Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specific Activities; Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Pile Driving and Removal Activities During Construction of a Cruise Ship Berth, Hoonah, Alaska, 27270-27286 [2019-12318]

Download as PDF 27270 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of blue whale, fin whale, gray whale (WNP DPS), humpback whale (Mexico DPS and Western North Pacific DPS), North Pacific right whale, sei whale, sperm whale, and Steller sea lion (Western DPS), and is not likely to destroy or adversely modify North Pacific right whale or western DPS Steller sea lion critical habitat or the critical habitat of other listed species because no critical habitat exists for these species in the action area. Authorization NMFS has issued an IHA to L–DEO for the potential harassment of small numbers of 21 marine mammal species incidental to a marine geophysical survey in the Gulf of Alaska, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring and reporting are incorporated. Dated: June 4, 2019. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–12319 Filed 6–11–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XG874 Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specific Activities; Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Pile Driving and Removal Activities During Construction of a Cruise Ship Berth, Hoonah, Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization. AGENCY: In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to Duck Point Development II, LLC. (DPD) to incidentally harass, by Level A and B harassment, marine mammals during construction of a second cruise ship berth and new lightering float at Cannery Point (Icy Strait) on Chichagof Island near Hoonah, Alaska. DATES: This Authorization is effective from June 3, 2019 through June 2, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Egger, Office of Protected jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The MMPA prohibits the ‘‘take’’ of marine mammals, with certain exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed incidental take authorization may be provided to the public for review. Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other ‘‘means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact’’ on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to in shorthand as ‘‘mitigation’’); and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. Summary of Request On December 28, 2018, NMFS received a request DPD for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving and removal activities during construction of a second cruise ship berth and new lightering float at Cannery Point (Icy Strait) on Chichagof Island near Hoonah, Alaska. The application was deemed adequate and complete on April 3, 2019. DPD requested take of nine species of marine mammals by Level B harassment and three species by Level A harassment. Neither DPD nor NMFS expects serious injury or mortality to result from this PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 activity and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate. NMFS previously issued an IHA to the Huna Totem Corporation for the first cruise ship berth in Hoonah, AK in 2015 (80 FR 31352; June 2, 2015). Description of Specified Activity DPD proposed to construct a second cruise ship berth and new lightering float at Cannery Point (Icy Strait) on Chichagof Island near Hoonah, Alaska, in order to accommodate the increase in cruise ship and visitor traffic since completion of the first permanent cruise ship berth completion in 2016 (80 FR 31352; June 2, 2015). The in-water sound from the pile driving and removal activities, may incidentally take marine mammals by Level A and B harassment. A detailed description of the planned Hoonah Berth II project is provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019). Pile driving and removal is expected to occur over 75 working days (not necessarily consecutive) beginning June 3, 2019 and extending into November 2019 as needed. Approximately 39 days of vibratory and 8 days of impact hammering will occur. An additional 14 days of socketing and 14 days of anchoring will occur to stabilize the piles. As a contingency, the IHA is effective for a period of one year, from June 3, 2019 through June 2, 2020. To construct a new cruise ship berth (Berth II), lightering float, associated support structures, and pedestrian walkway connections to shore, the project would require the following (see also Table 1): D Installation of 62 temporary 30-inch (in) diameter steel piles as templates to guide proper installation of permanent piles (these piles would be removed prior to project completion); D Installation of 8 permanent 42-in diameter steel piles, 16 permanent 36-in diameter steel piles, and 18 permanent 24-in diameter steel piles to support a new 500 feet (ft) x 50 ft floating pontoon dock, its attached 400 ft x 12 ft small craft float, mooring structures, and shore-access fixed-pier walkway (Figure 6 of the application) D Installation of three permanent 30in diameter steel piles to support a 120 ft x 20 ft lightering float, and four permanent 16-in diameter steel piles above the high tide line to construct a 12 ft x 40 ft fixed pier for lightering float shore access (Figure 7 of the application); D Installation of bull rail, floating fenders, mooring cleats, and mast lights. (Note: these components would be installed out of the water.) E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27271 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices D Socketing and rock anchoring to stabilize the piles. TABLE 1—PILE DRIVING AND REMOVAL ACTIVITIES REQUIRED FOR THE HOONAH BERTH II AND LIGHTERING FLOAT Project component Description Temporary pile installation Diameter of Steel Pile (inches) ................ Number of Piles ....................................... Temporary pile removal 30 62 Permanent pile installation 30 62 Permanent pile installation 24 18 Permanent pile installation Permanent pile installation 30 3 36 16 42 8 3 2 16 2 8 2 0 0 16 4 8 2 0 0 0 0 16 33 2 8 33 2 Vibratory Pile Driving Total Quantity ........................................... Max Number Piles Vibrated per Day ....... 62 6 62 6 18 4 Impact Pile Driving Total Quantity ........................................... Max Number Piles Impacted per Day ..... 0 0 0 0 0 0 Socketed Pile Installation (Down-Hole Drilling) Total Quantity ........................................... Max Number Piles Socketed per Day ..... 10 2 0 0 18 2 0 0 Rock Anchor Installation (Drilled Shaft) jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Total Quantity ........................................... Diameter of Anchor .................................. Max Number Piles Anchored per Day ..... 0 ........................ 0 In addition to the activities described above, the planned action will involve other in-water construction and heavy machinery activities. Other types of inwater work including with heavy machinery will occur using standard barges, tug boats, barge-mounted excavators, or clamshell equipment to place or remove material; and positioning piles on the substrate via a crane (i.e., ‘‘stabbing the pile’’). Workers will be transported from shore to the barge work platform by a 25-ft skiff with a 125–250 horsepower motor in the morning and at the end of the work day. The travel distance will be less than 300 ft. There could be multiple (up to eight) shore-to-barge trips during the day; however, the area of travel will be relatively small and close to shore. We do not expect any of these other inwater construction and heavy machinery activities to take marine mammals as these activities occur close to the shoreline (less than 300 ft), but as additional mitigation, DPD is proposing a 10 m shutdown zone for these additional in-water activities. Therefore, these other in-water construction and heavy machinery activities will not be discussed further. Further details of the planned DPD project is provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 0 ........................ 0 2 8 1 Comments and Responses A notice of NMFS’s proposal to issue an IHA to DPD was published in the Federal Register on May 1, 2019 (84 FR 18495). That notice described, in detail, DPD’s activity, the marine mammal species that may be affected by the activity, and the anticipated effects on marine mammals. During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS received comments from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). The Commission recommended that NMFS issue the IHA, subject to inclusion of the proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures. Comment: The Commission questioned whether the public notice provisions for IHA Renewals fully satisfy the public notice and comment provision in the MMPA and discussed the potential burden on reviewers of reviewing key documents and developing comments quickly. Additionally, the Commission recommended that NMFS use the IHA Renewal process sparingly and selectively for activities expected to have the lowest levels of impacts to marine mammals and that require less complex analysis. Response: NMFS has taken a number of steps to ensure the public has adequate notice, time, and information to be able to comment effectively on IHA Renewals within the limitations of PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 0 0 0 processing IHA applications efficiently. The Federal Register notice for the initial proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019) previously identified the conditions under which a one-year Renewal IHA might be appropriate. This information is presented in the Request for Public Comments section of the initial proposed IHA and thus encourages submission of comments on the potential of a one-year renewal as well as the initial IHA during the 30-day comment period. In addition, when we receive an application for a Renewal IHA, we publish a notice of the proposed IHA Renewal in the Federal Register and provide an additional 15 days for public comment, for a total of 45 days of public comment. We will also directly contact all commenters on the initial IHA by email, phone, or, if the commenter did not provide email or phone information, by postal service to provide them the opportunity to submit any additional comments on the proposed Renewal IHA. NMFS also strives to ensure the public has access to key information needed to submit comments on a proposed IHA, whether an initial IHA or a Renewal IHA. The agency’s website includes information for all projects under consideration, including the application, references, and other supporting documents. Each Federal Register notice also includes contact E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27272 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices information in the event a commenter has questions or cannot find the information they seek. Regarding the Commission’s comment that Renewal IHAs should be limited to certain types of projects, NMFS has explained on its website and in individual Federal Register notices that Renewal IHAs are appropriate where the continuing activities are identical, nearly identical, or a subset of the activities for which the initial 30-day comment period applied. Where the commenter has likely already reviewed and commented on the initial proposed IHA for these activities, the abbreviated additional comment period is sufficient for consideration of the results of the preliminary monitoring report and new information (if any) from the past year. Change From the Proposed IHA to Final IHA As described in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019), a small amount of take by Level A harassment take was proposed for Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). However, after further consideration and additional conversations with species experts in Alaska, NMFS has determined that take by Level A harassment is unlikely and will not be authorized. Originally, NMFS anticipated that Steller sea lions may appear within the Level A harassment isopleth without being seen in time to shut down pile driving activities, resulting in Level A harassment. They are smaller in size and difficult to detect in bad weather, can approach closely driven by curiosity, and are becoming habituated to feeding on fish waste and known to follow charter boats into the docks around southeast Alaska. In some cases, they are undeterred by noise, other vessels, and other forms of deterrence. The location of the new cruise ship dock construction site is not located near the fishing vessel docks, and faces the open waters of Icy Strait instead of the internal waters of Port Frederick (where habituation is more likely to occur). Because of this spatial separation, NMFS expects that Steller sea lions will not have the same motivation to come into the Level A harassment isopleth, and does not predict take by Level A harassment of Steller sea lions as a result of this project. Therefore, the Estimated Take section has been revised to reflect this change. Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities Sections 3 and 4 of the application summarize available information regarding status and trends, distribution and habitat preferences, and behavior and life history, of the potentially affected species. Additional information regarding population trends and threats may be found in NMFS’s Stock Assessment Reports (SARs; https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/marinemammal-stock-assessments) and more general information about these species (e.g., physical and behavioral descriptions) may be found on NMFS’s website (https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/find-species). Table 2 lists all species with expected potential for occurrence in the project area and summarizes information related to the population or stock, including regulatory status under the MMPA and ESA and potential biological removal (PBR), where known. For taxonomy, we follow Committee on Taxonomy (2016). PBR is defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population (as described in NMFS’s SARs). While no mortality is anticipated or authorized here, PBR and annual serious injury and mortality from anthropogenic sources are included here as gross indicators of the status of the species and other threats. Marine mammal abundance estimates presented in this document represent the total number of individuals that make up a given stock or the total number estimated within a particular study or survey area. NMFS’s stock abundance estimates for most species represent the total estimate of individuals within the geographic area, if known, that comprises that stock. For some species, this geographic area may extend beyond U.S. waters. All managed stocks in this region are assessed in NMFS’ U.S. Pacific and Alaska SARs (Carretta et al., 2018; Muto et al., 2018). All values presented in Table 2 are the most recent available at the time of publication (draft SARS available online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-mammal-protection/ draft-marine-mammal-stockassessment-reports). TABLE 2—MARINE MAMMALS OCCURRENCE IN THE PROJECT AREA Common name Scientific name ESA/ MMPA status; strategic (Y/N) 1 Stock Stock abundance (CV, Nmin, most recent abundance survey) 2 Annual M/SI 3 PBR Order Cetartiodactyla—Cetacea—Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Eschrichtiidae: Gray Whale ........................... Eschrichtius robustus ................... Eastern N Pacific .............. -, -, N 26,960 (0.05, 25,849, 2016). Family Balaenopteridae (rorquals): Minke Whale ......................... Balaenoptera acutorostrata ......... Alaska ............................... -, -, N Humpback Whale .................. Megaptera novaeangliae ............. Central N Pacific (Hawaii and Mexico DPS). -, -, Y N/A (see SAR, N/A, see SAR). 10,103 (0.3, 7,890, 2006) (Hawaii DPS 9,487 a, Mexico DPS 606 a). 801 138 UND 0 83 25 See SAR 4.4 24 1.96 2.4 UND 1 0 0 0 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Superfamily Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises) Family Physeteridae: Sperm whale ......................... Family Delphinidae: Killer Whale ........................... Pacific White-Sided Dolphin Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:23 Jun 11, 2019 Physeter macrocephalus ............. North Pacific ...................... E, D, Y N/A (see SAR, N/A, 2015) Orcinus orca ................................ Alaska Resident ................ Northern Resident ............. West Coast Transient ....... N Pacific ............................ -, -, -, -, 2,347 c (N/A, 2347, 2012) 261 c (N/A, 261, 2011) ..... 243 c (N/A, 243, 2009) ..... 26,880 (N/A, N/A, 1990) ... Lagenorhynchus obliquidens ....... Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 -, -, -, -, N N N N E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27273 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices TABLE 2—MARINE MAMMALS OCCURRENCE IN THE PROJECT AREA—Continued Common name Dall’s Porpoise ...................... Harbor Porpoise .................... ESA/ MMPA status; strategic (Y/N) 1 Scientific name Stock Phocoenoides dalli ....................... Phocoena phocoena .................... AK ..................................... Southeast Alaska .............. -, -, N -, -, Y Stock abundance (CV, Nmin, most recent abundance survey) 2 83,400 (0.097, N/A, 1991) see SAR (see SAR, see SAR, 2012). PBR Annual M/SI 3 UND 8.9 38 34 326 252 2498 108 169 104 Order Carnivora—Superfamily Pinnipedia Family Otariidae (eared seals and sea lions): Steller Sea Lion .................... Family Phocidae (earless seals): Harbor Seal ........................... Eumetopias jubatus ..................... Phoca vitulina .............................. Western DPS .................... E, D, Y Eastern DPS ..................... T, D, Y Glacier Bay/Icy Strait ........ -, -, N 54,267 a (see SAR, 54,267, 2017). 41,638 a (see SAR, 41,638, 2015). 7,210 (see SAR, 5,647, 2011). 1—Endangered Species Act (ESA) status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds PBR or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock. 2—NMFS marine mammal stock assessment reports online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/. CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of stock abundance. In some cases, CV is not applicable [explain if this is the case]. 3—These values, found in NMFS’s SARs, represent annual levels of human-caused mortality plus serious injury from all sources combined (e.g., commercial fisheries, ship strike). Annual M/SI often cannot be determined precisely and is in some cases presented as a minimum value or range. A CV associated with estimated mortality due to commercial fisheries is presented in some cases. Note:—Italicized species are not expected to be taken or planned for authorization. a Under the MMPA humpback whales are considered a single stock (Central North Pacific); however, we have divided them here to account for distinct population segments (DPSs) listed under the ESA. Using the stock assessment from Muto et al. 2018 for the Central North Pacific stock (10,103) and calculations in Wade et al. 2016, 93.9% of the humpback whales in Southeast Alaska are expected to be from the Hawaii DPS and 6.1% are expected to be from the Mexico DPS. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES A detailed description of the of the species likely to be affected by the DPD project, including brief introductions to the species and relevant stocks as well as available information regarding population trends and threats, and information regarding local occurrence, were provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019) since that time, we are not aware of any changes in the status of these species and stocks; therefore, detailed descriptions are not provided here. Please refer to that Federal Register notice for these descriptions. Please also refer to NMFS’ website (https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/find-species) for generalized species accounts. Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat Acoustic effects on marine mammals during the specified activity can occur from vibratory and impact pile driving as well as during socketing and anchoring of the piles. The effects of underwater noise from DPD’s planned activities have the potential to result in Level A and B harassment of marine mammals in the vicinity of the action area. The effects of pile driving on marine mammals are dependent on several factors, including the size, type, and depth of the animal; the depth, intensity, and duration of the pile driving sound; the depth of the water column; the substrate of the habitat; the standoff distance between the pile and VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 the animal; and the sound propagation properties of the environment. With both types, it is likely that the pile driving could result in temporary, short term changes in an animal’s typical behavioral patterns and/or avoidance of the affected area. The Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019) included a discussion of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals, therefore that information is not repeated here; please refer to the Federal Register notice (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019). Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat The main impact issue associated with the planned activity would be temporarily elevated sound levels and the associated direct effects on marine mammals. The most likely impact to marine mammal habitat occurs from pile driving effects on likely marine mammal prey (i.e., fish) near where the piles are installed. Impacts to the immediate substrate during installation and removal of piles are anticipated, but these would be limited to minor, temporary suspension of sediments, which could impact water quality and visibility for a short amount of time, but which would not be expected to have any effects on individual marine mammals. Impacts to substrate are therefore not discussed further. These potential effects are discussed in detail in the Federal Register notice for the PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019), therefore that information is not repeated here; please refer to that Federal Register notice for that information. Estimated Take This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes authorized through this IHA, which informed both NMFS’ consideration of ‘‘small numbers’’ and the negligible impact determination. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance, which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment). Take of marine mammals incidental to DPD’s pile driving and removal activities (as well as during socketing and anchoring) could occur as a result of Level A and Level B harassment. Below we describe how the potential take is estimated. As described previously, no mortality is anticipated or authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the take is estimated. Generally speaking, we estimate take by considering: (1) Acoustic thresholds E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27274 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices above which NMFS believes the best available science indicates marine mammals will be behaviorally harassed or incur some degree of permanent hearing impairment; (2) the area or volume of water that will be ensonified above these levels in a day; (3) the density or occurrence of marine mammals within these ensonified areas; and, (4) and the number of days of activities. We note that while these basic factors can contribute to a basic calculation to provide an initial prediction of takes, additional information that can qualitatively inform take estimates is also sometimes available (e.g., previous monitoring results or average group size). Below, we describe the factors considered here in more detail and present the planned take estimate. Acoustic Thresholds Using the best available science, NMFS has developed acoustic thresholds that identify the received level of underwater sound above which exposed marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be behaviorally harassed (equated to Level B harassment) or to incur PTS of some degree (equated to Level A harassment). Level B Harassment—Though significantly driven by received level, the onset of behavioral disturbance from anthropogenic noise exposure is also informed to varying degrees by other factors related to the source (e.g., frequency, predictability, duty cycle), the environment (e.g., bathymetry), and the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography, behavioral context) and can be difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007, Ellison et al., 2012). Based on what the available science indicates and the practical need to use a threshold based on a factor that is both predictable and measurable for most activities, NMFS uses a generalized acoustic threshold based on received level to estimate the onset of behavioral harassment. NMFS predicts that marine mammals are likely to be behaviorally harassed in a manner we consider Level B harassment when exposed to underwater anthropogenic noise above received levels of 120 dB re 1 mPa (rms) for continuous (e.g., vibratory pile driving) and above 160 dB re 1 mPa (rms) for impulsive sources (e.g., impact pile driving). DPD’s planned activity includes the use of continuous (vibratory pile driving) and impulsive (impact pile driving) sources, and therefore the 120 and 160 dB re 1 mPa (rms) are applicable. Level A harassment—NMFS’ Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing (Version 2.0) (Technical Guidance, 2018) identifies dual criteria to assess auditory injury (Level A harassment) to five different marine mammal groups (based on hearing sensitivity) as a result of exposure to noise. The technical guidance identifies the received levels, or thresholds, above which individual marine mammals are predicted to experience changes in their hearing sensitivity for all underwater anthropogenic sound sources, and reflects the best available science on the potential for noise to affect auditory sensitivity by: D Dividing sound sources into two groups (i.e., impulsive and nonimpulsive) based on their potential to affect hearing sensitivity; D Choosing metrics that best address the impacts of noise on hearing sensitivity, i.e., sound pressure level (peak SPL) and sound exposure level (SEL) (also accounts for duration of exposure); and D Dividing marine mammals into hearing groups and developing auditory weighting functions based on the science supporting that not all marine mammals hear and use sound in the same manner. These thresholds were developed by compiling and synthesizing the best available science, and are provided in Table 3 below. The references, analysis, and methodology used in the development of the thresholds are described in NMFS 2018 Technical Guidance, which may be accessed at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-mammal-protection/ marine-mammal-acoustic-technicalguidance. DPD’s pile driving and removal activity includes the use of impulsive (impact pile driving) and non-impulsive (vibratory pile driving and removal) sources. TABLE 3—THRESHOLDS IDENTIFYING THE ONSET OF PERMANENT THRESHOLD SHIFT [Auditory injury] PTS onset acoustic thresholds * (received level) Hearing group Impulsive Low-Frequency (LF) Cetaceans .................................... Mid-Frequency (MF) Cetaceans .................................... High-Frequency (HF) Cetaceans .................................. Phocid Pinnipeds (PW) (Underwater) ........................... Otariid Pinnipeds (OW) (Underwater) ........................... Cell Cell Cell Cell Cell 1: 3: 5: 7: 9: Lpk,flat: Lpk,flat: Lpk,flat: Lpk,flat: Lpk,flat: 219 230 202 218 232 dB; dB; dB; dB; dB; Non-impulsive LE,LF,24h: 183 dB ...................... LE,MF,24h: 185 dB ...................... LE,HF,24h: 155 dB ...................... LE,PW,24h: 185 dB ..................... LE,OW,24h: 203 dB ..................... Cell Cell Cell Cell Cell 2: LE,LF,24h: 199 dB. 4: LE,MF,24h: 198 dB. 6: LE,HF,24h: 173 dB. 8: LE,PW,24h: 201 dB. 10: LE,OW,24h: 219 dB. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES * Dual metric acoustic thresholds for impulsive sounds: Use whichever results in the largest isopleth for calculating PTS onset. If a non-impulsive sound has the potential of exceeding the peak sound pressure level thresholds associated with impulsive sounds, these thresholds should also be considered. Note: Peak sound pressure (Lpk) has a reference value of 1 μPa, and cumulative sound exposure level (LE) has a reference value of 1μPa2s. In this Table, thresholds are abbreviated to reflect American National Standards Institute standards (ANSI 2013). However, peak sound pressure is defined by ANSI as incorporating frequency weighting, which is not the intent for this Technical Guidance. Hence, the subscript ‘‘flat’’ is being included to indicate peak sound pressure should be flat weighted or unweighted within the generalized hearing range. The subscript associated with cumulative sound exposure level thresholds indicates the designated marine mammal auditory weighting function (LF, MF, and HF cetaceans, and PW and OW pinnipeds) and that the recommended accumulation period is 24 hours. The cumulative sound exposure level thresholds could be exceeded in a multitude of ways (i.e., varying exposure levels and durations, duty cycle). When possible, it is valuable for action proponents to indicate the conditions under which these acoustic thresholds will be exceeded. Ensonified Area Here, we describe operational and environmental parameters of the activity that will feed into identifying the area VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 ensonified above the acoustic thresholds, which include source levels and transmission loss coefficient. PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Sound Propagation Transmission loss (TL) is the decrease in acoustic intensity as an acoustic pressure wave propagates out from a E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices source. TL parameters vary with frequency, temperature, sea conditions, current, source and receiver depth, water depth, water chemistry, and bottom composition and topography. The general formula for underwater TL is: TL = B * log10(R1/R2), Where: B = transmission loss coefficient (assumed to be 15) R1 = the distance of the modeled SPL from the driven pile, and R2 = the distance from the driven pile of the initial measurement. This formula neglects loss due to scattering and absorption, which is assumed to be zero here. The degree to which underwater sound propagates away from a sound source is dependent on a variety of factors, most notably the water bathymetry and presence or absence of reflective or absorptive conditions including in-water structures and sediments. Spherical spreading occurs in a perfectly unobstructed (freefield) environment not limited by depth or water surface, resulting in a 6 dB reduction in sound level for each doubling of distance from the source (20*log(range)). Cylindrical spreading occurs in an environment in which sound propagation is bounded by the water surface and sea bottom, resulting in a reduction of 3 dB in sound level for each doubling of distance from the source (10*log(range)). As is common practice in coastal waters, here we assume practical spreading loss (4.5 dB reduction in sound level for each doubling of distance). Practical spreading is a compromise that is often used under conditions where water depth increases as the receiver moves away from the shoreline, resulting in an expected propagation environment that 27275 would lie between spherical and cylindrical spreading loss conditions. Sound Source Levels The intensity of pile driving sounds is greatly influenced by factors such as the type of piles, hammers, and the physical environment in which the activity takes place. There are source level measurements available for certain pile types and sizes from the similar environments recorded from underwater pile driving projects in Alaska (e.g., JASCO Reports—Denes et al., 2017 and Austin et al., 2016).) that were evaluated and used as proxy sound source levels to determine reasonable sound source levels likely result from DPD’s pile driving and removal activities (Table 4). Many source levels used were more conservation as the values were from larger pile sizes. TABLE 4—ASSUMED SOUND SOURCE LEVELS Sound source level at 10 meters Activity Sound Source Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal 24-in 30-in 30-in 30-in 36-in 42-in steel steel steel steel steel steel pile pile pile pile pile pile permanent .............................. temporary installation ............. removal .................................. permanent installation ............ permanent .............................. permanent .............................. 161.9 161.9 161.9 161.9 168.2 168.2 SPL ......................... SPL. SPL. SPL. SPL ......................... SPL. The 24-in-diameter source level for vibratory driving are proxy from median measured source levels from pile driving of 30-in-diameter piles to construct the Ketchikan Ferry Terminal (Denes et al. 2016, Table 72). The 36-in And 42-in pile source level is a proxy from median measured source level from vibratory hammering of 48-in piles for the Port of Anchorage test pile project (Austin et al., 2016). Impact Pile Driving 36-in steel pile permanent .............................. 42-in steel pile permanent .............................. 186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL ....... 186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL. The 36-inch and 42-inch diameter pile source level is a proxy from median measured source level from impact hammering of 48-in piles for the Port of Anchorage test pile project (Austin et al., 2016). Socketed Pile Installation 24-in steel pile permanent .............................. 30-in steel pile temporary ............................... 166.2 SPL ......................... 166.2 SPL. The socketing and rock anchor source level is a proxy from median measured source level from down-hole drilling of 24-in-diameter piles to construct the Kodiak Ferry Terminal (Denes et al., 2016, Table 72). Rock Anchor Installation 8-in anchor permanent (for 24-inch piles) ...... 33-in anchor permanent (for 36-inch piles) .... 33-in anchor permanent (for 42-inch piles) .... 166.2 SPL ......................... 166.2 SPL. 166.2 SPL. The socketing and rock anchor source level is a proxy from median measured source level from down-hole drilling of 24-in-diameter piles to construct the Kodiak Ferry Terminal (Denes et al., 2016, Table 72). Notes: Denes et al., 2016—Alaska Department of Transportation’s Hydroacoustic Pile Driving Noise Study—Comprehensive Report and Austin et al., 2016—Hydroacoustic Monitoring Report: Anchorage Port Modernization Project Test Pile Program. Version 3.0. Technical report by JASCO Applied Sciences for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Level A Harassment When the NMFS Technical Guidance (2016) was published, in recognition of the fact that ensonified area/volume could be more technically challenging to predict because of the duration component in the new thresholds, we developed a User Spreadsheet that VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 includes tools to help predict a simple isopleth that can be used in conjunction with marine mammal density or occurrence to help predict takes. We note that because of some of the assumptions included in the methods used for these tools, we anticipate that isopleths produced are typically going PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 to be overestimates of some degree, which may result in some degree of overestimate of take by Level A harassment. However, these tools offer the best way to predict appropriate isopleths when more sophisticated 3D modeling methods are not available, and NMFS continues to develop ways to E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27276 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices quantitatively refine these tools, and will qualitatively address the output where appropriate. For stationary sources (such as from impact and vibratory pile driving), NMFS User Spreadsheet predicts the closest distance at which, if a marine mammal remained at that distance the whole duration of the activity, it would incur PTS. Inputs used in the User Spreadsheet (Tables 5 and 6), and the resulting isopleths are reported below (Table 7). TABLE 5—NMFS TECHNICAL GUIDANCE (2018) USER SPREADSHEET INPUT TO CALCULATE PTS ISOPLETHS FOR VIBRATORY PILE DRIVING [User spreadsheet input—vibratory pile driving/anchoring and socketing spreadsheet tab A.1 vibratory pile driving used] 24-in piles (permanent) Source Level (RMS SPL) .......... Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz) ...................................... Number of piles within 24-hr period ......................................... Duration to drive a single pile (min) ....................................... Propagation (xLogR) ................. Distance of source level measurement (meters) + ................ 30-in piles (temporary install) 30-in piles (temporary removal) 30-in piles (permanent) 36-in piles (permanent) 42-in piles (permanent) 8-in anchoring 24-in and 30-in socketing 33-in anchoring 161.9 161.9 161.9 161.9 168.2 168.2 166.2 166.2 166.2 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 4 6 6 2 2 2 1 2 2 10 15 20 15 10 15 30 15 30 15 60 15 60 15 240 15 60 15 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 TABLE 6—NMFS TECHNICAL GUIDANCE (2018) USER SPREADSHEET INPUT TO CALCULATE PTS ISOPLETHS FOR IMPACT PILE DRIVING [User spreadsheet input—impact pile driving spreadsheet Tab E.1 impact pile driving used] 36-in piles (permanent) Source Level (Single Strike/shot SEL) .................................................................................................................... Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz) ......................................................................................................................... Number of strikes per pile ....................................................................................................................................... Number of piles per day .......................................................................................................................................... Propagation (xLogR) ................................................................................................................................................ Distance of source level measurement (meters)∂ .................................................................................................. 186.7 2 100 4 15 10 42-in piles (permanent) 186.7 2 135 2 15 10 TABLE 7—NMFS TECHNICAL GUIDANCE (2018) USER SPREADSHEET OUTPUTS TO CALCULATE LEVEL A HARASSMENT PTS ISOPLETHS [User spreadsheet output] PTS isopleths (meters) Level A harassment Sound source level at 10 m Activity Lowfrequency cetaceans Midfrequency cetaceans Highfrequency cetaceans Phocid Otariid Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal 24-in 30-in 30-in 30-in 36-in 42-in steel steel steel steel steel steel installation ........................ temporary installation ....... removal ............................ permanent installation ...... permanent installation ...... permanent installation ...... 161.9 161.9 161.9 161.9 168.2 168.2 SPL1 SPL1 SPL1 SPL1 SPL2 SPL2 .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... 6.0 12.4 7.8 7.8 20.6 32.7 0.5 1.1 0.7 0.7 1.8 2.9 8.8 18.4 11.6 11.6 30.5 48.4 3.6 7.6 4.8 4.8 12.5 19.9 0.3 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.9 1.4 956.7 34.0 1,139.6 512.0 37.3 736.2 26.2 876.9 394.0 28.7 2.1 2.1 35.6 35.6 14.6 14.6 1.0 1.0 Impact Pile Driving 36-in steel permanent installation ...... jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 42-in steel permanent installation ...... 186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL2. 186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL2. Socketed Pile Installation 24-in steel permanent installation ...... 30-in steel temporary installation ....... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 166.2 SPL3 .......... 166.2 SPL3 .......... Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00046 24.1 24.1 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27277 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices TABLE 7—NMFS TECHNICAL GUIDANCE (2018) USER SPREADSHEET OUTPUTS TO CALCULATE LEVEL A HARASSMENT PTS ISOPLETHS—Continued [User spreadsheet output] PTS isopleths (meters) Level A harassment Sound source level at 10 m Activity Lowfrequency cetaceans Midfrequency cetaceans Highfrequency cetaceans Phocid Otariid Rock Anchor Installation 8-in anchor permanent installation (for 24-in piles). 33-in anchor permanent installation (for 36-in piles). 33-in anchor permanent installation (for 42-in piles). 166.2 SPL3 .......... 15.2 1.3 22.4 9.2 0.6 166.2 SPL3 .......... 60.7 5.4 89.7 36.9 2.6 166.2 SPL3 .......... 60.7 5.4 89.7 36.9 2.6 1 The 24-in and 30-in-diameter source levels for vibratory driving are proxy from median measured source levels from pile driving of 30-in-diameter piles to construct the Ketchikan Ferry Terminal (Denes et al. 2016, Table 72). 2 The 36-in and 42-in-diameter pile source levels are proxy from median measured source levels from pile driving (vibratory and impact hammering) of 48-in piles for the Port of Anchorage test pile project (Austin et al. 2016, Tables 9 and 16). We calculated the distances to impact pile driving Level A harassment thresholds for 36-in piles assuming 100 strikes per pile and a maximum of 4 piles installed in 24 hours; for 42-in piles we assumed 135 strikes per pile and a maximum of 2 piles installed in 24 hours. 3 The socketing and rock anchoring source level is proxy from median measured sources levels from down-hole drilling of 24-in-diameter piles to construct the Kodiak Ferry Terminal (Denes et al. 2016, Table 72). Level B Harassment Utilizing the practical spreading loss model, DPD determined underwater noise will fall below the behavioral effects threshold of 120 dB rms for marine mammals at the distances shown in Table 8 for vibratory pile driving/ removal, socketing, and rock anchoring. With these radial distances, and due to the occurrence of landforms (See Figure 8, 12, 13 of the application, the largest Level B Harassment Zone calculated for vibratory pile driving for 36-in and 42in steel piles equaled 193 km2 and socket and rock anchoring equaled 116 km2. For calculating the Level B Harassment Zone for impact driving, the practical spreading loss model was used with a behavioral threshold of 160 dB rms. The maximum radial distance of the Level B Harassment Zone for impact piling equaled 3,744 m. At this radial distance, the entire Level B Harassment Zone for impact piling equaled 19 km2. Table 8 below provides all Level B Harassment radial distances (m) and their corresponding areas (km2) during DPD’s planned activities. TABLE 8—RADIAL DISTANCES (METERS) TO RELEVANT BEHAVIORAL ISOPLETHS AND ASSOCIATED ENSONIFIED AREAS (SQUARE KILOMETERS (km2)) USING THE PRACTICE SPREADING MODEL Level B Harassment Zone (m) * Level B Harassment Zone (km2) 6,215 (calculated 6,213) .......................... 6,215 (calculated 6,213) .......................... 6,215 (calculated 6,213) .......................... 6,215 (calculated 6,213) .......................... 16,345 (calculated 16,343) ...................... 16,345 (calculated 16,343) ...................... 39 ........................ ........................ ........................ 193 ........................ 3,745 (calculated 3,744) .......................... 3,745 (calculated 3,744) .......................... 19 ........................ 12,025 (calculated 12,023) ...................... 12,025 (calculated 12,023) ...................... 116 ........................ 166.2 SPL ................................................ 12,025 (calculated 12,023) ...................... 116 166.2 SPL ................................................ 12,025 (calculated 12,023) ...................... ........................ Activity Received level at 10 meters Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal 24-in 30-in 30-in 30-in 36-in 42-in steel steel steel steel steel steel installation .............................. temporary installation ............ removal .................................. permanent installation ........... permanent installation ........... permanent installation ........... 161.9 161.9 161.9 161.9 168.2 168.2 SPL SPL SPL SPL SPL SPL ................................................ ................................................ ................................................ ................................................ ................................................ ................................................ Impact Pile Driving 36-in steel permanent installation ........... 42-in steel permanent installation ........... 186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL .............................. 186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL .............................. Socketed Pile Installation jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 24-in steel permanent installation ........... 30-in steel temporary installation ............ 166.2 SPL ................................................ 166.2 SPL ................................................ Rock Anchor Installation 8-in anchor permanent installation (for 24-in piles. 33-in anchor permanent installation (for 36-in piles). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27278 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices TABLE 8—RADIAL DISTANCES (METERS) TO RELEVANT BEHAVIORAL ISOPLETHS AND ASSOCIATED ENSONIFIED AREAS (SQUARE KILOMETERS (km2)) USING THE PRACTICE SPREADING MODEL—Continued Activity Received level at 10 meters Level B Harassment Zone (m) * Level B Harassment Zone (km2) 33-in anchor permanent installation (for 42-in piles). 166.2 SPL ................................................ 12,025 (calculated 12,023) ...................... ........................ * Numbers rounded up to nearest 5 meters. Marine Mammal Occurrence and Take Calculation and Estimation In this section we provide the information about the presence, density, or group dynamics of marine mammals that will inform the take calculations. Potential exposures to impact pile driving, vibratory pile driving/removal and socketing/rock anchoring noises for each acoustic threshold were estimated using group size estimates and local observational data. As previously stated, take by Level B harassment as well as small numbers of take by Level A harassment will be will be considered for this action. Take by Level B and Level A harassment are calculated differently for some species based on monthly or daily sightings data and average group sizes within the action area using the best available data. Take by Level A harassment is planned for two species where the Level A harassment isopleths are very large during impact pile driving (harbor porpoise and harbor seal), and is based on average group size multiplied by the number of days of impact pile driving. Distances to Level A harassment thresholds for other project activities (vibratory pile driving/removal, socketing, rock anchoring) are considerably smaller compared to impact pile driving, and mitigation is expected to avoid Level A harassment from these other activities. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Minke Whales There are no density estimates of minke whales available in the project area. These whales are usually sighted individually or in small groups of 2–3, but there are reports of loose aggregations of hundreds of animals (NMFS 2018). There was one sighting of a minke whale during the 135 days of monitoring during the Huna Berth I construction project (June 2015 through January 2016) (BergerABAM 2016). To be conservative, we predict that three minke whales in a group could be sighted 3 times over the 6-month project period for a total of 9 minke whales authorized to be taken by Level B harassment. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 Humpback Whales There are no density estimates of humpback whales available in the project area. Humpback whale presence in the action area is likely steady through the work period until November, when most humpbacks migrate back to Hawaii or Mexico. NMFS has received a few reports of humpback whales over-wintering in Southeast Alaska, but numbers of animals and exact locations are very hard to predict, and NMFS assumes the presence of much fewer humpbacks in the action area in November and later winter months. During the previous Huna Berth I project, humpback whales were observed on 84 of the 135 days of monitoring; most often in September and October (BergerABAM 2016). The best available information on the distribution of humpbacks in the project area was obtained from several sources including: Icy Strait observations from 2015 (BergerABAM 2016), Glacier Bay/ Icy Strait NPS Survey data 2014–2018 (provided by NPS, March 2019), Whale Alert opportunistic reported sightings 2016–2018, and reported HB whale bubble-net feeding group to NPS, 2015– 2018 (provided by NPS, March 2019). The National Park Service Glacier Bay/Icy Strait survey is designed to observe humpback whales and has regular effort in June, July, and August. This is the primary data source used to estimate exposures of humpback whales in the action area during those months, except for when a maximum group size reported in Whale Alert data was greater, then the Whale Alert number was used (June and July maximum group size). The on-site marine mammal monitoring data from BergerABAM (2016) was used to estimate takes in September and October and Whale Alert data was the only data source available in November and could represent a minimum number of observations due to fewer opportunistic sightings recorded in that month. In addition, a single group of bubblenet feeding humpbacks of 10 animals was added to the total estimated exposures for June and October, based on anecdotal data provided by NPS of PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 bubble-net feeding groups of humpbacks in the action area in those months of construction. To estimate the number of exposures, NMFS looked at the proportion of days of the month when the numbers of animals observed were within one standard deviation of that month’s average daily sightings. That proportion was 0.7. The average number of sightings was estimated as exposures on those days. For the remaining 30 percent of work days, the maximum number of observations on any single day were estimated to be exposed on those days. For example, in June, the average number of daily observations (1.31) was estimated to occur on 70 percent of the 17 work days, which resulted in 15.59 exposures. On the other 30 percent of the 17 work days, the maximum number of observations on any day (10) resulted in 51 estimated exposures. In addition, in June, NMFS estimates that one bubble-net feeding group of 10 individuals could be exposed, due to anecdotal evidence of this feeding activity occurring inside the planned action area. NMFS estimates a total of 76.59 humpback whales could be exposed in June. Humpback whales could be in larger groups when large amounts of prey are available, but this is difficult to predict with any precision. Although we are not proposing to authorize takes by month, we are demonstrating how the total take was calculated. The total number of exposures per month was calculated to be 76.59 (June), 68.02 (July), 71.93 (August), 132.07 (September), 78.82 (October), and 6.20 (November). The total number of whales authorized to be taken by Level B harassment from June to November is 434 (433.63) humpback whales with 26 (26.061) of those whales anticipated being from the Mexico DPS (0.0601 percentage of the total animals). Gray Whales There are no density estimates of gray whales available in the project area. Gray whales travel alone or in small, unstable groups, although large aggregations may be seen in feeding and E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices breeding grounds (NMFS 2018e). Observations in Glacier Bay and nearby waters recorded two gray whales documented over a 10-year period (Keller et al., 2017). None were observed during Huna Berth I project monitoring (BergerABAM 2016). We conservatively estimate a small group to be 3 gray whales × 1 sighting over the 6-month work period for a total of three gray whales authorized to be taken by Level B harassment. Killer Whales There are no density estimates of killer whales available in the project area. Killer whales occur commonly in the waters of the project area, and could include members of several designated stocks that may occur in the vicinity of the planned project area. Whales are known to use the Icy Strait corridor to enter and exit inland waters and are observed in every month of the year, with certain pods being observed inside Port Frederick passing directly in front of Hoonah. Group size of resident killer whale pods in the Icy Strait area ranges from 42 to 79 and occur in every month of the year (Dahlheim pers. comm. to NMFS 2015). As determined during a line-transect survey by Dalheim et al. (2008), the greatest number of transient killer whale observed occurred in 1993 with 32 animals seen over two months for an average of 16 sightings per month. NMFS estimates that group size of 79 resident killer whales and 16 transient killer whales could occur each month during the 6-month project period for a total of 570 takes authorized by Level B harassment. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Pacific White-Sided Dolphin There are no density estimates of Pacific white-sided dolphins available in the project area. Pacific white-sided dolphins have been observed in Alaska waters in groups ranging from 20 to 164 animals, with the sighting of 164 animals occurring in Southeast Alaska near Dixon Entrance (Muto et al., 2018). There were no Pacific white-sided dolphins observed during the 135-day monitoring period during the Huna Berth I project. However, to be conservative NMFS estimates 164 Pacific white-sided dolphins may be seen once over the 6-month project period for a total of 164 takes authorized by Level B harassment. Dall’s Porpoise Little information is available on the abundance of Dall’s porpoise in the inland waters of Southeast Alaska. Dall’s porpoise are most abundant in spring, observed with lower numbers in the summer, and lowest numbers in fall. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 Jefferson et al., 2019 presents the first abundance estimates for Dall’s porpoise in these waters and found the abundance in summer (N = 2,680, CV = 19.6 percent), and lowest in fall (N = 1,637, CV = 23.3 percent). Dall’s porpoise are common in Icy Strait and sporadic with very low densities in Port Frederick (Jefferson et al., 2019). Dahlheim et al. (2008) observed 346 Dall’s porpoise in Southeast Alaska (inclusive of Icy Strait) during the summer (June/July) of 2007 for an average of 173 animals per month as part of a 17-year study period. During the previous Huna Berth I project, only two Dall’s porpoise were observed, and were transiting within the waters of Port Frederick in the vicinity of Halibut Island. Therefore, NMFS’ estimates 173 Dall’s porpoise per month may be seen each month of the 6-month project period for a total of 1,038 takes authorized by Level B harassment. Harbor Porpoise Dahlheim et al. (2015) observed 332 resident harbor porpoises occurred in the Icy Strait area, and harbor porpoise are known to use the Port Frederick area as part of their core range. During the Huna Berth I project monitoring, a total of 32 harbor porpoise were observed over 19 days during the 4-month project. The harbor porpoises were observed in small groups with the largest group size reported was four individuals and most group sizes consisting of three or fewer animals. NMFS conservatively estimates that 332 harbor porpoises could occur in the project area each month over the 6month project period for a total of 1,992 takes authorized by Level B harassment. Because the Level A harassment zone is significantly larger than the shutdown zone during impact pile driving, NMFS predicts that some take by Level A harassment may occur. Based on the previous monitoring results, we estimate that a group size of four harbor porpoises multiplied by 1 group per day over 8 days of impact pile driving would yield a total of 32 takes authorized by Level A harassment. Harbor Seal There are no density estimates of harbor seals available in the project area. Keller et al. (2017) observed an average of 26 harbor seal sightings each month between June and August of 2014 in Glacier Bay and Icy Strait. During the monitoring of the Huna Berth I project, harbor seals typically occur in groups of one to four animals and a total of 63 seals were observed during 19 days of the 135-day monitoring period. NMFS conservatively estimate that 26 harbor PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 27279 seals could occur in the project area each month during the 6-month project period for a total of 156 takes by Level B harassment. Because the Level A harassment zone is significantly larger than the shutdown zone during impact pile driving, NMFS predicts that some take by Level A harassment may occur. Based on the previous monitoring results, we estimate that a group size of two harbor seals multiplied by 1 group per day over 8 days of impact pile driving would yield a total of 16 takes authorized by Level A harassment. Steller Sea Lion There are no density estimates of Steller sea lions available in the project area. NMFS expects that Steller sea lion presence in the action area will vary due to prey resources and the spatial distribution of breeding versus nonbreeding season. In April and May, Steller sea lions are likely feeding on herring spawn in the action area. Then, most Steller sea lions likely move to the rookeries along the outside coast (away from the action area) during breeding season, and would be in the action area in greater numbers in August and later months (J. Womble, NPS, pers. comm. to NMFS AK Regional Office, March 2019). However, Steller sea lions are also opportunistic predators and their presence can be hard to predict. Steller sea lions typically occur in groups of 1–10 animals, but may congregate in larger groups near rookeries and haulouts. The previous Huna Berth I project observed a total of 180 Steller sea lion sightings over 135 days in 2015, amounting to an average of 1.3 sightings per day (BergerABAM 2016). During a test pile program performed at the project location by the Hoonah Cruise Ship Dock Company in May 2018, a total of 15 Steller sea lions were seen over the course of 7 hours in one day (SolsticeAK 2018). We used the same process to calculate Steller sea lion take as explained above or humpback whales, except that 79 percent of the work days in each month are expected to expose the average number of animals, and 21 percent of the work days would expose the maximum number of animals. For example, in June, the average number of daily observations (1.6) was estimated to occur on 13.43 work days, which would result in 21.48 exposures. On the other 21 percent of the 17 work days, the maximum number of observations on any day (26) could result in 92.82 estimated exposures. NMFS estimates a total of 114.31 Steller sea lions could be exposed in June. Although we are not proposing to authorize takes by month, we are demonstrating how the total take E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27280 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices was calculated. The total number of exposures per month was calculated to be 114.31 (June), 57.19 (July), 92.89 (August), 199.23 (September), 79.10 (October), and 16.57 (November). Therefore, the total number of Steller sea lions authorized to be taken by Level B harassment from June to November is 559 (559.29) Steller sea lions with 39 (39.32) of those sea lions anticipated being from the Western DPS (0.0703 percentage of the total animals (L. Jemison draft unpublished Steller sea lion data, 2019). Table 9 below summarizes the authorized take by Level A and B harassment for all the species described above as a percentage of stock abundance. TABLE 9—TAKE ESTIMATES AS A PERCENTAGE OF STOCK ABUNDANCE Authorized Level A harassment Species Stock (NEST) Minke Whale .............................................. Humpback Whale ....................................... N/A ............................................................. Hawaii DPS (9,487) a ................................. Gray Whale ................................................ Killer Whale ................................................ Pacific White-Sided Dolphin ...................... Dall’s Porpoise ........................................... Harbor Porpoise ......................................... Harbor Seal ................................................ Steller Sea Lion ......................................... Mexico DPS (606) a ................................... Eastern North Pacific (26,960) .................. Alaska Resident (2,347) ............................ Northern Resident (261) ............................ West Coast Transient (243) ...................... North Pacific (26,880) ................................ Alaska (83,400) c ....................................... NA .............................................................. Glacier Bay/Icy Strait (7,210) .................... Eastern U.S. (41,638) ................................ Western U.S. (53,303) ............................... Authorized Level B harassment 0 0 0 0 0 0 32 16 0 9 .................. 408 .............. 26 ................ (Total 434) ... 3 .................. 469 .............. 52 ................ 49 ................ (Total 570) ... 164 .............. 1,038 ........... 1,992 ........... 156 .............. 520 .............. 39 ................ (Total 559) ... Percent of stock N/A. 4.3. 4.5. Less than 1 percent. 19.9.b 19.9.b 20.2.b Less than 1 percent. 1.2. NA. 2.16. 1.25. Less than 1 percent. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES a Under the MMPA humpback whales are considered a single stock (Central North Pacific); however, we have divided them here to account for DPSs listed under the ESA. Using the stock assessment from Muto et al., 2018 for the Central North Pacific stock (10,103 whales) and calculations in Wade et al., 2016; 9,487 whales are expected to be from the Hawaii DPS and 606 from the Mexico DPS. b Take estimates are weighted based on calculated percentages of population for each distinct stock, assuming animals present would follow same probability of presence in project area. c Jefferson et al., 2019 presents the first abundance estimates for Dall’s porpoise in the waters of Southeast Alaska with highest abundance recorded in spring (N = 5,381, CV = 25.4 percent), lower numbers in summer (N = 2,680, CV = 19.6 percent), and lowest in fall (N = 1,637, CV = 23.3 percent). However, NMFS currently recognizes a single stock of Dall’s porpoise in Alaskan waters and an estimate of 83,400 Dall’s porpoises is used by NMFS for the entire stock (Muto et al., 2018). Mitigation In order to issue an IHA under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (latter not applicable for this action). NMFS regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to include information about the availability and feasibility (economic and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact upon the affected species or stocks and their habitat (50 CFR 216.104(a)(11)). In evaluating how mitigation may or may not be appropriate to ensure the least practicable adverse impact on species or stocks and their habitat, as well as subsistence uses where applicable, we carefully consider two primary factors: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure(s) is expected to reduce impacts to marine mammals, marine mammal species or stocks, and their habitat. This considers the nature of the potential adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range). It further considers the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented (probability of accomplishing the mitigating result if implemented as planned) the likelihood of effective implementation (probability implemented as planned); and (2) The practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, which may consider such things as cost, impact on operations, and, in the case of a military readiness activity, personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. The following mitigation measures are planned in the IHA: Timing Restrictions All work will be conducted during daylight hours. If poor environmental conditions restrict visibility full PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 visibility of the shutdown zone, pile installation would be delayed. Sound Attenuation To minimize noise during impact pile driving, pile caps (pile softening material) will be used. DPD will use high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMW) softening material on all templates to eliminate steel on steel noise generation. Shutdown Zone for In-Water Heavy Machinery Work For in-water heavy machinery work (using, e.g., movement of the barge to the pile location; positioning of the pile on the substrate via a crane (i.e., stabling the pile), removal of the pile from the water column/substrate via a crane (i.e., deadpull); or placement of sound attenuation devices around the piles.) If a marine mammal comes within 10 m of such operations, operations shall cease and vessels shall reduce speed to the minimum level required to maintain steerage and safe working conditions. E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices Shutdown Zones For all pile driving/removal and drilling activities, DPD will establish a shutdown zone for a marine mammal species that is greater than its corresponding Level A harassment zone; except for a few circumstances during impact pile driving, over the course of 8 days, where the shutdown zone is smaller than the Level A harassment zone for high frequency cetaceans and phocids due to the practicability of shutdowns on the applicant and to the potential difficulty of observing these animals in the large Level A harassment zones. The calculated PTS isopleths were rounded up to a whole number to 27281 determine the actual shutdown zones that the applicant will operate under (Table 10). The purpose of a shutdown zone is generally to define an area within which shutdown of the activity would occur upon sighting of a marine mammal (or in anticipation of an animal entering the defined area). TABLE 10—PILE DRIVING SHUTDOWN ZONES DURING PROJECT ACTIVITIES Shutdown zones (radial distance in meters, area in km2) Source Low-frequency cetaceans Mid-frequency cetaceans High-frequency cetaceans Phocids Otariids In-Water Construction Activities Barge movements, pile positioning, sound attenuation placement *. 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2). Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal 24-in steel installation (18 piles; ∼40 min per day on 4.5 days). 30-in steel temporary installation (62 piles; ∼2 hours per day on 10.5 days). 30-in steel removal (62 piles; ∼1 hour per day on 10.5 days). 30-in steel permanent installation (3 piles; ∼1 hour per day on 1.5 days). 36-in steel permanent installation (16 piles; ∼1 hour per day on 8 days). 42-in steel permanent installation (8 piles; ∼2 hours per day on 4 days). 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2). 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2). 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2). 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2). 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 50 m (0.02307 km2) .. 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2). 50 m (0.02307 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 50 m (0.02307 km2) .. 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2). Impact Pile Driving 36-in steel permanent installation (16 piles; ∼10 min per day on 4 days). 42-in steel permanent installation (8 piles; ∼6 min per day on 4 days). 1,000 m (2.31 km2) ... 50 m (0.02307 km2) .. 100 m* (0.0875 km2) 50 m* (0.02307 km2) 50 m (0.02307 km2). 750 m (1.44 km2) ...... 50 m (0.02307 km2) .. 100 m* (0.0875 km2) 50 m* (0.02307 km2) 50 m (0.02307 km2). jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Socketed Pile Installation 24-in steel permanent installation (18 piles; ∼2 hours per day on 9 days). 30-in steel temporary installation (up to 10 piles; ∼2 hours per day on 5 days). VerDate Sep<11>2014 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 50 m (0.02307 km2) .. 15 m (0.0021 km2) .... 10 m (0.00093 km2). 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 50 m (0.02307 km2) .. 15 m (0.0021 km2) .... 10 m (0.00093 km2). 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27282 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices TABLE 10—PILE DRIVING SHUTDOWN ZONES DURING PROJECT ACTIVITIES—Continued Shutdown zones (radial distance in meters, area in km2) Source Low-frequency cetaceans Mid-frequency cetaceans High-frequency cetaceans Phocids Otariids Rock Anchor Installation 8-in anchor permanent installation (for 24-in piles, 2 anchors; ∼1 hour per day on 2 days). 33-in anchor permanent installation (for 36- and 42-in piles, 24 anchors; ∼8 hours per day on 12 days). 25 m (0.005763 km2) 100 m (0.0875 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 25 m (0.005763 km2) 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2). 10 m (0.00093 km2) .. 100 m (0.0875 km2) .. 50 m (0.02307 km2) .. 10 m (0.00093 km2). * Due to practicability of the applicant to shutdown and the difficulty of observing some species and low occurrence of some species in the project area, such as high frequency cetaceans or pinnipeds out to this distance, the shutdown zones were reduced and Level A harassment takes were requested. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Non-Authorized Take Prohibited If a species enters or approaches the Level B harassment zone and that species is either not authorized for take or its authorized takes are met, pile driving and removal activities must shut down immediately using delay and shut-down procedures. Activities must not resume until the animal has been confirmed to have left the area or an observation time period of 15 minutes (min) has elapsed for pinnipeds and small cetaceans and 30 min for large whales. Soft Start The use of a soft-start procedure are believed to provide additional protection to marine mammals by providing warning and/or giving marine mammals a chance to leave the area prior to the impact hammer operating at full capacity. For impact pile driving, contractors will be required to provide an initial set of three strikes from the hammer at 40 percent energy, followed by a 1-min waiting period. Then two subsequent three strike sets would occur. Soft Start is not required during vibratory pile driving and removal activities. Based on our evaluation of the applicant’s planned measures, as well as other measures considered by NMFS, NMFS has determined that the planned mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance. Monitoring and Reporting In order to issue an IHA for an activity, Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 MMPA states that NMFS must set forth, requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104 (a)(13) indicate that requests for authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the planned action area. Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring. Monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by NMFS should contribute to improved understanding of one or more of the following: D Occurrence of marine mammal species or stocks in the area in which take is anticipated (e.g., presence, abundance, distribution, density); D Nature, scope, or context of likely marine mammal exposure to potential stressors/impacts (individual or cumulative, acute or chronic), through better understanding of: (1) Action or environment (e.g., source characterization, propagation, ambient noise); (2) affected species (e.g., life history, dive patterns); (3) co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action; or (4) biological or behavioral context of exposure (e.g., age, calving or feeding areas); D Individual marine mammal responses (behavioral or physiological) to acoustic stressors (acute, chronic, or cumulative), other stressors, or cumulative impacts from multiple stressors; PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 D How anticipated responses to stressors impact either: (1) Long-term fitness and survival of individual marine mammals; or (2) populations, species, or stocks; D Effects on marine mammal habitat (e.g., marine mammal prey species, acoustic habitat, or other important physical components of marine mammal habitat); and D Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness. DPD Briefings DPD is will conduct briefings between construction supervisors and crews, marine mammal monitoring team, and DPD staff prior to the start of all pile driving activities and when new personnel join the work, in order to explain responsibilities, communication procedures, marine mammal monitoring protocol, and operational procedures. The crew will be requested to alert the PSO when a marine mammal is spotted in the action area. Protected Species Observer Check-In With Construction Crew Each day prior to commencing pile driving activities, the lead NMFS approved Protected Species Observer (PSO) will conduct a radio check with the construction foreman or superintendent to confirm the activities and zones to be monitored that day. The construction foreman and lead PSO will maintain radio communications throughout the day so that the PSOs may be alerted to any changes in the planned construction activities and zones to be monitored. E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices Pre-Activity Monitoring Prior to the start of daily in-water construction activity, or whenever a break in pile driving of 30 min or longer occurs, PSOs will observe the shutdown and monitoring zones for a period of 30 min. The shutdown zone will be cleared when a marine mammal has not been observed within the zone for that 30min period. If a marine mammal is observed within the shutdown zone, pile driving activities will not begin until the animal has left the shutdown zone or has not been observed for 15 min. If the Level B Harassment Monitoring Zone has been observed for 30 min and no marine mammals (for which take has not been authorized) are present within the zone, work can continue even if visibility becomes impaired within the Monitoring Zone. When a marine mammal permitted for Level B harassment take has been permitted is present in the Monitoring zone, piling activities may begin and Level B harassment take will be recorded. Monitoring Zones DPD will establish and observe monitoring zones for Level B harassment as presented in Table 8. The monitoring zones for this project are areas where SPLs are equal to or exceed 120 dB rms (for vibratory pile driving/ removal and socketing/rock anchoring) and 160 dB rms (for impact pile driving). These zones provide utility for monitoring conducted for mitigation purposes (i.e., shutdown zone monitoring) by establishing monitoring protocols for areas adjacent to the shutdown zones. Monitoring of the Level B harassment zones enables observers to be aware of and communicate the presence of marine mammals in the project area, but outside the shutdown zone, and thus prepare for potential shutdowns of activity. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Visual Monitoring Monitoring would be conducted 30 min before, during, and 30 min after all pile driving/removal and socking/rock anchoring activities. In addition, PSO shall record all incidents of marine mammal occurrence, regardless of distance from activity, and shall document any behavioral reactions in concert with distance from piles being driven/removed or during socketing and rock anchoring. Pile driving/removal and socketing/anchoring activities include the time to install, remove, or socket/rock anchor a single pile or series of piles, as long as the time elapsed VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 between uses of the pile driving equipment is no more than 30 min. Monitoring will be conducted by PSOs from on land and from a vessel. The number of PSOs will vary from three to four, depending on the type of pile driving, method of pile driving and size of pile, all of which determines the size of the harassment zones. Monitoring locations will be selected to provide an unobstructed view of all water within the shutdown zone and as much of the Level B harassment zone as possible for pile driving activities. Three PSOs will monitor during all impact pile driving activity at the lightering float project site. Three PSOs will monitor during all impact pile driving activities at the Berth II project site. Three PSOs will monitor during vibratory pile driving of 24-in and 30in steel piles. Four PSOs will monitor during vibratory pile driving of 36-in and 42-in steel piles and during all socketing/rock anchoring activities. Three PSOs will monitor during all pile driving activities at the lightering float project site, with locations as follows: PSO #1: Stationed at or near the site of pile driving; PSO #2: Stationed on Long Island (southwest of Hoonah in Port Frederick Inlet) and positioned to be able to view west into Port Frederick Inlet and north towards the project area; and PSO #3: Stationed on a vessel traveling a circuitous route through the Level B harassment monitoring zone. Three PSOs will monitor during all impact pile driving activities at the Berth II project site, with locations as follows: PSO #1: Stationed at or near the site of pile driving; PSO #2: Stationed on Halibut Island (northwest of the project site in Port Frederick Inlet) and positioned to be able to view east towards Icy Strait and southeast towards the project area; and PSO #3: Stationed on a vessel traveling a circuitous route through the Level B monitoring zone. Three PSOs will monitoring during vibratory pile driving of 24- and 30-in steel piles at the Berth II project site, with locations as follows PSO #1: Stationed at or near the site of pile driving; PSO #2: Stationed on Scraggy Island (northwest of the project site in Port Frederick Inlet) an positioned to be able to view south towards the project area; and PSO#3: Stationed on a vessel traveling a circuitous route through the Level B harassment monitoring zone. Four PSOs will monitor during vibratory pile driving of 36-in and 42in steel piles and during all socketing/ rock anchoring activities with locations as follows: PSO #1: Stationed at or near the site of pile driving; PSO #2: Stationed on Hoonah Island (northwest of the project site in Port Frederick PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 27283 Inlet) and positioned to be able to view south towards the project site; PSO #3: Stationed across Icy Strait north of the project site (on the mainland or the Porpoise Islands) and positioned to be able to view west into Icy Strait and southwest towards the project site; and PSO #4: Stationed on a vessel traveling a circuitous route through the Level B monitoring zone. In addition, PSOs will work in shifts lasting no longer than 4 hours with at least a 1-hour break between shifts, and will not perform duties as a PSO for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period (to reduce PSO fatigue). Monitoring of pile driving shall be conducted by qualified, NMFSapproved PSOs, who shall have no other assigned tasks during monitoring periods. DPD shall adhere to the following conditions when selecting PSOs: D Independent PSOs shall be used (i.e., not construction personnel); D At least one PSO must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction activities; D Other PSOs may substitute education (degree in biological science or related field) or training for experience; D Where a team of three or more PSOs are required, a lead observer or monitoring coordinator shall be designated. The lead observer must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction; and D DPD shall submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS for all observers prior to monitoring. DPD shall ensure that the PSOs have the following additional qualifications: D Visual acuity in both eyes (correction is permissible) sufficient for discernment of moving targets at the water’s surface with ability to estimate target size and distance; use of binoculars may be necessary to correctly identify the target; D Experience and ability to conduct field observations and collect data according to assigned protocols; D Experience or training in the field identification of marine mammals, including the identification of behaviors; D Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the construction operation to provide for personal safety during observations; D Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of observations including but not limited to the number and species of marine mammals observed; dates and times when in-water construction activities were conducted; dates, times, E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27284 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices and reason for implementation of mitigation (or why mitigation was not implemented when required); and marine mammal behavior; D Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals observed in the area as necessary; and D Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the construction operations to provide for personal safety during observations. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Notification of Intent To Commence Construction DPD shall inform NMFS OPR and the NMFS Alaska Region Protected Resources Division one week prior to commencing construction activities. Reporting of Injured or Dead Marine Mammals In the unanticipated event that the planned activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the IHA, such as serious injury, or mortality, DPD must immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the NMFS Office of Protected Resources and the Alaska Region Stranding Coordinator. The report must include the following information: D Time and date of the incident; D Description of the incident; D Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility); D Description of all marine mammal observations and active sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident; D Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved; D Fate of the animal(s); and D Photographs or video footage of the animal(s). Activities must not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS will work with DPD to determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. DPD may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS. In the event DPD discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a moderate state of decomposition), DPD must immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report must include the same information as the bullets described VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 above. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work with DPD to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate. In the event that DPD discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the specified activities (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), DPD must report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. Interim Monthly Reports During construction, DPD will submit brief, monthly reports to the NMFS Alaska Region Protected Resources Division that summarize PSO observations and recorded takes. Monthly reporting will allow NMFS to track the amount of take (including extrapolated takes), to allow reinitiation of consultation in a timely manner, if necessary. The monthly reports will be submitted by email to a NMFS representative. The reporting period for each monthly PSO report will be the entire calendar month, and reports will be submitted by close of business on the fifth day of the month following the end of the reporting period (e.g., the monthly report covering September 1– 30, 2019, would be submitted to the NMFS by close of business on October 5, 2019). Final Report DPD shall submit a draft report to NMFS no later than 90 days following the end of construction activities or 60 days prior to the issuance of any subsequent IHA for the project. DPD shall provide a final report within 30 days following resolution of NMFS’ comments on the draft report. Reports shall contain, at minimum, the following: D Date and time that monitored activity begins and ends for each day conducted (monitoring period); D Construction activities occurring during each daily observation period, including how many and what type of piles driven; D Deviation from initial proposal in pile numbers, pile types, average driving times, etc.; D Weather parameters in each monitoring period (e.g., wind speed, percent cloud cover, visibility); PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 D Water conditions in each monitoring period (e.g., sea state, tide state); D For each marine mammal sighting: Æ Species, numbers, and, if possible, sex and age class of marine mammals; Æ Description of any observable marine mammal behavior patterns, including bearing and direction of travel and distance from pile driving activity; Æ Type of construction activity that was taking place at the time of sighting; Æ Location and distance from pile driving activities to marine mammals and distance from the marine mammals to the observation point; Æ If shutdown was implemented, behavioral reactions noted and if they occurred before or after shutdown. Æ Estimated amount of time that the animals remained in the Level A or B Harassment Zone. D Description of implementation of mitigation measures within each monitoring period (e.g., shutdown or delay); D Other human activity in the area within each monitoring period. D A summary of the following: Æ Total number of individuals of each species detected within the Level B Harassment Zone, and estimated as taken if correction factor appropriate. Æ Total number of individuals of each species detected within the Level A Harassment Zone and the average amount of time that they remained in that zone. Æ Daily average number of individuals of each species (differentiated by month as appropriate) detected within the Level B Harassment Zone, and estimated as taken, if appropriate. Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., populationlevel effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be ‘‘taken’’ through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices location, migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS’s implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or ambient noise levels). As stated in the mitigation section, shutdown zones that are larger than the Level A harassment zones will be implemented in the majority of construction days, which, in combination with the fact that the zones are so small to begin with, is expected avoid the likelihood of Level A harassment for seven of the nine species. For the other two species (harbor seals and harbor porpoises), a small amount of Level A harassment has been conservatively authorized because the Level A harassment zones are larger than the planned shutdown zones. However, we expect, given the relatively short duration of the sound source (minutes a day during impact pile driving) that these animals may potentially be exposed to, could result in only a small degree of PTS that would impact the fitness of any individual animals. Exposures to elevated sound levels produced during pile driving activities may cause behavioral responses by an animal, but they are expected to be mild and temporary. Effects on individuals that are taken by Level B harassment, on the basis of reports in the literature as well as monitoring from other similar activities, will likely be limited to reactions such as increased swimming speeds, increased surfacing time, or decreased foraging (if such activity were occurring) (e.g., Thorson and Reyff, 2006; Lerma, 2014). Most likely, individuals will simply move away from the sound source and be temporarily displaced from the areas of pile driving, although even this reaction has been observed primarily only in association with impact pile driving. These reactions and behavioral changes are expected to subside quickly when the exposures cease. To minimize noise during pile driving, DPC will use pile caps (pile softening material). Much of the noise generated during pile installation comes from contact between the pile being VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 driven and the steel template used to hold the pile in place. The contractor will use high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or ultra-high-molecular- weight polyethylene (UHMW) softening material on all templates to eliminate steel on steel noise generation. During all impact driving, implementation of soft start procedures and monitoring of established shutdown zones will be required, significantly reducing the possibility of injury. Given sufficient notice through use of soft start (for impact driving), marine mammals are expected to move away from an irritating sound source prior to it becoming potentially injurious. In addition, PSOs will be stationed within the action area whenever pile driving/ removal and socketing/rock anchoring activities are underway. Depending on the activity, DDP will employ the use of three to four PSOs to ensure all monitoring and shutdown zones are properly observed. Although the expansion of Berth facilities would have some permanent removal of habitat available to marine mammals, the area lost would be small, approximately equal to the area of the cruise ship berth and associated pile placements. The planned design would not impede migration of marine mammals through the planned action area. The small lightering facility nearer to the cannery would likely not impact any marine mammal habitat since its planned location is in between two existing, heavily-traveled docks, and within an active marine commercial and tourist area. There are no known pinniped haulouts or other biologically important areas for marine mammals near the action area. In addition, impacts to marine mammal prey species are expected to be minor and temporary. Overall, the area impacted by the project is very small compared to the available habitat around Hoonah. The most likely impact to prey will be temporary behavioral avoidance of the immediate area. During pile driving/removal and socketing/rock anchoring activities, it is expected that fish and marine mammals would temporarily move to nearby locations and return to the area following cessation of in-water construction activities. Therefore, indirect effects on marine mammal prey during the construction are not expected to be substantial. In summary and as described above, the following factors primarily support our determination that the impacts resulting from this activity are not expected to adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival: PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 27285 D No mortality is anticipated or authorized; D Anticipated incidents of Level A harassment are very small in number and would consist of no more than a small degree of PTS; D Anticipated incidents of Level B harassment consist of, at worst, temporary modifications in behavior; and D There are no rookeries, or other known areas or features of special significance for foraging or reproduction in the project area; D Minimal impacts to marine mammal habitat are expected; D The action area is located and within an active marine commercial and tourist area; D The required mitigation measures (i.e. shutdown zones and pile caps) are expected to be effective in reducing the effects of the specified activity. Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the planned monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS finds that the total marine mammal take from the planned activity will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species or stocks. Small Numbers As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be authorized under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for specified activities other than military readiness activities. The MMPA does not define small numbers and so, in practice, where estimated numbers are available, NMFS compares the number of individuals taken to the most appropriate estimation of abundance of the relevant species or stock in our determination of whether an authorization is limited to small numbers of marine mammals. Additionally, other qualitative factors may be considered in the analysis, such as the temporal or spatial scale of the activities. The authorized take for six of the nine marine mammal stocks comprises less than five percent of the stock abundance. For Alaska resident, northern resident and transient killer whales, the number of instances of take as compared to the stock abundance are 19.9 percent, 19.9, and 20.2 percent, respectively. However, since three stocks of killer whales could occur in the action area, the 570 total killer whale takes are likely split among the three stocks. Nonetheless, since NMFS does not have a good way to predict exactly how take will be split, NMFS E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27286 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES looked at the most conservative scenario, which is that all 570 takes could potentially be distributed to each of the three stocks. This is a highly unlikely scenario to occur and the percentages of each stock taken are predicted to be significantly lower. Further, these percentages do not take into consideration that some number of these take instances are likely repeat takes incurred by the same individuals, thereby lowering the number of individuals. There are no official stock abundances for harbor porpoise and minke whales; however, as discussed in greater detail in the ‘‘Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities,’’ we believe for the abundance information that is available, the estimated takes are likely small percentages of the stock abundance. For harbor porpoise, the abundance for the Southeast Alaska stock is likely more represented by the aerial surveys that were conducted as these surveys had better coverage and were corrected for observer bias. Based on this data, the estimated take could potentially be approximately 17 percent of the stock abundance. However, this is unlikely and the percentage of the stock taken is likely lower as the take estimates are conservative and the project occurs in a small footprint compared to the available habitat in Southeast Alaska. For minke whales, in the northern part of their range they are believed to be migratory and so few minke whales have been seen during three offshore Gulf of Alaska surveys that a population estimate could not be determined. With only nine planned takes for this species, the percentage of take in relation to the stock abundance is likely to be very small. Based on the analysis contained herein of the planned activity (including the mitigation and monitoring measures) and the anticipated take of marine mammals, NMFS finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the population size of the affected species or stocks. Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination In September 2018, DPD contacted the Indigenous People’s Council for Marine Mammals (IPCoMM), the Alaska Sea Otter and Steller Sea Lion Commission, and the Hoonah Indian Association (HIA) to determine potential project impacts on local subsistence activities. No comments were received from IPCoMM or the Alaska Sea Otter and Steller Sea Lion Commission. On October 23, 2018, a conference call between representatives from DPD, Turnagain Marine Construction, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 SolsticeAK, and the HIA were held to discuss tribal concerns regarding subsistence impacts. The tribe confirmed that Steller sea lions and harbor seals are harvested in and around the project area. The HIA referenced the 2012 subsistence technical paper by Wolf et al. (2013) as the most recent information available on marine mammal harvesting in Hoonah and agreed that the planned construction activities are unlikely to have significant impacts to marine mammals as they are used in subsistence applications. Information on the timing of the IHA issuance was provided by DPD via email to the tribe on October 23, 2018. There have been no further comments on this project. Therefore, we believe there are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes. National Environmental Policy Act To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216–6A, NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an incidental harassment authorization) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment. This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in Categorical Exclusion B4 (incidental harassment authorizations with no anticipated serious injury or mortality) of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216–6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has determined that the issuance of the IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review. Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, NMFS consults internally, in this PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 case with the Alaska Regional Office (AKRO) whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species. NMFS is authorizing take of Mexico DPS humpback whales, which are listed and Western DPS Steller sea lions under the ESA. The Permit and Conservation Division completed a Section 7 consultation with the Alaska Regional Office for the issuance of this IHA. The Alaska Regional Office’s biological opinion states that the action is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of Western DPS Steller sea lions or Mexico DPS humpback whales. Authorization As a result of these determinations, NMFS authorizes an IHA to DPD for conducting pile driving and removal activities for the construction of the Hoonah Berth II cruise ship terminal and lightering float, Icy Strait, Hoonah Alaska provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated. Dated: June 6, 2019. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–12318 Filed 6–11–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XH002 Schedules for Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public workshops. AGENCY: Free Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops will be held in July, August, and September of 2019. Certain fishermen and shark dealers are required to attend a workshop to meet regulatory requirements and to maintain valid permits. Specifically, the Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop is mandatory for all federally permitted Atlantic shark dealers. The Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshop is mandatory for vessel owners and operators who use bottom longline, pelagic longline, or gillnet gear, and who have also been issued SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 113 (Wednesday, June 12, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 27270-27286]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-12318]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XG874


Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specific Activities; 
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Pile Driving and Removal 
Activities During Construction of a Cruise Ship Berth, Hoonah, Alaska

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

ACTION: Notice; Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine 
Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given 
that NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to 
Duck Point Development II, LLC. (DPD) to incidentally harass, by Level 
A and B harassment, marine mammals during construction of a second 
cruise ship berth and new lightering float at Cannery Point (Icy 
Strait) on Chichagof Island near Hoonah, Alaska.

DATES: This Authorization is effective from June 3, 2019 through June 
2, 2020.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

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

Summary of Request

    On December 28, 2018, NMFS received a request DPD for an IHA to 
take marine mammals incidental to pile driving and removal activities 
during construction of a second cruise ship berth and new lightering 
float at Cannery Point (Icy Strait) on Chichagof Island near Hoonah, 
Alaska. The application was deemed adequate and complete on April 3, 
2019. DPD requested take of nine species of marine mammals by Level B 
harassment and three species by Level A harassment. Neither DPD nor 
NMFS expects serious injury or mortality to result from this activity 
and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate. NMFS previously issued an IHA to 
the Huna Totem Corporation for the first cruise ship berth in Hoonah, 
AK in 2015 (80 FR 31352; June 2, 2015).

Description of Specified Activity

    DPD proposed to construct a second cruise ship berth and new 
lightering float at Cannery Point (Icy Strait) on Chichagof Island near 
Hoonah, Alaska, in order to accommodate the increase in cruise ship and 
visitor traffic since completion of the first permanent cruise ship 
berth completion in 2016 (80 FR 31352; June 2, 2015). The in-water 
sound from the pile driving and removal activities, may incidentally 
take marine mammals by Level A and B harassment. A detailed description 
of the planned Hoonah Berth II project is provided in the Federal 
Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019).
    Pile driving and removal is expected to occur over 75 working days 
(not necessarily consecutive) beginning June 3, 2019 and extending into 
November 2019 as needed. Approximately 39 days of vibratory and 8 days 
of impact hammering will occur. An additional 14 days of socketing and 
14 days of anchoring will occur to stabilize the piles. As a 
contingency, the IHA is effective for a period of one year, from June 
3, 2019 through June 2, 2020.
    To construct a new cruise ship berth (Berth II), lightering float, 
associated support structures, and pedestrian walkway connections to 
shore, the project would require the following (see also Table 1):
    [ssquf] Installation of 62 temporary 30-inch (in) diameter steel 
piles as templates to guide proper installation of permanent piles 
(these piles would be removed prior to project completion);
    [ssquf] Installation of 8 permanent 42-in diameter steel piles, 16 
permanent 36-in diameter steel piles, and 18 permanent 24-in diameter 
steel piles to support a new 500 feet (ft) x 50 ft floating pontoon 
dock, its attached 400 ft x 12 ft small craft float, mooring 
structures, and shore-access fixed-pier walkway (Figure 6 of the 
application)
    [ssquf] Installation of three permanent 30-in diameter steel piles 
to support a 120 ft x 20 ft lightering float, and four permanent 16-in 
diameter steel piles above the high tide line to construct a 12 ft x 40 
ft fixed pier for lightering float shore access (Figure 7 of the 
application);
    [ssquf] Installation of bull rail, floating fenders, mooring 
cleats, and mast lights. (Note: these components would be installed out 
of the water.)

[[Page 27271]]

    [ssquf] Socketing and rock anchoring to stabilize the piles.

                           Table 1--Pile Driving and Removal Activities Required for the Hoonah Berth II and Lightering Float
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                 Project component
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Description                        Temporary pile  Temporary pile  Permanent pile  Permanent pile  Permanent pile  Permanent pile
                                                           installation       removal      installation    installation    installation    installation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Diameter of Steel Pile (inches).........................              30              30              24              30              36              42
Number of Piles.........................................              62              62              18               3              16               8
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                              Vibratory Pile Driving
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Quantity..........................................              62              62              18               3              16               8
Max Number Piles Vibrated per Day.......................               6               6               4               2               2               2
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                Impact Pile Driving
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Quantity..........................................               0               0               0               0              16               8
Max Number Piles Impacted per Day.......................               0               0               0               0               4               2
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Socketed Pile Installation (Down-Hole Drilling)
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Quantity..........................................              10               0              18               0               0               0
Max Number Piles Socketed per Day.......................               2               0               2               0               0               0
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Rock Anchor Installation (Drilled Shaft)
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Quantity..........................................               0               0               2               0              16               8
Diameter of Anchor......................................  ..............  ..............               8               0              33              33
Max Number Piles Anchored per Day.......................               0               0               1               0               2               2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition to the activities described above, the planned action 
will involve other in-water construction and heavy machinery 
activities. Other types of in-water work including with heavy machinery 
will occur using standard barges, tug boats, barge-mounted excavators, 
or clamshell equipment to place or remove material; and positioning 
piles on the substrate via a crane (i.e., ``stabbing the pile''). 
Workers will be transported from shore to the barge work platform by a 
25-ft skiff with a 125-250 horsepower motor in the morning and at the 
end of the work day. The travel distance will be less than 300 ft. 
There could be multiple (up to eight) shore-to-barge trips during the 
day; however, the area of travel will be relatively small and close to 
shore. We do not expect any of these other in-water construction and 
heavy machinery activities to take marine mammals as these activities 
occur close to the shoreline (less than 300 ft), but as additional 
mitigation, DPD is proposing a 10 m shutdown zone for these additional 
in-water activities. Therefore, these other in-water construction and 
heavy machinery activities will not be discussed further.
    Further details of the planned DPD project is provided in the 
Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 
2019).

