/560............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Mexico.            depleted.
                                                   Puerto Rico and    Endangered, strategic,          Unknown...................  North Atlantic    Caribbean Sea........  NA.
                                                    U.S. Virgin        depleted.                                                   Gyre.
                                                    Islands.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                 Family Kogiidae (sperm whales)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pygmy and dwarf sperm       Kogia breviceps    Western North      NA............................  3,785 (0.47)/2,598 \12\...  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
     whales.                     and Kogia sima.    Atlantic.                                                                      North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  186 (1.04)/90 \12\........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico.                                                                                          Caribbean Sea.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 21141]]

 
                                                                         Family Monodontidae (beluga whale and narwhal)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Beluga whale..............  Delphinapterus     Eastern High       NA............................  21,213 (10,985-32,619)      Labrador Current  West Greenland Shelf.  NA.
                                 leucas.            Arctic/Baffin                                      \13\.
                                                    Bay \13\.
                                                   West Greenland     NA............................  10,595 (4.904-24,650) \14\  NA..............  West Greenland Shelf.  NA.
                                                    \14\.
    Narwhal...................  Monodon monoceros  NA \15\..........  NA............................  NA \15\...................  NA..............  Newfoundland-Labrador  NA.
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, West
                                                                                                                                                     Greenland Shelf.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Blainville's beaked whale.  Mesoplodon         Western North      NA............................  7,092 (0.54)/4,632 \17\...  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 densirostris.      Atlantic \16\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre, Labrador    Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                   Current.          Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  149 (0.91)/77 \18\........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico.                                                                                          Caribbean Sea.
    Cuvier's beaked whale.....  Ziphius            Western North      NA............................  6,532 (0.32)/5,021........  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 cavirostris.       Atlantic \16\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  74 (1.04)/36..............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
                                                   Puerto Rico and    Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Caribbean Sea........  NA.
                                                    U.S. Virgin
                                                    Islands.
    Gervais' beaked whale.....  Mesoplodon         Western North      NA............................  7,092 (0.54)/4,632 \17\...  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 europaeus.         Atlantic \16\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Northeast United
                                                                                                                                                     States Continental
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  149 (0.91)/77 \18\........  Gulf Stream,      Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                   North Atlantic    Caribbean Sea.
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.
    Northern bottlenose whale.  Hyperoodon         Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  Gulf Stream,      Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                 ampullatus.        Atlantic.                                                                      North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre, Labrador    Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Current.          Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
    Sowerby's beaked whale....  Mesoplodon bidens  Western North      NA............................  7,092 (0.54)/4,632 \17\...  Gulf Stream,      Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Atlantic \16\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
    True's beaked whale.......  Mesoplodon mirus.  Western North      NA............................  7,092 (0.54)/4,632 \17\...  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Atlantic \16\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Family Delphinidae (dolphins)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Atlantic spotted dolphin..  Stenella           Western North      NA............................  44,715 (0.43)/31,610......  Gulf Stream.....  Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 frontalis.         Atlantic \16\.                                                                                   Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico.                                                                                          Caribbean Sea.
                                                   Puerto Rico and    Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Caribbean Sea........  NA.
                                                    U.S. Virgin
                                                    Islands.
    Atlantic white-sided        Lagenorhynchus     Western North      NA............................  48,819 (0.61)/30,403......  Gulf Steam,       Northeast U.S.         NA.
     dolphin.                    acutus.            Atlantic.                                                                      Labrador          Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Current.          Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
    Clymene dolphin...........  Stenella clymene.  Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  Gulf Stream.....  Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Atlantic \16\.                                                                                   Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  129 (1.0)/64..............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
    Common bottlenose dolphin   Tursiops           Western North      Strategic, depleted...........  77,532 (0.40)/56,053......  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
     Common bottlenose dolphin.  truncatus.         Atlantic                                                                       North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                    Offshore \19\.                                                                 Gyre.             Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf.
                                                   Western North      NA............................  6,639 (0.41)/4,759........  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Long Island Sound,
                                                    Atlantic                                                                                         Continental Shelf,     Sandy Hook Bay,
                                                    Northern                                                                                         Northeast U.S.         Lower Chesapeake
                                                    Migratory                                                                                        Continental Shelf.     Bay, James River,
                                                    Coastal \20\.                                                                                                           Elizabeth River.
                                                   Western North      Strategic, depleted...........  3,751 (0.06)/2,353........  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Lower Chesapeake Bay,
                                                    Atlantic                                                                                         Continental Shelf.     James River,
                                                    Southern                                                                                                                Elizabeth River,
                                                    Migratory                                                                                                               Beaufort Inlet, Cape
                                                    Coastal \20\.                                                                                                           Fear River, Kings
                                                                                                                                                                            Bay, St. Johns
                                                                                                                                                                            River.
                                                   Western North      Strategic, depleted...........  6,027 (0.34)/4,569........  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Kings Bay, St. Johns
                                                    Atlantic South                                                                                   Continental Shelf.     River.
                                                    Carolina/Georgia
                                                    Coastal \20\.
                                                   Northern North     Strategic.....................  823 (0.06)/782............  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Beaufort Inlet, Cape
                                                    Carolina                                                                                         Continental Shelf,     Fear River.
                                                    Estuarine System                                                                                 Northeast U.S.
                                                    \20\.                                                                                            Continental Shelf.
                                                   Southern North     Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Beaufort Inlet, Cape
                                                    Carolina                                                                                         Continental Shelf.     Fear River.
                                                    Estuarine System
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Northern South     Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Carolina                                                                                         Continental Shelf.
                                                    Estuarine System
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Charleston         Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Estuarine System                                                                                 Continental Shelf.
                                                    \20\.

[[Page 21142]]

 
                                                   Northern Georgia/  Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Southern South                                                                                   Continental Shelf.
                                                    Carolina
                                                    Estuarine System
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Central Georgia    Strategic.....................  192 (0.04)/185............  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Estuarine System                                                                                 Continental Shelf.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Southern Georgia   Strategic.....................  194 (0.05)/185............  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Kings Bay, St. Johns
                                                    Estuarine System                                                                                 Continental Shelf.     River.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Western North      Strategic, depleted...........  877 (0.49)/595............  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Kings Bay, St. Johns
                                                    Atlantic                                                                                         Continental Shelf.     River.
                                                    Northern Florida
                                                    Coastal \20\.
                                                   Jacksonville       Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Kings Bay, St. Johns
                                                    Estuarine System                                                                                 Continental Shelf.     River.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Western North      Strategic, depleted...........  1,218 (0.35)/913..........  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Port Canaveral.
                                                    Atlantic Central                                                                                 Continental Shelf.
                                                    Florida Coastal
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Indian River       Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Port Canaveral.
                                                    Lagoon Estuarine                                                                                 Continental Shelf.
                                                    System \20\.
                                                   Biscayne Bay \16\  Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.
                                                   Florida Bay \16\.  NA............................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   Na............................  51,192 (0.10)/46,926......  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Mexico
                                                    Continental
                                                    Shelf \20\.
                                                   Gulf of Mexico     NA............................  12,388 (0.13)/11,110......  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Eastern Coastal
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Gulf of Mexico     NA............................  7,185 (0.21)/6,044........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  St. Andrew Bay,
                                                    Northern Coastal                                                                                                        Pascagoula River.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Gulf of Mexico     NA............................  20,161 (0.17)/17,491......  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  Corpus Christi Bay,
                                                    Western Coastal                                                                                                         Galveston Bay.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  5,806 (0.39)/4,230........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Mexico Oceanic
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Laguna Madre \20\  Strategic.....................  80 (1.57)/Unknown.........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                   Nueces Bay/Corpus  Strategic.....................  58 (0.61)/Unknown.........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Christi Bay \20\.
                                                   Copano Bay/        Strategic.....................  55 (0.82)/Unknown.........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Aransas Bay/San
                                                    Antonio Bay/
                                                    Redfish Bay/
                                                    Espiritu Santo
                                                    Bay \20\.
                                                   Matagorda Bay/     Strategic.....................  61 (0.45)/Unknown.........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Tres Palacios
                                                    Bay/Lavaca Bay
                                                    \20\.
                                                   West Bay \20\....  NA............................  48 (0.03)/46..............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                   Galveston Bay/     Strategic.....................  152 (0.43)/Unknown........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    East Bay/Trinity
                                                    Bay \20\.
                                                   Sabine Lake \20\.  Strategic.....................  0.........................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                   Calcasieu Lake     Strategic.....................  0.........................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Vermilion Bay/     Strategic.....................  0.........................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    West Cote
                                                    Blanche Bay/
                                                    Atchafalaya Bay
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Terrebonne Bay/    NA............................  3,870 (0.15)/3,426........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Timbalier Bay
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Barataria Bay      Strategic.....................  2,306 (0.09)/2,138........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Estuarine System
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Mississippi River  Strategic.....................  332 (0.93)/170............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Delta \20\.
                                                   Mississippi        Strategic.....................  3,046 (0.06)/2,896........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Sound, Lake
                                                    Borgne, Bay
                                                    Boudreau \20\.
                                                   Mobile Bay/        Strategic.....................  122 (0.34)/Unknown........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Bonsecour Bay
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Perdido Bay \20\.  Strategic.....................  0.........................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                   Pensacola Bay/     Strategic.....................  33 (0.80)/Unknown.........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    East Bay \20\.
                                                   Choctawhatchee     Strategic.....................  179 (0.04)/Unknown........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Bay \20\.
                                                   St. Andrew Bay     Strategic.....................  124 (0.57)/Unknown........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   St. Joseph Bay     Strategic.....................  152 (0.08)/Unknown........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    \20\.

[[Page 21143]]

 
                                                   St. Vincent Sound/ Strategic.....................  439 (0.14)/Unknown........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Apalachicola Bay/
                                                    St. George Sound
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Apalachee Bay      Strategic.....................  491 (0.39)/Unknown........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Waccasassa Bay/    Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Withlacoochee
                                                    Bay/Crystal Bay
                                                    \20\.
                                                   St. Joseph Sound/  Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Clearwater
                                                    Harbor \20\.
                                                   Tampa Bay \20\...  Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                   Sarasota Bay/      Strategic.....................  158 (0.27)/126............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Little Sarasota
                                                    Bay \20\.
                                                   Pine Island Sound/ Strategic.....................  826 (0.09)/Unknown........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Charlotte Harbor/
                                                    Gasparilla Sound/
                                                    Lemon Bay \20\.
                                                   Caloosahatchee     Strategic.....................  0.........................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    River \20\.
                                                   Estero Bay \20\..  Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                   Chokoloskee Bay/   Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    Ten Thousand
                                                    Islands/Gullivan
                                                    Bay \20\.
                                                   Whitewater Bay     Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    \20\.
                                                   Florida Keys       Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico.......  NA.
                                                    (Bahia Honda to
                                                    Key West) \20\.
                                                   Puerto Rico and    Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Caribbean Sea........  NA.
                                                    U.S. Virgin
                                                    Islands.
    False killer whale........  Pseudorca          Western North      Strategic.....................  442 (1.06)/212............  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 crassidens.        Atlantic \22\.                                                                                   Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
    Fraser's dolphin..........  Lagenodelphis      Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  Gulf Stream.....  Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                 hosei.             Atlantic \23\.                                                                                   Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Southeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
    Killer Whale..............  Orcinus orca.....  Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Atlantic \22\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre, Labrador    Northeast United
                                                                                                                                   Current.          States Continental
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, Scotian
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, Newfoundland--
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  28 (1.02)/14..............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
    Long-finned pilot whale...  Globicephala       Western North      NA............................  5,636 (0.63)/3,464........  Gulf Stream.....  Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                 melas.             Atlantic.                                                                                        Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
    Melon-headed Whale........  Peponocephala      Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 electra.           Atlantic \23\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf.
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  2,235 (0.75)/1,274........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
    Pantropical spotted-        Stenella           Western North      NA............................  3,333 (0.91)/1,733........  Gulf Stream.....  Southeast U.S.         NA.
     dolphin.                    attenuate.         Atlantic \16\.                                                                                   Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  50,880 (0.27)/40,699......  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \22\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
    Pygmy Killer Whales.......  Feresa attenuata.  Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Atlantic \16\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf.
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  152 (1.02)/75.............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
    Risso's dolphin...........  Grampus griseus..  Western North      NA............................  18,250 (0.46)/12,619......  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Atlantic.                                                                      North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Northeast United
                                                                                                                                                     States Continental
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, Scotian
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf, Newfoundland--
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  2,442 (0.57)/1,563........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico.                                                                                          Caribbean Sea.
    Rough-toothed dolphin.....  Steno bredanensis  Western North      NA............................  136 (1.00)/67.............  Gulf Stream,      Caribbean Sea          NA.
                                                    Atlantic \16\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Southeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  624 (0.99)/311............  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico.                                                                                          Caribbean Sea.
    Short-finned pilot whale..  Globicephala       Western North      NA............................  28,924 (0.24)/23,637......  NA..............  Northeast Continental  NA.
                                 macrorhynchus.     Atlantic.                                                                                        Shelf, Southeast
                                                                                                                                                     U.S. Continental
                                                                                                                                                     Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  2,415 (0.66)/1,456........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \22\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
                                                   Puerto Rico and    Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Caribbean Sea........  NA.
                                                    U.S. Virgin
                                                    Islands.
    Spinner dolphin...........  Stenella           Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  Gulf Stream,      Southeast U.S.         NA.
                                 longirostris.      Atlantic \16\.                                                                 North Atlantic    Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                   Gyre.             Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf.

[[Page 21144]]

 
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  11,441 (0.83)/6,221.......  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
                                                   Puerto Rico and    Strategic.....................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Caribbean Sea........  NA.
                                                    U.S. Virgin
                                                    Islands.
    Striped dolphin...........  Stenella           Western North      NA............................  54,807 (0.30)/42,804......  Gulf Stream.....  Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                 coeruleoalba.      Atlantic \16\.                                                                                   Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf.
                                                   Northern Gulf of   NA............................  1,849 (0.77)/1,041........  NA..............  Gulf of Mexico,        NA.
                                                    Mexico \16\.                                                                                     Caribbean Sea.
    Short-beaked common         Delphinus delphis  Western North      NA............................  70,184 (0.28)/55,690......  Gulf Stream.....  Southeast U.S.         NA.
     dolphin.                                       Atlantic.                                                                                        Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
    White-beaked dolphin......  Lagenorhynchus     Western North      NA............................  2,003 (0.94)/1,023........  Labrador Current  Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                 albirostris.       Atlantic \23\.                                                                                   Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Phocoenidae
 (porpoises):
    Harbor porpoise...........  Phocoena phocoena  Gulf of Maine/Bay  NA............................  79,883 (0.32)/61,415......  NA..............  Northeast U.S.         Narragansett Bay,
                                                    of Fundy.                                                                                        Continental Shelf,     Rhode Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,         Block Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-          Buzzards Bay,
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.        Vineyard Sound, Long
                                                                                                                                                                            Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                                            Piscataqua River,
                                                                                                                                                                            Thames River,
                                                                                                                                                                            Kennebec River.
                                                   Gulf of St.        NA............................  Unknown \24\..............  Labrador Current  Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                                    Lawrence \24\.                                                                                   Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   Newfoundland \25\  NA............................  Unknown \25\..............  Labrador Current  Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
                                                   Greenland \26\...  NA............................  Unknown \26\..............  Labrador Current  Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf, West
                                                                                                                                                     Greenland Shelf.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              Order Carnivora--Suborder Pinnipedia
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Phocidae (true seals):
    Gray seal.................  Halichoerus        Western North      NA............................  27,131 (0.19)/23,158......  NA..............  Northeast U.S.         Narragansett Bay,
                                 grypus.            Atlantic.                                                                                        Continental Shelf,     Rhode Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,         Block Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-          Buzzards Bay,
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.        Vineyard Sound, Long
                                                                                                                                                                            Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                                            Piscataqua River,
                                                                                                                                                                            Thames River,
                                                                                                                                                                            Kennebeck River.
    Harbor seal...............  Phoca vitulina...  Western North      NA............................  75,834 (0.15)/66,884......  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Chesapeake Bay,
                                                    Atlantic.                                                                                        Continental Shelf,     Narragansett Bay,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.         Rhode Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,     Block Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,         Buzzards Bay,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-          Vineyard Sound, Long
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.        Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                                            Piscataqua River,
                                                                                                                                                                            Thames River,
                                                                                                                                                                            Kennebeck River.
    Harp seal.................  Pagophilus         Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Northeast U.S.         NA.
                                 groenlandicus.     Atlantic.                                                                                        Continental Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf.
    Hooded seal...............  Cystophora         Western North      NA............................  Unknown...................  NA..............  Southeast U.S.         Narragansett Bay,
                                 cristata.          Atlantic.                                                                                        Continental Shelf,     Rhode Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Northeast U.S.         Block Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Continental Shelf,     Buzzards Bay,
                                                                                                                                                     Scotian Shelf,         Vineyard Sound, Long
                                                                                                                                                     Newfoundland-          Island Sound,
                                                                                                                                                     Labrador Shelf, West   Piscataqua River,
                                                                                                                                                     Greenland Shelf.       Thames River,
                                                                                                                                                                            Kennebec River.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: CV: Coefficient of variation; ESA: Endangered Species Act; MMPA: Marine Mammal Protection Act; NA: Not applicable.
\1\ Taxonomy follows (Committee on Taxonomy, 2016).
\2\ Stock designations for the U.S. EEZ and abundance estimates are from Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico SARs prepared by NMFS (Hayes et al., 2017) and the draft 2018 SARs, unless specifically
  noted.
\3\ Populations or stocks defined by the MMPA as ``strategic'' for one of the following reasons: (1) The level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level;
  (2) based on the best available scientific information, numbers are declining and species are likely to be listed as threatened species under the ESA within the foreseeable future; (3)
  species are listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA; (4) species are designated as depleted under the MMPA.
\4\ Stock abundance, CV, and minimum population are numbers provided by the Stock Assessment Reports (SARs; Hayes et al., 2017). The stock abundance is an estimate of the number of animals
  within the stock. The CV is a statistical metric used as an indicator of the uncertainty in the abundance estimate. The minimum population estimate is either a direct count (e.g., pinnipeds
  on land) or the lower 20th percentile of a statistical abundance estimate.
\5\ Occurrence in the AFTT Study Area includes open ocean areas--Labrador Current, North Atlantic Gyre, Gulf Stream, and coastal/shelf waters of seven large marine ecosystems--West Greenland
  Shelf, Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf, Scotian Shelf, and Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and inland waters of Kennebec River,
  Piscataqua River, Thames River, Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Long Island Sound, Sandy Hook Bay, Lower Chesapeake Bay, James River,
  Elizabeth River, Beaufort Inlet, Cape Fear River, Kings Bay, St. Johns River, Port Canaveral, St. Andrew Bay, Pascagoula River, Sabine Lake, Corpus Christi Bay, and Galveston Bay.
\6\ The bowhead whale population off the West Coast of Greenland is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent highest
  density interval were presented in (Frasier et al., 2015).
\7\ The West Greenland stock of minke whales is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval were
  presented in (Heide-J[oslash]rgensen et al., 2010).
\8\ The Labrador Sea stock of sei whales is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Information was obtained in (Prieto et al., 2014).
\9\ The West Greenland stock of fin whales is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval were
  presented in (Heide-J[oslash]rgensen et al., 2010).
\10\ The Gulf of St. Lawrence stock of fin whales is not managed by NMFS and, therefore, does not have an associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval were
  presented in (Ramp et al., 2014).
\11\ Photo identification catalogue count of 440 recognizable blue whale individuals from the Gulf of St. Lawrence is considered a minimum population estimate for the western North Atlantic
  stock (Waring et al., 2010).
\12\ Estimates include both the pygmy and dwarf sperm whales in the western North Atlantic (Waring et al., 2014) and the northern Gulf of Mexico (Waring et al., 2013).
\13\ Beluga whales in the Atlantic are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval for the Eastern High Arctic/Baffin Bay
  stock were presented in (Innes et al., 2002).
\14\ Beluga whales in the Atlantic are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report. Abundance and 95 percent confidence interval for the West Greenland stock were
  presented in (Heide-J[oslash]rgensen et al., 2009).

[[Page 21145]]

 
\15\ NA = Not applicable. Narwhals in the Atlantic are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report.
\16\ Estimates for these western North Atlantic stocks are from Waring et al. (2014) and the northern Gulf of Mexico stock are from (Waring et al., 2013) as applicable.
\17\ Estimate includes undifferentiated Mesoplodon species.
\18\ Estimate includes Gervais' and Blainville's beaked whales.
\19\ Estimate may include sightings of the coastal form.
\20\ Estimates for these Gulf of Mexico stocks are from SARs.
\21\ NMFS is in the process of writing individual stock assessment reports for each of the 32 bay, sound, and estuary stocks.
\22\ Estimates for these stocks are from Waring et al., (2015).
\23\ Estimates for these western North Atlantic stocks are from (Waring et al., 2007).
\24\ Harbor porpoise in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report.
\25\ Harbor porpoise in Newfoundland are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report.
\26\ Harbor porpoise in Greenland are not managed by NMFS and have no associated Stock Assessment Report.


[[Page 21146]]

Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their 
Habitat

    We provided a full discussion of the potential effects of the 
specified activities on marine mammals and their habitat in our 2018 
AFTT proposed rule and 2018 AFTT final rule. In the Potential Effects 
of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat section of 
the 2018 AFTT proposed and final rules, NMFS provided a description of 
the ways marine mammals may be affected by the same activities that the 
Navy will be conducting during the seven-year period analyzed in this 
rule in the form of serious injury or mortality, physical trauma, 
sensory impairment (permanent and temporary threshold shifts and 
acoustic masking), physiological responses (particularly stress 
responses), behavioral disturbance, or habitat effects. Therefore, we 
do not repeat the information here, all of which remains current and 
applicable, but refer the reader to those rules and the 2018 AFTT FEIS/
OEIS (Chapter 3, Section 3.7 Marine Mammals, http://www.aftteis.com/), 
which NMFS participated in the development of via our cooperating 
agency status and adopted to meet our NEPA requirements.
    In addition, NMFS has reviewed information in relevant SARs (which 
have not been revised since the publication of the 2018 AFTT final 
rule) any new information on active UMEs and from the scientific 
literature. Summaries of current UMEs and new scientific literature 
since publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule are presented below.

Unusual Mortality Events

    A UME is defined under section 410(6) of the MMPA as a stranding 
that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal 
population; and demands immediate response. The five active UMEs with 
ongoing investigations in the AFTT Study Area that inform our analysis 
are discussed below. The impacts to Barataria Bay bottlenose dolphins 
from the closed Northern Gulf of Mexico UME (discussed in the 2018 AFTT 
proposed rule) associated with the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the 
Gulf of Mexico are thought to be persistent and continue to inform 
population analyses. The other more recent UMEs closed several years 
ago, and little is known about how the effects of those events might be 
appropriately applied to an impact assessment several years later.
North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) UME
    NOAA declared an UME for NARWs from January 1, 2017, to the 
present. The current total number of mortalities included in the event 
is 20 whales, including 12 NARW carcasses from Canada in 2017 and eight 
carcasses in the United States (5 in 2017; 3 in 2018). There have been 
no carcasses reported in 2019. In 2017, 17 right whale mortalities were 
documented, and in 2018, an additional three whales were found dead. Of 
the 12 NARW carcasses found in Canadian waters in 2017, six were 
necropsied and died as a direct result of human activities (either 
confirmed, probable, or suspect), from either rope entanglements (2) or 
vessel strikes (4) (Daoust et al., 2017). Of the eight carcasses found 
in U.S. waters in 2017-2018, the cause of death was determined in six 
whales, with deaths attributable to either rope entanglement (5) or 
vessel strikes (1). Eight carcasses were not able to be examined. 
Daoust et al. (2018) also concluded there were no oil and gas seismic 
surveys authorized in the months prior to or during the period over 
which these mortalities occurred, as well as no blasting or major 
marine development projects. Navy was consulted as to sonar use and 
they confirmed none was used in the vicinity of any of the strandings.
    As part of the UME investigation process for NARW, NOAA assembled 
an independent team of scientists (Investigative Team) that coordinates 
with the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events to 
review the data collected, sample future whales that strand, and 
determine the next steps for the investigation. For more information on 
this UME, please refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2017-2019-north-atlantic-right-whale-unusual-mortality-event#causes-of-the-north-atlantic-right-whale-ume.
    While data are not yet available to statistically estimate the 
population's trend beyond 2015, three lines of evidence indicate the 
population is still in decline. First, calving rates in 2016, 2017, and 
2018 were low. Only five new calves were documented in 2017 (Pettis et 
al., 2017a), well below the number needed to compensate for expected 
mortalities (Pace et al., 2017), and no new calves were reported for 
2018. Long-term photographic identification data indicate new calves 
rarely go undetected, so these years likely represent a continuation of 
the low calving rates that began in 2012 (Kraus et al., 2007; Pace et 
al., 2017). So far in 2019, seven calves have been documented. Second, 
as noted above, the preliminary abundance estimate for 2016 is 451 
individuals, down approximately 1.5 percent from 458 in 2015. Third, 
since June 2017, at least 20 NARWs have died in what has been declared 
an UME as discussed above, and at least one calf died in April 2017 
(Meyer-Gutbrod et al., 2018; NMFS, 2017).
Humpback Whale UME Along the Atlantic Coast
    NOAA declared an UME for humpback whales from January 1, 2016, to 
the present, along the Atlantic coast from Maine through Florida. As of 
April 1, 2019, 92 humpback strandings have occurred (26, 34, 25, and 9 
whales in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively). As of April 2019, 
partial or full necropsy examinations have been conducted on 43 cases, 
or approximately half of the 92 strandings (at that time). Of the 43 
whales examined, approximately 20 had evidence of blunt force trauma or 
pre-mortem propeller wounds indicative of vessel strike and 
approximately 6 had evidence of entanglements. NOAA, in coordination 
with our stranding network partners, continues to investigate the 
recent mortalities and environmental conditions, and conduct population 
monitoring to better understand the recent humpback whale mortalities. 
At this time, vessel parameters (including size) are not known for each 
vessel-whale collision that led to the death of a whale. Therefore, 
NOAA considers all sizes of vessels to be a potential risk for whale 
species in highly trafficked areas. The Navy has investigated potential 
strikes and confirmed that it had none. Please refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2016-2019-humpback-whale-unusual-mortality-event-along-atlantic-coast for more 
information on this UME.
Minke Whale UME Along the Atlantic Coast
    NOAA declared an UME for minke whales from January 1, 2017, to the 
present, along the Atlantic coast from Maine through Florida. As of 
April 1, 2019, 59 strandings have occurred (27, 20, and 2 whales in 
2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively). As of April 1, 2019, full or 
partial necropsy examinations have been conducted on 33 whales. 
Preliminary findings on several of the whales have shown evidence of 
human interactions, primarily fisheries interactions, or infectious 
disease. These findings are not consistent across all of the whales 
examined, and final diagnostic results are still pending for

[[Page 21147]]

many of the cases. Please refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2017-2019-minke-whale-unusual-mortality-event-along-atlantic-coast for more information on this UME.
Northeast Pinniped UME Along the Atlantic Coast
    NOAA declared an UME on August 30, 2018, to the present due to 
increased numbers of harbor seal and gray seal strandings along the 
U.S. coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts during July and 
August of 2018. Strandings have remained elevated in these three states 
and expanded south to Virginia with cases on-going. Recently, harp and 
hooded seals have begun stranding as they migrate from Canada into U.S. 
waters and have been included in the investigation. From July 1, 2018, 
to March 28, 2019, more than 2,062 seals have stranded with 95 percent 
of the seals stranding in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Full 
or partial necropsy examinations have been conducted on many of the 
seals and samples have been collected for testing. Based on testing 
conducted so far, the main pathogen found in the seals is phocine 
distemper virus. Please refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/new-england-mid-atlantic/marine-life-distress/2018-2019-pinniped-unusual-mortality-event-along for more information on this UME.
Southwest Florida Bottlenose Dolphin UME Along the Gulf of Mexico
    NOAA declared a UME in 2018 to the present due to elevated 
bottlenose dolphin mortalities occurring along the Southwest coast of 
Florida including Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, 
Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties. From July 1, 2018, to March 27, 
2019, 159 dolphins have been confirmed stranded in this event. Our 
stranding network partners have conducted full or partial necropsy 
examinations on several dolphins, with positive results for the red 
tide toxin (brevetoxin) indicating this UME is related to the severe 
bloom of a red tide that has been ongoing since November 2017. Please 
refer to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/marine-life-distress/2018-2019-bottlenose-dolphin-unusual-mortality-event-southwest for more 
information on this UME.

New Pertinent Science Since Publication of the 2018 AFTT Final Rule

    Southall et al. (2019a) evaluated Southall et al. (2007) and used 
updated scientific information to propose revised noise exposure 
criteria to predict onset of auditory effects in marine mammals (i.e., 
PTS and TTS onset). Southall et al. (2019) note that the quantitative 
processes described and the resulting exposure criteria (i.e., 
thresholds and auditory weighting functions) are largely identical to 
those in Finneran (2016) and NMFS (2016 and 2018). However they differ 
in that the Southall et al. (2019a) exposure criteria are more broadly 
applicable as they include all marine mammal species (rather than those 
only under NMFS jurisdiction) for all noise exposures (both in air and 
underwater for amphibious species), and that while the hearing group 
compositions are identical they renamed the hearing groups.
    Recent studies on the behavioral responses of cetaceans to sonar 
examine and continue to demonstrate the importance of not only sound 
source parameters, but exposure context (e.g., behavioral state, 
presence of other animals and social relationships, prey abundance, 
distance to source, presence of vessels, environmental parameters, 
etc.) in determining or predicting a behavioral response. Kastelein et 
al. (2018) examined the role of sound pressure level (SPL) and duty 
cycle on the behavior of two captive harbor porpoises when exposed to 
simulated Navy mid-frequency sonar (53C, 3.5 to 4.1 kHz). Neither 
harbor porpoise responded to the low duty cycle (2.7 percent) at any of 
the five SPLs presented, even at the maximum received SPL (143 dB re: 1 
[micro]Pa). At the higher duty cycle (96 percent), one porpoise 
responded by increasing his respiration rate at a received SPL of 
greater than or equal to 119 dB re: 1 [micro]Pa, and moved away from 
the transducer at a received SPL of 143 dB re: 1 [micro]Pa. Kastelein 
et al. (2018) observed that at the same received SPL and duty cycle, 
harbor porpoises respond less to 53C sonar sounds than 1-2 kHz, 6-7 
kHz, and 25 kHz sonar signals observed in previous studies, but noted 
that when examining behavioral responses it is important to take into 
account the spectrum and temporal structure of the signal, the duty 
cycle, and the psychological interpretation by the animal. Wensveen et 
al. (2019) examined the role of sound source (simulated sonar pulses) 
distance and received level in northern bottlenose whales in an 
environment without frequent sonar activity using multi-scaled 
controlled exposure experiments. They observed behavioral avoidance of 
the sound source over a wide range of distances (0.8-28 km) and 
estimated avoidance thresholds ranging from received SPLs of 117-126 dB 
re: 1 [micro]Pa. The behavioral response characteristics and avoidance 
thresholds were comparable to those previously observed in beaked whale 
studies; however, they did not observe an effect of distance on 
behavioral response and found that onset and intensity of behavioral 
response were better predicted by received SPL. When conducting 
controlled exposure experiments on blue whales Southall et al. (2019b) 
observed that after exposure to simulated and operational mid-frequency 
active sonar, more than 50 percent of blue whales in deep-diving states 
responded to the sonar, while no behavioral response was observed in 
shallow-feeding blue whales. The behavioral responses they observed 
were generally brief, of low to moderate severity, and highly dependent 
on exposure context (behavioral state, source-to-whale horizontal 
range, and prey availability). Blue whale response did not follow a 
simple exposure-response model based on received sound exposure level. 
In a review of the potential impacts of sonar on beaked whales, 
Bernaldo de Quir[oacute]s et al. (2019) suggested that the effect of 
mid-frequency active sonar on beaked whales varies among individuals or 
populations, and that predisposing conditions such as previous exposure 
to sonar and individual health risk factors may contribute to 
individual outcomes (such as decompression sickness).
    Having considered this information, we have preliminarily 
determined that there is no new information that substantively affects 
our analysis of impacts on marine mammals and their habitat that 
appeared in the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable 
and valid for our assessment of the effects of the Navy's activities 
during the seven-year period of this rule.

Estimated Take of Marine Mammals

    This section indicates the number of takes that NMFS is proposing 
to authorize, which are based on the amount of take that NMFS 
anticipates could occur or is likely to occur, depending on the type of 
take and the methods used to estimate it, as described below. NMFS 
coordinated closely with the Navy in the development of their 
incidental take application, and preliminarily agrees that the methods 
the Navy has put forth described herein and in the 2018 AFTT proposed 
and final rules to estimate take (including the model, thresholds, and 
density estimates), and the resulting numbers are based on the best 
available science and appropriate for

[[Page 21148]]

authorization. The number and type of incidental takes that could occur 
or are likely to occur annually remain identical to those authorized in 
the 2018 AFTT regulations.
    Takes are predominantly in the form of harassment, but a small 
number of serious injuries or mortalities are also possible. For 
military readiness activities, the MMPA defines ``harassment'' as (i) 
Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a 
marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); 
or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal 
or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural 
behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, 
surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where 
such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered (Level 
B harassment).
    Proposed authorized takes would primarily be in the form of Level B 
harassment, as use of the acoustic and explosive sources (i.e., sonar, 
air guns, pile driving, explosives) is more likely to result in 
behavioral disruption (rising to the level of a take as described 
above) or temporary threshold shift (TTS) for marine mammals than other 
forms of take. There is also the potential for Level A harassment, 
however, in the form of auditory injury and/or tissue damage (the 
latter from explosives only) to result from exposure to the sound 
sources utilized in training and testing activities. Lastly, a limited 
number of serious injuries or mortalities could occur for four species 
of mid-frequency cetaceans during ship shock trials and no more than 
four serious injuries or mortalities total (over the seven-year period) 
of mysticetes (except for blue whales, Bryde's whales, and North 
Atlantic right whales) and North Atlantic sperm whales could occur 
through vessel collisions. Although we analyze the impacts of these 
potential serious injuries or mortalities that are proposed to be 
authorized, the required mitigation and monitoring measures are 
expected to minimize the likelihood that ship strike or these high 
level explosive exposures (and the associated serious injury or 
mortality) actually occur.
    Generally speaking, for acoustic impacts we estimate the amount and 
type of harassment by considering: (1) Acoustic thresholds above which 
NMFS believes the best available science indicates marine mammals will 
be taken by Level B harassment (in this case, as defined in the 
military readiness definition of Level B harassment included above) or 
incur some degree of temporary or permanent hearing impairment; (2) the 
area or volume of water that will be ensonified above these levels in a 
day or event; (3) the density or occurrence of marine mammals within 
these ensonified areas; and (4) and the number of days of activities or 
events.

Acoustic Thresholds

    Using the best available science, NMFS, in coordination with the 
Navy, has established acoustic thresholds that identify the most 
appropriate received level of underwater sound above which marine 
mammals exposed to these sound sources could be reasonably expected to 
experience a disruption in behavior patterns to a point where they are 
abandoned or significantly altered, or to incur TTS (equated to Level B 
harassment) or permanent threshold shift (PTS) of some degree (equated 
to Level A harassment). Thresholds have also been developed to identify 
the pressure levels above which animals may incur non-auditory injury 
from exposure to pressure waves from explosive detonation.
    Despite the quickly evolving science, there are still challenges in 
quantifying expected behavioral responses that qualify as Level B 
harassment, especially where the goal is to use one or two predictable 
indicators (e.g., received level and distance) to predict responses 
that are also driven by additional factors that cannot be easily 
incorporated into the thresholds (e.g., context). So, while the new 
behavioral Level B harassment thresholds have been refined here to 
better consider the best available science (e.g., incorporating both 
received level and distance), they also still, accordingly, have some 
built-in conservative factors to address the challenge noted. For 
example, while duration of observed responses in the data are now 
considered in the thresholds, some of the responses that are informing 
take thresholds are of a very short duration, such that it is possible 
some of these responses might not always rise to the level of 
disrupting behavior patterns to a point where they are abandoned or 
significantly altered. We describe the application of this Level B 
harassment threshold as identifying the maximum number of instances in 
which marine mammals could be reasonably expected to experience a 
disruption in behavior patterns to a point where they are abandoned or 
significantly altered. In summary, we believe these behavioral Level B 
harassment thresholds are the most appropriate method for predicting 
behavioral Level B harassment given the best available science and the 
associated uncertainty.
    We described these acoustic thresholds, none of which have changed, 
in detail in the Acoustic Thresholds section and Tables 13 through 22 
of the 2018 AFTT final rule; please see the 2018 AFTT final rule for 
detailed information.

Navy's Acoustic Effects Model

    The Navy proposes no changes to the Acoustic Effects Model as 
described in the 2018 AFTT final rule and there is no new information 
that would affect the applicability or validity of the Model. Please 
see the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed information.

Range to Effects

    The Navy proposes no changes from the 2018 AFTT final rule to the 
type and nature of the specified activities to be conducted during the 
seven-year period analyzed in this proposed rule, including equipment 
and sources used and exercises conducted. There is also no new 
information that would affect the applicability or validity of the 
ranges to effects previously analyzed for these activities.Therefore 
the ranges to effects in this proposed rule are identical to those 
described and analyzed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, including received 
sound levels that may cause onset of significant behavioral response 
and TTS and PTS in hearing for each source type or explosives that may 
cause non-auditory injury. Please see the Range to Effects section and 
Tables 23 through 38 of the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed 
information.

Marine Mammal Density

    The Navy proposes no changes to the methods used to estimate marine 
mammal density described in the 2018 AFTT final rule and there is no 
new information that would affect the applicability or validity of 
these methods. Please see the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed 
information.

Take Requests

    As in the 2018 AFTT final rule, in its 2019 application, the Navy 
determined that the three stressors below could result in the 
incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS has reviewed the Navy's data 
and analysis and determined that it is complete and accurate, and NMFS 
agrees that the following stressors have the potential to result in 
takes of marine mammals from the Navy's planned activities:
     Acoustics (sonar and other transducers; air guns; pile 
driving/extraction);

[[Page 21149]]

     Explosives (explosive shock wave and sound, assumed to 
encompass the risk due to fragmentation); and
     Physical Disturbance and Strike (vessel strike).
    NMFS reviewed and agrees with the Navy's conclusion that acoustic 
and explosive sources have the potential to result in incidental takes 
of marine mammals by harassment, serious injury, or mortality. NMFS 
carefully reviewed the Navy's analysis and conducted its own analysis 
of vessel strikes, determining that the likelihood of any particular 
species of large whale being struck is quite low. Nonetheless, NMFS 
agrees that vessel strikes have the potential to result in incidental 
take from serious injury or mortality for certain species of large 
whales and the Navy has specifically requested coverage for these 
species. Therefore, the likelihood of vessel strikes, and later the 
effects of the incidental take that is being proposed to be authorized, 
has been fully analyzed and is described below.
    Regarding the quantification of expected takes from acoustic and 
explosive sources (by Level A and Level B harassment, as well as 
mortality resulting from exposure to explosives), the number of takes 
are based directly on the level of activities (days, hours, counts, 
etc., of different activities and events) in a given year. In the 2018 
AFTT final rule, take estimates across the five-years were based on the 
Navy conducting three years of a representative level of activity and 
two years of maximum level of activity. Consistent with the pattern set 
forth in the 2017 application, the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS, and the 2018 
AFTT final rule, the Navy proposes to add one additional representative 
year and one additional maximum year to determine the predicted take 
numbers in this rule. Specifically, as in the 2018 AFTT final rule, 
here the Navy proposes to use the maximum annual level to calculate 
annual takes (which would remain identical to what was determined in 
the 2018 AFTT final rule), and the sum of all years (four 
representative and three maximum) to calculate the seven-year totals 
for this rule. The Navy is not proposing to conduct any additional ship 
shock activities, and therefore both the total number and annual number 
of ship shock takes estimated and requested for the seven-year period 
is the same as the number requested in the five-year period under the 
2018 AFTT final rule.
    The quantitative analysis process used for the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS 
and the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications to estimate potential exposures 
to marine mammals resulting from acoustic and explosive stressors is 
detailed in the technical report titled Quantifying Acoustic Impacts on 
Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles: Methods and Analytical Approach for 
Phase III Training and Testing (U.S. Department of the Navy, 2018). The 
Navy Acoustic Effects Model estimates acoustic and explosive effects 
without taking mitigation into account; therefore, the model 
overestimates predicted impacts on marine mammals within mitigation 
zones. To account for mitigation for marine species in the take 
estimates, the Navy conducts a quantitative assessment of mitigation. 
The Navy conservatively quantifies the manner in which procedural 
mitigation is expected to reduce model-estimated PTS to TTS for 
exposures to sonar and other transducers, and reduces model-estimated 
mortality to injury for exposures to explosives. For a complete 
explanation of the process for assessing the effects of mitigation, see 
the 2017 Navy application and the 2018 AFTT final rule. The extent to 
which the mitigation areas reduce impacts on the affected species and 
stocks is addressed separately in the Preliminary Analysis and 
Negligible Impact Determination section.
    No changes have been made to the quantitative analysis process to 
estimate potential exposures to marine mammals resulting from acoustic 
and explosive stressors and calculate take estimates. In addition, 
there is no new information that would call into question the validity 
of the Navy's quantitative analysis process. Please see the documents 
described in the paragraph above, the 2018 AFTT proposed rule, and the 
2018 AFTT final rule for detailed descriptions of these analyses. In 
summary, we believe the Navy's methods, including the method for 
incorporating mitigation and avoidance, are the most appropriate 
methods for predicting PTS, TTS, and behavioral disruption. But even 
with the consideration of mitigation and avoidance, given some of the 
more conservative components of the methodology (e.g., the thresholds 
do not consider ear recovery between pulses), we would describe the 
application of these methods as identifying the maximum number of 
instances in which marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be 
taken through PTS, TTS, or behavioral disruption.
Summary of Requested Take From Training and Testing Activities
    Based on the methods discussed in the previous sections and the 
Navy's model and quantitative assessment of mitigation, the Navy 
provided its take estimate and request for authorization of takes 
incidental to the use of acoustic and explosive sources for training 
and testing activities both annually (based on the maximum number of 
activities that could occur per 12-month period) and over the seven-
year period covered by the 2019 Navy application. Annual takes (based 
on the maximum number of activities that could occur per 12-month 
period) are identical to those presented in Tables 39 through 41 in the 
Take Requests section of the 2018 AFTT final rule. The 2019 Navy 
application also includes the Navy's take estimate and request for 
vessel strikes due to vessel movement in the AFTT Study Area and 
individual small and large ship shock trials over a seven-year period. 
The Navy proposes no additional ship shock trials, so the estimated and 
requested takes from ship shock trials are the same as those authorized 
in the 2018 AFTT final rule. NMFS has reviewed the Navy's data, 
methodology, and analysis and determined that it is complete and 
accurate. NMFS agrees that the estimates for incidental takes by 
harassment from all sources as well as the incidental takes by serious 
injury or mortality from explosives requested for authorization are 
reasonably expected to occur. NMFS also agrees that the takes by 
serious injury or mortality as a result of vessel strikes could occur. 
The total amount of estimated incidental take over the seven years 
covered by the 2019 Navy application is less than the sum total of each 
year because although the annual estimates are based on the maximum 
number of activities per year and therefore the maximum estimated 
takes, the seven-year take estimates are based on the sum of three 
maximum years and four representative years.
Estimated Harassment Take From Training Activities
    For training activities, Table 10 summarizes the Navy's take 
estimate and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A and 
Level B harassment for the seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy 
application that NMFS concurs is reasonably expected to occur by 
species or stock. For the estimated amount and type of Level A 
harassment and Level B harassment annually, see Table 39 in the 2018 
AFTT final rule. Note that take by Level B harassment includes both 
behavioral disruption and TTS. Navy Figures 6.4-10 through 6.5-39 in 
Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application illustrate the comparative 
amounts of TTS and behavioral disruption for each species annually, 
noting that if a modeled marine mammal was ``taken''

[[Page 21150]]

through exposure to both TTS and behavioral disruption in the model, it 
was recorded as a TTS.

 Table 10--Seven-Year Total Species- and Stock-Specific Take Estimates Proposed for Authorization From Acoustic
                         and Explosive Sound Source Effects for All Training Activities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         7-Year total \1\
                    Species                                   Stock              -------------------------------
                                                                                      Level B         Level A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Balaenidae (right whales):
    North Atlantic right whale *..............  Western North Atlantic..........           1,644               0
Family Balaenopteridae (roquals):
    Blue whale *..............................  Western North Atlantic (Gulf of              171               0
                                                 St. Lawrence).
    Bryde's whale.............................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........               5               0
                                                No Stock Designation............           1,351               0
    Minke whale...............................  Canadian East Coast.............          15,824               0
    Fin whale *...............................  Western North Atlantic..........          10,225              19
    Humpback whale............................  Gulf of Maine...................           1,564               4
    Sei whale *...............................  Nova Scotia.....................           1,964               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Physeteridae (sperm whale):
    Sperm whale *.............................  Gulf of Mexico Oceanic..........             167               0
                                                North Atlantic..................          96,479               0
Family Kogiidae (sperm whales):
    Dwarf sperm whale.........................  Gulf of Mexico Oceanic..........             103               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          56,060              68
    Pygmy sperm whale.........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             103               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          56,060              68
Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales):
    Blainville's beaked whale.................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             244               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          85,661               0
    Cuvier's beaked whale.....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             242               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         317,180               0
    Gervais' beaked whale.....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             244               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          85,661               0
    Northern bottlenose whale.................  Western North Atlantic..........           7,504               0
    Sowersby's beaked whale...................  Western North Atlantic..........          85,661               0
    True's beaked whale.......................  Western North Atlantic..........          85,661               0
Family Delphinidae (dolphins):
    Atlantic spotted dolphin..................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           6,584               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         804,058              64
    Atlantic white-sided dolphin..............  Western North Atlantic..........          99,615               3
    Bottlenose dolphin........................  Choctawhatchee Bay..............              46               0
                                                Gulf of Mexico Eastern Coastal..             166               0
                                                Gulf of Mexico Northern Coastal.           1,524               0
                                                Gulf of Mexico Western Coastal..          16,778               0
                                                Indian River Lagoon Estuarine              1,980               0
                                                 System.
                                                Jacksonville Estuarine System...             589               0
                                                Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne,                0               0
                                                 Bay Boudreau.
                                                Northern Gulf of Mexico                   10,918              13
                                                 Continental Shelf.
                                                Northern Gulf of Mexico Oceanic.           1,356               0
                                                Northern North Carolina                   16,089               0
                                                 Estuarine System.
                                                Southern North Carolina                        0               0
                                                 Estuarine System.
                                                Western North Atlantic Northern            6,060               0
                                                 Florida Coastal.
                                                Western North Atlantic Central            35,861               0
                                                 Florida Coastal.
                                                Western North Atlantic Northern          175,237              30
                                                 Migratory Coastal.
                                                Western North Atlantic Offshore.       2,062,942             269
                                                Western North Atlantic South              28,814               0
                                                 Carolina/Georgia Coastal.
                                                Western North Atlantic Southern           81,155              14
                                                 Migratory Coastal.
    Clymene dolphin...........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             694               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         463,220              19
    False killer whale........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             291               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          54,818               0
    Fraser's dolphin..........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             418               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          26,155               0
    Killer whale..............................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........               5               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........             522               0
    Long-finned pilot whale...................  Western North Atlantic..........         116,412               0
    Melon-headed whale........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             493               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         246,178               4

[[Page 21151]]

 
    Pantropical spotted dolphin...............  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           3,959               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         964,072              16
    Pygmy killer whale........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             118               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          43,009               0
    Risso's dolphin...........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             276               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         140,368               0
    Rough-toothed dolphin.....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             606               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         129,594               0
    Short-beaked common dolphin...............  Western North Atlantic..........       1,467,625              87
    Short-finned pilot whale..................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             251               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         210,736               0
    Spinner dolphin...........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           1,593               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         487,644               9
    Striped dolphin...........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             471               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         631,680              22
    White-beaked dolphin......................  Western North Atlantic..........             269               0
Family Phocoenidae (porpoises):
    Harbor porpoise...........................  Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy......         206,071           1,121
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Suborder Pinnipedia
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Phocidae (true seals):
    Gray seal.................................  Western North Atlantic..........          10,038               0
    Harbor seal...............................  Western North Atlantic..........          16,277               0
    Harp seal.................................  Western North Atlantic..........          59,063               6
    Hooded seal...............................  Western North Atlantic..........             882               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment annually are identical to those
  presented in Table 39 in the 2018 AFTT final rule.
* ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the AFTT Study Area.
[dagger] NSD: No stock designated.

Estimated Harassment Take From Testing Activities
    For testing activities (excluding ship shock trials), Table 11 
summarizes the Navy's take estimate and request and the maximum amount 
and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment for the seven-
year period covered by the 2019 Navy application that NMFS concurs is 
reasonably expected to occur by species or stock. For the estimated 
amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment annually, 
see Table 40 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. Note that take by Level B 
harassment includes both behavioral disruption and TTS. Navy Figures 
6.4-10 through 6.5-39 in Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application 
illustrate the comparative amounts of TTS and behavioral disruption for 
each species annually, noting that if a ``taken'' animat was exposed to 
both TTS and behavioral disruption in the model, it was recorded as a 
TTS.

  Table 11--Seven-Year Total Species and Stock-Specific Take Estimates Proposed for Authorization From Acoustic
           and Explosive Sound Source Effects for All Testing Activities (Excluding Ship Shock Trials)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         7-Year total \1\
                    Species                                   Stock              -------------------------------
                                                                                      Level B         Level A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Balaenidae (right whales):
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    North Atlantic right whale *..............  Western North Atlantic..........           1,528               0
Family Balaenopteridae (roquals):
    Blue whale *..............................  Western North Atlantic (Gulf of              127               0
                                                 St. Lawrence).
    Bryde's whale.............................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             358               0
                                                No Stock Designation............             856               0
    Minke whale...............................  Canadian East Coast.............          11,155               9
    Fin whale *...............................  Western North Atlantic..........          24,808              22
    Humpback whale............................  Gulf of Maine...................           3,380               0
    Sei whale *...............................  Nova Scotia.....................           3,262               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Physeteridae (sperm whale):
    Sperm whale *.............................  Gulf of Mexico Oceanic..........           7,315               0

[[Page 21152]]

 
                                                North Atlantic..................          71,820               0
Family Kogiidae (sperm whales):
    Dwarf sperm whale.........................  Gulf of Mexico Oceanic..........           4,787              38
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          29,368              91
    Pygmy sperm whale.........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           4,787              38
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          29,368              91
Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales):
    Blainville's beaked whale.................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           9,368               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          68,738               0
    Cuvier's beaked whale.....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           9,757               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         252,367               0
    Gervais' beaked whale.....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           9,368               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          68,738               0
    Northern bottlenose whale.................  Western North Atlantic..........           6,231               0
    Sowersby's beaked whale...................  Western North Atlantic..........          68,903               0
    True's beaked whale.......................  Western North Atlantic..........          68,903               0
Family Delphinidae (dolphins):
    Atlantic spotted dolphin..................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........         473,262              18
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         708,931              72
    Atlantic white-sided dolphin..............  Western North Atlantic..........         210,578               8
    Bottlenose dolphin........................  Choctawhatchee Bay..............           6,297               0
                                                Gulf of Mexico Eastern Coastal..               0               0
                                                Gulf of Mexico Northern Coastal.         108,154               7
                                                Gulf of Mexico Western Coastal..          25,200               0
                                                Indian River Lagoon Estuarine                 21               0
                                                 System.
                                                Jacksonville Estuarine System...              20               0
                                                Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne,                5               0
                                                 Bay Boudreau.
                                                Northern Gulf of Mexico                  841,076              56
                                                 Continental Shelf.
                                                Northern Gulf of Mexico Oceanic.          95,044               8
                                                Northern North Carolina                      746               0
                                                 Estuarine System.
                                                Southern North Carolina                        0               0
                                                 Estuarine System.
                                                Western North Atlantic Northern            2,263               0
                                                 Florida Coastal.
                                                Western North Atlantic Central            15,409               0
                                                 Florida Coastal.
                                                Western North Atlantic Northern           79,042              20
                                                 Migratory Coastal.
                                                Western North Atlantic Offshore.         794,581             161
                                                Western North Atlantic South              11,232               0
                                                 Carolina/Georgia Coastal.
                                                Western North Atlantic Southern           29,176               0
                                                 Migratory Coastal.
    Clymene dolphin...........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........          27,841               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         234,001              12
    False killer whale........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........          12,788               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          24,580               0
    Fraser's dolphin..........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           7,452               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........           8,270               0
    Killer whale..............................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........             212               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........             264               0
    Long-finned pilot whale...................  Western North Atlantic..........         131,095              11
    Melon-headed whale........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........          20,324               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         109,192               6
    Pantropical spotted dolphin...............  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........         169,678               6
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         495,207              26
    Pygmy killer whale........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........           4,771               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          18,609               0
    Risso's dolphin...........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........          10,929               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         132,141               9
    Rough-toothed dolphin.....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........          26,033               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........          58,008               0
    Short-beaked common dolphin...............  Western North Atlantic..........       2,351,361             101
    Short-finned pilot whale..................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........          12,041               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         111,326              10
    Spinner dolphin...........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........          51,039               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         218,786              10
    Striped dolphin...........................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.........          16,344               0
                                                Western North Atlantic..........         652,197              32
    White-beaked dolphin......................  Western North Atlantic..........             300               0
Family Phocoenidae (porpoises):
    Harbor porpoise...........................  Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy......         811,201           1,405
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 21153]]

 
                                               Suborder Pinnipedia
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Phocidae (true seals):
    Gray seal.................................  Western North Atlantic..........           6,130              14
    Harbor seal...............................  Western North Atlantic..........           9,941              23
    Harp seal.................................  Western North Atlantic..........          53,646              17
    Hooded seal...............................  Western North Atlantic..........           5,335               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment annually are identical to those
  presented in Table 40 in the 2018 AFTT final rule.
* ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the AFTT Study Area.
[dagger] NSD: No stock designated.

Estimated Take From Ship Shock
    For ship shock trials, Table 12 summarizes the Navy's take estimate 
and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A and Level B 
harassment and serious injury/mortality for the seven-year period 
covered by the Navy application that NMFS concurs is reasonably 
expected to occur by species or stock per small and large ship shock 
events. For the estimated amount and type of Level A harassment, Level 
B harassment, and serious injury/mortality annually, see Table 41 in 
the 2018 AFTT final rule. The Navy proposed no additional ship shock 
trials over the additional two years covered by the 2019 Navy 
application, so the estimated and requested takes are the same as those 
authorized in the 2018 AFTT final rule.

 Table 12--Seven-Year Total Species and Stock-Specific Take Estimates Proposed for Authorization From Ship Shock
                                                     Trials
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                 7-Year total \1\
                             Species                             -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      Level B         Level A        Mortality
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Balaenidae (right whales):
    North Atlantic right whale *................................               5               0               0
Family Balaenopteridae (roquals):
    Blue whale *................................................               1               0               0
    Bryde's whale...............................................              15               1               0
    Minke whale.................................................              96               6               0
    Fin whale *.................................................             627              36               0
    Humpback whale..............................................              44               2               0
    Sei whale *.................................................              63               7               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Physeteridae (sperm whale):
    Sperm whale *...............................................               6               7               0
Family Kogiidae (sperm whales):
    Dwarf sperm whale...........................................             229             154               0
    Pygmy sperm whale...........................................             229             154               0
Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales):
    Blainville's beaked whale...................................               4               1               0
    Cuvier's beaked whale.......................................               8               6               0
    Gervais' beaked whale.......................................               4               1               0
    Northern bottlenose whale...................................               0               0               0
    Sowersby's beaked whale.....................................               4               1               0
    True's beaked whale.........................................               4               1               0
Family Delphinidae (dolphins):
    Atlantic spotted dolphin....................................              26              24               0
    Atlantic white-sided dolphin................................               6              12               1
    Bottlenose dolphin..........................................              55              54               0
    Clymene dolphin.............................................              15              23               0
    False killer whale..........................................               2               1               0
    Fraser's dolphin............................................               2               3               0
    Killer whale................................................               0               0               0
    Long-finned pilot whale.....................................              11              12               0
    Melon-headed whale..........................................               8               7               0
    Pantropical spotted dolphin.................................              31              29               1
    Pygmy killer whale..........................................               1               1               0

[[Page 21154]]

 
    Risso's dolphin.............................................               6               4               0
    Rough-toothed dolphin.......................................               6               2               0
    Short-beaked common dolphin.................................             187             260               6
    Short-finned pilot whale....................................              10              11               0
    Spinner dolphin.............................................              46              48               1
    Striped dolphin.............................................              22              36               0
    White-beaked dolphin........................................               0               0               0
Family Phocoenidae (porpoises):
    Harbor porpoise.............................................             249             204               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Suborder Pinnipedia
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Phocidae (true seals):
    Gray seal...................................................               0               0               0
    Harbor seal.................................................               0               0               0
    Harp seal...................................................               0               0               0
    Hooded seal.................................................               0               0               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment and serious injury/mortality
  annually are identical to those presented in Table 41 in the 2018 AFTT final rule.
* ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the AFTT Study Area.
[dagger] NSD: No stock designated.