Comments and Responses

    A notice of NMFS's proposal to issue an IHA to DPD was published in 
the Federal Register on May 1, 2019 (84 FR 18495). That notice 
described, in detail, DPD's activity, the marine mammal species that 
may be affected by the activity, and the anticipated effects on marine 
mammals. During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS received 
comments from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). The Commission 
recommended that NMFS issue the IHA, subject to inclusion of the 
proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures.
    Comment: The Commission questioned whether the public notice 
provisions for IHA Renewals fully satisfy the public notice and comment 
provision in the MMPA and discussed the potential burden on reviewers 
of reviewing key documents and developing comments quickly. 
Additionally, the Commission recommended that NMFS use the IHA Renewal 
process sparingly and selectively for activities expected to have the 
lowest levels of impacts to marine mammals and that require less 
complex analysis.
    Response: NMFS has taken a number of steps to ensure the public has 
adequate notice, time, and information to be able to comment 
effectively on IHA Renewals within the limitations of processing IHA 
applications efficiently. The Federal Register notice for the initial 
proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019) previously identified the 
conditions under which a one-year Renewal IHA might be appropriate. 
This information is presented in the Request for Public Comments 
section of the initial proposed IHA and thus encourages submission of 
comments on the potential of a one-year renewal as well as the initial 
IHA during the 30-day comment period. In addition, when we receive an 
application for a Renewal IHA, we publish a notice of the proposed IHA 
Renewal in the Federal Register and provide an additional 15 days for 
public comment, for a total of 45 days of public comment. We will also 
directly contact all commenters on the initial IHA by email, phone, or, 
if the commenter did not provide email or phone information, by postal 
service to provide them the opportunity to submit any additional 
comments on the proposed Renewal IHA.
    NMFS also strives to ensure the public has access to key 
information needed to submit comments on a proposed IHA, whether an 
initial IHA or a Renewal IHA. The agency's website includes information 
for all projects under consideration, including the application, 
references, and other supporting documents. Each Federal Register 
notice also includes contact

[[Page 27272]]

information in the event a commenter has questions or cannot find the 
information they seek.
    Regarding the Commission's comment that Renewal IHAs should be 
limited to certain types of projects, NMFS has explained on its website 
and in individual Federal Register notices that Renewal IHAs are 
appropriate where the continuing activities are identical, nearly 
identical, or a subset of the activities for which the initial 30-day 
comment period applied. Where the commenter has likely already reviewed 
and commented on the initial proposed IHA for these activities, the 
abbreviated additional comment period is sufficient for consideration 
of the results of the preliminary monitoring report and new information 
(if any) from the past year.

Change From the Proposed IHA to Final IHA

    As described in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA 
(84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019), a small amount of take by Level A 
harassment take was proposed for Steller sea lions (Eumetopias 
jubatus). However, after further consideration and additional 
conversations with species experts in Alaska, NMFS has determined that 
take by Level A harassment is unlikely and will not be authorized. 
Originally, NMFS anticipated that Steller sea lions may appear within 
the Level A harassment isopleth without being seen in time to shut down 
pile driving activities, resulting in Level A harassment. They are 
smaller in size and difficult to detect in bad weather, can approach 
closely driven by curiosity, and are becoming habituated to feeding on 
fish waste and known to follow charter boats into the docks around 
southeast Alaska. In some cases, they are undeterred by noise, other 
vessels, and other forms of deterrence. The location of the new cruise 
ship dock construction site is not located near the fishing vessel 
docks, and faces the open waters of Icy Strait instead of the internal 
waters of Port Frederick (where habituation is more likely to occur). 
Because of this spatial separation, NMFS expects that Steller sea lions 
will not have the same motivation to come into the Level A harassment 
isopleth, and does not predict take by Level A harassment of Steller 
sea lions as a result of this project. Therefore, the Estimated Take 
section has been revised to reflect this change.

Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities

    Sections 3 and 4 of the application summarize available information 
regarding status and trends, distribution and habitat preferences, and 
behavior and life history, of the potentially affected species. 
Additional information regarding population trends and threats may be 
found in NMFS's Stock Assessment Reports (SARs; https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/marine-mammal-stock-assessments) and more general information about these species 
(e.g., physical and behavioral descriptions) may be found on NMFS's 
website (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/find-species).
    Table 2 lists all species with expected potential for occurrence in 
the project area and summarizes information related to the population 
or stock, including regulatory status under the MMPA and ESA and 
potential biological removal (PBR), where known. For taxonomy, we 
follow Committee on Taxonomy (2016). PBR is defined by the MMPA as the 
maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may 
be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to 
reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population (as described in 
NMFS's SARs). While no mortality is anticipated or authorized here, PBR 
and annual serious injury and mortality from anthropogenic sources are 
included here as gross indicators of the status of the species and 
other threats.
    Marine mammal abundance estimates presented in this document 
represent the total number of individuals that make up a given stock or 
the total number estimated within a particular study or survey area. 
NMFS's stock abundance estimates for most species represent the total 
estimate of individuals within the geographic area, if known, that 
comprises that stock. For some species, this geographic area may extend 
beyond U.S. waters. All managed stocks in this region are assessed in 
NMFS' U.S. Pacific and Alaska SARs (Carretta et al., 2018; Muto et al., 
2018). All values presented in Table 2 are the most recent available at 
the time of publication (draft SARS available online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/draft-marine-mammal-stock-assessment-reports).

                                                 Table 2--Marine Mammals Occurrence in the Project Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         ESA/ MMPA status;   Stock abundance  (CV,
             Common name                  Scientific name               Stock             strategic (Y/N)     Nmin,  most recent       PBR     Annual M/
                                                                                                \1\          abundance survey) \2\               SI \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Order Cetartiodactyla--Cetacea--Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Eschrichtiidae:
    Gray Whale......................  Eschrichtius robustus..  Eastern N Pacific......  -, -, N             26,960 (0.05, 25,849,         801        138
                                                                                                             2016).
Family Balaenopteridae (rorquals):
    Minke Whale.....................  Balaenoptera             Alaska.................  -, -, N             N/A (see SAR, N/A, see        UND          0
                                       acutorostrata.                                                        SAR).
    Humpback Whale..................  Megaptera novaeangliae.  Central N Pacific        -, -, Y             10,103 (0.3, 7,890,            83         25
                                                                (Hawaii and Mexico                           2006) (Hawaii DPS
                                                                DPS).                                        9,487 \a\, Mexico DPS
                                                                                                             606 \a\).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Superfamily Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Physeteridae:
    Sperm whale.....................  Physeter macrocephalus.  North Pacific..........  E, D, Y             N/A (see SAR, N/A,        See SAR        4.4
                                                                                                             2015).
Family Delphinidae:
    Killer Whale....................  Orcinus orca...........  Alaska Resident........  -, -, N             2,347 c (N/A, 2347,            24          1
                                                                                                             2012).
                                                               Northern Resident......  -, -, N             261 c (N/A, 261, 2011)       1.96          0
                                                               West Coast Transient...  -, -, N             243 c (N/A, 243, 2009)        2.4          0
    Pacific White-Sided Dolphin.....  Lagenorhynchus           N Pacific..............  -, -, N             26,880 (N/A, N/A,             UND          0
                                       obliquidens.                                                          1990).
Family Phocoenidae (porpoises):

[[Page 27273]]

 
    Dall's Porpoise.................  Phocoenoides dalli.....  AK.....................  -, -, N             83,400 (0.097, N/A,           UND         38
                                                                                                             1991).
    Harbor Porpoise.................  Phocoena phocoena......  Southeast Alaska.......  -, -, Y             see SAR (see SAR, see         8.9         34
                                                                                                             SAR, 2012).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Order Carnivora--Superfamily Pinnipedia
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Otariidae (eared seals and
 sea lions):
    Steller Sea Lion................  Eumetopias jubatus.....  Western DPS............  E, D, Y             54,267 a (see SAR,            326        252
                                                                                                             54,267, 2017).
                                                               Eastern DPS............  T, D, Y             41,638 a (see SAR,           2498        108
                                                                                                             41,638, 2015).
Family Phocidae (earless seals):
    Harbor Seal.....................  Phoca vitulina.........  Glacier Bay/Icy Strait.  -, -, N             7,210 (see SAR, 5,647,        169        104
                                                                                                             2011).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1--Endangered Species Act (ESA) status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed
  under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality
  exceeds PBR or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed
  under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock.
2--NMFS marine mammal stock assessment reports online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/. CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of
  stock abundance. In some cases, CV is not applicable [explain if this is the case].
3--These values, found in NMFS's SARs, represent annual levels of human-caused mortality plus serious injury from all sources combined (e.g., commercial
  fisheries, ship strike). Annual M/SI often cannot be determined precisely and is in some cases presented as a minimum value or range. A CV associated
  with estimated mortality due to commercial fisheries is presented in some cases.
Note:--Italicized species are not expected to be taken or planned for authorization.
\a\ Under the MMPA humpback whales are considered a single stock (Central North Pacific); however, we have divided them here to account for distinct
  population segments (DPSs) listed under the ESA. Using the stock assessment from Muto et al. 2018 for the Central North Pacific stock (10,103) and
  calculations in Wade et al. 2016, 93.9% of the humpback whales in Southeast Alaska are expected to be from the Hawaii DPS and 6.1% are expected to be
  from the Mexico DPS.

    A detailed description of the of the species likely to be affected 
by the DPD project, including brief introductions to the species and 
relevant stocks as well as available information regarding population 
trends and threats, and information regarding local occurrence, were 
provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 
18495; May 1, 2019) since that time, we are not aware of any changes in 
the status of these species and stocks; therefore, detailed 
descriptions are not provided here. Please refer to that Federal 
Register notice for these descriptions. Please also refer to NMFS' 
website (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/find-species) for generalized 
species accounts.

Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their 
Habitat

    Acoustic effects on marine mammals during the specified activity 
can occur from vibratory and impact pile driving as well as during 
socketing and anchoring of the piles. The effects of underwater noise 
from DPD's planned activities have the potential to result in Level A 
and B harassment of marine mammals in the vicinity of the action area. 
The effects of pile driving on marine mammals are dependent on several 
factors, including the size, type, and depth of the animal; the depth, 
intensity, and duration of the pile driving sound; the depth of the 
water column; the substrate of the habitat; the standoff distance 
between the pile and the animal; and the sound propagation properties 
of the environment. With both types, it is likely that the pile driving 
could result in temporary, short term changes in an animal's typical 
behavioral patterns and/or avoidance of the affected area. The Federal 
Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019) 
included a discussion of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine 
mammals, therefore that information is not repeated here; please refer 
to the Federal Register notice (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019).

Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat

    The main impact issue associated with the planned activity would be 
temporarily elevated sound levels and the associated direct effects on 
marine mammals. The most likely impact to marine mammal habitat occurs 
from pile driving effects on likely marine mammal prey (i.e., fish) 
near where the piles are installed. Impacts to the immediate substrate 
during installation and removal of piles are anticipated, but these 
would be limited to minor, temporary suspension of sediments, which 
could impact water quality and visibility for a short amount of time, 
but which would not be expected to have any effects on individual 
marine mammals. Impacts to substrate are therefore not discussed 
further. These potential effects are discussed in detail in the Federal 
Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 18495; May 1, 2019), 
therefore that information is not repeated here; please refer to that 
Federal Register notice for that information.

Estimated Take

    This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes 
authorized through this IHA, which informed both NMFS' consideration of 
``small numbers'' and the negligible impact determination.
    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, 
section 3(18) of the MMPA defines ``harassment'' as any act of pursuit, 
torment, or annoyance, which (i) has the potential to injure a marine 
mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) 
has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in 
the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but 
not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering (Level B harassment).
    Take of marine mammals incidental to DPD's pile driving and removal 
activities (as well as during socketing and anchoring) could occur as a 
result of Level A and Level B harassment. Below we describe how the 
potential take is estimated. As described previously, no mortality is 
anticipated or authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the 
take is estimated.
    Generally speaking, we estimate take by considering: (1) Acoustic 
thresholds

[[Page 27274]]

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

Acoustic Thresholds

    Using the best available science, NMFS has developed acoustic 
thresholds that identify the received level of underwater sound above 
which exposed marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be 
behaviorally harassed (equated to Level B harassment) or to incur PTS 
of some degree (equated to Level A harassment).
    Level B Harassment--Though significantly driven by received level, 
the onset of behavioral disturbance from anthropogenic noise exposure 
is also informed to varying degrees by other factors related to the 
source (e.g., frequency, predictability, duty cycle), the environment 
(e.g., bathymetry), and the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, 
experience, demography, behavioral context) and can be difficult to 
predict (Southall et al., 2007, Ellison et al., 2012). Based on what 
the available science indicates and the practical need to use a 
threshold based on a factor that is both predictable and measurable for 
most activities, NMFS uses a generalized acoustic threshold based on 
received level to estimate the onset of behavioral harassment. NMFS 
predicts that marine mammals are likely to be behaviorally harassed in 
a manner we consider Level B harassment when exposed to underwater 
anthropogenic noise above received levels of 120 dB re 1 [mu]Pa (rms) 
for continuous (e.g., vibratory pile driving) and above 160 dB re 1 
[mu]Pa (rms) for impulsive sources (e.g., impact pile driving). DPD's 
planned activity includes the use of continuous (vibratory pile 
driving) and impulsive (impact pile driving) sources, and therefore the 
120 and 160 dB re 1 [mu]Pa (rms) are applicable.
    Level A harassment--NMFS' Technical Guidance for Assessing the 
Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing (Version 2.0) 
(Technical Guidance, 2018) identifies dual criteria to assess auditory 
injury (Level A harassment) to five different marine mammal groups 
(based on hearing sensitivity) as a result of exposure to noise. The 
technical guidance identifies the received levels, or thresholds, above 
which individual marine mammals are predicted to experience changes in 
their hearing sensitivity for all underwater anthropogenic sound 
sources, and reflects the best available science on the potential for 
noise to affect auditory sensitivity by:
    [ssquf] Dividing sound sources into two groups (i.e., impulsive and 
non-impulsive) based on their potential to affect hearing sensitivity;
    [ssquf] Choosing metrics that best address the impacts of noise on 
hearing sensitivity, i.e., sound pressure level (peak SPL) and sound 
exposure level (SEL) (also accounts for duration of exposure); and
    [ssquf] Dividing marine mammals into hearing groups and developing 
auditory weighting functions based on the science supporting that not 
all marine mammals hear and use sound in the same manner.
    These thresholds were developed by compiling and synthesizing the 
best available science, and are provided in Table 3 below. The 
references, analysis, and methodology used in the development of the 
thresholds are described in NMFS 2018 Technical Guidance, which may be 
accessed at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/marine-mammal-acoustic-technical-guidance.
    DPD's pile driving and removal activity includes the use of 
impulsive (impact pile driving) and non-impulsive (vibratory pile 
driving and removal) sources.

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

Ensonified Area

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

Sound Propagation

    Transmission loss (TL) is the decrease in acoustic intensity as an 
acoustic pressure wave propagates out from a

[[Page 27275]]

source. TL parameters vary with frequency, temperature, sea conditions, 
current, source and receiver depth, water depth, water chemistry, and 
bottom composition and topography. The general formula for underwater 
TL is:

TL = B * log10(R1/R2),

Where:
B = transmission loss coefficient (assumed to be 15)
R1 = the distance of the modeled SPL from the driven 
pile, and
R2 = the distance from the driven pile of the initial 
measurement.

    This formula neglects loss due to scattering and absorption, which 
is assumed to be zero here. The degree to which underwater sound 
propagates away from a sound source is dependent on a variety of 
factors, most notably the water bathymetry and presence or absence of 
reflective or absorptive conditions including in-water structures and 
sediments. Spherical spreading occurs in a perfectly unobstructed 
(free-field) environment not limited by depth or water surface, 
resulting in a 6 dB reduction in sound level for each doubling of 
distance from the source (20*log(range)). Cylindrical spreading occurs 
in an environment in which sound propagation is bounded by the water 
surface and sea bottom, resulting in a reduction of 3 dB in sound level 
for each doubling of distance from the source (10*log(range)). As is 
common practice in coastal waters, here we assume practical spreading 
loss (4.5 dB reduction in sound level for each doubling of distance). 
Practical spreading is a compromise that is often used under conditions 
where water depth increases as the receiver moves away from the 
shoreline, resulting in an expected propagation environment that would 
lie between spherical and cylindrical spreading loss conditions.