Estimated Take From Vessel Strikes
    Vessel strikes from commercial, recreational, and military vessels 
are known to affect large whales and have resulted in serious injury 
and occasional fatalities to cetaceans (Berman-Kowalewski et al., 2010; 
Calambokidis, 2012; Douglas et al., 2008; Laggner 2009; Lammers et al., 
2003). Records of collisions date back to the early 17th century, and 
the worldwide number of collisions appears to have increased steadily 
during recent decades (Laist et al., 2001; Ritter, 2012).
    Numerous studies of interactions between surface vessels and marine 
mammals have demonstrated that free-ranging marine mammals often, but 
not always (e.g., McKenna et al., 2015), engage in avoidance behavior 
when surface vessels move toward them. It is not clear whether these 
responses are caused by the physical presence of a surface vessel, the 
underwater noise generated by the vessel, or an interaction between the 
two (Amaral and Carlson, 2005; Au and Green, 2000; Bain et al., 2006; 
Bauer 1986; Bejder et al., 1999; Bejder and Lusseau, 2008; Bejder et 
al., 2009; Bryant et al., 1984; Corkeron, 1995; Erbe, 2002; 
F[eacute]lix, 2001; Goodwin and Cotton, 2004; Lemon et al., 2006; 
Lusseau, 2003; Lusseau, 2006; Magalhaes et al., 2002; Nowacek et al., 
2001; Richter et al., 2003; Scheidat et al., 2004; Simmonds, 2005; 
Watkins, 1986; Williams et al., 2002; Wursig et al., 1998). Several 
authors suggest that the noise generated during motion is probably an 
important factor (Blane and Jaakson, 1994; Evans et al., 1992; Evans et 
al., 1994). Water disturbance may also be a factor. These studies 
suggest that the behavioral responses of marine mammals to surface 
vessels are similar to their behavioral responses to predators. 
Avoidance behavior is expected to be even stronger in the subset of 
instances that the Navy is conducting training or testing activities 
using active sonar or explosives.
    The marine mammals most vulnerable to vessel strikes are those that 
spend extended periods of time at the surface in order to restore 
oxygen levels within their tissues after deep dives (e.g., the sperm 
whale). In addition, some baleen whales, such as the NARW seem 
generally unresponsive to vessel sound, making them more susceptible to 
vessel collisions (Nowacek et al., 2004). These species are primarily 
large, slower moving whales.
    Some researchers have suggested the relative risk of a vessel 
strike can be assessed as a function of animal density and the 
magnitude of vessel traffic (e.g., Fonnesbeck et al., 2008; Vanderlaan 
et al., 2008). Differences among vessel types also influence the 
probability of a vessel strike. The ability of any ship to detect a 
marine mammal and avoid a collision depends on a variety of factors, 
including environmental conditions, ship design, size, speed, and 
personnel, as well as the behavior of the animal. Vessel speed, size, 
and mass are all important factors in determining if injury or death of 
a marine mammal is likely due to a vessel strike. For large vessels, 
speed and angle of approach can influence the severity of a strike. For 
example, Vanderlaan and Taggart (2007) found that between vessel speeds 
of 8.6 and 15 knots, the probability that a vessel strike is lethal 
increases from 0.21 to 0.79. Large whales also do not have to be at the 
water's surface to be struck. Silber et al. (2010) found when a whale 
is below the surface (about one to two times the vessel draft), there 
is likely to be a pronounced propeller suction effect. This suction 
effect may draw the whale into the hull of the ship, increasing the 
probability of propeller strikes.
    There are some key differences between the operation of military 
and non-military vessels, which make the likelihood of a military 
vessel striking a whale lower than some other vessels (e.g., commercial 
merchant vessels). Key differences include:
     Many military ships have their bridges positioned closer 
to the bow, offering better visibility ahead of the ship (compared to a 
commercial merchant vessel).
     There are often aircraft associated with the training or 
testing activity (which can serve as Lookouts), which can more readily 
detect cetaceans in the vicinity of a vessel or ahead of a vessel's 
present course before crew on the vessel would be able to detect them.
     Military ships are generally more maneuverable than 
commercial merchant vessels, and if cetaceans are spotted in the path 
of the ship, could be capable of changing course more quickly.

[[Page 21155]]

     The crew size on military vessels is generally larger than 
merchant ships, allowing for stationing more trained Lookouts on the 
bridge. At all times when vessels are underway, trained Lookouts and 
bridge navigation teams are used to detect objects on the surface of 
the water ahead of the ship, including cetaceans. Additional Lookouts, 
beyond those already stationed on the bridge and on navigation teams, 
are positioned as Lookouts during some activities.
     When submerged, submarines are generally slow moving (to 
avoid detection) and therefore marine mammals at depth with a submarine 
are likely able to avoid collision with the submarine. When a submarine 
is transiting on the surface, there are Lookouts serving the same 
function as they do on surface ships.
    Vessel strike to marine mammals is not associated with any specific 
training or testing activity but is rather an extremely limited and 
sporadic, but possible, accidental result of Navy vessel movement 
within the AFTT Study Area or while in transit.
    There have been three recorded Navy vessel strikes (one in 2011 and 
two in 2012) of large whales in the AFTT Study Area from 2009 through 
2018 (ten years), the period in which the Navy began implementing 
effective mitigation measures to reduce the likelihood of vessel 
strikes. Two of the vessel strikes occurred in the Virginia Capes Range 
Complex and one occurred in the lower Chesapeake Bay. One of the whales 
in 2012 had features suggesting it was most likely a humpback whale. 
Note that while the Navy is generally unable to identify the species of 
whale is it unlikely the unidentified whales were NARW as the strikes 
occurred in areas where, or times of year when, NARW are not known to 
be present. In order to account for the accidental nature of vessel 
strikes to large whales in general, and the potential risk from any 
vessel movement within the AFTT Study Area within the seven-year 
period, the Navy requested incidental takes based on probabilities 
derived from a Poisson distribution using ship strike data between 2009 
and 2018 in the AFTT Study Area (the time period from when current 
mitigation measures were instituted until the Navy conducted the 
analysis for the 2019 Navy application, with no new ship strikes 
occurring since this analysis), as well as historical at-sea days in 
the AFTT Study Area from 2009-2018 and estimated potential at-sea days 
for the period from 2018 to 2025 covered by the requested regulations. 
This distribution predicted the probabilities of a specific number of 
strikes (n=0, 1, 2, etc.) over the period from 2018 to 2025. The 
analysis is described in detail in Chapter 6 of the Navy's 2017 and 
2019 applications (and further refined in the Navy's revised ship 
strike analysis posted on NMFS' website https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities).
    For the same reasons listed above describing why a Navy vessel 
strike is comparatively unlikely, it is highly unlikely that a Navy 
vessel would strike a whale, dolphin, porpoise, or pinniped without 
detecting it and, accordingly, NMFS is confident that the Navy's 
reported strikes are accurate and appropriate for use in the analysis. 
Specifically, Navy ships have multiple Lookouts, including on the 
forward part of the ship that can visually detect a hit animal, in the 
unlikely event ship personnel do not feel the strike (which has 
occasionally occurred). Navy's strict internal procedures and 
mitigation requirements include reporting of any vessel strikes of 
marine mammals, and the Navy's discipline, extensive training (not only 
for detecting marine mammals, but for detecting and reporting any 
potential navigational obstruction), and strict chain of command give 
NMFS a high level of confidence that all strikes actually get reported.
    The Navy used the three whale strikes since 2009 in their 
calculations to determine the number of strikes likely to result from 
their activities (although worldwide strike information, from all Navy 
activities and other strikes, was used to inform the species that may 
be struck). The Navy evaluated data beginning in 2009, as that was the 
start of the Navy's Marine Species Awareness Training and adoption of 
additional mitigation measures to address ship strike, which will 
remain in place along with additional mitigation measures during the 
seven years of this rule.
    The updated probability analysis in the 2019 Navy application 
concluded that there was a 12 percent chance that zero whales would be 
struck by Navy vessels over the next seven years in the AFTT Study 
Area, indicating an 88 percent chance that at least one whale would be 
struck over the next seven years. The analysis also concludes that 
there is a 10 percent chance of striking four whales over the seven-
year period. Based on the revised analysis, the Navy requests coverage 
for one additional large whale mortality not previously included in the 
2018 AFTT final rule bringing the total from three vessel strikes over 
five years to four vessel strikes over seven years. NMFS agrees that 
there is some probability that the Navy could strike, and take by 
serious injury or mortality, up to four large whales incidental to 
training and testing activities within the AFTT Study Area over the 
course of the seven years covered by this proposed rule.
    Small delphinids, porpoises, and pinnipeds are not expected to be 
struck by Navy vessels. In addition to the reasons listed above that 
make it unlikely that the Navy will hit a large whale (more 
maneuverable ships, larger crew, etc.), the following are additional 
reasons that vessel strike of dolphins, small whales, porpoises, and 
pinnipeds is very unlikely. Dating back more than 20 years and for as 
long as it has kept records, the Navy has no records of individuals of 
these groups being struck by a vessel as a result of Navy activities 
and, further, their smaller size and maneuverability make a strike 
unlikely. Also, NMFS has never received any reports from other 
authorized activities indicating that these species have been struck by 
vessels. Worldwide ship strike records show little evidence of strikes 
of these groups from the shipping sector and larger vessels, and the 
majority of the Navy's activities involving faster-moving vessels (that 
could be considered more likely to hit a marine mammal) are located in 
offshore areas where smaller delphinid, porpoise, and pinniped 
densities are lower. Based on this information, NMFS concurs with the 
Navy's assessment and recognizes the potential for incidental take by 
vessel strike of large whales only (i.e., no dolphins, small whales, 
porpoises, or pinnipeds) over the course of the seven-year period 
analyzed here from training and testing activities.
    Taking into account the available information regarding how many of 
any given stock could be struck and therefore should be proposed for 
authorization for take NMFS considered two factors in addition to those 
considered in the Navy's request: (1) The relative likelihood of 
hitting one stock versus another based on available strike data from 
all vessel types as denoted in the SARs and (2) whether the Navy has 
ever definitively struck an individual from a particular stock and, if 
so, how many times. To address number (1) above, NMFS compiled 
information from NMFS' SARs on detected annual rates of large whale 
serious injury and mortality from vessel collisions (Table 13). The 
annual rates of large whale serious injury and mortality from vessel 
collisions from the SARs help inform the relative susceptibility of 
large whale species to vessel strike in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf 
of Mexico. We summed the annual rates of mortality and serious

[[Page 21156]]

injury from vessel collisions as reported in the SARs, then divided 
each species' annual rate by this sum to get the relative likelihood. 
To estimate the percent likelihood of striking a particular species of 
large whale, we multiplied the relative likelihood of striking each 
species by the total probability of striking a whale (i.e., 88 percent, 
as described by the Navy's probability analysis). We also calculated 
the percent likelihood of striking a particular species of large whale 
twice by squaring the value estimated for the probability of striking a 
particular species of whale once (i.e., to calculate the probability of 
an event occurring twice, multiply the probability of the first event 
by the second). We note that these probabilities vary from year to year 
as the average annual mortality for a given five-year window changes 
(and we include the annual averages from 2017 and 2018 draft SARs in 
Table 13 to illustrate); however, over the years and through changing 
SARs, stocks tend to consistently maintain a relatively higher or 
relatively lower likelihood of being struck. The analysis indicates 
that there is a very low percent chance of striking any particular 
species or stock more than once except for humpback whales, as shown in 
Table 13. The probabilities calculated as described above are then 
considered in combination with the information indicating the species 
that the Navy has definitively hit in the AFTT Study Area since 1995 
(since they started tracking consistently). Accordingly, stocks that 
have no record of ever having been struck by any vessel are considered 
unlikely to be struck by the Navy in the seven-year period of the rule. 
Stocks that have never been struck by the Navy, have rarely been struck 
by other vessels, and have a low percent likelihood based on the SAR 
calculation and a low relative abundance are also considered unlikely 
to be struck by the Navy during the seven-year rule.

 Table 13--Annual Rates of Mortality and Serious Injury (M/SI) From Vessel Collisions Compiled From NMFS Draft 2018 Stock Assessment Reports (SARs) and
                      Estimated Percent Chance of Striking Each Large Whale Species in the AFTT Study Area Over a Seven-Year Period
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Annual rate of
                                                          Annual rate of     M/SI from
                                                             M/SI from        vessel      Percent chance  Percent chance      Annual      Potential take
                  Species  (stock) \1\                        vessel         collision     of ONE strike  of TWO strikes   proposed take   proposed over
                                                             collision      (2018 draft                                                       7 years
                                                            (2017 SARs)        SARs)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fin whale (Western North Atlantic)......................             1.6             1.4           19.51            3.81            0.14               1
Sei whale (Nova Scotia).................................             0.8             0.8           11.15            1.24            0.14               1
Minke whale (Canadian East Coast).......................             1.4               1           13.94            1.94            0.14               1
Humpback whale (Gulf of Maine)..........................             1.8             2.7           37.63           14.16            0.29               2
Sperm (North Atlantic)..................................             0.2             0.2            2.79            0.08            0.14           \2\ 1
Bryde's whale (Northern Gulf of Mexico).................             0.2             0.2            2.79            0.08               0           \3\ 0
Sperm (Gulf of Mexico)..................................               0               0            0.00            0.00               0               0
Blue whale (Western North Atlantic).....................               0               0            0.00            0.00               0               0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ North Atlantic right whales are not included in this analysis as NARWs are not anticipated to be struck due to the additional extensive mitigation
  the Navy implements to minimize the risk of striking this particular species. In addition, the Navy has not struck this species since prior to 2009
  when the Navy's current vessel movement mitigation, reporting, and monitoring requirements have been in place.
\2\ The analysis indicates only a very small likelihood (less than 3 percent) that a North Atlantic sperm whale would be struck over the seven years,
  however, the Navy has struck a sperm whale previously in the Atlantic, which may indicate a higher possibility that it could occur and suggests that
  authorizing one mortality over the seven years would be appropriate.
\3\ Due to their low population abundance within the Study Area and lack of previous vessel strikes by the Navy, along with the Navy's enhanced
  mitigation measures in the Bryde's Whale Mitigation Area, Bryde's whales are not anticipated to be struck therefore and have zero mortality/serious
  injury takes.

    For the reasons discussed in detail in the 2018 AFTT final rule and 
discussed further below, due to enhanced mitigation measures, NARWs are 
not anticipated to be struck by Navy vessels and are anticipated to 
have zero mortality/serious injury takes over the seven years of the 
rule. In addition, based on the quantitative method described above, 
blue whales and Gulf of Mexico sperm whales have a zero percent chance 
of being struck. After considering this result, along with additional 
factors discussed below, the Navy found that any vessel strike of these 
two stocks is highly unlikely. After fully considering all relevant 
information, NMFS agreed with this conclusion. Finally, the 
quantitative analysis outlined above indicates only a very small 
likelihood the Navy would strike a Bryde's whale (3 percent). Due to 
their low population abundance and lack of previous vessel strikes by 
the Navy, Bryde's whales are also unlikely to be struck and we have 
proposed to authorize zero mortality/serious injury takes. Alternately, 
the quantitative analysis discussed above also indicates only a very 
small likelihood that the Navy would strike a North Atlantic sperm 
whale over the seven years covered by the 2019 Navy application (less 
than 3 percent), however, the Navy has struck a sperm whale previously 
in the Atlantic (2005), which points to a higher possibility that it 
could occur and suggests that authorizing a single mortality/serious 
injury would be appropriate. Additional discussion relevant to our 
determinations for North Atlantic blue whales, Gulf of Mexico sperm 
whale, NARW, and Bryde's whale is included below.
    In addition to the zero probability predicted by the quantitative 
model, there are no recent confirmed records of vessel collision to 
blue whales in the U.S. waters, although there is one older historical 
record pointing to a ship strike that likely occurred beyond the U.S. 
Atlantic EEZ (outside of where most Navy activities occur, so less 
relevant) and one 1998 record of a dead 20 m (66 ft) male blue whale 
brought into Rhode Island waters on the bow of a tanker. The cause of 
death was determined to be ship strike; however, some of the injuries 
were difficult to explain from the necropsy. As noted previously, the 
Navy has been conducting Marine Species Awareness Training and 
implementing additional mitigation measures to protect against vessel 
strikes since 2009. Therefore, given the absence of any strikes in the 
recent past since the Navy has implemented its current mitigation 
measures, the very low abundance of North Atlantic blue whales 
throughout the AFTT Study Area (Nmin = 440 for the Western North 
Atlantic stock,

[[Page 21157]]

Waring et al., 2010), and the very low number of blue whales ever known 
to be struck in the area by any type of vessel (and none struck by Navy 
vessels), we believe the likelihood of the Navy hitting a blue whale is 
discountable.
    In addition to the zero probability of hitting a sperm whale in the 
Gulf of Mexico predicted by the quantitative model, there have been no 
vessel strikes of sperm whales by any entity since 2009 in the Gulf of 
Mexico per the SAR (2009-2013) and no Navy strikes of any large whales 
since 1995 (based on our records, which include Navy's records) in the 
Gulf of Mexico. Further, the Navy has comparatively fewer steaming days 
in the Gulf of Mexico and there is a fairly low abundance of sperm 
whales occurring there. As noted previously, the Navy has been 
conducting Marine Species Awareness Training and implementing 
additional mitigation measures to protect against vessel strikes since 
2009. Therefore, NMFS believes that the likelihood of the Navy hitting 
a Gulf of Mexico sperm whale is discountable.
    Although the quantitative analysis would indicate that NARWs do 
have a low probability of being struck one time within the seven-year 
period when vessel strikes across all activity types (including non-
Navy) are considered (annual mortality and serious injury, hereafter 
abbreviated as M/SI) from vessel strikes is calculated as 0.41 in the 
2018 SAR), when the enhanced mitigation measures (discussed below) that 
the Navy has been implementing and would continue to implement for 
NARWs are considered in combination with this low probability, a vessel 
strike is highly unlikely. Therefore, lethal take of NARWs was not 
requested by the Navy and is not proposed to be authorized by NMFS. We 
further note that while there have been two strikes of unidentified 
whales by the Navy since 2009, it is unlikely they were NARW as the 
strikes occurred in areas where, or times of year when, NARW are not 
known to be present.
    Regarding the Bryde's whale, due to the fact that the Navy has not 
struck a Bryde's whale (as no Navy strikes have occurred in the Gulf of 
Mexico), the very low abundance numbers (Nbest = 33 individuals, Hayes 
et al., 2018), and the limited Navy ship traffic that overlaps with 
Bryde's whale habitat, neither the Navy nor NMFS anticipate any vessel-
strike takes, and none were requested or are proposed for 
authorization. The Navy is now also limiting activities (i.e., 200 hr 
cap on hull-mounted MFAS) and will not use explosives (except during 
mine warfare activities) in the Bryde's Whale Mitigation Area. For a 
complete discussion and analysis of these mitigation areas, see the 
Mitigation Measures section in the 2018 AFTT final rule along with a 
summary in the Mitigation Measures section of this proposed rule; see 
also Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS.
    In addition to procedural mitigation, the Navy would continue to 
implement measures in mitigation areas used by NARW for foraging, 
calving, and migration. For a complete discussion and analysis of these 
mitigation areas, see the Mitigation Measures section in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule along with a summary in the Mitigation Measures section of 
this proposed rule; see also Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 AFTT 
FEIS/OEIS. These measures, which go above and beyond those focused on 
other species (e.g., funding of and communication with sightings 
systems, implementation of speed reductions during applicable 
circumstances in certain areas) have succeeded in the Navy avoiding 
strike of a NARW during training and testing activities in the past and 
essentially eliminate the potential for vessel strikes to occur during 
the seven-year period of this rule. In particular, the mitigation 
pertaining to vessels, including the continued participation in and 
sponsoring of the Early Warning System, would help Navy vessels avoid 
NARW during transits and training and testing activities. The Early 
Warning System is a comprehensive information exchange network 
dedicated to reducing the risk of vessel strikes to NARW off the 
southeast United States from all mariners (i.e., Navy and non-Navy 
vessels). Navy participants include the Fleet Area Control and 
Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville; Commander, Naval Submarine Forces, 
Norfolk, Virginia; and Naval Submarine Support Command. The Navy, U.S. 
Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and NMFS collaboratively 
sponsor daily aerial surveys from December 1 through March 31 (weather 
permitting) to observe for NARW from the shoreline out to approximately 
30-35 nmi offshore. Aerial surveyors relay sightings information to all 
mariners transiting within the NARW calving habitat (e.g., commercial 
vessels, recreational boaters, and Navy ships).
    In the Northeast NARW Mitigation Area, before all vessel transits, 
the Navy conducts a web query or email inquiry of NOAA's NARW Sighting 
Advisory System to obtain the latest NARW sightings information. Navy 
vessels currently use and would continue to use the obtained sightings 
information to reduce potential interactions with NARW during transits 
and prevent ship strikes. In this mitigation area, vessels would 
continue to implement speed reductions after they observe a NARW; if 
they are within 5 nmi of the location of a sighting reported to the 
NARW Sighting Advisory System within the past week; and when operating 
at night or during periods of reduced visibility. During transits and 
normal firing involving non-explosive torpedos activities, the Navy 
ships would continue to maintain a speed of no more than 10 kn. During 
submarine target firing, ships would maintain speeds of no more than 18 
kn. During vessel target firing, vessel speeds would exceed 18 kn for 
only brief periods of time (e.g., 10-15 min).
    In the Southeast NARW Mitigation Area, before transiting or 
conducting training or testing activities within the mitigation area, 
the Navy would continue to initiate communication with the Fleet Area 
Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville to obtain Early Warning 
System NARW whale sightings data. The Fleet Area Control and 
Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville would continue to advise vessels of 
all reported whale sightings in the vicinity to help vessels and 
aircraft reduce potential interactions with NARWs and prevent ship 
strikes. Commander Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet would coordinate 
any submarine activities that may require approval from the Fleet Area 
Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville. Vessels would continue 
to use the sightings information to reduce potential interactions with 
NARW during transits and prevent ship strikes. Vessels would also 
implement speed reductions after they observe a NARW, if they are 
within 5 nmi of a sighting reported within the past 12 hours (hrs), or 
when operating in the mitigation area at night or during periods of 
poor visibility. To the maximum extent practicable, vessels would 
continue to minimize north-south transits in the mitigation area. 
Finally, the Navy would continue to broadcast awareness notification 
messages with NARW Dynamic Management Area information (e.g., location 
and dates) to applicable Navy vessels operating in the vicinity of the 
Dynamic Management Area. The information would continue to alert assets 
to the possible presence of a NARW to maintain safety of navigation and 
further reduce the potential for a vessel strike. Navy platforms would 
use the information to assist their visual observation of applicable 
mitigation zones during training and testing

[[Page 21158]]

activities and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation, 
including but not limited to, mitigation for vessel movement.
    Implementation of these measures is expected to significantly 
reduce the possibility of striking NARWs during the seven-year period 
of the rule. Ship strikes are a fluke encounter for which the 
probability will never be zero for any vessel. The probability for any 
particular ship to strike a marine mammal is primarily a product of the 
ability of the ship to detect a marine mammal and the ability to 
effectively act to avoid it. Navy combat ships are inherently among the 
best at both of these because compared to large commercial vessels, 
they have trained Lookouts which have received specialized Marine 
Mammal Observer (MMO) training, and they are the most maneuverable 
ships, which means that they are more likely to sight a marine mammal 
and more likely to be able to maneuver to avoid it in the available 
time--both of which decrease the probability of striking a marine 
mammal below what it would have been in the absence of those abilities. 
In the case of the NARW, the extensive communication/detection network 
described above, which is in use in the areas of highest NARW 
occurrence and where they may be more susceptible to strike, further 
increases the likelihood of detecting a NARW and thereby avoiding it, 
which further reduces the probability of NARW strike. Further, 
detection of NARW in some areas/times is associated with reduced speed 
requirements, which in some cases may reduce the strike probability 
further by slightly increasing the time within which an operator has to 
maneuver away from a whale. Because of these additional mitigation 
measures combined with the already low probability that a NARW will be 
struck, it is extremely unlikely the Navy would strike a NARW, and 
mortality/serious injury of a NARW from vessel strike is neither 
anticipated nor proposed to be authorized.
    In conclusion, although it is generally unlikely that any whales 
will be struck in a year, based on the information and analysis above, 
NMFS anticipates that no more than four whales have the potential to be 
taken by serious injury or mortality over the seven-year period of the 
rule. Of those four whales over the seven years, no more than two would 
be humpback whales (Gulf of Maine stock) and no more than one would 
come from any of the four following stocks: Fin whale (Western North 
Atlantic stock), minke (Canadian East Coast stock), sperm whale (North 
Atlantic stock), and sei whale (Nova Scotia stock). Accordingly in the 
Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section, NMFS 
has evaluated under the negligible impact standard the serious injury 
or mortality of 0.14 whales annually from each of these species or 
stocks (i.e., 1 take over the 7 years divided by 7 to get the annual 
number), except for the humpback whale (North Atlantic stock) for which 
we used 0.29 (i.e., 2 takes over the 7 years divided by 7 to get the 
annual number) along with other expected harassment incidental take.

Proposed Mitigation Measures

    Under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the 
permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other 
means of effecting the least practicable adverse 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 subsistence uses (``least 
practicable adverse impact''). NMFS does not have a regulatory 
definition for least practicable adverse impact. The 2004 NDAA amended 
the MMPA as it relates to military readiness activities and the 
incidental take authorization process such that a determination of 
``least practicable adverse impact'' shall include consideration of 
personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the 
effectiveness of the ``military readiness activity.'' For the full 
discussion of how NMFS interprets least practicable adverse impact, 
including how it relates to the negligible-impact standard, see the 
Mitigation Measures section in the 2018 AFTT final rule.
    Section 101(a)(5)(A)(i)(II) requires NMFS to issue, in conjunction 
with its authorization, binding--and enforceable--restrictions (in the 
form of regulations) setting forth how the activity must be conducted, 
thus ensuring the activity has the ``least practicable adverse impact'' 
on the affected species or stocks. In situations where mitigation is 
specifically needed to reach a negligible impact determination, section 
101(a)(5)(A)(i)(II) also provides a mechanism for ensuring compliance 
with the ``negligible impact'' requirement. Finally, we reiterate that 
the least practicable adverse impact standard also requires 
consideration of measures for marine mammal habitat, with particular 
attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and other areas of similar 
significance, and for subsistence impacts, whereas the negligible 
impact standard is concerned solely with conclusions about the impact 
of an activity on annual rates of recruitment and survival.\1\ In 
evaluating what mitigation measures are appropriate, NMFS considers the 
potential impacts of the Specified Activities, the availability of 
measures to minimize those potential impacts, and the practicability of 
implementing those measures, as we describe below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Outside of the military readiness context, mitigation may 
also be appropriate to ensure compliance with the ``small numbers'' 
language in MMPA sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Implementation of Least Practicable Adverse Impact Standard

    Our evaluation of potential mitigation measures includes 
consideration of two primary factors:
    (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, implementation of 
the potential measure(s) is expected to reduce adverse impacts to 
marine mammal species or stocks, their habitat, and their availability 
for subsistence uses (where relevant). This analysis considers such 
things as the nature of the potential adverse impact (such as 
likelihood, scope, and range), the likelihood that the measure will be 
effective if implemented, and the likelihood of successful 
implementation; and
    (2) The practicability of the measures for applicant 
implementation. Practicability of implementation may consider such 
things as cost, impact on activities, and, in the case of a military 
readiness activity, specifically considers personnel safety, 
practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the 
military readiness activity. 16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(A)(iii).
    While the language of the least practicable adverse impact standard 
calls for minimizing impacts to affected species or stocks, we 
recognize that the reduction of impacts to those species or stocks 
accrues through the application of mitigation measures that limit 
impacts to individual animals. Accordingly, NMFS' analysis focuses on 
measures that are designed to avoid or minimize impacts on individual 
marine mammals that are likely to increase the probability or severity 
of population-level effects.
    While direct evidence of impacts to species or stocks from a 
specified activity is rarely available, and additional study is still 
needed to understand how specific disturbance events affect the fitness 
of individuals of certain species, there have been improvements in 
understanding the process by which disturbance effects are translated 
to the population. With

[[Page 21159]]

recent scientific advancements (both marine mammal energetic research 
and the development of energetic frameworks), the relative likelihood 
or degree of impacts on species or stocks may often be inferred given a 
detailed understanding of the activity, the environment, and the 
affected species or stocks--and the best available science has been 
used here. This same information is used in the development of 
mitigation measures and helps us understand how mitigation measures 
contribute to lessening effects (or the risk thereof) to species or 
stocks. We also acknowledge that there is always the potential that new 
information, or a new recommendation could become available in the 
future and necessitate reevaluation of mitigation measures (which may 
be addressed through adaptive management) to see if further reductions 
of population impacts are possible and practicable.
    In the evaluation of specific measures, the details of the 
specified activity will necessarily inform each of the two primary 
factors discussed above (expected reduction of impacts and 
practicability), and are carefully considered to determine the types of 
mitigation that are appropriate under the least practicable adverse 
impact standard. Analysis of how a potential mitigation measure may 
reduce adverse impacts on a marine mammal stock or species, 
consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and 
consideration of the impact on effectiveness of military readiness 
activities are not issues that can be meaningfully evaluated through a 
yes/no lens. The manner in which, and the degree to which, 
implementation of a measure is expected to reduce impacts, as well as 
its practicability in terms of these considerations, can vary widely. 
For example, a time/area restriction could be of very high value for 
decreasing population-level impacts (e.g., avoiding disturbance of 
feeding females in an area of established biological importance) or it 
could be of lower value (e.g., decreased disturbance in an area of high 
productivity but of less firmly established biological importance). 
Regarding practicability, a measure might involve restrictions in an 
area or time that impede the Navy's ability to certify a strike group 
(higher impact on mission effectiveness), or it could mean delaying a 
small in-port training event by 30 minutes to avoid exposure of a 
marine mammal to injurious levels of sound (lower impact). A 
responsible evaluation of ``least practicable adverse impact'' will 
consider the factors along these realistic scales. Accordingly, the 
greater the likelihood that a measure will contribute to reducing the 
probability or severity of adverse impacts to the species or stock or 
their habitat, the greater the weight that measure is given when 
considered in combination with practicability to determine the 
appropriateness of the mitigation measure, and vice versa. In the 
evaluation of specific measures, the details of the specified activity 
will necessarily inform each of the two primary factors discussed above 
(expected reduction of impacts and practicability), and will be 
carefully considered to determine the types of mitigation that are 
appropriate under the least practicable adverse impact standard. For 
more detail on how we apply these factors, see the discussion in the 
Mitigation Measures section of the 2018 AFTT final rule.
    NMFS fully reviewed the Navy's specified activities and the 
mitigation measures for the 2018 AFTT rulemaking and determined that 
the mitigation measures would result in the least practicable adverse 
impact on marine mammals. There is no change in either the activities 
or the mitigation measures for this rule. See the 2019 Navy application 
and the 2018 AFTT final rule for detailed information on the Navy's 
mitigation measures. NMFS worked with the Navy in the development of 
the Navy's initially proposed measures, which were informed by years of 
implementation and monitoring. A complete discussion of the Navy's 
evaluation process used to develop, assess, and select mitigation 
measures, which was informed by input from NMFS, can be found in 
Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS. The process 
described in Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS robustly 
supported NMFS' independent evaluation of whether the mitigation 
measures would meet the least practicable adverse impact standard. The 
Navy has implemented the mitigation measures under the 2018 AFTT 
regulations and would be required to continue implementation of the 
mitigation measures identified in this rule for the full seven years it 
covers to avoid or reduce potential impacts from acoustic, explosive, 
and physical disturbance and ship strike stressors.
    In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the 
mitigation measures in the 2018 AFTT final rule and there is no new 
information that affects NMFS' assessment of the applicability or 
effectiveness of those measures over the new seven-year period. See the 
2018 AFTT proposed rule and the 2018 AFTT final rule for our full 
assessment of these measures. In summary, the Navy has agreed to 
procedural mitigation measures that will reduce the probability and/or 
severity of impacts expected to result from acute exposure to acoustic 
sources or explosives, ship strike, and impacts to marine mammal 
habitat. Specifically, the Navy will use a combination of delayed 
starts, powerdowns, and shutdowns to minimize or avoid serious injury 
or mortality, minimize the likelihood or severity of PTS or other 
injury, and reduce instances of TTS or more severe behavioral 
disruption caused by acoustic sources or explosives. The Navy also will 
implement multiple time/area restrictions (several of which were added 
in the 2018 AFTT final rule since the previous AFTT MMPA incidental 
take rule) that would reduce take of marine mammals in areas or at 
times where they are known to engage in important behaviors, such as 
feeding or calving, where the disruption of those behaviors would have 
a higher probability of resulting in impacts on reproduction or 
survival of individuals that could lead to population-level impacts. 
Summaries of the Navy's procedural mitigation measures and mitigation 
areas for the AFTT Study Area are provided in Tables 14 and 15.

               Table 14--Summary of Procedural Mitigation
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Mitigation zones sizes and other
     Stressor or activity                     requirements
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Environmental Awareness and    [cir] Afloat Environmental Compliance
 Education.                     Training program for applicable
                                personnel.
Active Sonar.................  Depending on sonar source:
                               [cir] 1,000 yd. power down, 500 yd. power
                                down, and 200 yd. shut down.
                               [cir] 200 yd. shut down.
Air Guns.....................     [cir] 150 yd.
Pile Driving.................     [cir] 100 yd.
Weapons Firing Noise.........     [cir] 30[deg] on either side of the
                                   firing line out to 70 yd.

[[Page 21160]]

 
Explosive Sonobuoys..........     [cir] 600 yd.
Explosive Torpedoes..........     [cir] 2,100 yd.
Explosive Medium-Caliber and      [cir] 1,000 yd. (large-caliber
 Large-Caliber Projectiles..       projectiles).
                               [cir] 600 yd. (medium-caliber projectiles
                                during surface-to-surface activities).
                               [cir] 200 yd. (medium-caliber projectiles
                                during air-to-surface activities).
Explosive Missiles and            [cir] 2,000 yd. (21-500 lb. net
 Rockets.                          explosive weight).
                               [cir] 900 yd. (0.6-20 lb. net explosive
                                weight).
Explosive Bombs..............     [cir] 2,500 yd.
Sinking Exercises............     [cir] 2.5 NM.
Explosive Mine Countermeasure     [cir] 2,100 yd. (6-650 lb. net
 and Neutralization                explosive weight).
 Activities.                   [cir] 600 yd. (0.1-5 lb. net explosive
                                weight).
Explosive Mine Neutralization     [cir] 1,000 yd. (21-60 lb. net
 Activities Involving Navy         explosive weight for positive control
 Divers.                           charges and charges using time-delay
                                   fuses).
                               [cir] 500 yd. (0.1-20 lb. net explosive
                                weight for positive control charges).
Maritime Security Operations--    [cir] 200 yd.
 Anti-Swimmer Grenades.
Line Charge Testing..........     [cir] 900 yd.
Ship Shock Trials............     [cir] 3.5 NM.
Vessel Movement..............     [cir] 500 yd. (whales).
                               [cir] 200 yd. (other marine mammals).
                               [cir] North Atlantic right whale Dynamic
                                Management Area notification messages.
Towed In-Water Devices.......     [cir] 250 yd.
Small-, Medium-, and Large-       [cir] 200 yd.
 Caliber Non-Explosive
 Practice Munitions.
Non-Explosive Missiles and        [cir] 900 yd.
 Rockets.
Non-Explosive Bombs and Mine      [cir] 1,000 yd.
 Shapes.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: lb: pounds; nmi: nautical miles; yd: yards.


        Table 15--Summary of Mitigation Areas for Marine Mammals
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Summary of mitigation area requirements
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Northeast North Atlantic Right Whale Mitigation Area:
    [cir] The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active
     sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its
     annual training and testing activity reports.
    [cir] The Navy will minimize use of active sonar to the maximum
     extent practicable and will not use explosives that detonate in the
     water.
    [cir] The Navy will conduct non-explosive torpedo testing during
     daylight hours in Beaufort sea state 3 or less using three Lookouts
     (one on a vessel, two in an aircraft during aerial surveys) and an
     additional Lookout on the submarine when surfaced; during transits,
     ships will maintain a speed of no more than 10 knots; during
     firing, ships will maintain a speed of no more than 18 knots except
     brief periods of time during vessel target firing.
    [cir] Vessels will obtain the latest North Atlantic right whale
     sightings data and implement speed reductions after they observe a
     North Atlantic right whale, if within 5 NM of a sighting reported
     within the past week, and when operating at night or during periods
     of reduced visibility.
Gulf of Maine Planning Awareness Mitigation Area:
    [cir] The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active
     sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its
     annual training and testing activity reports.
    [cir] The Navy will not conduct major training exercises and will
     not conduct >200 hours of hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar
     per year.
Northeast Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas and Mid-Atlantic Planning
 Awareness Mitigation Areas:
    [cir] Navy will avoid conducting major training exercises to the
     maximum extent practicable.
    [cir] The Navy will not conduct more than four major training
     exercises per year.
Southeast North Atlantic Right Whale Mitigation Area (November 15-April
 15):
    [cir] The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active
     sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its
     annual training and testing activity reports.
    [cir] The Navy will not use active sonar except as necessary for
     navigation training, object detection training, and dipping sonar.
    [cir] The Navy will not expend explosive or non-explosive ordnance.
    [cir] Vessels will obtain the latest North Atlantic right whale
     sightings data; will implement speed reductions after they observe
     a North Atlantic right whale, if within 5 NM of a sighting reported
     within the past 12 hours, and when operating at night or during
     periods of reduced visibility; and will minimize north-south
     transits to the maximum extent practicable.
Jacksonville Operating Area (November 15-April 15):
    [cir] Navy units conducting training or testing activities in the
     Jacksonville Operating Area will obtain and use Early Warning
     System North Atlantic right whale sightings data as they plan
     specific details of events to minimize potential interactions with
     North Atlantic right whales to the maximum extent practicable. The
     Navy will use the reported sightings information to assist visual
     observations of applicable mitigation zones and to aid in the
     implementation of procedural mitigation.
Southeast North Atlantic Right Whale Critical Habitat Special Reporting
 Area (November 15-April 15):
    [cir] The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active
     sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its
     annual training and testing activity reports.
Navy Cherry Point Range Complex Nearshore Mitigation Area (March-
 September):
    [cir] The Navy will not conduct explosive mine neutralization
     activities involving Navy divers in the mitigation area.
    [cir] To the maximum extent practicable, the Navy will not use
     explosive sonobuoys, explosive torpedoes, explosive medium-caliber
     and large-caliber projectiles, explosive missiles and rockets,
     explosive bombs, explosive mines during mine countermeasure and
     neutralization activities, and anti-swimmer grenades in the
     mitigation area.
Bryde's Whale Mitigation Area:

[[Page 21161]]

 
    [cir] The Navy will report the total hours and counts of active
     sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its
     annual training and testing activity reports.
    [cir] The Navy will not conduct >200 hours of hull-mounted mid-
     frequency active sonar per year and will not use explosives (except
     during explosive mine warfare activities).
Gulf of Mexico Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: min.: minutes; nmi: nautical miles.

Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated the Navy's proposed mitigation 
measures--many of which were developed with NMFS' input during the 
previous phases of Navy training and testing authorizations and none of 
which have changed since our evaluation during the 2018 AFTT 
rulemaking--and considered a broad range of other measures (i.e., the 
measures considered but eliminated in the Navy's 2018 FEIS/OEIS, which 
reflect many of the comments that have arisen via NMFS or public input 
in past years) in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the 
means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the affected 
marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of 
potential measures included consideration of the following factors in 
relation to one another: The manner in which, and the degree to which, 
the successful implementation of the mitigation measures is expected to 
reduce the likelihood and/or magnitude of adverse impacts to marine 
mammal species and stocks and their habitat; the proven or likely 
efficacy of the measures; and the practicability of the measures for 
applicant implementation, including consideration of personnel safety, 
practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the 
military readiness activity. There is no new information that affects 
our analysis from the 2018 AFTT rulemaking, all of which remains 
applicable and valid for our assessment of the appropriateness of the 
mitigation measures during the seven-year period of this rule.
    Based on our evaluation of the Navy's proposed measures (which are 
being implemented under the 2018 AFTT regulations), as well as other 
measures considered by the Navy and NMFS, NMFS has preliminarily 
determined that the Navy's proposed mitigation measures (which are 
identical to those in the 2018 AFTT final rule) are appropriate means 
of effecting the least practicable adverse impacts on marine mammal 
species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to 
rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and 
considering specifically personnel safety, practicality of 
implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military 
readiness activity. Additionally, as described in more detail below, 
the 2018 AFTT final rule includes an adaptive management provision, 
which the Navy proposes to extend, which ensures that mitigation is 
regularly assessed and provides a mechanism to improve the mitigation, 
based on the factors above, through modification as appropriate.
    The proposed rule comment period provides the public an opportunity 
to submit recommendations, views, and/or concerns regarding the Navy's 
activities and the proposed mitigation measures. While NMFS has 
preliminarily determined that the Navy's proposed mitigation measures 
would effect the least practicable adverse impact on the affected 
species or stocks and their habitat, NMFS will consider all public 
comments to help inform our final decision. Consequently, the proposed 
mitigation measures may be refined, modified, removed, or added to 
prior to the issuance of the final rule based on public comments 
received, and where appropriate, further analysis of any additional 
mitigation measures.

Proposed Monitoring

    Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA states that in order to authorize 
incidental take for an activity, 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 incidental take 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 its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the 
monitoring described in the 2018 AFTT final rule. They would continue 
implementation of the robust Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring 
Program and Strategic Planning Process described in the 2018 AFTT final 
rule. The Navy's monitoring strategy, currently required by the 2018 
AFTT regulations, is well-designed to work across Navy ranges to help 
better understand the impacts of the Navy's activities on marine 
mammals and their habitat by focusing on learning more about marine 
mammal occurrence in different areas and exposure to Navy stressors, 
marine mammal responses to different sound sources, and the 
consequences of those exposures and responses on marine mammal 
populations. Similarly, the proposed seven-year regulations would 
include identical adaptive management provisions and reporting 
requirements as the 2018 AFTT regulations. There is no new information 
that would indicate that the monitoring measures put in place under the 
2018 AFTT final rule would not remain applicable and appropriate for 
the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Monitoring section 
of the 2018 AFTT final rule for more details on the monitoring that 
would be required under this rule. In addition, please see the 2019 
Navy application, which references Chapter 13 of the 2017 Navy 
application for full details on the monitoring and reporting proposed 
by the Navy.

Adaptive Management

    The 2018 AFTT regulations governing the take of marine mammals 
incidental to Navy training and testing activities in the AFTT Study 
Area contain an adaptive management component. Our understanding of the 
effects of Navy training and testing activities (e.g., acoustic and 
explosive stressors) on marine mammals continues to evolve, which makes 
the inclusion of an adaptive management component both valuable and 
necessary within the context of seven-year regulations. The 2019 Navy 
application proposes no changes to the adaptive management component 
included in the 2018 AFTT final rule.
    The reporting requirements associated with this rule are designed 
to provide NMFS with monitoring data from the previous year to allow 
NMFS to

[[Page 21162]]

consider whether any changes to existing mitigation and monitoring 
requirements are appropriate. The use of adaptive management allows 
NMFS to consider new information from different sources to determine 
(with input from the Navy regarding practicability) on an annual or 
biennial basis if mitigation or monitoring measures should be modified 
(including additions or deletions). Mitigation measures could be 
modified if new data suggests that such modifications would have a 
reasonable likelihood of more effectively accomplishing the goals of 
the mitigation and monitoring and if the measures are practicable. If 
the modifications to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures 
are substantial, NMFS will publish a notice of the planned LOA in the 
Federal Register and solicit public comment.
    The following are some of the possible sources of applicable data 
to be considered through the adaptive management process: (1) Results 
from monitoring and exercises reports, as required by MMPA 
authorizations; (2) compiled results of Navy funded research and 
development studies; (3) results from specific stranding 
investigations; (4) results from general marine mammal and sound 
research; and (5) any information which reveals that marine mammals may 
have been taken in a manner, extent, or number not authorized by these 
regulations or subsequent LOAs. The results from monitoring reports and 
other studies may be viewed at https://www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us/.

Reporting

    In order to issue incidental take authorization for an activity, 
section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth 
requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. 
Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring 
that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring. Reports 
from individual monitoring events, results of analyses, publications, 
and periodic progress reports for specific monitoring projects will be 
posted to the Navy's Marine Species Monitoring web portal: http://www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us. The 2019 Navy application proposes 
no changes to the reporting requirements identified in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule. Reporting requirements would remain identical to those 
described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, and there is no new information 
that would indicate that the reporting requirements put in place under 
the 2018 AFTT final rule would not remain applicable and appropriate 
for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Reporting 
section of the 2018 AFTT final rule for more details on the reporting 
that would be required under this rule.

Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact 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 mortality, serious injury, and Level A or Level B 
harassment (as presented in Tables 10-13), 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' 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, other ongoing 
sources of human-caused mortality, ambient noise levels, and specific 
consideration of take by Level A harassment or M/SI previously 
authorized for other NMFS activities).
    In the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals sections of this proposed 
rule and the 2018 AFTT final rule (where the activities, species and 
stocks, potential effects, and mitigation measures are the same as for 
this rule), we identified the subset of potential effects that would be 
expected to rise to the level of takes both annually and over the 
seven-year period covered by this rule, and then identified the number 
of each of those mortality takes that we believe could occur or the 
maximum number of harassment takes that are reasonably expected to 
occur based on the methods described. The impact that any given take 
will have is dependent on many case-specific factors that need to be 
considered in the negligible impact analysis (e.g., the context of 
behavioral exposures such as duration or intensity of a disturbance, 
the health of impacted animals, the status of a species that incurs 
fitness-level impacts to individuals, etc.). For this proposed rule we 
evaluated the likely impacts of the enumerated maximum number of 
harassment takes that are proposed for authorization and reasonably 
expected to occur, in the context of the specific circumstances 
surrounding these predicted takes. We also assessed M/SI takes that 
have the potential to occur, as well as considering the traits and 
statuses of the affected species and stocks. Last, we collectively 
evaluated this information, as well as other more taxa-specific 
information and mitigation measure effectiveness, in group-specific 
assessments that support our negligible impact conclusions for each 
stock.
    The Navy proposes no changes to the nature or level of the 
specified activities or the boundaries of the AFTT Study Area, and 
therefore the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and 
sources used, exercises conducted) are the same as those analyzed in 
the 2018 AFTT final rule. In addition, the mitigation, monitoring, and 
reporting measures are identical to those described and analyzed in the 
2018 AFTT final rule. As described above, there is no new information 
available since the publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule regarding 
the impacts of the specified activities on marine mammals, the status 
and distribution of any of the affected marine mammal species or 
stocks, or the effectiveness of the mitigation and monitoring measures 
that would change our analyses.

Harassment

    As described in the Estimated Takes of Marine Mammals section, the 
annual number of takes proposed for authorization and reasonably 
expected to occur by Level A harassment and Level B harassment (based 
on the maximum number of activities per 12-month period) are identical 
to those presented in Tables 39 through 41 in the Take Requests section 
of the 2018 AFTT final rule. As such the negligible impact analyses and 
determinations of the effects of the estimated Level A harassment and 
Level B harassment takes on annual rates of recruitment or survival for 
each species and stock are identical to that presented in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule. The only difference is that the annual levels of take and 
the associated effects on reproduction or survival would occur for the 
seven-year

[[Page 21163]]

period of the proposed rule instead of the five-year period of the 2018 
AFTT final rule, which would make no difference in effects on annual 
rates of recruitment or survival. For detailed discussion of the 
impacts that affected individuals may experience given the specific 
characteristics of the specified activities and required mitigation 
(e.g., from behavioral harassment, masking, and temporary or permanent 
threshold shift), along with the effects of the expected Level A 
harassment and Level B harassment take on reproduction and survival, 
see the applicable subsections in the Analysis and Negligible Impact 
Determination section of the 2018 AFTT final rule (83 FR 57211-57217).

Serious Injury or Mortality

    In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no additional ship shock 
trials during the seven-year period of the proposed rule to those 
covered by the existing 2018 AFTT regulations, so the expected and 
requested total takes by M/SI due to explosives over seven years are 
the same as those authorized in the existing 2018 AFTT regulations. 
There is no new information that affects the methodology or results of 
the ship-shock analysis presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule. But as 
these same activities would occur over seven years rather than five 
years, the estimated annual take is calculated as the number of total 
takes divided by seven. For each of the dolphin species or stocks 
listed in Table 16 there would be an annual take of 0.14 dolphins 
(i.e., for those species or stocks where one take could occur divided 
by seven years to get the annual number of M/SIs) or 0.86 dolphins in 
the case of short-beaked common dolphin (i.e., where six takes could 
occur divided by seven years to get the annual number of M/SIs). This 
is a decrease from the annual take of 0.2 dolphins (for the three 
species where one lethal take could occur) and annual take of 1.2 
short-beaked dolphins (where six lethal takes could occur) over the 
five-year period of the 2018 AFTT regulations, as shown in Table 70 in 
the 2018 AFTT final rule. As the proposed annual number is less than 
that analyzed and authorized in the 2018 AFTT final rule and no other 
relevant information about the status, abundance, or effects of 
mortality on each species or stock has changed, the analysis of the 
effects of take from ship shock trials mirrors that presented in the 
2018 AFTT final rule.

                                Table 16--Summary Information Related to AFTT Serious Injury or Mortality From Explosive
                                                            [(Ship Shock Trials), 2018-2025]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                               Residual
                                               Annual                   Fisheries                              PBR-- PBR
                                              estimated               interactions                  NEFSC        minus
                                    Stock      take by      Total     (Y/N); annual               authorized   annual M/  Stock trend  UME (Y/N); number
        Species (stock)           abundance    serious    annual M/   rate of M/SI      PBR *        take       SI and       * \4\          and year
                                  (Nbest) *   injury or   SI * \2\   from fisheries                (annual)      NEFSC
                                              mortality              interactions *                           authorized
                                             (M/SI) \1\                                                        take \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atlantic white-sided dolphin         48,819        0.14          30              30         304          0.6       273.4           ?   N.
 (Western N. Atlantic).
Pantropical spotted dolphin          50,880        0.14         4.4             4.4         407            0       402.6           ?   Y; 3 in 2010-
 (Northern GOMEX).                                                                                                                      2014.
Short-beaked common dolphin          70,184        0.86         406             406         557            2         149           ?   N.
 (Western N. Atlantic).
Spinner dolphin (Northern            11,441        0.14           0               0          62            0          62           ?   Y; 7 in 2010-
 GOMEX).                                                                                                                                2014.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Presented in the draft 2018 SARS.
\1\ This column represents the annual take by M/SI during ship shock trials and was calculated by the number of mortalities planned for authorization
  divided by seven years (the length of the rule and LOAs).
\2\ This column represents the total number of incidents of M/SI that could potentially accrue to the specified species or stock. This number comes from
  the SAR, but deducts the takes accrued from either Navy or NEFSC takes as noted in the SARs to ensure they are not double-counted against PBR.
  However, for these species, there were no were no takes from either Navy or NEFSC as noted in the SARs to deduct that would be considered double-
  counting.
\3\ This value represents the calculated PBR less the average annual estimate of ongoing anthropogenic mortalities (i.e., total annual human-caused M/
  SI, which is presented in the draft 2018 SARs) and authorized take for NEFSC.
\4\ See relevant SARs for more information regarding stock status and trends.

    The other facet of the analysis for which there is a quantitative 
change from the 2018 AFTT final rule is the number of potential 
mortalities due to ship strike proposed to be authorized over the 
seven-year period. First, based on the information and methods 
discussed in the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals section (which are 
identical to those used in the 2018 AFTT final rule), NMFS has 
predicted that mortal takes of four large whales over the course of the 
seven-year rule could occur (as compared to three large whales over 
five years in the 2018 AFTT final rule). Second, while no more than one 
whale over the seven years of any species of fin whale, sei whale, 
minke whale, or sperm whale (North Atlantic stock) would occur (which 
is the same as in the five-year 2018 AFTT final rule), as described 
above in the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals section, the number of 
potential mortality takes of humpback whales has increased from one to 
two. This means an annual average of 0.29 humpback whales and an annual 
average of 0.14 whales from each of the other four species or stocks as 
described in Table 17 (i.e., one, or two, take(s) over seven years 
divided by seven to get the annual number) are expected to potentially 
occur and are proposed for authorization. As this annual number is less 
than that analyzed and authorized in the 2018 AFTT final rule for fin 
whale, sei whale, minke whale, and sperm whale (North Atlantic stock), 
which was an annual average of 0.2 whales for the same four species and 
stocks, and no other relevant information about the status, abundance, 
or effects of mortality on each species or stock has changed, the 
analysis of the effects of vessel strike mirrors that presented in the 
2018 AFTT final rule. For humpback whales, the annual number for 
potential mortality takes is slightly higher than in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, but the number still falls below the insignificance 
threshold of 10 percent of residual Potential Biological Removal (PBR), 
which indicates an insignificant incremental increase in ongoing 
anthropogenic mortality that alone will not adversely affect annual 
rates of recruitment or survival. The analysis of the effects of this 
potential mortality on humpback whales, considered in combination with 
other estimated harassment takes, on annual rates of recruitment and 
survival appears in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section for 
Mysticetes below.
    See the Serious Injury and Mortality subsection in the Analysis and 
Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 AFTT final rule (83 
FR 57217-57223) for detailed discussions of the impacts of M/SI, 
including a description of how the agency uses the PBR metric and other 
factors to inform our analysis, and an analysis of the

[[Page 21164]]

impacts on each species and stock for which mortality is proposed for 
authorization including the relationship of potential mortality for 
each species to the insignificance threshold and residual PBR. Because 
the annual number of potential mortality takes for humpback whales 
remains below the insignificance threshold, the discussion for humpback 
whales (83 FR 57221-57222) remains fully applicable. For discussion 
specifically on the role of the calculated PBR in evaluating the 
effects of M/SI, see both the 2018 AFTT final rule and the 2018 HSTT 
final rule.

                                                              Table 17--Summary Information Related to AFTT Ship Strike, 2018-2025
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                                    Residual
                                                  Annual                                                                                            PBR--PBR
                                                 estimated               Fisheries interactions                                          NEFSC        minus
                                       Stock      take by      Total    (Y/N); annual rate of M/  Vessel collisions (Y/                authorized   annual M/  Stock trend    UME (Y/N); number
          Species (stock)            abundance    serious    annual M/     SI from fisheries     N); annual rate of M/SI     PBR *        take       SI and       * \4\         and year \5\
                                     (Nbest) *   injury or   SI * \2\        interactions *      from vessel collision *                (annual)      NEFSC
                                                 mortality                                                                                         authorized
                                                (M/SI) \1\                                                                                          take \3\
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fin whale (Western North Atlantic)       1,618        0.14         2.5  Y; 1.1.................  Y; 1.4.................         2.5            0           0           ?   N.
Sei whale (Nova Scotia)...........         357        0.14         0.8  N; 0...................  [dagger] Y; 0.8........         0.5            0        -0.3           ?   N.
Minke Whale (Canadian East Coast).       2,591        0.14         7.5  Y; 6.5.................  [dagger] Y; 1..........          14            1         5.5           ?   Y; 2 in 2019 as of 4/
                                                                                                                                                                             1/2019 (27 in 2017
                                                                                                                                                                             and 20 in 2018).
Humpback whale (Gulf of Maine)....         896        0.29         9.8  Y; 7.1.................  Y; 2.7.................        14.6            0         4.8    Y; 9 in 2019 as of 4/
                                                                                                                                                               <<   1/2019 (26 in 2016,
                                                                                                                                                               hangle    in 2018).
Sperm whale (North Atlantic)......       2,288        0.14         0.8  Y; 0.6.................  Y; 0.2.................         3.6            0         2.8           ?   ?.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Presented in the draft 2018 SARS.
[dagger] Value presented incorrectly in the 2018 AFTT final rule and corrected here.
\1\ This column represents the annual take by M/SI by vessel collision and was calculated by the number of mortalities planned for authorization divided by seven years (the length of the rule
  and LOAs).
\2\ This column represents the total number of incidents of M/SI that could potentially accrue to the specified species or stock. This number comes from the SAR, but deducts the takes accrued
  from either Navy strikes or NEFSC takes as noted in the SARs to ensure they are not double-counted against PBR. However, for these species, there were no takes from either Navy or NEFSC as
  noted in the SARs to deduct that would be considered double-counting.
\3\ This value represents the calculated PBR less the average annual estimate of ongoing anthropogenic mortalities (i.e., total annual human-caused M/SI, which is presented in the draft 2018
  SARs) and authorized take for NEFSC.
\4\ See relevant SARs for more information regarding stock status and trends.
\5\ This column presents UME information updated since the 2018 AFTT final rule, as discussed in the earlier section Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and their
  Habitat.