Sound Source Levels

    The intensity of pile driving sounds is greatly influenced by 
factors such as the type of piles, hammers, and the physical 
environment in which the activity takes place. There are source level 
measurements available for certain pile types and sizes from the 
similar environments recorded from underwater pile driving projects in 
Alaska (e.g., JASCO Reports--Denes et al., 2017 and Austin et al., 
2016).) that were evaluated and used as proxy sound source levels to 
determine reasonable sound source levels likely result from DPD's pile 
driving and removal activities (Table 4). Many source levels used were 
more conservation as the values were from larger pile sizes.

                  Table 4--Assumed Sound Source Levels
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Sound source level
            Activity                 at 10 meters        Sound Source
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal
------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in steel pile permanent......  161.9 SPL.........  The 24-in-diameter
30-in steel pile temporary        161.9 SPL.........   source level for
 installation.                    161.9 SPL.........   vibratory driving
30-in steel pile removal........  161.9 SPL.........   are proxy from
30-in steel pile permanent                             median measured
 installation.                                         source levels
                                                       from pile driving
                                                       of 30-in-diameter
                                                       piles to
                                                       construct the
                                                       Ketchikan Ferry
                                                       Terminal (Denes
                                                       et al. 2016,
                                                       Table 72).
36-in steel pile permanent......  168.2 SPL.........  The 36-in And 42-
42-in steel pile permanent......  168.2 SPL.........   in pile source
                                                       level is a proxy
                                                       from median
                                                       measured source
                                                       level from
                                                       vibratory
                                                       hammering of 48-
                                                       in piles for the
                                                       Port of Anchorage
                                                       test pile project
                                                       (Austin et al.,
                                                       2016).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           Impact Pile Driving
------------------------------------------------------------------------
36-in steel pile permanent......  186.7 SEL/198.6     The 36-inch and 42-
42-in steel pile permanent......   SPL.                inch diameter
                                  186.7 SEL/198.6      pile source level
                                   SPL..               is a proxy from
                                                       median measured
                                                       source level from
                                                       impact hammering
                                                       of 48-in piles
                                                       for the Port of
                                                       Anchorage test
                                                       pile project
                                                       (Austin et al.,
                                                       2016).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Socketed Pile Installation
------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in steel pile permanent......  166.2 SPL.........  The socketing and
30-in steel pile temporary......  166.2 SPL.........   rock anchor
                                                       source level is a
                                                       proxy from median
                                                       measured source
                                                       level from down-
                                                       hole drilling of
                                                       24-in-diameter
                                                       piles to
                                                       construct the
                                                       Kodiak Ferry
                                                       Terminal (Denes
                                                       et al., 2016,
                                                       Table 72).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Rock Anchor Installation
------------------------------------------------------------------------
8-in anchor permanent (for 24-    166.2 SPL.........  The socketing and
 inch piles).                     166.2 SPL.........   rock anchor
33-in anchor permanent (for 36-   166.2 SPL.........   source level is a
 inch piles).                                          proxy from median
33-in anchor permanent (for 42-                        measured source
 inch piles).                                          level from down-
                                                       hole drilling of
                                                       24-in-diameter
                                                       piles to
                                                       construct the
                                                       Kodiak Ferry
                                                       Terminal (Denes
                                                       et al., 2016,
                                                       Table 72).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: Denes et al., 2016--Alaska Department of Transportation's
  Hydroacoustic Pile Driving Noise Study--Comprehensive Report and
  Austin et al., 2016--Hydroacoustic Monitoring Report: Anchorage Port
  Modernization Project Test Pile Program. Version 3.0. Technical report
  by JASCO Applied Sciences for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

Level A Harassment

    When the NMFS Technical Guidance (2016) was published, in 
recognition of the fact that ensonified area/volume could be more 
technically challenging to predict because of the duration component in 
the new thresholds, we developed a User Spreadsheet that includes tools 
to help predict a simple isopleth that can be used in conjunction with 
marine mammal density or occurrence to help predict takes. We note that 
because of some of the assumptions included in the methods used for 
these tools, we anticipate that isopleths produced are typically going 
to be overestimates of some degree, which may result in some degree of 
overestimate of take by Level A harassment. However, these tools offer 
the best way to predict appropriate isopleths when more sophisticated 
3D modeling methods are not available, and NMFS continues to develop 
ways to

[[Page 27276]]

quantitatively refine these tools, and will qualitatively address the 
output where appropriate. For stationary sources (such as from impact 
and vibratory pile driving), NMFS User Spreadsheet predicts the closest 
distance at which, if a marine mammal remained at that distance the 
whole duration of the activity, it would incur PTS. Inputs used in the 
User Spreadsheet (Tables 5 and 6), and the resulting isopleths are 
reported below (Table 7).

                  Table 5--NMFS Technical Guidance (2018) User Spreadsheet Input to Calculate PTS Isopleths for Vibratory Pile Driving
                [User spreadsheet input--vibratory pile driving/anchoring and socketing spreadsheet tab A.1 vibratory pile driving used]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  30-in piles  30-in piles                                                                    24-in and
                                     24-in piles   (temporary   (temporary  30-in piles  36-in piles  42-in piles      8-in        33-in        30-in
                                     (permanent)    install)     removal)   (permanent)  (permanent)  (permanent)   anchoring    anchoring    socketing
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Level (RMS SPL).............        161.9        161.9        161.9        161.9        168.2        168.2        166.2        166.2        166.2
Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz)..          2.5          2.5          2.5          2.5          2.5          2.5          2.5          2.5          2.5
Number of piles within 24-hr period            4            6            6            2            2            2            1            2            2
Duration to drive a single pile               10           20           10           30           30           60           60          240           60
 (min).............................
Propagation (xLogR)................           15           15           15           15           15           15           15           15           15
Distance of source level                      10           10           10           10           10           10           10           10           10
 measurement (meters) +............
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Table 6--NMFS Technical Guidance (2018) User Spreadsheet Input To
             Calculate PTS Isopleths for Impact Pile Driving
 [User spreadsheet input--impact pile driving spreadsheet Tab E.1 impact
                           pile driving used]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            36-in piles     42-in piles
                                            (permanent)     (permanent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Level (Single Strike/shot SEL)...           186.7           186.7
Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz).......               2               2
Number of strikes per pile..............             100             135
Number of piles per day.................               4               2
Propagation (xLogR).....................              15              15
Distance of source level measurement                  10              10
 (meters)+..............................
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                     Table 7--NMFS Technical Guidance (2018) User Spreadsheet Outputs To Calculate Level A Harassment PTS Isopleths
                                                                [User spreadsheet output]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      PTS isopleths (meters)
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                        Level A harassment
                 Activity                    Sound source level at 10 m  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                               High-
                                                                          Low- frequency  Mid- frequency     frequency        Phocid          Otariid
                                                                             cetaceans       cetaceans       cetaceans
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in steel installation..................  161.9 SPL\1\................             6.0             0.5             8.8             3.6             0.3
30-in steel temporary installation........  161.9 SPL\1\................            12.4             1.1            18.4             7.6             0.5
30-in steel removal.......................  161.9 SPL\1\................             7.8             0.7            11.6             4.8             0.3
30-in steel permanent installation........  161.9 SPL\1\................             7.8             0.7            11.6             4.8             0.3
36-in steel permanent installation........  168.2 SPL\2\................            20.6             1.8            30.5            12.5             0.9
42-in steel permanent installation........  168.2 SPL\2\................            32.7             2.9            48.4            19.9             1.4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Impact Pile Driving
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
36-in steel permanent installation........  186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL\2\......           956.7            34.0         1,139.6           512.0            37.3
42-in steel permanent installation........  186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL\2\......           736.2            26.2           876.9           394.0            28.7
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Socketed Pile Installation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in steel permanent installation........  166.2 SPL\3\................            24.1             2.1            35.6            14.6             1.0
30-in steel temporary installation........  166.2 SPL\3\................            24.1             2.1            35.6            14.6             1.0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 27277]]

 
                                                                Rock Anchor Installation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8-in anchor permanent installation (for 24- 166.2 SPL\3\................            15.2             1.3            22.4             9.2             0.6
 in piles).
33-in anchor permanent installation (for    166.2 SPL\3\................            60.7             5.4            89.7            36.9             2.6
 36-in piles).
33-in anchor permanent installation (for    166.2 SPL\3\................            60.7             5.4            89.7            36.9             2.6
 42-in piles).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 24-in and 30-in-diameter source levels for vibratory driving are proxy from median measured source levels from pile driving of 30-in-diameter
  piles to construct the Ketchikan Ferry Terminal (Denes et al. 2016, Table 72).
\2\ The 36-in and 42-in-diameter pile source levels are proxy from median measured source levels from pile driving (vibratory and impact hammering) of
  48-in piles for the Port of Anchorage test pile project (Austin et al. 2016, Tables 9 and 16). We calculated the distances to impact pile driving
  Level A harassment thresholds for 36-in piles assuming 100 strikes per pile and a maximum of 4 piles installed in 24 hours; for 42-in piles we assumed
  135 strikes per pile and a maximum of 2 piles installed in 24 hours.
\3\ The socketing and rock anchoring source level is proxy from median measured sources levels from down-hole drilling of 24-in-diameter piles to
  construct the Kodiak Ferry Terminal (Denes et al. 2016, Table 72).

Level B Harassment

    Utilizing the practical spreading loss model, DPD determined 
underwater noise will fall below the behavioral effects threshold of 
120 dB rms for marine mammals at the distances shown in Table 8 for 
vibratory pile driving/removal, socketing, and rock anchoring. With 
these radial distances, and due to the occurrence of landforms (See 
Figure 8, 12, 13 of the application, the largest Level B Harassment 
Zone calculated for vibratory pile driving for 36-in and 42-in steel 
piles equaled 193 km\2\ and socket and rock anchoring equaled 116 
km\2\. For calculating the Level B Harassment Zone for impact driving, 
the practical spreading loss model was used with a behavioral threshold 
of 160 dB rms. The maximum radial distance of the Level B Harassment 
Zone for impact piling equaled 3,744 m. At this radial distance, the 
entire Level B Harassment Zone for impact piling equaled 19 km\2\. 
Table 8 below provides all Level B Harassment radial distances (m) and 
their corresponding areas (km\2\) during DPD's planned activities.

   Table 8--Radial Distances (Meters) to Relevant Behavioral Isopleths and Associated Ensonified Areas (Square
                             Kilometers (km\2\)) Using the Practice Spreading Model
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Level B
                Activity                     Received level at 10      Level B Harassment  Zone     Harassment
                                                    meters                       (m) *             Zone  (km\2\)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in steel installation................  161.9 SPL.................  6,215 (calculated 6,213)..              39
30-in steel temporary installation......  161.9 SPL.................  6,215 (calculated 6,213)..  ..............
30-in steel removal.....................  161.9 SPL.................  6,215 (calculated 6,213)..  ..............
30-in steel permanent installation......  161.9 SPL.................  6,215 (calculated 6,213)..  ..............
36-in steel permanent installation......  168.2 SPL.................  16,345 (calculated 16,343)             193
42-in steel permanent installation......  168.2 SPL.................  16,345 (calculated 16,343)  ..............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Impact Pile Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
36-in steel permanent installation......  186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL.......  3,745 (calculated 3,744)..              19
42-in steel permanent installation......  186.7 SEL/198.6 SPL.......  3,745 (calculated 3,744)..  ..............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Socketed Pile Installation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in steel permanent installation......  166.2 SPL.................  12,025 (calculated 12,023)             116
30-in steel temporary installation......  166.2 SPL.................  12,025 (calculated 12,023)  ..............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Rock Anchor Installation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8-in anchor permanent installation (for   166.2 SPL.................  12,025 (calculated 12,023)             116
 24-in piles.
33-in anchor permanent installation (for  166.2 SPL.................  12,025 (calculated 12,023)  ..............
 36-in piles).

[[Page 27278]]

 
33-in anchor permanent installation (for  166.2 SPL.................  12,025 (calculated 12,023)  ..............
 42-in piles).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Numbers rounded up to nearest 5 meters.

Marine Mammal Occurrence and Take Calculation and Estimation

    In this section we provide the information about the presence, 
density, or group dynamics of marine mammals that will inform the take 
calculations. Potential exposures to impact pile driving, vibratory 
pile driving/removal and socketing/rock anchoring noises for each 
acoustic threshold were estimated using group size estimates and local 
observational data. As previously stated, take by Level B harassment as 
well as small numbers of take by Level A harassment will be will be 
considered for this action. Take by Level B and Level A harassment are 
calculated differently for some species based on monthly or daily 
sightings data and average group sizes within the action area using the 
best available data. Take by Level A harassment is planned for two 
species where the Level A harassment isopleths are very large during 
impact pile driving (harbor porpoise and harbor seal), and is based on 
average group size multiplied by the number of days of impact pile 
driving. Distances to Level A harassment thresholds for other project 
activities (vibratory pile driving/removal, socketing, rock anchoring) 
are considerably smaller compared to impact pile driving, and 
mitigation is expected to avoid Level A harassment from these other 
activities.

Minke Whales

    There are no density estimates of minke whales available in the 
project area. These whales are usually sighted individually or in small 
groups of 2-3, but there are reports of loose aggregations of hundreds 
of animals (NMFS 2018). There was one sighting of a minke whale during 
the 135 days of monitoring during the Huna Berth I construction project 
(June 2015 through January 2016) (BergerABAM 2016). To be conservative, 
we predict that three minke whales in a group could be sighted 3 times 
over the 6-month project period for a total of 9 minke whales 
authorized to be taken by Level B harassment.

Humpback Whales

    There are no density estimates of humpback whales available in the 
project area. Humpback whale presence in the action area is likely 
steady through the work period until November, when most humpbacks 
migrate back to Hawaii or Mexico. NMFS has received a few reports of 
humpback whales over-wintering in Southeast Alaska, but numbers of 
animals and exact locations are very hard to predict, and NMFS assumes 
the presence of much fewer humpbacks in the action area in November and 
later winter months. During the previous Huna Berth I project, humpback 
whales were observed on 84 of the 135 days of monitoring; most often in 
September and October (BergerABAM 2016). The best available information 
on the distribution of humpbacks in the project area was obtained from 
several sources including: Icy Strait observations from 2015 
(BergerABAM 2016), Glacier Bay/Icy Strait NPS Survey data 2014-2018 
(provided by NPS, March 2019), Whale Alert opportunistic reported 
sightings 2016-2018, and reported HB whale bubble-net feeding group to 
NPS, 2015-2018 (provided by NPS, March 2019).
    The National Park Service Glacier Bay/Icy Strait survey is designed 
to observe humpback whales and has regular effort in June, July, and 
August. This is the primary data source used to estimate exposures of 
humpback whales in the action area during those months, except for when 
a maximum group size reported in Whale Alert data was greater, then the 
Whale Alert number was used (June and July maximum group size). The on-
site marine mammal monitoring data from BergerABAM (2016) was used to 
estimate takes in September and October and Whale Alert data was the 
only data source available in November and could represent a minimum 
number of observations due to fewer opportunistic sightings recorded in 
that month.
    In addition, a single group of bubble-net feeding humpbacks of 10 
animals was added to the total estimated exposures for June and 
October, based on anecdotal data provided by NPS of bubble-net feeding 
groups of humpbacks in the action area in those months of construction.
    To estimate the number of exposures, NMFS looked at the proportion 
of days of the month when the numbers of animals observed were within 
one standard deviation of that month's average daily sightings. That 
proportion was 0.7. The average number of sightings was estimated as 
exposures on those days. For the remaining 30 percent of work days, the 
maximum number of observations on any single day were estimated to be 
exposed on those days.
    For example, in June, the average number of daily observations 
(1.31) was estimated to occur on 70 percent of the 17 work days, which 
resulted in 15.59 exposures. On the other 30 percent of the 17 work 
days, the maximum number of observations on any day (10) resulted in 51 
estimated exposures. In addition, in June, NMFS estimates that one 
bubble-net feeding group of 10 individuals could be exposed, due to 
anecdotal evidence of this feeding activity occurring inside the 
planned action area. NMFS estimates a total of 76.59 humpback whales 
could be exposed in June. Humpback whales could be in larger groups 
when large amounts of prey are available, but this is difficult to 
predict with any precision. Although we are not proposing to authorize 
takes by month, we are demonstrating how the total take was calculated. 
The total number of exposures per month was calculated to be 76.59 
(June), 68.02 (July), 71.93 (August), 132.07 (September), 78.82 
(October), and 6.20 (November). The total number of whales authorized 
to be taken by Level B harassment from June to November is 434 (433.63) 
humpback whales with 26 (26.061) of those whales anticipated being from 
the Mexico DPS (0.0601 percentage of the total animals).