Group and Species-Specific Analyses

    In addition to broader analyses of the impacts of the Navy's 
activities on mysticetes, odontocetes, and pinnipeds, the 2018 AFTT 
final rule contained detailed analyses of the effects of the Navy's 
activities in the AFTT Study Area on each affected species and stock. 
All of that information and analyses remain applicable and valid for 
our analyses of the effects of the same Navy activities on the same 
species and stocks for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See 
the Group and Species-Specific Analyses subsection in the Analysis and 
Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 AFTT final rule (83 
FR 57223-57247). In addition, no new information has been received 
since the publication of the 2018 AFTT final rule that significantly 
changes the analyses on the effects of the Navy's activities on each 
species and stock presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule.
    In the discussions below, the estimated Level B harassment takes 
represent instances of take, not the number of individuals taken (the 
much lower and less frequent Level A harassment takes are far more 
likely to be associated with separate individuals), and in many cases 
some individuals are expected to be taken more than one time, while in 
other cases a portion of individuals will not be taken at all. Below, 
we compare the total take numbers (including PTS, TTS, and behavioral 
disruption for stocks to their associated abundance estimates to 
evaluate the magnitude of impacts across the stock and to individuals. 
Specifically, when an abundance percentage comparison is below 100, it 
means that that percentage or less of the individuals in the stock will 
be affected (i.e., some individuals will not be taken at all), that the 
average for those taken is one day per year, and that we would not 
expect any individuals to be taken more than a few times in a year. 
When it is more than 100 percent, it means there will definitely be 
some number of repeated takes of individuals. For example, if the 
percentage is 300, the average would be each individual is taken on 
three days in a year if all were taken, but it is more likely that some 
number of individuals will be taken more than three times and some 
number of individuals fewer or not at all. While it is not possible to 
know the maximum number of days across which individuals of a stock 
might be taken, in acknowledgement of the fact that it is more than the 
average, for the purposes of this analysis, we assume a number 
approaching twice the average. For example, if the percentage of take 
compared to the abundance is 800, we estimate that some individuals 
might be taken as many as 16 times. Those comparisons are included in 
the sections below. For some stocks these numbers have been adjusted 
slightly (with these adjustments being in the single digits) so as to 
more consistently apply this approach, but these minor changes did not 
change the analysis or findings.
    To assist in understanding what this analysis means, we clarify a 
few issues related to estimated takes and the analysis here. An 
individual that incurs a PTS or TTS take may sometimes, for example, 
also be behaviorally disturbed at the same time. As described in the 
Harassment subsection of the Negligible Impact Analysis section of the 
2018 AFTT final rule, the degree of PTS, and the degree and duration of 
TTS, expected to be incurred from the Navy's activities are not 
expected to impact marine mammals such that their reproduction or 
survival could be affected. Similarly, data do not suggest that a 
single instance in which an animal accrues PTS or TTS and is also 
behaviorally harassed would result in impacts to reproduction or 
survival. Alternately, we recognize that if an individual is 
behaviorally harassed repeatedly for a longer duration and on 
consecutive days, effects could accrue to the point that reproductive 
success is jeopardized (as discussed below in the stock-specific 
summaries). Accordingly, in analyzing the number of takes and the 
likelihood of repeated and sequential takes (which could result in 
reproductive impacts), we consider the

[[Page 21165]]

total takes, not just the behavioral Level B harassment takes, so that 
individuals potentially exposed to both threshold shift and behavioral 
disruption are appropriately considered. We note that the same 
reasoning applies with the potential addition of behavioral disruption 
(harassment) to tissue damage from explosives, the difference being 
that we do already consider the likelihood of reproductive impacts 
whenever tissue damage occurs. Further, the number of Level A 
harassment takes by either PTS or tissue damage are so low compared to 
abundance numbers that it is considered highly unlikely that any 
individual would be taken at those levels more than once.
    Having considered all of the information and analyses previously 
presented in the 2018 AFTT final rule, including the information 
presented in the Overview, the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Oil Spill 
discussion, and the Group and Species-Specific Analyses discussions 
organized by the different groups and species, below we present tables 
showing instances of total take as a percentage of stock abundance for 
each group, updated with the new vessel strike and ship shock 
calculations for some species. We then summarize the information for 
each species or stock, considering the analysis from the 2018 AFTT 
final rule and any new analysis. The analyses below in some cases 
address species collectively if they occupy the same functional hearing 
group (i.e., low, mid, and high-frequency cetaceans and pinnipeds in 
water), share similar life history strategies, and/or are known to 
behaviorally respond similarly to acoustic stressors. Because some of 
these groups or species share characteristics that inform the impact 
analysis similarly, it would be duplicative to repeat the same analysis 
for each species or stock. In addition, animals belonging to each stock 
within a species typically have the same hearing capabilities and 
behaviorally respond in the same manner as animals in other stocks 
within the species.
Mysticetes
    In Table 18 below for mysticetes, we indicate the total annual 
mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the 
instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 18 is 
unchanged from Table 72 in the 2018 AFTT final rule, except for updated 
information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional 
information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see 
the Mysticetes discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses 
section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to 
this proposed rule unless specifically noted.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13MY19.011

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect any 
species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival for any of the affected mysticete species and stocks.

North Atlantic Right Whale (Western Stock)

    As described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the status of NARW is 
precarious and they are listed as endangered under the ESA. There is an 
active UME associated with the recent unusually high number of deaths, 
some of which have been attributed to entanglement or vessel strike, 
although no vessel strikes

[[Page 21166]]

have been attributed to the Navy and no new NARW deaths have been 
documented since the 2018 AFTT final rule was published. The number of 
births in recent years has been unusually low and recent studies have 
reported individuals showing poor health or high stress levels. 
Accordingly, as described above and in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the 
Navy is implementing and would continue to implement a suite of 
mitigation measures that not only avoid the likelihood of ship strikes, 
but also minimize the severity of behavioral disruption by minimizing 
impacts in areas that are important for feeding and calving, thus 
ensuring that the relatively small number of Level B harassment takes 
that do occur are not expected to affect reproductive success or 
survivorship via detrimental impacts to energy intake or cow/calf 
interactions. Specifically, no mortality or Level A harassment is 
anticipated or proposed for authorization. Regarding the magnitude of 
Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of 
estimated instances compared to the abundance (137 percent) combined 
with the fact that the AFTT Study Area overlaps most if not all of the 
range, suggests that many to most of the individuals in the stock will 
likely be taken, but only on one or two days per year, with no reason 
to think the days would likely be sequential. Regarding the severity of 
those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained 
in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected 
to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short), the received 
sound levels are largely below 172 dB with some lesser portion up to 
178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a 
severe response), and because of the mitigation measures the exposures 
will not occur in areas or at times where impacts would be likely to 
affect feeding and energetics or important cow/calf interactions that 
could lead to reduced reproductive success or survival. Regarding the 
severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they 
are expected to be low-level and of short duration and the associated 
lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would 
impact reproduction or survival.
    Altogether, any individual NARW is likely to be disturbed at a low-
moderate level on no more than a couple of likely non-sequential days 
per year (and not in biologically important areas). Even given the fact 
that some of the affected individuals may have compromised health, 
there is nothing to suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of 
effects would result in impacts on reproduction or survival of any 
individual, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival for the 
stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on 
NARW.

Blue Whale (Western North Atlantic Stock)

    This is a wide-ranging stock that is best considered as ``an 
occasional visitor'' to the U.S. EEZ, which may represent the southern 
limit of its feeding range (Hayes et al., 2018), though no specific 
feeding areas have been identified. For this reason, the abundances 
calculated by the Navy based on survey data in the U.S. EEZ are very 
low (9 and 104, in the U.S. EEZ and throughout the range respectively) 
and while NMFS' SAR does not predict an abundance, it does report an 
Nmin (minimum abundance) of 440. There is no currently reported trend 
for the population and there are no specific issues with the status of 
the stock that cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs), although the 
species is listed as endangered under the ESA. We note, however, that 
this species was originally listed under the ESA as a result of the 
impacts from commercial whaling, which is no longer affecting the 
species. No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed 
for authorization for blue whales. Regarding the magnitude of Level B 
harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), given the number of 
total takes (47), the large range and wide-ranging nature of blue 
whales, and the minimum abundance identified in the SAR, there is no 
reason to think that any single animal will be taken by Level B 
harassment more than one time (though perhaps a few could be) and less 
than 10 percent of the population is likely to be impacted. Regarding 
the severity of those individual Level B harassment behavioral takes, 
as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure 
is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) 
and the received sound levels are largely below 172 dB with a portion 
up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke 
a severe response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained 
in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of 
short duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities 
not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival.
    Altogether, less than 10 percent of the stock is likely to be 
impacted and any individual blue whale is likely to be disturbed at a 
low-moderate level on no more than a day or two days per year and not 
in any known biologically important areas. This low magnitude and 
severity of effects is unlikely to result in impacts on the 
reproduction or survival of any individual, much less annual rates of 
recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would 
have a negligible impact on blue whales.

Bryde's Whale (Northern Gulf of Mexico Stock)

    The Northern Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale is a small resident 
population and is listed as endangered under the ESA. Although there is 
no current UME, the small size of the population and its constricted 
range, combined with the lingering effects of exposure to oil from the 
DWH oil spill (which include adverse health effects on individuals, as 
well as population effects) are cause for considerable caution. 
Accordingly, as described above, the Navy is implementing and would 
continue to implement considerable time/area mitigation to minimize 
impacts within their limited range, including not planning major 
training exercises, which include the most powerful sound sources 
operating in a more concentrated area, limiting the hours of other 
sonar use, and not using explosives, with the exception of mine warfare 
activities, which has both reduced the amount of take and reduced the 
likely severity of impacts. No mortality or Level A harassment by 
tissue damage injury is anticipated or proposed for authorization, and 
only one Level A harassment by PTS take is estimated and proposed for 
authorization.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to 
the abundance (112 percent, Table 18) combined with the fact that the 
AFTT Study Area overlaps all of the small range, suggests that most to 
all of the individuals in the stock will likely be taken, but only on 
one or two days per year, with no reason to think the days would likely 
be sequential. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B 
harassment behavioral takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, 
the duration of any exposure is expected to be between

[[Page 21167]]

minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short); the received sound levels 
are largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a 
moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response); and 
because of the mitigation the exposures will be of a less impactful 
nature. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 
AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short 
duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at 
a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons 
the one estimated Level A harassment take by PTS for this stock is 
unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of that 
individual, even if it were to be experienced by an individual that 
also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, any individual Bryde's whale is likely to be disturbed 
at a low-moderate level on no more than one or two days per year. Even 
given the fact that some of the affected individuals may have 
compromised health, there is nothing to suggest that such a low 
magnitude and severity of effects would result in impacts on the 
reproduction or survival of any individual, much less annual rates of 
recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would 
have a negligible impact on the Gulf of Mexico stock of Bryde's whales.

Bryde's Whale (No Stock Designated--NSD)

    These Bryde's whales span the mid- and southern Atlantic and have 
not been designated as a stock under the MMPA. There is no currently 
reported trend for the population and there are no specific issues with 
the status of the stock that cause particular concern (e.g., UMEs). No 
mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed for 
authorization. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS 
and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared 
to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the 
U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 626 percent and 60 percent (Table 18), 
though the percentages would be far lower if compared against the 
abundance of the entire range of this species in the Atlantic. This 
information suggests that only a portion of the stock is likely 
impacted (significantly less than 60 percent given the large range), 
but that there is likely some repeat exposure (5 to 12 days within a 
year) of some subset of individuals within the U.S. EEZ if some animals 
spend extended time within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding the severity of 
those individual Level B harassment behavioral takes, as explained in 
the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to 
be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received 
sound levels are largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB 
(i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe 
response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 
2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short 
duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at 
a level that would impact reproduction or survival.
    Altogether, only a portion of the population is impacted and any 
individual Bryde's whale is likely to be disturbed at a low to moderate 
level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset 
potentially disturbed across 5 to 12 likely non-sequential days not in 
any known biologically important areas. This low magnitude and severity 
of effects is not expected to result in impacts on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would 
have a negligible impact on the NSD stock of Bryde's whales.

Minke Whale (Canadian East Coast Stock)

    This stock of minke whales spans the East Coast and far into 
Northern Canada waters. Minke whales in the Atlantic are currently 
experiencing a UME wherein there have been unexpectedly elevated deaths 
along the Atlantic Coast, some of which have been preliminarily 
attributed to human interaction (primarily fisheries interactions) or 
infectious disease. Two whales have stranded in 2019 (20 whales 
stranded in 2018 and 27 whales stranded in 2017). Because the most 
recent population estimate is based only on surveys in U.S. waters and 
slightly into Canada, and did not cover the habitat of the entire 
Canadian East Coast stock, the abundance is underestimated in the SAR 
and is likely significantly greater than what is reflected in the 
current SAR. NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality in seven years, 
and the resulting 0.14 annual mortality which falls below 10 percent of 
residual PBR (0.55), remains under the insignificance threshold, and 
would be considerably even lower if compared against a more appropriate 
PBR.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to 
the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. 
EEZ, respectively, is 536 percent and 53 percent (Table 18). This 
information suggests that something less than half of the individuals 
are likely impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure (5 
to 10 days within a year) of some subset of individuals within the U.S. 
EEZ if some animals spend extended time within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding 
the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B 
harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of 
any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., 
relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB, 
with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less 
likely to evoke a severe response). Also, the Navy currently implements 
and would continue to implement time/area mitigation in the Northeast 
that minimizes major training exercises and total sonar hours in an 
area that significantly overlaps an important feeding area for minke 
whales. This mitigation will reduce the severity of impacts to minke 
whales by reducing interference in feeding that could result in lost 
feeding opportunities or necessitate additional energy expenditure to 
find other good foraging opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS 
takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to 
be low-level and of short duration and the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival. For similar reasons the five estimated Level 
A harassment takes by PTS for this stock are unlikely to have an effect 
on the reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to 
be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level 
B harassment takes.
    Altogether, only a portion of the stock would be impacted and any 
individual minke whale is likely to be disturbed at a low to moderate 
level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset 
potentially disturbed across 5 to 10 likely non-sequential days, 
minimized in biologically important areas. Even given the potential for 
compromised health of some individuals, this low magnitude and severity 
of effects is not expected to result in impacts on the reproduction or 
survival of individuals, nor are these harassment takes combined with 
the

[[Page 21168]]

potential mortality expected to adversely affect this stock through 
impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for the stock. For 
these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of 
all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the proposed 
authorized take would have a negligible impact on minke whales.

Fin Whale (Western North Atlantic Stock)

    This stock spans the East Coast north into the Newfoundland waters 
of Canada. There is no currently reported trend for the population and 
there are no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause 
particular concern (e.g., no UMEs), although the species is listed as 
endangered under the ESA. NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality over 
the seven years of the rule, or 0.14 annually. With the addition of 
this 0.14 annual mortality, residual PBR is exceeded, which means the 
total human-caused mortality would exceed residual PBR by 0.14. 
However, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, this does not mean 
that the stock is not at or increasing toward its optimum sustainable 
population level (OSP) or that one lethal take by the Navy over the 
seven years covered by this rule would adversely affect the stock 
through effects on annual rates of reproduction or survival. 
Consideration of all applicable information indicates that the proposed 
authorized mortality would not result in more than a negligible impact 
on this stock.
    The abundance of fin whales is likely significantly greater than 
what is reflected in the current SAR because, as noted in the SAR, the 
most recent population estimate is based only on surveys in U.S. waters 
and slightly into Canada which does not include the habitat of the 
entire stock as it extends over a very large additional area into Nova 
Scotian and Newfoundland waters. Accordingly, if the PBR in the SAR 
reflected the actual abundance across the entire range of the stock, 
residual PBR would be notably higher. Additionally, the current 
abundance estimate does not account for availability bias due to 
submerged animals (i.e., estimates are not corrected to account for the 
fact that given X number of animals seen at the surface, we can 
appropriately assume that Y number were submerged and not counted). 
Without a correction for this bias, the abundance estimate is likely 
further biased low. Because of these limitations, the current 
calculated PBR is not a reliable indicator of how removal of animals 
will affect the stock's ability to reach or maintain OSP. We note that, 
generally speaking, while the abundance may be underestimated in this 
manner for some stocks due to the lack of surveys in areas outside of 
the U.S. EEZ, it is also possible that the human-caused mortality could 
be underestimated in the un-surveyed area. However, in the case of fin 
whales, most mortality is caused by entanglement in gear that is 
deployed relatively close to shore and, therefore, unrecorded mortality 
offshore would realistically be proportionally less as compared to the 
unsurveyed abundance and therefore the premise that PBR is likely 
underestimated still holds. Given the small amount by which residual 
PBR is exceeded and more significant degree (proportionally) to which 
abundance is likely underestimated, it is reasonable to conclude that 
if a more realistic PBR were used, the anticipated total human-caused 
mortality would be notably under it.
    We also note that 0.14 mortalities/serious injuries means one 
mortality/serious injury in one of the seven years and zero 
mortalities/serious injuries in six of the seven years. Therefore 
residual PBR would not be exceeded in 86 percent of the years covered 
by this rule. In situations where mortality/serious injury is 
fractional, consideration must be given to the lessened impacts due to 
the absence of mortality in six of the seven years. Further, as 
described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Atlantic Large Whale Take 
Reduction Plan directs multiple efforts and requirements towards 
reducing mortality from commercial fishing (via gear modifications, 
area closures, and other mechanisms) and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement 
has reported high compliance rates. Nonetheless, the exceedance of 
residual PBR calls for close attention to the remainder of impacts on 
fin whales from this activity to ensure that the total authorized 
impacts would be negligible.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to 
the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. 
EEZ, respectively, is 323 percent and 37 percent (Table 18). This 
information suggests that something less than a third of the 
individuals are likely impacted, but that there is likely some repeat 
exposure (2-6 days within a year) of some subset of individuals within 
the U.S. EEZ if some animals spend extended time within the U.S. EEZ. 
Regarding the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B 
harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of 
any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., 
relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB 
(i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe 
response). Also, the Navy currently implements, and would continue to 
implement time/area mitigation in the Northeast that minimizes major 
training exercises and total sonar hours in an area that significantly 
overlaps an important BIA feeding area for fin whales. This mitigation 
will reduce the severity of impacts to fin whales by reducing 
interference in feeding that could result in lost feeding opportunities 
or necessitate additional energy expenditure to find other good 
opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 
2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short 
duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to 
interfere with fin whale communication or other important low-frequency 
cues, and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at 
a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For these same 
reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of 
hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for 
compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection 
capabilities, at the expected scale the 33 estimated Level A harassment 
takes by PTS for fin whales would be unlikely to impact behaviors, 
opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would 
interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals, 
even if PTS were experienced by an individual that also experiences one 
or more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, only a portion of the stock would be impacted and any 
individual fin whale is likely to be disturbed at a low to moderate 
level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset 
potentially disturbed across approximately six likely non-sequential 
days, minimized in biologically important areas. This low magnitude and 
severity of effects is not expected to result in impacts on 
reproduction or survival of individuals, nor are these harassment takes 
combined with the single potential mortality expected to adversely 
affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily 
determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's 
activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would have a 
negligible impact on fin whales.

[[Page 21169]]

Humpback Whale (Gulf of Maine Stock)

    This feeding group stock of humpback whales is one of several 
associated with the larger, and increasing, West Indies DPS. The Gulf 
of Maine stock is reported in the SAR as increasing in abundance. 
Nonetheless, humpback whales in the Atlantic are currently experiencing 
a UME in which a portion of the whales have shown evidence of 
entanglement or vessel strike. There have been nine strandings so far 
in 2019 (2018 had 25 total strandings and 2017 had 24 total 
strandings). NMFS proposes authorizing two mortalities over the seven-
year period (versus the one mortality over the five-year period of the 
2018 AFTT Final Rule), as described in the Estimated Take of Marine 
Mammals section above. Though an increase from the 2018 AFTT final 
rule, this amount of mortality (0.29 per year) still falls below the 
insignificance threshold of 10 percent of residual PBR (0.48) for the 
Gulf of Maine stock based on a stock abundance of 896 from the 2018 
draft SAR. Also, importantly, deaths of humpback whales along the 
Atlantic coast (whether by ship strike or other source) must be 
considered within the context of the larger West Indies DPS, as animals 
along the coast could come from the Gulf of Maine stock or any of three 
or more other associated feeding groups. Specifically, the West Indies 
DPS numbers in excess of 10,000 whales and has an increasing growth 
trend of 3.1 percent (Bettridge et al., 2015), with an associated PBR, 
if calculated, much larger than that presented for the Gulf of Maine 
stock. Further, as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Atlantic 
Large Whale Take Reduction Plan directs multiple efforts and 
requirements towards reducing mortality from commercial fishing (via 
gear modifications, area closures, and other mechanisms) and NOAA 
Office of Law Enforcement has reported high compliance rates. 
Therefore, even though the potential for M/SI from the Navy's 
activities has increased since the 2018 AFTT final rule, there is no 
information to indicate that the loss of two whales over seven years, 
even if it were to occur, would adversely affect the stock through 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. See the Humpback 
Whale section in the 2018 AFTT final rule for additional supporting 
information.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances (of any 
humpbacks) compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in 
and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 141 percent and 16 
percent (Table 18). This suggests that only a small portion of the 
humpback whales in the AFTT Study Area would be likely impacted, with 
perhaps some individuals taken on a few days of the year. It would be 
impossible to determine exactly what portion of the takes are from the 
Gulf of Maine stock. However, based on information in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, which indicated about one third of the humpback whales 
traversing the Atlantic Coast likely come from the Gulf of Maine stock, 
we estimate that approximately 250 of the 749 total humpback whale 
takes might be from the Gulf of Maine stock. Two hundred and fifty 
represents about 28 percent of the minimum population estimate for the 
Gulf of Maine humpback whale abundance in NMFS' draft 2018 SAR, 
equating to an expectation that few animals would be exposed more than 
one time. The remaining approximately 499 Level B harassment takes 
would affect individuals from the much larger West Indies DPS, with a 
relatively small percentage of individuals affected as the estimated 
abundance is greater than 10,000. Regarding the severity of those 
individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 
2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be 
between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received 
sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion above 178 dB (i.e., of 
a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). 
Also, the Navy currently implements and would continue to implement 
time/area mitigation in the Northeast that minimizes major training 
exercises and total sonar hours in an area that significantly overlaps 
with an important feeding area for humpbacks. This mitigation will 
reduce the severity of impacts to humpbacks by reducing interference in 
feeding that could result in lost feeding opportunities or necessitate 
additional energy expenditure to find other good opportunities. 
Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short duration and 
the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at a level that 
would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons the three 
estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for this stock are unlikely 
to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of any individual, 
even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that also 
experiences one or more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, only a portion of the stock or DPS is impacted and any 
individual humpback whale would likely be disturbed at a low-moderate 
level, with most animals exposed only once or twice, and minimized in 
biologically important areas. This low magnitude and severity of 
effects is not expected to result in impacts on the reproduction or 
survival of any individuals, nor are these harassment takes combined 
with the proposed authorized mortalities expected to adversely affect 
this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival 
for the stock. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on 
humpback whales.

Sei Whale (Nova Scotia Stock)

    This stock spans the northern East Coast and up to southern 
Newfoundland. There is no currently reported trend for the population 
and there are no specific issues with the status of the stock that 
cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs), although the species is 
listed as endangered under the ESA. NMFS would authorize one mortality 
over the seven years of the rule, or 0.14 annually. With the addition 
of this 0.14 annual mortality, residual PBR is exceeded, which means 
the total human-caused mortality would exceed residual PBR by 0.44. 
However, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, this does not mean 
that the stock is not at or increasing toward its OSP or that one 
lethal take by the Navy over the seven years covered by this rule would 
adversely affect the stock through effects on annual rates of 
reproduction or survival. Consideration of all applicable information 
indicates that the proposed authorized mortality would not result in 
more than a negligible impact on this stock.
    As noted in the SAR, the abundance of sei whales is likely 
significantly greater than what is reflected in the current SAR because 
the population estimate is based only on surveys in U.S. waters and 
slightly into Canada, which does not cover the habitat of the entire 
stock, as it extends over a large additional area around to the south 
of Newfoundland. Accordingly, if a PBR were calculated based on an 
appropriately enlarged abundance, it would be higher. Additionally, the 
current abundance estimate does not account for availability bias due 
to submerged animals (i.e., estimates are not corrected to account for 
the fact that given X number of animals seen at the surface, we can 
appropriate assume that

[[Page 21170]]

Y number were submerged and not counted). Without a correction for this 
bias, the abundance estimate is likely biased low. Because of these 
limitations, the current calculated PBR is not a reliable indicator of 
how removal of animals will affect the stock's ability to reach or 
maintain OSP. We note that, generally speaking, while the abundance may 
be underestimated in this manner for some stocks due to the lack of 
surveys in areas outside of the U.S. EEZ, it is also possible that the 
human-caused mortality could be underestimated in the un-surveyed area. 
However, in the case of sei whales, most mortality is caused by ship 
strike and the density of ship traffic is higher the closer you are to 
shore (making strikes more likely closer to shore) and, therefore, 
unrecorded mortality offshore would realistically be proportionally 
less as compared to the unsurveyed abundance and therefore the premise 
that PBR is likely underestimated still holds.
    Given the small amount by which residual PBR is exceeded and more 
significant degree (proportionally) to which abundance is likely 
underestimated, it is reasonable to think that if a more realistic PBR 
were used, the anticipated total human-caused mortality would be 
notably under residual PBR. We also note that 0.14 mortalities/serious 
injuries means one mortality/serious injury in one of the seven years 
and zero mortalities/serious injuries in six of the seven years. 
Further, as described in the 2018 AFTT final rule the Atlantic Large 
Whale Take Reduction Plan directs multiple efforts and requirements 
towards reducing mortality from commercial fishing (via gear 
modifications, area closures, and other mechanisms) and NOAA Office of 
Law Enforcement has reported high compliance rates.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances compared to 
the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the U.S. 
EEZ, respectively, is 317 percent and 7 percent (Table 18). This 
information suggests that only a very small portion of individuals in 
the stock would be likely impacted, but that there would likely be some 
repeat exposure (several days within a year) of some subset of 
individuals within the U.S. EEZ if some animals spend extended time 
within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding the severity of those individual takes 
by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final 
rule, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes 
and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels 
largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate 
or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Also, the Navy 
implements time/area mitigation in the Northeast that minimizes major 
training exercises and total sonar hours in an area that significantly 
overlaps an important BIA feeding area for sei whales, which will 
reduce the severity of impacts to sei whales by reducing interference 
in feeding that could result in lost feeding opportunities or 
necessitate additional energy expenditure to find other good 
opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 
2018 AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level and of short 
duration and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities not at 
a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons 
the four estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for this stock are 
unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of any 
individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that 
also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, only a small portion of the stock would be impacted and 
any individual sei whale would likely be disturbed at a low-moderate 
level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset 
potentially disturbed across a few days, minimized in biologically 
important areas. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects 
is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or 
survival, nor are these harassment takes combined with the single 
potential mortality expected to adversely affect this stock through 
impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, 
we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the 
effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the proposed authorized 
take would have a negligible impact on sei whales.
Odontocetes

Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales

    In Table 19 below for sperm whale, dwarf sperm whales, and pygmy 
sperm whales, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level 
B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a 
percentage of abundance. Table 19 is unchanged from Table 73 in the 
2018 AFTT final rule, except for updated information on mortality, as 
discussed above. For additional information and analysis supporting the 
negligible-impact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as 
the Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales discussion 
in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule 
unless specifically noted.

[[Page 21171]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13MY19.012

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect any 
species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival for any of the affected species and stocks addressed in this 
section.
Sperm Whale (North Atlantic Stock)
    This stock spans the East Coast out into oceanic waters well beyond 
the U.S. EEZ. There is no currently reported trend for the stock and, 
although the species is listed as endangered under the ESA, there are 
no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause particular 
concern (e.g., no UMEs). NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality over 
the seven years covered by this rule, and the resulting 0.14 annual 
mortality which falls below 10 percent of residual PBR (0.28), remains 
below the PBR insignificance threshold. As discussed in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, there are no known factors, information, or unusual 
circumstances that indicate that this potential M/SI below the 
insignificance threshold could have adverse effects on the stock 
through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. One Level A 
harassment take by tissue damage is also estimated and proposed for 
authorization which, as discussed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, could 
range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could 
seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy's mitigation and the 
sperm whale's large size, which improves detection by Lookouts, 
exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the 
spectrum is less likely, and we cautiously assume some moderate impact 
for this single take that could lower one individual's fitness within 
the year such that a female (assuming a 50 percent chance of the one 
take being a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As 
discussed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, foregone reproduction has less 
of an impact on population rates than death (especially for one year) 
and one instance would not be expected to impact annual rates of 
recruitment or survival, even if it were a female.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment 
compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside 
of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 544 percent and 41 percent (Table 
19). This information, combined with the known range of the stock, 
suggests that something less than one half of the individuals in the 
stock would likely be impacted, but that there would likely be some 
repeat exposure (2-11 days within a year) of some subset of individuals 
that remain within the U.S. EEZ for an extended time. Regarding the 
severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as 
explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure 
response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively 
short) and the received sound levels largely between 160 and 172 dB 
(i.e., of a lower, to occasionally moderate, level). Regarding the 
severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they 
are expected to be low-level and of short duration and the associated 
lost opportunities and capabilities not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival. For similar reasons three estimated Level A 
harassment takes by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effect 
on the reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to 
be experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level 
B harassment takes.
    Altogether, only a small portion of the stock would be impacted and 
any individual sperm whale would likely be disturbed at a low-moderate 
level, with the majority of animals likely disturbed

[[Page 21172]]

once or not at all, and a subset potentially disturbed across 2-11 
likely non-sequential days. Even for an animal disturbed at the high 
end of this range (11 days over a year), given the low to moderate 
impact from each incident, and the fact that few days with take would 
likely be sequential, no impacts to individual fitness are expected. 
This low to occasionally moderate magnitude and severity of effects is 
not expected to result in impacts on reproduction or survival, and nor 
are these harassment takes combined with the single proposed authorized 
mortality and one possible instance of foregone reproduction expected 
to adversely affect the stock through annual rates of recruitment or 
survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on 
North Atlantic sperm whales.
Sperm Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whale, and Pygmy Sperm Whale (Gulf of Mexico 
Stocks)
    These stocks suffer from lingering health issues from the DWH oil 
spill (6-7 percent of individuals of these stocks with adverse health 
effects), which means that some could be more susceptible to exposure 
to other stressors, and negative population effects (21-42 years until 
the DWH oil-injured population trajectory is projected to catch up with 
the baseline population trajectory (i.e., in the absence of DWH, 
reported as years to recovery). Neither mortality nor tissue damage 
from explosives is anticipated or proposed to be authorized for any of 
these three stocks, and sperm whales are not expected to incur PTS. 
Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral 
disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared 
to the abundance is 54-78 percent (Table 19), which suggests that for 
each of the three species/stocks either this percentage of the 
individuals in these stocks would all be taken by harassment on a 
single day, or a small subset may be taken on a few days and the 
remainder not taken at all. Regarding the severity of those individual 
takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be 
between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received 
sound levels are largely between 160 and 172 dB (i.e., of a lower 
level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Additionally, the Navy 
is currently implementing and would continue to implement mitigation 
areas for sperm whales that are expected to reduce impacts in important 
feeding areas, further lessening the severity of impacts. Regarding the 
severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, they 
are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a 
frequency band that would be expected to interfere significantly with 
conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important low-
frequency cues. Also, there is no reason to believe that any individual 
would incur these TTS takes more than a few days in a year, and the 
associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to 
impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and 
frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity 
may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean 
some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, 70 
estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for each of the two Kogia 
stocks in the Gulf of Mexico would be unlikely to impact behaviors, 
opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would 
interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individual, even 
if PTS were to be experienced by an animal that also experiences one or 
more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, only a portion of these stocks would be impacted and 
any individual sperm, dwarf sperm, or pygmy sperm whale is likely to be 
disturbed at a low to occasionally moderate level and no more than a 
few days per year. Even given the fact that some of the affected 
individuals may have compromised health, there is nothing to suggest 
that such a low magnitude and severity of effects would result in 
impacts on the reproduction or survival of individuals, much less 
annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the stocks. For 
these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of 
all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the proposed 
authorized take would have a negligible impact on the Gulf of Mexico 
stocks of sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales, and pygmy sperm whales.
Pygmy and Dwarf Sperm Whales (Western North Atlantic Stocks)
    These stocks span the deeper waters of the East Coast north to 
Canada and out into oceanic waters beyond the U.S. EEZ. There is no 
currently reported trend for these populations and there are no 
specific issues with the status of the stocks that cause particular 
concern. Neither mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is 
anticipated or proposed to be authorized for these stocks. Regarding 
the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral 
disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared 
to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the 
U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 2,105 percent and 360 percent (Table 19). 
This information, combined with the known range of the stock, suggests 
that while not all of the individuals in these stocks would most likely 
be taken (because they span well into oceanic waters) of those that are 
taken, most would be taken over several repeated days (though likely 
not sequential) and some subset that spends extended time within the 
U.S. EEZ would likely be taken over a larger amount of days (likely 15-
42 days during a year), some of which could be sequential.
    Regarding the severity of the individual takes by behavioral Level 
B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of 
any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours (and 
likely not more than 24 hours) and the received sound levels are 
largely between 160 and 172 dB (i.e., of a lower level, less likely to 
evoke a severe response). Additionally, while interrupted feeding bouts 
are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that 
there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative 
vicinity. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 
AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration 
and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere 
significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other 
important low-frequency cues. Also, there is no reason to believe that 
any individual would incur these TTS takes more than a few days in a 
year, and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not 
be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons 
(low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing 
sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating 
or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, 
at the expected scale the 94 estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS 
for each of the two Kogia stocks in the North Atlantic would be 
unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities 
to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival 
of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual 
that also

[[Page 21173]]

experiences one or more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, most of the stock would likely be taken (at a low to 
occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, and some smaller 
portion of the stock would likely be taken on a relatively moderate to 
high number of days across the year, some of which could be sequential 
days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a lower to 
sometimes moderate severity, the larger number of takes (in total and 
for certain individuals) makes it more likely (probabilistically) that 
a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a 
manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females 
(from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable 
energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego 
reproduction for a year (energetic impacts to males generally have 
little impact on population rates unless they cause death, and it takes 
extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from 
these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal). As 
noted previously and discussed more fully in the 2018 AFTT final rule, 
however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year) has far less 
of an impact on population rates than mortality, and a small number of 
instances of foregone reproduction would not be expected to adversely 
impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given that 
PBR for both of these stocks is 21. For these reasons, in consideration 
of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, we have 
preliminarily determined that the proposed authorized take would have a 
negligible impact on the Western North Atlantic stocks of pygmy and 
dwarf sperm whales.

Dolphins and Small Whales

    In Table 20 below for dolphins and small whales, we indicate the 
total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number 
indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. 
Table 20 is unchanged from Table 74 in the 2018 AFTT final rule, except 
for updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For 
additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact 
analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Dolphins and 
Small Whales discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses 
section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to 
this proposed rule unless specifically noted.

[[Page 21174]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13MY19.013


[[Page 21175]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13MY19.014

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect any 
species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this 
section.
Atlantic White-Sided Dolphin and Short-Beaked Common Dolphin (Western 
North Atlantic Stocks)
    There is no currently reported trend for these stocks and there are 
no specific issues with the status of these stocks that cause 
particular concern (e.g., no UMEs). We anticipate and therefore propose 
to authorize one and six mortalities over the course of seven years for 
these two stocks, which is 0.14 and 0.86 annual mortalities for each 
stock, respectively. Given the large residual PBR values for these 
stocks (248 and 148), this number of mortalities falls well under the 
insignificance threshold. There are no known factors, information, or 
unusual circumstances that indicate that this estimated M/SI below the 
insignificance threshold could have adverse effects on these stocks 
through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Some Level 
A harassment take by tissue damage from explosives has also been 
estimated and proposed to be authorized for these stocks (3 and 36, 
respectively). As discussed previously and in the 2018 AFTT final rule, 
tissue damage effects could range in impact from minor to something 
just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given 
the Navy's mitigation, which makes exposure at the closer to the source 
and more severe end of the spectrum less likely, we cautiously assume 
some moderate impact for this category of take that could lower an 
individual's fitness within the year such that females (assuming a 50 
percent chance that a take is a female) might forego reproduction for 
one year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction has less of an 
impact on population rates than death (especially for one year) and the 
number of takes anticipated for each stock would not be expected to 
impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, even if all of the 
takes were females (which would be highly unlikely), especially given 
the high residual PBRs of these stocks. In other words, if the stocks 
can absorb the numbers of mortalities indicated through each stock's 
residual PBR without impacting ability to approach OSP, they could 
absorb the significantly lesser effects of a small number of one-year 
delay in calving.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment 
compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside 
of the U.S. EEZ for these two stocks, respectively, is 308-777 percent 
and 34-110 percent (Table 20). This information suggests that some 
portion of these stocks would likely not be taken at all, but that 
there would likely be some repeat exposure (2-15 days within a year) of 
some subset of individuals. Regarding the severity of those individual 
takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, the duration of any exposure response is expected to be 
between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received 
sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower level, less likely 
to evoke a severe response). Additionally, while we do not have a 
specific reason to expect that these takes would occur sequentially on 
more than several days in a row or be more severe in nature, the 
probability of this occurring increases the higher the total take 
numbers. While interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and 
concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable 
alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Given the higher 
number of takes and the associated abundances (especially for short-
beaked common dolphin) we acknowledge the possibility that some smaller 
subset of individuals could experience behavioral disruption of a 
degree that impacts energetic budgets such that reproduction could be 
delayed for a year. However, considering the potential reproductive 
effects from tissue damage and from these levels of take by behavioral 
Level B harassment, in combination with the estimated mortality, this 
degree of effect on the small subset of individuals that could be 
affected is still not expected to adversely affect the stocks through 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and 
not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly 
interfere with dolphin communication, or echolocation or other 
important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact 
reproduction or survival of any individuals. For these same reasons 
(low level and the likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss 
of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for 
compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection 
capabilities, the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the two 
dolphin stocks (7 and 101, respectively) would be unlikely to impact 
behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that 
would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any 
individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an animal that also 
experiences one or more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, individual dolphins would likely be taken at a low 
level, with some animals likely taken once or not at all, many 
potentially disturbed at low levels across 2-15 predominantly non-
sequential days, and a small number potentially experiencing a level of 
effects that could result in curtailed reproduction for one year. This 
magnitude and severity of effects, including consideration of the 
estimated mortality, is not expected to result in impacts on annual 
rates of recruitment

[[Page 21176]]

or survival for either of the stocks, especially given the status of 
the stocks. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on 
these two Western North Atlantic stocks of dolphins.
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin and Spinner Dolphin (Gulf of Mexico Stocks)
    As described in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the Gulf of Mexico 
dolphin stocks indicated in Table 20 suffer from lingering health 
issues resulting from the DWH oil spill (7 and 17 percent of 
individuals of these stocks, respectively, have adverse health 
effects), which means that some of them could be more susceptible to 
exposure to other stressors, as well as negative population effects 
(predicting it will take up to 39 and 105 years, respectively, for 
stocks to return to population growth rates predicted in the absence of 
DWH effects). We propose to authorize one mortality over the course of 
seven years for each of these two stocks, respectively, which is 0.14 
annual mortalities for each stock. Given the large residual PBR values 
for these stocks (402 and 62, respectively), this number of mortalities 
falls well under the insignificance threshold. As discussed in the 2018 
AFTT final rule, there are no known factors, information, or unusual 
circumstances that indicate that this estimated M/SI below the 
insignificance threshold could have adverse effects on these stocks 
through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Some Level 
A harassment take by tissue damage from explosives has also been 
estimated and proposed to be authorized for these stocks (6 and 14, 
respectively). As noted previously, tissue damage effects could range 
in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could 
seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy's mitigation, which 
makes exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the 
spectrum less likely, we cautiously assume some moderate impact for 
this category of take that could lower an individual's fitness within 
the year such that females (assuming a 50 percent chance that a take is 
a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As noted previously, 
foregone reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than 
death (especially for one year) and the number of takes anticipated for 
each stock would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment 
or survival, even if all of the takes were females (which would be 
highly unlikely), especially given the high residual PBRs of these 
stocks. In other words, if the stocks can absorb the numbers indicated 
through each stock's residual PBR without impacting ability to approach 
OSP, they can absorb the significantly lesser effect of a very small 
number of one-year delay in calving.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment 
compared to the abundance is 32 percent and 60 percent, respectively, 
reflecting that only a subset of each stock would be taken by 
behavioral Level B harassment within a year. Of that subset, those 
taken would likely be taken one time, but if taken more than that, the 
2 or 3 days would not likely be sequential (Table 20). Regarding the 
severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as 
explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure 
response is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively 
short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a 
lower to occasionally moderate severity).
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and 
not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly 
interfere with dolphin communication, or echolocation or other 
important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities are not expected to impact reproduction 
or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the likely frequency 
band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include 
some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small 
loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the estimated Level A 
harassment takes by PTS for the dolphin stocks addressed here (15 and 
31, respectively) would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, 
or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with 
reproductive success or survival of any individuals.
    Altogether, any individual dolphin would likely be taken at a low 
to occasionally moderate level, with most animals likely not taken at 
all and with a subset of animals being taken up to a few non-sequential 
days. Even given the fact that some of the affected individuals may 
have compromised health, there is nothing to suggest that such a low 
magnitude and severity of effects, including the potential tissue 
damage, would result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival for either of these two stocks. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would 
have a negligible impact on the Gulf of Mexico stocks of pantropical 
spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins.
Western North Atlantic Dolphin Stocks (All Stocks in Table 20 Except 
Atlantic White-Sided Dolphin and Short-Beaked Common Dolphin)
    There are no specific issues with the status of these stocks that 
cause particular concern (e.g., no UMEs). No mortality is expected nor 
it proposed for authorization for these stocks. For some of these 
stocks, some tissue damage has been estimated and proposed to be 
authorized (1-9 depending on the stock). As discussed previously, 
tissue damage effects could range in impact from minor to something 
just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given 
the Navy's mitigation, which makes exposure at the closer to the source 
and more severe end of the spectrum less likely, we cautiously assume 
some moderate impact for all these takes that could lower an 
individual's fitness within the year such that a small number of 
females (assuming a 50 percent chance of being a female) might forego 
reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction 
has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for 
one year) and one to a few instances would not be expected to impact 
annual rates of recruitment or survival, even if all of the takes were 
females (which would be highly unlikely), especially given the higher 
residual PBRs, which is known for the majority of stocks. For stocks 
with no calculated residual PBR or where abundance is unknown, the 
limited information available on population size indicates that the 
very low number of females who might forego reproduction would have no 
effect on annual rates of recruitment or survival.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment 
compared to the abundance ranges up to 984 percent inside the U.S. EEZ 
(though some are significantly lower) and is generally much lower 
across the whole range of most stocks, reflecting that for many stocks 
only a subset of the stock will be impacted--although alternately for a 
few of the smaller bay stocks all individuals are expected to be taken 
across multiple days (Table 20). Generally, individuals of most stocks 
(especially bottlenose dolphins) might

[[Page 21177]]

be taken no more than several times each, while the other species in 
this group will only accrue takes to a portion of the stock, but 
individuals might be taken across 2-20 days within a year. Regarding 
the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B 
harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of 
any exposure response is expected to be between minutes and hours 
(i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 
172 dB (i.e., of a lower level, less likely to evoke a severe 
response). While we do not have reason to expect that these takes would 
occur sequentially on more than several days in a row or be more severe 
in nature, the probability of this occurring increases the higher the 
total take numbers. Given higher percentages when compared to 
abundances, and especially where the absolute number of takes is higher 
(e.g., spinner dolphin), we acknowledge the possibility that some 
smaller subset of individuals (especially in the larger stocks with 
higher total take numbers) could experience behavioral disruption of a 
degree that impacts energetic budgets such that reproduction could be 
delayed for a year. However, considering the very small number of 
potential reproductive effects from Level A harassment by tissue damage 
(1-9 depending on stock and assuming all individuals are female, which 
is very unlikely) in addition to the possible reproductive effect on a 
small subset of individuals from the takes by behavioral Level B 
harassment, this degree of effects on a small subset of individuals is 
still not expected to adversely affect annual rates of recruitment or 
survival. For the smaller Estuarine stocks with the potential repeated 
days of disturbance, we note that as described in the 2018 AFTT final 
rule, the activities that the Navy conducts in inland areas (not MTEs, 
etc.) are expected to generally result in lower severity responses, 
further decreasing the likelihood that they would cause effects on 
reproduction or survival, even if accrued over several sequential days.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and 
not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly 
interfere with dolphin communication, or echolocation or other 
important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact 
reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the 
likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing 
sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating 
or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, 
the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the dolphin stocks 
addressed here (between 1 and 77) would be unlikely to impact 
behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that 
would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any 
individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an individual that 
also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, any individual dolphin would likely be taken at a low 
to occasionally moderate level, with some animals likely taken once or 
not at all, a subset potentially disturbed across 2-20 predominantly 
non-sequential days, and a small number potentially experiencing a 
level of effects that could curtail reproduction for one year. The 
magnitude and severity of effects described is not expected to result 
in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the 
stocks. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on 
these Western North Atlantic stocks of dolphins.
Gulf of Mexico Dolphin Stocks (All of the Stocks Indicated in Table 20 
Except Pantropical Spotted Dolphin and Spinner Dolphin)
    As mentioned above and discussed in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the 
Gulf of Mexico stocks indicated in Table 20 suffer from lingering 
health issues resulting from the DWH oil spill (3-30 percent of 
individuals of these stocks have adverse health effects), which means 
that some of them could be more susceptible to exposure to other 
stressors, as well as negative population effects (predicting it will 
take up to 76 years, with that number varying across stocks, for stocks 
to return to population growth rates predicted in the absence of DWH 
effects). Of note, the Northern Coastal bottlenose dolphin adverse 
effect statistics are about twice as high as the others (i.e., all 
other stocks are below 17 percent). No mortality has been estimated or 
proposed to be authorized for these stocks, however a few Level A 
harassment takes by tissue damage from explosives (zero for most, 1-2 
for a few, and 6 for the Atlantic spotted dolphin stock) are estimated 
and proposed to be authorized. As noted previously, tissue damage 
effects could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/
SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy's 
mitigation, which makes exposure at the closer to the source and more 
severe end of the spectrum less likely, we cautiously assume some 
moderate impact for these Level A harassment takes that could lower an 
individual's fitness within the year such that a female (assuming a 50 
percent chance of being a female) might forego reproduction for one 
year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction has less of an impact 
on population rates than death (especially for one year) and a few 
instances, even up to six for the Atlantic spotted dolphin stock, would 
not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, even 
if all of the takes were of females (which is highly unlikely).
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment 
compared to the abundance ranges up to 177 percent, but is generally 
much lower for most stocks, reflecting that generally only a subset of 
each stock would be taken, with those in the subset taken only a few 
non-sequential days of the year (Table 20). Regarding the severity of 
those individual takes by Level B behavioral harassment, as explained 
in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is 
expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and 
the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower to 
occasionally moderate severity).
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and 
not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly 
interfere with dolphin communication, or echolocation or other 
important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact 
reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the 
likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing 
sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating 
or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, 
the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the dolphin stocks 
addressed here (all 3 or below, with the exception of three stocks with 
much larger abundances with 4, 8, and 15 PTS takes) would be unlikely 
to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a 
degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of 
any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an animal that 
also

[[Page 21178]]

experiences one or more Level B harassment takes.
    Altogether, any individual dolphin would likely be taken at a low 
to occasionally moderate level, with many animals likely not taken at 
all and with a subset of animals being taken up to a few times. A very 
small number could potentially experience tissue damage that could 
curtail reproduction for one year. Even given the fact that some of the 
affected individuals may have compromised health, there is nothing to 
suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of effects would result 
in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the 
Gulf of Mexico stocks indicated in Table 20. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would 
have a negligible impact on these Gulf of Mexico stocks of dolphins.

Harbor Porpoise

    In Table 21 below for porpoises, we indicate the total annual 
mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the 
instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 21 is 
unchanged from Table 75 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. For additional 
information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see 
the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Harbor Porpoise discussion in 
the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT final 
rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless 
specifically noted.
    Table 21. Annual estimated takes by Level B harassment, Level A 
harassment, and mortality for porpoises in the AFTT Study Area and 
number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of stock 
abundance.
    Note: In the table we compare estimated takes to abundance 
estimates generated from the same underlying density estimate (as 
described in the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals section of the 2018 
AFTT final rule), versus abundance estimates directly from NMFS' SARs, 
which are not based on the same data and would not be appropriate for 
this purpose. Note that comparisons are made both within the U.S. EEZ 
only (where density estimates have lesser uncertainty) and across the 
whole Study Area (which offers a more comprehensive comparison for many 
stocks).
    Total takes inside and outside U.S. EEZ represent the sum of annual 
Level A and Level B harassment from training and testing plus 
harassment take from one large ship shock trial.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13MY19.015

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect 
harbor porpoises through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival.
    The Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy stock of harbor porpoise is found 
predominantly in northern U.S. coastal waters (<150 m depth) and up 
into Canada's Bay of Fundy. No mortality or tissue damage by explosives 
are anticipated or proposed for authorization for this stock and there 
are no specific issues with the status of the stock that cause 
particular concern (e.g., no UMEs). Regarding the magnitude of Level B 
harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of 
estimated instances compared to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and 
both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 941 percent and 
80 percent (Table 21). This information, combined with the known range 
of the stock, suggests that only a portion of the individuals in the 
stock would likely be impacted (i.e., notably less than 80 percent 
given the likely repeats; in other words more than 20 percent would be 
taken zero times), but that there would likely be some amount of repeat 
exposures across days (perhaps 6-19 days within a year) for some subset 
of individuals that spend extended times within the U.S. EEZ. Regarding 
the severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B 
harassment, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of 
any exposure response is expected to be from minutes to hours and not 
likely exceeding 24 hrs, and the received sound levels of the MF1 bin 
are largely between 154 and 166 dB, which, for a harbor porpoise (which 
have a lower behavioral Level B harassment threshold) would mostly be 
considered a moderate level.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and 
not in a frequency band that would be expected to significantly 
interfere with harbor porpoise communication, or echolocation or other 
important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact 
reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the 
likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing 
sensitivity

[[Page 21179]]

may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean 
some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the 
estimated 454 Level A harassment takes by PTS for harbor porpoise would 
be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection 
capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success 
or survival for most individuals, even if PTS were to be experienced by 
an individual that also experiences one or more Level B harassment 
takes. Because of the high number of PTS takes, we acknowledge that a 
few animals could potentially incur permanent hearing loss of a higher 
degree that could potentially interfere with their successful 
reproduction and growth. However, given the status of the stock (high 
abundance and residual PBR of 451), even if this occurred, it would not 
adversely impact rates of recruitment or survival.
    Altogether, because harbor porpoises are particularly sensitive, it 
is likely that a fair number of the responses would be of a moderate 
nature. Additionally, as noted, some portion of the stock may be taken 
repeatedly on up to 19 days within a year, with some of those being 
sequential. Given this and the larger number of total takes (both to 
the stock and to individuals), it is more likely (probabilistically) 
that some small number of individuals could be interrupted during 
foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets 
of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending 
considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause 
them to forego reproduction for a year (energetic impacts to males 
generally have limited impact on population rates unless they cause 
death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be 
likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult 
marine mammal). As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction 
(especially for one year) has far less of an impact on population rates 
than mortality and a small number of instances would not be expected to 
adversely impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially 
given that the residual PBR of harbor porpoises is 451. All indications 
are that the number of times in which reproduction would be likely to 
be foregone would not affect the stock's annual rates of recruitment or 
survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on 
harbor porpoises.

Beaked Whales

    In Table 22 below for beaked whales, we indicate the total annual 
mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the 
instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 22 is 
unchanged from Table 76 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. For additional 
information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see 
the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Beaked Whales discussion in 
the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 AFTT final 
rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless 
specifically noted.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13MY19.016

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect any 
species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this 
section.
Beaked Whales, Including Northern Bottlenose Whale (Western North 
Atlantic Stocks)
    These stocks span the deeper waters of the East Coast of the U.S. 
north to Canada and out into oceanic waters beyond the U.S. EEZ. There 
is no currently reported trend for these populations and there are no 
specific issues with the status of the stocks that cause particular 
concern. Neither mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is 
anticipated or proposed for authorization for these stocks. Regarding 
the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral 
disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared 
to the abundance within the U.S. EEZ and both in and outside of the 
U.S. EEZ is 1,567-1,836 percent and 148-297 percent, respectively 
(Table 22). This information, combined with the known

[[Page 21180]]

range of the stocks, suggests that while not all of the individuals in 
these stocks would most likely be taken (because they span well into 
oceanic waters), of those that are, most would be taken over a few days 
(though likely not sequential) and some subset that spends extended 
time within the U.S. EEZ would likely be taken over a larger amount of 
days (maybe 15-37), some of which could be sequential. Regarding the 
severity of those individual takes by behavioral Level B harassment, as 
explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure 
response is expected to generally be between minutes and hours and 
largely between 148 and 160 dB, though with beaked whales, which are 
considered somewhat more sensitive, this could mean that some 
individuals will leave preferred habitat for a day or two. However, 
while interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for 
odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative 
habitat options in the relative vicinity in the Western North Atlantic.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and 
not in a frequency band that would adversely affect communication, 
inhibit echolocation, or otherwise interfere with other low-frequency 
cues. Therefore any associated lost opportunities and capabilities 
would not impact reproduction or survival. For the same reasons (low 
level and frequency band) the one to three estimated Level A harassment 
takes by PTS for these stocks are unlikely to have any effect on the 
reproduction or survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be 
experienced by an individual that also experiences one or more Level B 
harassment takes.
    Altogether, a small portion of the stock would likely be taken (at 
a relatively moderate level) on a relatively moderate to high number of 
days across the year, some of which could be sequential. Though the 
majority of impacts are expected to be of a sometimes low, but more 
likely, moderate magnitude and severity, the sensitivity of beaked 
whales and larger number of takes makes it more likely 
(probabilistically) that a small number of individuals could be 
interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to 
the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities 
or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) 
could cause them to forego reproduction for a year (energetic impacts 
to males generally have limited impact on population rates unless they 
cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would 
ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an 
adult marine mammal). As noted previously, however, foregone 
reproduction (especially for one year) has far less of an impact on 
population rates than mortality and a small number of instances would 
not be expected to adversely impact annual rates of recruitment or 
survival. Based on the abundance of these stocks in the area and the 
evidence of little, if any, known human-caused mortality, all 
indications are that the small number of times in which reproduction 
would be likely to be foregone would not affect the stocks' annual 
rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the proposed authorized take would 
have a negligible impact on the Western North Atlantic stocks of beaked 
whales.
Beaked Whales (Gulf of Mexico Stocks)
    The animals in these stocks suffer from lingering health issues 
resulting from the DWH oil spill (four percent of individuals of these 
stocks have adverse health effects), which means that some of them 
could be more susceptible to exposure to other stressors, and negative 
population effects (10 years for their growth rate to recover to the 
rate predicted for the stocks if they had not incurred spill impacts). 
Neither mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is anticipated or 
proposed for authorization for these stocks. Level A harassment take 
from PTS is also unlikely to occur. Regarding the magnitude of Level B 
harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of 
estimated instances of harassment compared to the abundance is 148-155 
percent (Table 22). This information indicates that either the 
individuals in these stocks would all be taken by harassment one or two 
days within a year, or that a subset would not be taken at all and a 
small subset may be taken several times. Regarding the severity of 
those individual takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the 
duration of any exposure response is expected to generally be between 
minutes and hours and largely between 148 and 160 dB, though with 
beaked whales, which are considered somewhat more sensitive, this could 
mean that some individuals will leave preferred habitat for a day or 
two. However, while interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and 
concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable 
alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity in the Gulf of 
Mexico. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 
AFTT final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, 
and not in a frequency band that would adversely affect communication, 
inhibit echolocation, or otherwise interfere with other low frequency 
cues. Therefore any associated lost opportunities and capabilities 
would not impact reproduction or survival.
    Altogether, likely only a portion of these stocks would be impacted 
and any individual beaked whale likely would be disturbed at a moderate 
level for no more than a few days per year. Even given the fact that 
some of the affected individuals may have compromised health, there is 
nothing to suggest that this magnitude and severity of effects would 
result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of 
the stocks. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the proposed authorized take would have a negligible impact on the 
Gulf of Mexico stocks of beaked whales included in Table 22.

Pinnipeds

    In Table 23 below for pinnipeds, we indicate the total annual 
mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the 
instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 23 is 
unchanged from Table 77 in the 2018 AFTT final rule. For additional 
information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see 
the Pinnipeds discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses 
section of the 2018 AFTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to 
this proposed rule unless specifically noted.

[[Page 21181]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13MY19.017

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect any 
pinnipeds through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival 
for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this section.
    The Western North Atlantic pinniped (harp seal, harbor seal, hooded 
seal, and gray seal) stocks are northern, but highly migratory species. 
While harp seals are limited to the northern portion of the U.S. EEZ, 
gray and harbor seals may be found as far south as the Chesapeake Bay 
in late fall and hooded seals migrate as far south as Puerto Rico. A 
UME has been designated for seals from Maine to Virginia and the main 
pathogen found in the seals that have been tested is phocine distemper 
virus. Neither mortality nor tissue damage from explosives is 
anticipated or proposed for authorization for any of these stocks. 
Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral 
disruption), the number of estimated instances of harassment compared 
to the abundance that is expected within the AFTT Study Area is 34-225 
percent, which suggests that only a subset of the animals in the AFTT 
Study Area would be taken, but that a few might be taken on several 
days within the year (1-5 days), but not likely on sequential days. 
When the fact that some of these seals are residing in areas near Navy 
activities is considered, we can estimate that perhaps some of those 
individuals might be taken some higher number of days within the year 
(up to approximately 10 days), but still with no reason to think that 
these takes would occur on sequential days, which means that we would 
not expect effects on reproduction or survival. Regarding the severity 
of those individual behavioral Level B harassment takes, as explained 
in the 2018 AFTT final rule, the duration of any exposure response is 
expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and 
the received sound levels are largely below 172 dB, with some up to 178 
dB (i.e., of a lower to moderate level, less likely to evoke a severe 
response) and therefore there is no indication that the expected takes 
by behavioral Level B harassment would have any effect on annual rates 
of recruitment or survival.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, as explained in the 2018 AFTT 
final rule, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and 
not in a frequency band that would adversely affect communication or 
otherwise interfere with other low-frequency cues. Therefore any 
associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not impact 
reproduction or survival. For the same reasons (low level and frequency 
band) the two to four estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for 
these stocks are unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or 
survival of any individual, even if PTS were to be experienced by an 
animal that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes.
    Even given the fact that some of the affected harbor seal 
individuals may have compromised health due to the UME, there is 
nothing to suggest that such a low magnitude and severity of effects 
would result in impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival, 
especially given that the stock abundance in the SAR is 75,839 with a 
residual PBR of 1,651. Similarly, given the low magnitude and severity 
of effects, there is no indication that these activities would affect 
reproduction or survival of harp or hooded seals, much less adversely 
affect rates of recruitment or survival, especially given that harp 
seal abundance is estimated at 6.9 million and hooded seal residual PBR 
is 13,950. Gray seals are experiencing a UME as well as an exceedance 
of more than 4,299 M/SI above PBR. The NMFS SAR notes that the U.S. 
portion of average annual human-caused M/SI in U.S. waters does not 
exceed the portion of PBR in U.S. waters, and that while the status of 
the gray seal population relative to OSP in U.S. Atlantic EEZ waters is 
unknown the stock abundance appears to be increasing in U.S. and 
Canadian waters (Hayes et al., 2018). Also, given the low magnitude 
(take compared to abundance is 95 percent, meaning the subset of 
individuals taken may be taken a few times on non-sequential days) and 
low to occasionally moderate severity of impacts, no impacts to 
individual reproduction or survival are expected and therefore no 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival would occur. For 
these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's 
activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the proposed 
authorized take would have a

[[Page 21182]]

negligible impact on the Western North Atlantic stocks of gray seals, 
harbor seals, hooded seals, and harp seals.

Determination

    The 2018 AFTT final rule included a detailed discussion of all of 
the anticipated impacts on the affected species and stocks from serious 
injury and mortality, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment; 
impacts on habitat; and how the Navy's mitigation and monitoring 
measures reduced the number and/or severity of adverse effects. We 
evaluated how these impacts and mitigation measures are expected to 
combine, annually, to affect individuals of each stock. Those effects 
were then evaluated in the context of whether they are reasonably 
likely to impact reproductive success or survivorship of individuals 
and then, if so, further analyzed to determine whether there would be 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival that would adversely 
affect the species or stock.
    As described above, the basis for the negligible impact 
determination is the assessment of effects on annual rates of 
recruitment and survival. Accordingly, the analysis included in the 
2018 AFTT final rule used annual activity levels, the best available 
science, and approved methods to predict the annual impacts to marine 
mammals, which were then analyzed in the context of whether each 
species or stock would incur more than a negligible impact based on 
anticipated adverse impacts to annual rates of recruitment or survival. 
As we have described above, none of the factors upon which the 
annually-based conclusions in the 2018 AFTT final rule were based have 
changed in a manner that would change our determinations. Therefore, 
even though this proposed rule includes two additional years, because 
our findings are based on annual rates of recruitment and survival, and 
nothing has changed in a manner that would change our 2018 AFTT rule 
annual analyses, it is appropriate to rely on those analyses, as well 
as the information and analysis discussed above, for this proposed 
rule.
    Based on the applicable information and analysis from the 2018 AFTT 
final rule as updated with the information and analysis contained 
herein on the potential and likely effects of the specified activities 
on the affected marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into 
consideration the implementation of the monitoring and mitigation 
measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the incidental take from the 
specified activities will have a negligible impact on all affected 
marine mammal species and stocks.

Subsistence Harvest of Marine Mammals

    There are no subsistence uses or harvest of marine mammals in the 
geographic area affected by the specified activities. Therefore, NMFS 
has determined that the total taking affecting species or stocks would 
not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such 
species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

ESA

    There are six marine mammal species under NMFS jurisdiction that 
are listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA with confirmed or 
possible occurrence in the AFTT Study Area: Blue whale (Western North 
Atlantic stock), fin whale (Western North Atlantic stock), sei whale 
(Nova Scotia stock), sperm whale (Gulf of Mexico Oceanic stock and 
North Atlantic stock), North Atlantic right whale (Western North 
Atlantic stock), and Bryde's whale (Northern Gulf of Mexico stock). The 
Navy consulted with NMFS pursuant to section 7 of the ESA for AFTT 
activities. NMFS also consulted internally on the issuance of the 2018 
AFTT regulations and LOAs under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA. NMFS 
issued a Biological and Conference Opinion on October 22, 2018 
concluding that the issuance of the 2018 AFTT final rule and subsequent 
LOAs are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the 
threatened and endangered species under NMFS' jurisdiction and are not 
likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat in the AFTT Study Area. The Biological and Conference Opinion 
for this action is available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities. NMFS' Permits and Conservation Division 
is currently discussing the 2019 Navy application with NMFS' ESA 
Interagency Cooperation Division.

National Marine Sanctuaries Act

    Federal agency actions that are likely to injure national marine 
sanctuary resources are subject to consultation with the Office of 
National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) under section 304(d) of the National 
Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA).
    On December 15, 2017, the Navy initiated consultation with ONMS and 
submitted a Sanctuary Resource Statement (SRS) that discussed the 
effects of the Navy's AFTT activities in the vicinity of Stellwagen 
Bank, Gray's Reef, and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaries on 
sanctuary resources. NMFS worked with the Navy in the development of 
the SRS to ensure that it could serve jointly as an SRS for NMFS' 
action under the MMPA as well.
    On December 20, 2017, NMFS initiated consultation with ONMS on MMPA 
incidental take regulations for the Navy's AFTT activities. NMFS 
requested that ONMS consider the description and assessment of the 
effects of the Navy's activities, which included an assessment of the 
effects on marine mammals, included in the joint SRS submitted by the 
Navy as satisfying NMFS' need to provide an SRS.
    ONMS reviewed the SRS, as well as an addendum the Navy provided on 
April 3, 2018. On April 12, 2018, ONMS found the SRS addendum 
sufficient for the purposes of making an injury determination to 
develop recommended alternatives as required by the NMSA. On May 15, 
2018, ONMS recommended two reasonable and prudent measures to Navy and 
NMFS (one of which applied to NMFS) to minimize injury and to protect 
sanctuary resources. ONMS subsequently provided a slight modification 
of those recommendations to the Navy and NMFS on August 1, 2018. On 
August 17, 2018, the Navy agreed to implement both ONMS recommendations 
and on October 30, 2018, NMFS agreed to implement the recommendation 
that applied to NMFS. NMFS' Permits and Conservation Division is 
currently discussing the 2019 Navy application with ONMS.

NEPA

    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 evaluate our proposed actions and alternatives with respect 
to potential impacts on the human environment. NMFS participated as a 
cooperating agency on the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS (published on September 
14, 2018, http://www.aftteis.com) which evaluated impacts from Navy 
training and testing activities in the AFTT Study Area for the 
reasonably foreseeable future. In accordance with 40 CFR 1506.3, NMFS 
independently reviewed and evaluated the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS and 
determined that it was adequate and sufficient to meet our 
responsibilities under NEPA for the issuance of the 2018 AFTT final 
rule and associated LOAs. NOAA therefore adopted the 2018 AFTT FEIS/
OEIS. In accordance with 40 CFR 1502.9 and the information and analysis 
contained in this proposed rule, the Navy and NMFS as a

[[Page 21183]]

cooperating agency have made a preliminary determination that this 
proposed rule and any subsequent LOAs would not result in impacts that 
were not fully considered in the 2018 AFTT FEIS/OEIS. As indicated in 
this proposed rule, the Navy has made no substantial changes to the 
proposed action nor are there significant new circumstances or 
information relevant to environmental concerns or its impacts. NMFS 
will make a final NEPA determination prior to a decision whether to 
issue a final rule.

Classification

    The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this 
proposed rule is not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Chief Counsel 
for Regulation of the Department of Commerce has certified to the Chief 
Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this 
proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities. The RFA requires Federal 
agencies to prepare an analysis of a rule's impact on small entities 
whenever the agency is required to publish a notice of proposed 
rulemaking. However, a Federal agency may certify, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
605(b), that the action will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. The Navy is the sole entity 
that would be affected by this rulemaking, and the Navy is not a small 
governmental jurisdiction, small organization, or small business, as 
defined by the RFA. Any requirements imposed by an LOA issued pursuant 
to these regulations, and any monitoring or reporting requirements 
imposed by these regulations, would be applicable only to the Navy. 
NMFS does not expect the issuance of these regulations or the 
associated LOAs to result in any impacts to small entities pursuant to 
the RFA. Because this action, if adopted, would directly affect the 
Navy and not a small entity, NMFS concludes the action would not result 
in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 218

    Exports, Fish, Imports, Incidental take, Indians, Labeling, Marine 
mammals, Navy, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Seafood, Sonar, Transportation.

    Dated: May 6, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For reasons set forth in the preamble, 50 CFR part 218 is proposed 
to be amended as follows:

PART 218--REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE 
MAMMALS

0
1. The authority citation for part 218 continues to read as follows:

     Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., unless otherwise noted.

0
2. Revise subpart I of part 218 to read as follows:

Subpart I--Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy's Atlantic 
Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT)

Sec.
218.80 Specified activity and specified geographical region.
218.81 Effective dates.
218.82 Permissible methods of taking.
218.83 Prohibitions.
218.84 Mitigation requirements.
218.85 Requirements for monitoring and reporting.
218.86 Letters of Authorization.
218.87 Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization.
218.88-218.89 [Reserved]

Subpart I--Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy's 
Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT)


Sec.  218.80   Specified activity and geographical region.

    (a) Regulations in this subpart apply only to the U.S. Navy for the 
taking of marine mammals that occurs in the area described in paragraph 
(b) of this section and that occurs incidental to the activities listed 
in paragraph (c) of this section.
    (b) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy under this subpart may 
be authorized in Letters of Authorization (LOAs) only if it occurs 
within the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area, which 
includes areas of the western Atlantic Ocean along the East Coast of 
North America, portions of the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. 
The AFTT Study Area begins at the mean high tide line along the U.S. 
East Coast and extends east to the 45-degree west longitude line, north 
to the 65-degree north latitude line, and south to approximately the 
20-degree north latitude line. The AFTT Study Area also includes Navy 
pierside locations, bays, harbors, and inland waterways, and civilian 
ports where training and testing occurs.
    (c) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy is only authorized if 
it occurs incidental to the Navy conducting training and testing 
activities, including:
    (1) Training. (i) Amphibious warfare;
    (ii) Anti-submarine warfare;
    (iii) Electronic warfare;
    (iv) Expeditionary warfare;
    (v) Mine warfare;
    (vi) Surface warfare, and
    (vii) Pile driving.
    (2) Testing. (i) Naval Air Systems Command Testing Activities;
    (ii) Naval Sea System Command Testing Activities; and
    (iii) Office of Naval Research Testing Activities.


Sec.  218.81   Effective dates.

    Regulations in this subpart are effective from [DATE OF PUBLICATION 
OF FINAL RULE IN THE Federal Register] through November 13, 2025.


Sec.  218.82   Permissible methods of taking.

    (a) Under LOAs issued pursuant to Sec. Sec.  216.106 of this 
chapter and 218.86, the Holder of the LOAs (hereinafter ``Navy'') may 
incidentally, but not intentionally, take marine mammals within the 
area described in Sec.  218.80(b) by Level A harassment and Level B 
harassment associated with the use of active sonar and other acoustic 
sources and explosives as well as serious injury or mortality 
associated with ship shock trials and vessel strikes, provided the 
activity is in compliance with all terms, conditions, and requirements 
of these regulations in this subpart and the applicable LOAs.
    (b) The incidental take of marine mammals by the activities listed 
in Sec.  218.80(c) is limited to the following species:

                        Table 1 to Sec.   218.82
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                               Stock
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Balaenidae (right whales):
    North Atlantic right whale *.......  Western.

[[Page 21184]]

 
Family Balaenopteridae (roquals):
    Blue whale *.......................  Western North Atlantic (Gulf of
                                          St. Lawrence).
    Bryde's whale *....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         NSD.
    Minke whale........................  Canadian East Coast.
    Fin whale *........................  Western North Atlantic.
    Humpback whale.....................  Gulf of Maine.
    Sei whale *........................  Nova Scotia.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Physeteridae (sperm whale):
    Sperm whale *......................  Gulf of Mexico Oceanic.
                                         North Atlantic.
Family Kogiidae (sperm whales):
    Dwarf sperm whale..................  Gulf of Mexico Oceanic.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Pygmy sperm whale..................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales):
    Blainville's beaked whale..........  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Cuvier's beaked whale..............  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Gervais' beaked whale..............  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Northern bottlenose whale..........  Western North Atlantic.
    Sowersby's beaked whale............  Western North Atlantic.
    True's beaked whale................  Western North Atlantic.
Family Delphinidae (dolphins)
    Atlantic spotted dolphin...........  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Atlantic white-sided dolphin.......  Western North Atlantic.
    Bottlenose dolphin.................  Choctawhatchee Bay.
                                         Gulf of Mexico Eastern Coastal.
                                         Gulf of Mexico Northern
                                          Coastal.
                                         Gulf of Mexico Western Coastal.
                                         Indian River Lagoon Estuarine
                                          System.
                                         Jacksonville Estuarine System.
                                         Mississippi Sound, Lake Borgne,
                                          Bay Boudreau.
                                         Northern Gulf of Mexico
                                          Continental Shelf.
                                         Northern Gulf of Mexico
                                          Oceanic.
                                         Northern North Carolina
                                          Estuarine System.
                                         Southern North Carolina
                                          Estuarine System.
                                         Western North Atlantic Northern
                                          Florida Coastal.
                                         Western North Atlantic Central
                                          Florida Coastal.
                                         Western North Atlantic Northern
                                          Migratory Coastal.
                                         Western North Atlantic
                                          Offshore.
                                         Western North Atlantic South
                                          Carolina/Georgia Coastal.
                                         Western North Atlantic Southern
                                          Migratory Coastal.
    Clymene dolphin....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    False killer whale.................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Fraser's dolphin...................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Killer whale.......................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Long-finned pilot whale............  Western North Atlantic.
    Melon-headed whale.................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Pantropical spotted dolphin........  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Pygmy killer whale.................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Risso's dolphin....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Rough-toothed dolphin..............  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Short-beaked common dolphin........  Western North Atlantic.
    Short-finned pilot whale...........  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.

[[Page 21185]]

 
    Spinner dolphin....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    Striped dolphin....................  Northern Gulf of Mexico.
                                         Western North Atlantic.
    White-beaked dolphin...............  Western North Atlantic.
Family Phocoenidae (porpoises):
    Harbor porpoise....................  Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           Suborder Pinnipedia
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Phocidae (true seals):
    Gray seal..........................  Western North Atlantic.
    Harbor seal........................  Western North Atlantic.
    Harp seal..........................  Western North Atlantic.
    Hooded seal........................  Western North Atlantic.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sec.  218.83   Prohibitions.

    Notwithstanding incidental takings contemplated in Sec.  218.82(a) 
and authorized by LOAs issued under Sec. Sec.  216.106 of this chapter 
and 218.86, no person in connection with the activities listed in Sec.  
218.80(c) may:
    (a) Violate, or fail to comply with the terms, conditions, and 
requirements of this subpart or an LOA issued under Sec.  216.106 of 
this chapter and Sec.  218.86;
    (b) Take any marine mammal not specified in Sec.  218.82(b);
    (c) Take any marine mammal specified Sec.  218.82(b) in any manner 
other than as specified in the LOAs; or
    (d) Take a marine mammal specified Sec.  218.82(b) if NMFS 
determines such taking results in more than a negligible impact on the 
species or stocks of such marine mammal.


Sec.  218.84   Mitigation requirements.

    When conducting the activities identified in Sec.  218.80(c), the 
mitigation measures contained in any LOAs issued under Sec. Sec.  
216.106 of this chapter and 218.86 must be implemented. These 
mitigation measures include, but are not limited to:
    (a) Procedural mitigation. Procedural mitigation is mitigation that 
the Navy must implement whenever and wherever an applicable training or 
testing activity takes place within the AFTT Study Area for each 
applicable activity category or stressor category and includes acoustic 
stressors (i.e., active sonar, air guns, pile driving, weapons firing 
noise), explosive stressors (i.e., sonobuoys, torpedoes, medium-caliber 
and large-caliber projectiles, missiles and rockets, bombs, sinking 
exercises, mines, anti-swimmer grenades, line charge testing and ship 
shock trials), and physical disturbance and strike stressors (i.e., 
vessel movement; towed in-water devices; small-, medium-, and large-
caliber non-explosive practice munitions; non-explosive missiles and 
rockets; non-explosive bombs and mine shapes).
    (1) Environmental awareness and education. Appropriate personnel 
(including civilian personnel) involved in mitigation and training or 
testing activity reporting under the specified activities must complete 
one or more modules of the U.S. Navy Afloat Environmental Compliance 
Training Series, as identified in their career path training plan. 
Modules include: Introduction to the U.S. Navy Afloat Environmental 
Compliance Training Series, Marine Species Awareness Training, U.S. 
Navy Protective Measures Assessment Protocol, and U.S. Navy Sonar 
Positional Reporting System and Marine Mammal Incident Reporting.
    (2) Active sonar. Active sonar includes low-frequency active sonar, 
mid-frequency active sonar, and high-frequency active sonar. For 
vessel-based active sonar activities, mitigation applies only to 
sources that are positively controlled and deployed from manned surface 
vessels (e.g., sonar sources towed from manned surface platforms). For 
aircraft-based active sonar activities, mitigation applies only to 
sources that are positively controlled and deployed from manned 
aircraft that do not operate at high altitudes (e.g., rotary-wing 
aircraft). Mitigation does not apply to active sonar sources deployed 
from unmanned aircraft or aircraft operating at high altitudes (e.g., 
maritime patrol aircraft).
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) Hull-mounted 
sources. One Lookout for platforms with space or manning restrictions 
while underway (at the forward part of a small boat or ship) and 
platforms using active sonar while moored or at anchor (including 
pierside); two Lookouts for platforms without space or manning 
restrictions while underway (at the forward part of the ship); and four 
Lookouts for pierside sonar testing activities at Port Canaveral, 
Florida and Kings Bay, Georgia.
    (B) Sources that are not hull-mounted sources. One Lookout on the 
ship or aircraft conducting the activity.
    (ii) Mitigation zones and requirements. During the activity, at 
1,000 yard (yd) Navy personnel must power down 6 decibels (dB), at 500 
yd Navy personnel must power down an additional 4 dB (for a total of 10 
dB), and at 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for low-frequency 
active sonar >=200 dB and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar; or 
at 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for low-frequency active sonar 
<200 dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull-mounted, 
and high-frequency active sonar.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy 
personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of active sonar transmission.
    (B) During low-frequency active sonar at or above 200 dB and hull-
mounted mid-frequency active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals and power down active sonar 
transmission by 6 dB if marine mammals are observed within 1,000 yd of 
the sonar source; power down by an additional 4 dB (10 dB total) if 
marine mammals are observed within 500 yd of the sonar source; and 
cease transmission if marine mammals are observed within 200 yd of the 
sonar source.

[[Page 21186]]

    (C) During low-frequency active sonar below 200 dB, mid-frequency 
active sonar sources that are not hull mounted, and high-frequency 
active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for 
marine mammals and cease active sonar transmission if marine mammals 
are observed within 200 yd of the sonar source.
    (D) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing or powering up active sonar transmission) until 
one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed 
exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the 
mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and 
movement relative to the sonar source; the mitigation zone has been 
clear from any additional sightings for 10 minutes (min) for aircraft-
deployed sonar sources or 30 min for vessel-deployed sonar sources; for 
mobile activities, the active sonar source has transited a distance 
equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of 
the last sighting; or for activities using hull-mounted sonar where a 
dolphin(s) is observed in the mitigation zone, the Lookout concludes 
that the dolphin(s) is deliberately closing in on the ship to ride the 
ship's bow wave, and is therefore out of the main transmission axis of 
the sonar (and there are no other marine mammal sightings within the 
mitigation zone).
    (3) Air guns. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One 
Lookout must be positioned on a ship or pierside.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 150 yd around the air gun.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy 
personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of air gun use.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease use of air guns.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing air gun use) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the air 
gun; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings 
for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the air gun has transited a 
distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the 
location of the last sighting.
    (4) Pile driving. Pile driving and pile extraction sound during 
Elevated Causeway System training.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned on the shore, the elevated causeway, or a small boat.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 100 yd around the pile 
driver.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (for 30 min), Navy 
personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if 
floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must delay the start 
until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe 
the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must delay the start of pile driving or vibratory pile 
extraction.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease impact pile driving or vibratory pile extraction.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing pile driving or pile extraction) until one of the 
following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the 
mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation 
zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement 
relative to the pile driving location; or the mitigation zone has been 
clear from any additional sightings for 30 min.
    (5) Weapons firing noise. Weapons firing noise associated with 
large-caliber gunnery activities.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned on the ship conducting the firing. Depending on the 
activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one provided for under 
Explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles or under Small-, 
medium-, and large-caliber non-explosive practice munitions in 
paragraph (a)(8)(i) and (a)(19)(i) of this section.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. Thirty degrees on either 
side of the firing line out to 70 yd from the muzzle of the weapon 
being fired.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity, Navy personnel must 
observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating 
vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start 
until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe 
the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of weapons firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease weapons firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing weapons firing) until one of the following 
conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation 
zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on 
a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
firing ship; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the firing ship has 
transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size 
beyond the location of the last sighting.
    (6) Explosive Sonobuoys. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft or on small 
boat. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, 
personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing 
their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 600 yd around an explosive 
sonobuoy.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during 
deployment of a sonobuoy field, which typically lasts 20-30 min), Navy 
personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if 
floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate

[[Page 21187]]

or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel 
must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use 
information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy 
personnel also must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
sonobuoy; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel 
constraints (e.g., helicopter), or 30 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station)--when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained 
by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (7) Explosive torpedoes. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. One Lookout positioned in an aircraft. If additional 
platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned 
in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support 
observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable 
biological resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,100 yd around the intended 
impact location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during 
deployment of the target), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, 
relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy 
personnel also must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine 
mammals and use the information from detections to assist visual 
observations. Navy personnel must visually observe the mitigation zone 
for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or 
jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or 
delay the start of firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish 
aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from 
any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft 
that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station)--when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained 
by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (8) Explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles. Gunnery 
activities using explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber 
projectiles. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be on the vessel or aircraft conducting the activity. For activities 
using explosive large-caliber projectiles, depending on the activity, 
the Lookout could be the same as the one described in Weapons Firing 
Noise in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section. If additional platforms 
are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those 
assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological 
resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 200 yd around the 
intended impact location for air-to-surface activities using explosive 
medium-caliber projectiles.
    (B) 600 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-
surface activities using explosive medium-caliber projectiles.
    (C) 1,000 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-
surface activities using explosive large-caliber projectiles.
    (D) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy 
personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of firing.
    (E) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
firing.
    (F) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any 
additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for 
vessel-based firing; or for activities using mobile targets, the 
intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that 
of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

[[Page 21188]]

    (G) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station)--when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained 
by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (9) Explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed explosive 
missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface 
target.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned in an aircraft. If additional platforms are participating 
in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., 
safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological resources while 
performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 900 yd around the 
intended impact location for missiles or rockets with 0.6-20 lb net 
explosive weight.
    (B) 2,000 yd around the intended impact location for missiles with 
21-500 lb net explosive weight.
    (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-
over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the 
mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is 
observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the 
mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing.
    (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
firing.
    (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from 
any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft 
that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.
    (F) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station)--when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained 
by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (10) Explosive bombs. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft conducting the 
activity. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, 
Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing 
their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,500 yd around the intended 
target.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving 
on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for 
floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel 
must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. 
Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of bomb deployment.
    (B) During the activity (e.g., during target approach), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing bomb deployment) until one of the following 
conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation 
zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on 
a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended target; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 10 min; or for activities using mobile targets, the 
intended target has transited a distance equal to double that of the 
mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station)--when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained 
by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (11) Sinking exercises. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. Two Lookouts (one must be positioned in an aircraft and one 
must be positioned on a vessel). If additional platforms are 
participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those 
assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable biological 
resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2.5 nautical miles (nmi) 
around the target ship hulk.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (90 min prior to the 
first firing), Navy personnel must conduct aerial observations of the 
mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is 
observed Navy personnel must delay the start until the mitigation zone 
is clear. Navy personnel also must conduct aerial observations of the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if 
marine mammals or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel 
must delay the start of firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must conduct passive 
acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use information from 
detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel must visually 
observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals from the vessel; if 
marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. 
Immediately after any planned or unplanned breaks in weapons firing of 
longer than two hours, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone 
for marine mammals from the aircraft and vessel; if marine mammals are 
observed,

[[Page 21189]]

Navy personnel must delay recommencement of firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the target 
ship hulk; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 30 min.
    (D) After completion of the activity (for two hours after sinking 
the vessel or until sunset, whichever comes first), Navy personnel must 
observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations 
occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy 
personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If 
additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing 
range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (12) Explosive mine countermeasure and neutralization activities. 
(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) One Lookout must 
be positioned on a vessel or in an aircraft when implementing the 
smaller mitigation zone defined at paragraph (a)(12)(ii)(A) of this 
section (using 0.1-5 lb net explosive weight charges).
    (B) Two Lookouts (one must be in an aircraft and one must be on a 
small boat) when implementing the larger mitigation zone defined at 
paragraph (a)(12)(ii)(B) of this section (using 6-650 lb net explosive 
weight charges).
    (C) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy 
personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing 
their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 600 yd around the 
detonation site for activities using 0.1-5 lb net explosive weight.
    (B) 2,100 yd around the detonation site for activities using 6-650 
lb net explosive weight (including high explosive target mines).
    (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station; typically, 10 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity 
involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained), Navy 
personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if 
floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay 
the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must 
observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of 
detonations.
    (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, the Navy must 
cease detonations.
    (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to detonation 
site; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel 
constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not 
typically fuel constrained.
    (F) After completion of the activity (typically 10 min when the 
activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when 
the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel 
constrained), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the 
vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine 
mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident 
reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this 
activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must 
assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations 
occurred.
    (13) Explosive mine neutralization activities involving navy 
divers--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) Two 
Lookouts must be positioned (two small boats with one Lookout each, or 
one Lookout must be on a small boat and one must be in a rotary-wing 
aircraft) when implementing the smaller mitigation zone defined at 
paragraph (a)(13)(ii)(A) of this section.
    (B) Four Lookouts must be positioned (two small boats with two 
Lookouts each), and a pilot or member of an aircrew must serve as an 
additional Lookout if aircraft are used during the activity, when 
implementing the larger mitigation zone defined at paragraph 
(a)(13)(ii)(B) of this section.
    (C) All divers placing the charges on mines must support the 
Lookouts while performing their regular duties and must report 
applicable sightings to their supporting small boat or Range Safety 
Officer.
    (D) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy 
personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing 
their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around the 
detonation site during activities under positive control using 0.1-20 
lb net explosive weight.
    (B) 1,000 yd around the detonation site during all activities using 
time-delay fuses (0.1-20 lb net explosive weight) and during activities 
under positive control using 21-60 lb net explosive weight charges.
    (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station for activities under positive control; 30 min 
for activities using time-delay firing devices), Navy personnel must 
observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating 
vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start 
until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe 
the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonation or fuse 
initiation.
    (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
detonation or fuse initiation. To the maximum extent practicable 
depending on mission requirements, safety, and environmental 
conditions, boats must position themselves near the mid-point of the 
mitigation zone radius (but outside of the detonation plume and human 
safety zone), must position themselves on opposite sides of the 
detonation location (when two boats are used), and must travel in a 
circular pattern around the detonation location with one Lookout 
observing inward toward the detonation site and the other observing 
outward toward the perimeter of the mitigation zone. If used, aircraft 
must travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location to the 
maximum extent practicable. Navy personnel must not set time-delay 
firing devices (0.1-20 lb. net explosive weight) to exceed 10 min.

[[Page 21190]]

    (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
detonation site; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any 
additional sightings for 10 min during activities under positive 
control with aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min during 
activities under positive control with aircraft that are not typically 
fuel constrained and during activities using time-delay firing devices.
    (F) After completion of an activity (for 30 min), Navy personnel 
must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where any 
detonations have occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (14) Maritime security operations--anti-swimmer grenades--(i) 
Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be 
positioned on the small boat conducting the activity. If additional 
platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned 
in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support 
observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable 
biological resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended 
detonation location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy 
personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of detonation.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
detonation.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended detonation location; the mitigation zone has been clear from 
any additional sightings for 30 min; or the intended detonation 
location has transited a distance equal to double that of the 
mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station), when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained 
by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (15) Line charge testing--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. One Lookout must be positioned on a vessel. If additional 
platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned 
in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support 
observing the mitigation zone for marine mammals and other applicable 
biological resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 900 yd around the intended 
detonation location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy 
personnel must delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy 
personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if 
marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of 
detonations.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
detonations.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended detonation location; or the mitigation zone has been clear 
from any additional sightings for 30 min.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station), when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained 
by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (16) Ship shock trials--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. (A) A minimum of ten Lookouts or trained marine species 
observers (or a combination thereof) must be positioned either in an 
aircraft or on multiple vessels (i.e., a Marine Animal Response Team 
boat and the test ship).
    (1) If aircraft are used, Lookouts or trained marine species 
observers must be in an aircraft and on multiple vessels.
    (2) If aircraft are not used, a sufficient number of additional 
Lookouts or trained marine species observers must be used to provide 
vessel-based visual observation comparable to that achieved by aerial 
surveys.
    (B) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy 
personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals and other applicable biological resources while performing 
their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 3.5 nmi around the ship 
hull.
    (A) The Navy must not conduct ship shock trials in the Jacksonville 
Operating Area during North Atlantic right whale calving season from 
November 15 through April 15.
    (B) The Navy must develop detailed ship shock trial monitoring and 
mitigation plans approximately one-year

[[Page 21191]]

prior to an event and must continue to provide these to NMFS for review 
and approval.
    (C) Pre-activity planning must include selection of one primary and 
two secondary areas where marine mammal populations are expected to be 
the lowest during the event, with the primary and secondary locations 
located more than 2 nmi from the western boundary of the Gulf Stream 
for events in the Virginia Capes Range Complex or Jacksonville Range 
Complex.
    (D) If it is determined during pre-activity surveys that the 
primary area is environmentally unsuitable (e.g., observations of 
marine mammals or presence of concentrations of floating vegetation), 
the shock trial can be moved to a secondary site in accordance with the 
detailed mitigation and monitoring plan provided to NMFS.
    (E) Prior to the initial start of the activity at the shock trial 
location (in intervals of 5 hrs, 3 hrs, 40 min, and immediately before 
the detonation), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for 
floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel 
must delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel 
also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine 
mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay triggering the 
detonation.
    (F) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals, large schools of fish, jellyfish aggregations, and flocks of 
seabirds; if marine mammals, large schools of fish, jellyfish 
aggregations, and flocks of seabirds are observed, Navy personnel must 
cease triggering the detonation. After completion of each detonation, 
Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if 
any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must 
follow established incident reporting procedures and halt any remaining 
detonations until Navy personnel can consult with NMFS and review or 
adapt the mitigation, if necessary.
    (G) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the ship 
hull; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 30 min.
    (H) After completion of the activity (during the following two days 
at a minimum, and up to seven days at a maximum), Navy personnel must 
observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations 
occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy 
personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If 
additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing 
range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (17) Vessel movement. The mitigation must not be applied if: The 
vessel's safety is threatened; the vessel is restricted in its ability 
to maneuver (e.g., during launching and recovery of aircraft or landing 
craft, during towing activities, when mooring, etc.); or the vessel is 
operated autonomously.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be on the vessel that is underway.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around whales.
    (B) 200 yd around all other marine mammals (except bow-riding 
dolphins and pinnipeds hauled out on man-made navigational structures, 
port structures, and vessels).
    (C) During the activity, when underway, Navy personnel must observe 
the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if any marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance.
    (D) Additionally, Navy personnel must broadcast awareness 
notification messages with North Atlantic right whale Dynamic 
Management Area information (e.g., location and dates) to applicable 
Navy assets operating in the vicinity of the Dynamic Management Area. 
The information will alert assets to the possible presence of a North 
Atlantic right whale to maintain safety of navigation and further 
reduce the potential for a vessel strike. Platforms must use the 
information to assist their visual observation of applicable mitigation 
zones during training and testing activities and to aid in the 
implementation of procedural mitigation, including but not limited to, 
mitigation for vessel movement. If a marine mammal vessel strike 
occurs, Navy personnel must follow the established incident reporting 
procedures.
    (18) Towed in-water devices. Mitigation applies to devices that are 
towed from a manned surface platform or manned aircraft. The mitigation 
will not be applied if the safety of the towing platform or in-water 
device is threatened.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned on a manned towing platform.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 250 yd around marine 
mammals. During the activity, when towing an in-water device, Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance.
    (19) Small-, medium-, and large-caliber non-explosive practice 
munitions. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned on the platform conducting the activity. Depending on the 
activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one described for 
Weapons Firing Noise in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended 
impact location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy 
personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any 
additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for 
vessel-based firing; or for activities using a mobile target, the 
intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that 
of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

[[Page 21192]]

    (20) Non-explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed non-
explosive missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using 
a surface target.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned in an aircraft.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 900 yd around the intended 
impact location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-
over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the 
mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is 
observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the 
mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting prior to or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from 
any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft 
that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.
    (21) Non-explosive bombs and mine shapes. Non-explosive bombs and 
non-explosive mine shapes during mine laying activities.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned in an aircraft.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 1,000 yd around the intended 
target.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving 
on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for 
floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel 
must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. 
Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of bomb deployment or mine laying.
    (B) During the activity (e.g., during approach of the target or 
intended minefield location), Navy personnel must observe the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment or mine laying.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting prior to or during the activity: Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing bomb deployment or mine laying) until one of the 
following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the 
mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation 
zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement 
relative to the intended target or minefield location; the mitigation 
zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min; or for 
activities using mobile targets, the intended target has transited a 
distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the 
location of the last sighting.
    (b) Mitigation areas. In addition to procedural mitigation, the 
Navy must implement mitigation measures within mitigation areas to 
avoid potential impacts on marine mammals.
    (1) Mitigation areas off the Northeastern United States for sonar, 
explosives, and physical disturbance and strikes. (i) Mitigation area 
requirements. (A) Northeast North Atlantic Right Whale Mitigation Area 
(year-round):
    (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active 
sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area (which 
includes North Atlantic right whale ESA-designated critical habitat) in 
its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (2) Navy personnel must minimize the use of low-frequency active 
sonar, mid-frequency active sonar, and high-frequency active sonar to 
the maximum extent practicable within the mitigation area.
    (3) Navy personnel must not use Improved Extended Echo Ranging 
sonobuoys in or within 3 nmi of the mitigation area or use explosive 
and non-explosive bombs, in-water detonations, and explosive torpedoes 
within the mitigation area.
    (4) For activities using non-explosive torpedoes within the 
mitigation area, Navy personnel must conduct activities during daylight 
hours in Beaufort sea state 3 or less. The Navy must use three Lookouts 
(one positioned on a vessel and two positioned in an aircraft during 
dedicated aerial surveys) to observe the vicinity of the activity. An 
additional Lookout must be positioned on the submarine, when surfaced. 
Immediately prior to the start of the activity, Navy personnel must 
observe for floating vegetation and marine mammals; if floating 
vegetation or marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must not 
commence the activity until the vicinity is clear or the activity is 
relocated to an area where the vicinity is clear. During the activity, 
Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if observed, Navy 
personnel must cease the activity. To allow a sighted marine mammal to 
leave the area, Navy personnel must not recommence the activity until 
one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed 
exiting the vicinity of the activity; the animal is thought to have 
exited the vicinity of the activity based on a determination of its 
course, speed, and movement relative to the activity location; or the 
area has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min. During 
transits and normal firing, ships must maintain a speed of no more than 
10 knots (kn). During submarine target firing, ships must maintain 
speeds of no more than 18 kn. During vessel target firing, vessel 
speeds may exceed 18 kn for brief periods of time (e.g., 10-15 min).
    (5) For all activities, before a vessel transits within the 
mitigation area, Navy personnel must conduct a web query or email 
inquiry to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration 
Northeast Fisheries Science Center's North Atlantic Right Whale 
Sighting Advisory System to obtain the latest North Atlantic right 
whale sightings information. Navy personnel on vessels must use the 
sightings information to reduce potential interactions with North 
Atlantic right whales during transits. Navy personnel on vessels must 
implement speed reductions within the mitigation area after observing a 
North Atlantic right whale, if transiting within 5 nmi of a sighting 
reported to the North Atlantic Right Whale Sighting Advisory System 
within the past week, and if transiting at night or during periods of 
reduced visibility.
    (B) Gulf of Maine Planning Awareness Mitigation Area (year-round):
    (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active 
sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual 
training

[[Page 21193]]

and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (2) Navy personnel must not conduct greater than 200 hrs of hull-
mounted mid-frequency active sonar per year within the mitigation area.
    (3) Navy personnel must not conduct major training exercises 
(Composite Training Unit Exercises or Fleet Exercises/Sustainment 
Exercises) within the mitigation area. If the Navy needs to conduct a 
major training exercise within the mitigation area in support of 
training requirements driven by national security concerns, Navy 
personnel must confer with NMFS to verify that potential impacts are 
adequately addressed.
    (C) Northeast Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas (year-round): (1) 
Navy personnel will avoid planning major training exercises (Composite 
Training Unit Exercises or Fleet Exercises/Sustainment Exercises) 
within the mitigation area to the maximum extent practicable.
    (2) Navy personnel must not conduct more than four major training 
exercises per year (all or a portion of the exercise) within the 
mitigation area.
    (3) If the Navy needs to conduct additional major training 
exercises in the mitigation area in support of training requirements 
driven by national security concerns, Navy personnel must provide NMFS 
with advance notification and include the information in its annual 
training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (ii) [Reserved]
    (2) Mitigation areas off the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United 
States for sonar, explosives, and physical disturbance and strikes.
    (i) Mitigation area requirements. (A) Southeast North Atlantic 
Right Whale Mitigation Area (November 15 through April 15):
    (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active 
sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual 
training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (2) The Navy must not conduct: Low-frequency active sonar (except 
as noted in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(3) of this section), mid-frequency 
active sonar (except as noted in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(3) of this 
section), high-frequency active sonar, missile and rocket activities 
(explosive and non-explosive), small-, medium-, and large-caliber 
gunnery activities, Improved Extended Echo Ranging sonobuoy activities, 
explosive and non-explosive bombing activities, in-water detonations, 
and explosive torpedo activities within the mitigation area.
    (3) To the maximum extent practicable, Navy personnel must minimize 
the use of: helicopter dipping sonar, low-frequency active sonar and 
hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar used for navigation training, 
and low-frequency active sonar and hull-mounted mid-frequency active 
sonar used for object detection exercises within the mitigation area.
    (4) Before transiting or conducting training or testing activities 
within the mitigation area, Navy personnel must initiate communication 
with the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville to 
obtain Early Warning System North Atlantic right whale sightings data. 
The Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville must 
advise Navy personnel on vessels of all reported whale sightings in the 
vicinity to help Navy personnel on vessels and aircraft reduce 
potential interactions with North Atlantic right whales. Commander 
Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet must coordinate any submarine 
activities that may require approval from the Fleet Area Control and 
Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville. Navy personnel on vessels must use 
the sightings information to reduce potential interactions with North 
Atlantic right whales during transits.
    (5) Navy personnel on vessels must implement speed reductions after 
they observe a North Atlantic right whale, if they are within 5 nmi of 
a sighting reported within the past 12 hrs, or when operating in the 
mitigation area at night or during periods of poor visibility.
    (6) To the maximum extent practicable, Navy personnel on vessels 
must minimize north-south transits in the mitigation area.
    (B) Southeast North Atlantic Right Whale Critical Habitat Special 
Reporting Area (November 15 through April 15):
    (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active 
sonar and in-water explosives used in the Special Reporting Area (which 
includes southeast North Atlantic right whale ESA-designated critical 
habitat) in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted 
to NMFS.
    (2) [Reserved]
    (C) Jacksonville Operating Area (November 15 through April 15):
    (1) Navy units conducting training or testing activities in the 
Jacksonville Operating Area must initiate communication with the Fleet 
Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville to obtain Early 
Warning System North Atlantic right whale sightings data. The Fleet 
Area Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville must advise Navy 
personnel on vessels of all reported whale sightings in the vicinity to 
help Navy personnel on vessels and aircraft reduce potential 
interactions with North Atlantic right whales. Commander Submarine 
Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet must coordinate any submarine activities that 
may require approval from the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance 
Facility, Jacksonville. Navy personnel must use the reported sightings 
information as they plan specific details of events (e.g., timing, 
location, duration) to minimize potential interactions with North 
Atlantic right whales to the maximum extent practicable. Navy personnel 
must use the reported sightings information to assist visual 
observations of applicable mitigation zones and to aid in the 
implementation of procedural mitigation.
    (2) [Reserved]
    (D) Navy Cherry Point Range Complex Nearshore Mitigation Area 
(March through September):
    (1) Navy personnel must not conduct explosive mine neutralization 
activities involving Navy divers in the mitigation area.
    (2) To the maximum extent practicable, Navy personnel must not use 
explosive sonobuoys, explosive torpedoes, explosive medium-caliber and 
large-caliber projectiles, explosive missiles and rockets, explosive 
bombs, explosive mines during mine countermeasure and neutralization 
activities, and anti-swimmer grenades in the mitigation area.
    (E) Mid-Atlantic Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas (year-round):
    (1) Navy personnel will avoid planning major training exercises 
(Composite Training Unit Exercises or Fleet Exercises/Sustainment 
Exercises) to the maximum extent practicable.
    (2) Navy personnel must not conduct more than four major training 
exercises per year (all or a portion of the exercise) within the 
mitigation area.
    (3) If the Navy needs to conduct additional major training 
exercises in the mitigation area in support of training requirements 
driven by national security concerns, Navy personnel must provide NMFS 
with advance notification and include the information in its annual 
training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (ii) [Reserved]
    (3) Mitigation areas in the Gulf of Mexico for sonar and 
explosives. (i) Mitigation area requirements. (A) Gulf of Mexico 
Planning Awareness Mitigation Areas (year-round):
    (1) Navy personnel must not conduct major training exercises within 
the mitigation area (all or a portion of the exercise).

[[Page 21194]]

    (2) If the Navy needs to conduct a major training exercise within 
the mitigation areas in support of training requirements driven by 
national security concerns, Navy personnel must confer with NMFS to 
verify that potential impacts are adequately addressed.
    (B) Bryde's Whale Mitigation Area (year-round):
    (1) Navy personnel must report the total hours and counts of active 
sonar and in-water explosives used in the mitigation area in its annual 
training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (2) Navy personnel must not conduct greater than 200 hrs of hull-
mounted mid-frequency active sonar per year within the mitigation area.
    (3) Navy personnel must not use explosives (except during mine 
warfare activities) within the mitigation area.
    (ii) [Reserved]


Sec.  218.85   Requirements for monitoring and reporting.

    (a) Unauthorized take. The Navy must notify NMFS immediately (or as 
soon as operational security considerations allow) if the specified 
activity identified in Sec.  218.80 is thought to have resulted in the 
mortality or serious injury of any marine mammals, or in any Level A or 
Level B harassment take of marine mammals not identified in this 
subpart.
    (b) Monitoring and reporting under the LOAs. The Navy must conduct 
all monitoring and required reporting under the LOAs, including abiding 
by the AFTT Study Area monitoring program. Details on program goals, 
objectives, project selection process, and current projects are 
available at www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us.
    (c) Notification of injured, live stranded, or dead marine mammals. 
The Navy must consult the Notification and Reporting Plan, which sets 
out notification, reporting, and other requirements when dead, injured, 
or live stranded marine mammals are detected. The Notification and 
Reporting Plan is available at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities.
    (d) Annual AFTT Study Area marine species monitoring report. The 
Navy must submit an annual report of the AFTT Study Area monitoring 
describing the implementation and results from the previous calendar 
year. Data collection methods must be standardized across range 
complexes and study areas to allow for comparison in different 
geographic locations. The report must be submitted to the Director, 
Office of Protected Resources of NMFS either within 90 days after the 
calendar year, or within 90 days after the conclusion of the monitoring 
year to be determined by the Adaptive Management process. This report 
will describe progress of knowledge made with respect to monitoring 
plan study questions across all Navy ranges associated with the 
Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program. Similar study questions 
must be treated together so that progress on each topic can be 
summarized across all Navy ranges. The report need not include analyses 
and content that does not provide direct assessment of cumulative 
progress on the monitoring plan study questions.
    (e) Annual AFTT Study Area training and testing reports. Each year, 
the Navy must submit a preliminary report (Quick Look Report) detailing 
the status of authorized sound sources within 21 days after the 
anniversary of the date of issuance of each LOA to the Director, Office 
of Protected Resources, NMFS. Each year, the Navy must submit a 
detailed report within 3 months after the anniversary of the date of 
issuance of each LOA to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, 
NMFS. The annual reports must contain information on Major Training 
Exercises (MTEs), Sinking Exercise (SINKEX) events, and a summary of 
all sound sources used, including within specified mitigation reporting 
areas, as described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section. The analysis 
in the detailed report must be based on the accumulation of data from 
the current year's report and data collected from the previous report. 
The detailed reports must contain information identified in paragraphs 
(e)(1) through (5) of this section.
    (1) Major Training Exercises (MTEs). This section of the report 
must contain the following information for MTEs conducted in the AFTT 
Study Area:
    (i) Exercise information (for each MTE):
    (A) Exercise designator;
    (B) Date that exercise began and ended;
    (C) Location;
    (D) Number and types of active sonar sources used in the exercise;
    (E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise;
    (F) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms 
participating in exercise;
    (G) Total hours of all active sonar source operation;
    (H) Total hours of each active sonar source bin; and
    (I) Wave height (high, low, and average) during exercise.
    (ii) Individual marine mammal sighting information for each 
sighting in each exercise where mitigation was implemented:
    (A) Date/time/location of sighting;
    (B) Species (if not possible, indication of whale/dolphin/
pinniped);
    (C) Number of individuals;
    (D) Initial detection sensor (e.g., sonar, Lookout);
    (E) Indication of specific type of platform observation made from 
(including, for example, what type of surface vessel or testing 
platform);
    (F) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine 
mammal;
    (G) Sea state;
    (H) Visibility;
    (I) Sound source in use at the time of sighting;
    (J) Indication of whether animal was less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 
yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd from 
sonar source;
    (K) Mitigation implementation (e.g., whether operation of sonar 
sensor was delayed, or sonar was powered or shut down, and how long the 
delay was);
    (L) If source in use was hull-mounted, true bearing of animal from 
the vessel, true direction of vessel's travel, and estimation of 
animal's motion relative to vessel (opening, closing, parallel); and
    (M) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to 
categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as 
animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on 
surface and not swimming, etc.) and if any calves were present.
    (iii) An evaluation (based on data gathered during all of the MTEs) 
of the effectiveness of mitigation measures designed to minimize the 
received level to which marine mammals may be exposed. This evaluation 
must identify the specific observations that support any conclusions 
the Navy reaches about the effectiveness of the mitigation.
    (2) Sinking exercises (SINKEXs). This section of the report must 
include the following information for each SINKEX completed that year:
    (i) Exercise information (gathered for each SINKEX):
    (A) Location;
    (B) Date and time exercise began and ended;
    (C) Total hours of observation by Lookouts before, during, and 
after exercise;
    (D) Total number and types of explosive source bins detonated;
    (E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise;
    (F) Total hours of passive acoustic search time;

[[Page 21195]]

    (G) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms 
participating in exercise;
    (H) Wave height in feet (high, low, and average) during exercise; 
and
    (I) Narrative description of sensors and platforms utilized for 
marine mammal detection and timeline illustrating how marine mammal 
detection was conducted.
    (ii) Individual marine mammal sighting information for each 
sighting where mitigation was implemented:
    (A) Date/time/location of sighting;
    (B) Species (if not possible, indicate whale, dolphin, or 
pinniped);
    (C) Number of individuals;
    (D) Initial detection sensor (e.g., sonar or Lookout);
    (E) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine 
mammal;
    (F) Sea state;
    (G) Visibility; and
    (H) Whether sighting was before, during, or after detonations/
exercise, and how many minutes before or after.
    (I) Distance of marine mammal from actual detonations (e.g. less 
than 200 yd, 200 to 500 yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or 
greater than 2,000 yd, or target spot if not yet detonated).
    (J) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to 
categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as 
animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on 
surface and not swimming etc.), including speed and direction and if 
any calves were present.
    (K) Resulting mitigation implementation: The report must indicate 
whether explosive detonations were delayed, ceased, modified, or not 
modified due to marine mammal presence and for how long.
    (L) If observation occurred while explosives were detonating in the 
water, indicate munition type in use at time of marine mammal 
detection.
    (3) Summary of sources used. This section must include the 
following information summarized from the authorized sound sources used 
in all training and testing events:
    (i) Total annual hours or quantity (per the LOA) of each bin of 
sonar or other acoustic sources (pile driving and air gun activities); 
and
    (ii) Total annual expended/detonated ordnance (missiles, bombs, 
sonobuoys, etc.) for each explosive bin.
    (4) Geographic information presentation. The reports must present 
an annual (and seasonal, where practical) depiction of training and 
testing bin usage (as well as pile driving activities) geographically 
across the AFTT Study Area.
    (5) Sonar exercise notification. The Navy must submit to NMFS 
(contact as specified in the LOA) an electronic report within fifteen 
calendar days after the completion of any MTE indicating:
    (i) Location of the exercise;
    (ii) Beginning and end dates of the exercise; and
    (iii) Type of exercise.
    (f) Seven-year close-out comprehensive training and testing report. 
This report must be included as part of the 2025 annual training and 
testing report. This report must provide the annual totals for each 
sound source bin with a comparison to the annual allowance and the 
seven-year total for each sound source bin with a comparison to the 
seven-year allowance. Additionally, if there were any changes to the 
sound source allowance, this report must include a discussion of why 
the change was made and include the analysis to support how the change 
did or did not result in a change in the EIS and final rule 
determinations. The draft report must be submitted within three months 
after the expiration of this subpart to the Director, Office of 
Protected Resources, NMFS. NMFS must submit comments on the draft 
close-out report, if any, within three months of receipt. The report 
will be considered final after the Navy has addressed NMFS' comments, 
or 3 months after the submittal of the draft if NMFS does not provide 
comments.


Sec.  218.86   Letters of Authorization.

    (a) To incidentally take marine mammals pursuant to the regulations 
in this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain Letters of 
Authorization (LOAs) in accordance with Sec.  216.106 of this chapter.
    (b) LOAs, unless suspended or revoked, may be effective for a 
period of time not to exceed the expiration date of the regulations in 
this subpart.
    (c) If an LOA expires prior to the expiration date of the 
regulations in this subpart, the Navy may apply for and obtain a 
renewal of the LOA.
    (d) In the event of projected changes to the activity or to 
mitigation, monitoring, or reporting (excluding changes made pursuant 
to the adaptive management provision of Sec.  218.87(c)(1) as required 
by an LOA issued under this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain 
a modification of the LOA as described in Sec.  218.87.
    (e) Each LOA will set forth:
    (1) Permissible methods of incidental taking;
    (2) Specified geographic areas for incidental taking;
    (3) Means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact (i.e., 
mitigation) on the species or stocks of marine mammals and their 
habitat; and
    (4) Requirements for monitoring and reporting.
    (f) Issuance of the LOA(s) will be based on a determination that 
the level of taking must be consistent with the findings made for the 
total taking allowable under the regulations in this subpart.
    (g) Notice of issuance or denial of the LOA(s) will be published in 
the Federal Register within 30 days of a determination.


Sec.  218.87   Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization.

    (a) An LOA issued under Sec. Sec.  216.106 of this subchapter and 
218.86 may be renewed or modified upon request by the applicant, 
provided that:
    (1) The planned specified activity and mitigation, monitoring, and 
reporting measures, as well as the anticipated impacts, are the same as 
those described and analyzed for the regulations in this subpart 
(excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision 
in paragraph (c)(1) of this section); and
    (2) NMFS determines that the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting 
measures required by the previous LOA(s) under the regulations in this 
subpart were implemented.
    (b) For LOA modification or renewal requests by the applicant that 
include changes to the activity or to the mitigation, monitoring, or 
reporting measures (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive 
management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section) that do not 
change the findings made for the regulations or result in no more than 
a minor change in the total estimated number of takes (or distribution 
by species or stock or years), NMFS may publish a notice of planned LOA 
in the Federal Register, including the associated analysis of the 
change, and solicit public comment before issuing the LOA.
    (c) An LOA issued under Sec. Sec.  216.106 of this subchapter and 
218.86 may be modified by NMFS under the following circumstances:
    (1) Adaptive management. After consulting with the Navy regarding 
the practicability of the modifications, NMFS may modify (including 
adding or removing measures) the existing mitigation, monitoring, or 
reporting measures if doing so creates a reasonable likelihood of more 
effectively accomplishing the goals of the mitigation and monitoring.
    (i) Possible sources of data that could contribute to the decision 
to modify the

[[Page 21196]]

mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures in an LOA include:
    (A) Results from the Navy's monitoring from the previous year(s);
    (B) Results from other marine mammal and/or sound research or 
studies; or
    (C) Any information that reveals marine mammals may have been taken 
in a manner, extent, or number not authorized by the regulations in 
this subpart or subsequent LOAs.
    (ii) If, through adaptive management, the modifications to the 
mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures are substantial, NMFS 
will publish a notice of planned LOA in the Federal Register and 
solicit public comment.
    (2) Emergencies. If NMFS determines that an emergency exists that 
poses a significant risk to the well-being of the species or stocks of 
marine mammals specified in LOAs issued pursuant to Sec. Sec.  216.106 
of this chapter and 218.86, an LOA may be modified without prior notice 
or opportunity for public comment. Notice would be published in the 
Federal Register within thirty days of the action.


Sec.  Sec.  218.88-218.89   [Reserved]

[FR Doc. 2019-09541 Filed 5-10-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P