Gray Whales

    There are no density estimates of gray whales available in the 
project area. Gray whales travel alone or in small, unstable groups, 
although large aggregations may be seen in feeding and

[[Page 27279]]

breeding grounds (NMFS 2018e). Observations in Glacier Bay and nearby 
waters recorded two gray whales documented over a 10-year period 
(Keller et al., 2017). None were observed during Huna Berth I project 
monitoring (BergerABAM 2016). We conservatively estimate a small group 
to be 3 gray whales x 1 sighting over the 6-month work period for a 
total of three gray whales authorized to be taken by Level B 
harassment.

Killer Whales

    There are no density estimates of killer whales available in the 
project area. Killer whales occur commonly in the waters of the project 
area, and could include members of several designated stocks that may 
occur in the vicinity of the planned project area. Whales are known to 
use the Icy Strait corridor to enter and exit inland waters and are 
observed in every month of the year, with certain pods being observed 
inside Port Frederick passing directly in front of Hoonah. Group size 
of resident killer whale pods in the Icy Strait area ranges from 42 to 
79 and occur in every month of the year (Dahlheim pers. comm. to NMFS 
2015). As determined during a line-transect survey by Dalheim et al. 
(2008), the greatest number of transient killer whale observed occurred 
in 1993 with 32 animals seen over two months for an average of 16 
sightings per month. NMFS estimates that group size of 79 resident 
killer whales and 16 transient killer whales could occur each month 
during the 6-month project period for a total of 570 takes authorized 
by Level B harassment.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

    There are no density estimates of Pacific white-sided dolphins 
available in the project area. Pacific white-sided dolphins have been 
observed in Alaska waters in groups ranging from 20 to 164 animals, 
with the sighting of 164 animals occurring in Southeast Alaska near 
Dixon Entrance (Muto et al., 2018). There were no Pacific white-sided 
dolphins observed during the 135-day monitoring period during the Huna 
Berth I project. However, to be conservative NMFS estimates 164 Pacific 
white-sided dolphins may be seen once over the 6-month project period 
for a total of 164 takes authorized by Level B harassment.

Dall's Porpoise

    Little information is available on the abundance of Dall's porpoise 
in the inland waters of Southeast Alaska. Dall's porpoise are most 
abundant in spring, observed with lower numbers in the summer, and 
lowest numbers in fall. Jefferson et al., 2019 presents the first 
abundance estimates for Dall's porpoise in these waters and found the 
abundance in summer (N = 2,680, CV = 19.6 percent), and lowest in fall 
(N = 1,637, CV = 23.3 percent). Dall's porpoise are common in Icy 
Strait and sporadic with very low densities in Port Frederick 
(Jefferson et al., 2019). Dahlheim et al. (2008) observed 346 Dall's 
porpoise in Southeast Alaska (inclusive of Icy Strait) during the 
summer (June/July) of 2007 for an average of 173 animals per month as 
part of a 17-year study period. During the previous Huna Berth I 
project, only two Dall's porpoise were observed, and were transiting 
within the waters of Port Frederick in the vicinity of Halibut Island. 
Therefore, NMFS' estimates 173 Dall's porpoise per month may be seen 
each month of the 6-month project period for a total of 1,038 takes 
authorized by Level B harassment.

Harbor Porpoise

    Dahlheim et al. (2015) observed 332 resident harbor porpoises 
occurred in the Icy Strait area, and harbor porpoise are known to use 
the Port Frederick area as part of their core range. During the Huna 
Berth I project monitoring, a total of 32 harbor porpoise were observed 
over 19 days during the 4-month project. The harbor porpoises were 
observed in small groups with the largest group size reported was four 
individuals and most group sizes consisting of three or fewer animals. 
NMFS conservatively estimates that 332 harbor porpoises could occur in 
the project area each month over the 6-month project period for a total 
of 1,992 takes authorized by Level B harassment. Because the Level A 
harassment zone is significantly larger than the shutdown zone during 
impact pile driving, NMFS predicts that some take by Level A harassment 
may occur. Based on the previous monitoring results, we estimate that a 
group size of four harbor porpoises multiplied by 1 group per day over 
8 days of impact pile driving would yield a total of 32 takes 
authorized by Level A harassment.

Harbor Seal

    There are no density estimates of harbor seals available in the 
project area. Keller et al. (2017) observed an average of 26 harbor 
seal sightings each month between June and August of 2014 in Glacier 
Bay and Icy Strait. During the monitoring of the Huna Berth I project, 
harbor seals typically occur in groups of one to four animals and a 
total of 63 seals were observed during 19 days of the 135-day 
monitoring period. NMFS conservatively estimate that 26 harbor seals 
could occur in the project area each month during the 6-month project 
period for a total of 156 takes by Level B harassment. Because the 
Level A harassment zone is significantly larger than the shutdown zone 
during impact pile driving, NMFS predicts that some take by Level A 
harassment may occur. Based on the previous monitoring results, we 
estimate that a group size of two harbor seals multiplied by 1 group 
per day over 8 days of impact pile driving would yield a total of 16 
takes authorized by Level A harassment.

Steller Sea Lion

    There are no density estimates of Steller sea lions available in 
the project area. NMFS expects that Steller sea lion presence in the 
action area will vary due to prey resources and the spatial 
distribution of breeding versus non-breeding season. In April and May, 
Steller sea lions are likely feeding on herring spawn in the action 
area. Then, most Steller sea lions likely move to the rookeries along 
the outside coast (away from the action area) during breeding season, 
and would be in the action area in greater numbers in August and later 
months (J. Womble, NPS, pers. comm. to NMFS AK Regional Office, March 
2019). However, Steller sea lions are also opportunistic predators and 
their presence can be hard to predict.
    Steller sea lions typically occur in groups of 1-10 animals, but 
may congregate in larger groups near rookeries and haulouts. The 
previous Huna Berth I project observed a total of 180 Steller sea lion 
sightings over 135 days in 2015, amounting to an average of 1.3 
sightings per day (BergerABAM 2016). During a test pile program 
performed at the project location by the Hoonah Cruise Ship Dock 
Company in May 2018, a total of 15 Steller sea lions were seen over the 
course of 7 hours in one day (SolsticeAK 2018).
    We used the same process to calculate Steller sea lion take as 
explained above or humpback whales, except that 79 percent of the work 
days in each month are expected to expose the average number of 
animals, and 21 percent of the work days would expose the maximum 
number of animals. For example, in June, the average number of daily 
observations (1.6) was estimated to occur on 13.43 work days, which 
would result in 21.48 exposures. On the other 21 percent of the 17 work 
days, the maximum number of observations on any day (26) could result 
in 92.82 estimated exposures. NMFS estimates a total of 114.31 Steller 
sea lions could be exposed in June. Although we are not proposing to 
authorize takes by month, we are demonstrating how the total take

[[Page 27280]]

was calculated. The total number of exposures per month was calculated 
to be 114.31 (June), 57.19 (July), 92.89 (August), 199.23 (September), 
79.10 (October), and 16.57 (November). Therefore, the total number of 
Steller sea lions authorized to be taken by Level B harassment from 
June to November is 559 (559.29) Steller sea lions with 39 (39.32) of 
those sea lions anticipated being from the Western DPS (0.0703 
percentage of the total animals (L. Jemison draft unpublished Steller 
sea lion data, 2019).
    Table 9 below summarizes the authorized take by Level A and B 
harassment for all the species described above as a percentage of stock 
abundance.

                           Table 9--Take Estimates as a Percentage of Stock Abundance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Authorized
            Species               Stock  (NEST)       Level A      Authorized Level        Percent of stock
                                                    harassment       B harassment
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minke Whale...................  N/A.............               0  9................  N/A.
Humpback Whale................  Hawaii DPS                     0  408..............  4.3.
                                 (9,487) \a\.                     26...............  4.5.
                                Mexico DPS (606)                  (Total 434)......  ...........................
                                 \a\.
Gray Whale....................  Eastern North                  0  3................  Less than 1 percent.
                                 Pacific
                                 (26,960).
Killer Whale..................  Alaska Resident                0  469..............  19.9.\b\
                                 (2,347).
                                Northern                          52...............  19.9.\b\
                                 Resident (261).
                                West Coast                        49...............  20.2.\b\
                                 Transient (243).                 (Total 570)......
Pacific White-Sided Dolphin...  North Pacific                  0  164..............  Less than 1 percent.
                                 (26,880).
Dall's Porpoise...............  Alaska (83,400)                0  1,038............  1.2.
                                 \c\.
Harbor Porpoise...............  NA..............              32  1,992............  NA.
Harbor Seal...................  Glacier Bay/Icy               16  156..............  2.16.
                                 Strait (7,210).
Steller Sea Lion..............  Eastern U.S.                   0  520..............  1.25.
                                 (41,638).
                                Western U.S.                      39...............  Less than 1 percent.
                                 (53,303).                        (Total 559)......
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Under the MMPA humpback whales are considered a single stock (Central North Pacific); however, we have
  divided them here to account for DPSs listed under the ESA. Using the stock assessment from Muto et al., 2018
  for the Central North Pacific stock (10,103 whales) and calculations in Wade et al., 2016; 9,487 whales are
  expected to be from the Hawaii DPS and 606 from the Mexico DPS.
\b\ Take estimates are weighted based on calculated percentages of population for each distinct stock, assuming
  animals present would follow same probability of presence in project area.
\c\ Jefferson et al., 2019 presents the first abundance estimates for Dall's porpoise in the waters of Southeast
  Alaska with highest abundance recorded in spring (N = 5,381, CV = 25.4 percent), lower numbers in summer (N =
  2,680, CV = 19.6 percent), and lowest in fall (N = 1,637, CV = 23.3 percent). However, NMFS currently
  recognizes a single stock of Dall's porpoise in Alaskan waters and an estimate of 83,400 Dall's porpoises is
  used by NMFS for the entire stock (Muto et al., 2018).

Mitigation

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

Timing Restrictions

    All work will be conducted during daylight hours. If poor 
environmental conditions restrict visibility full visibility of the 
shutdown zone, pile installation would be delayed.

Sound Attenuation

    To minimize noise during impact pile driving, pile caps (pile 
softening material) will be used. DPD will use high-density 
polyethylene (HDPE) or ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMW) 
softening material on all templates to eliminate steel on steel noise 
generation.

Shutdown Zone for In-Water Heavy Machinery Work

    For in-water heavy machinery work (using, e.g., movement of the 
barge to the pile location; positioning of the pile on the substrate 
via a crane (i.e., stabling the pile), removal of the pile from the 
water column/substrate via a crane (i.e., deadpull); or placement of 
sound attenuation devices around the piles.) If a marine mammal comes 
within 10 m of such operations, operations shall cease and vessels 
shall reduce speed to the minimum level required to maintain steerage 
and safe working conditions.

[[Page 27281]]

Shutdown Zones

    For all pile driving/removal and drilling activities, DPD will 
establish a shutdown zone for a marine mammal species that is greater 
than its corresponding Level A harassment zone; except for a few 
circumstances during impact pile driving, over the course of 8 days, 
where the shutdown zone is smaller than the Level A harassment zone for 
high frequency cetaceans and phocids due to the practicability of 
shutdowns on the applicant and to the potential difficulty of observing 
these animals in the large Level A harassment zones. The calculated PTS 
isopleths were rounded up to a whole number to determine the actual 
shutdown zones that the applicant will operate under (Table 10). The 
purpose of a shutdown zone is generally to define an area within which 
shutdown of the activity would occur upon sighting of a marine mammal 
(or in anticipation of an animal entering the defined area).

                                             Table 10--Pile Driving Shutdown Zones During Project Activities
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Shutdown zones  (radial distance in meters, area in km\2\)
                                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Source                     Low-frequency           Mid-frequency          High-frequency
                                            cetaceans               cetaceans              cetaceans               Phocids                Otariids
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            In-Water Construction Activities
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Barge movements, pile positioning,   10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 sound attenuation placement *.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in steel installation (18 piles;  25 m (0.005763 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  25 m (0.005763 km\2\)  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 ~40 min per day on 4.5 days).
30-in steel temporary installation   25 m (0.005763 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  25 m (0.005763 km\2\)  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 (62 piles; ~2 hours per day on
 10.5 days).
30-in steel removal (62 piles; ~1    25 m (0.005763 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  25 m (0.005763 km\2\)  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 hour per day on 10.5 days).
30-in steel permanent installation   25 m (0.005763 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  25 m (0.005763 km\2\)  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 (3 piles; ~1 hour per day on 1.5
 days).
36-in steel permanent installation   25 m (0.005763 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  50 m (0.02307 km\2\).  25 m (0.005763 km\2\)  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 (16 piles; ~1 hour per day on 8
 days).
42-in steel permanent installation   50 m (0.02307 km\2\)..  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  50 m (0.02307 km\2\).  25 m (0.005763 km\2\)  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 (8 piles; ~2 hours per day on 4
 days).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Impact Pile Driving
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
36-in steel permanent installation   1,000 m (2.31 km\2\)..  50 m (0.02307 km\2\)..  100 m* (0.0875 km\2\)  50 m* (0.02307 km\2\)  50 m (0.02307 km\2\).
 (16 piles; ~10 min per day on 4
 days).
42-in steel permanent installation   750 m (1.44 km\2\)....  50 m (0.02307 km\2\)..  100 m* (0.0875 km\2\)  50 m* (0.02307 km\2\)  50 m (0.02307 km\2\).
 (8 piles; ~6 min per day on 4
 days).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Socketed Pile Installation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in steel permanent installation   25 m (0.005763 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  50 m (0.02307 km\2\).  15 m (0.0021 km\2\)..  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 (18 piles; ~2 hours per day on 9
 days).
30-in steel temporary installation   25 m (0.005763 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  50 m (0.02307 km\2\).  15 m (0.0021 km\2\)..  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 (up to 10 piles; ~2 hours per day
 on 5 days).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 27282]]

 
                                                                Rock Anchor Installation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8-in anchor permanent installation   25 m (0.005763 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  25 m (0.005763 km\2\)  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 (for 24-in piles, 2 anchors; ~1
 hour per day on 2 days).
33-in anchor permanent installation  100 m (0.0875 km\2\)..  10 m (0.00093 km\2\)..  100 m (0.0875 km\2\).  50 m (0.02307 km\2\).  10 m (0.00093 km\2\).
 (for 36- and 42-in piles, 24
 anchors; ~8 hours per day on 12
 days).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Due to practicability of the applicant to shutdown and the difficulty of observing some species and low occurrence of some species in the project
  area, such as high frequency cetaceans or pinnipeds out to this distance, the shutdown zones were reduced and Level A harassment takes were requested.

Non-Authorized Take Prohibited

    If a species enters or approaches the Level B harassment zone and 
that species is either not authorized for take or its authorized takes 
are met, pile driving and removal activities must shut down immediately 
using delay and shut-down procedures. Activities must not resume until 
the animal has been confirmed to have left the area or an observation 
time period of 15 minutes (min) has elapsed for pinnipeds and small 
cetaceans and 30 min for large whales.

Soft Start

    The use of a soft-start procedure are believed to provide 
additional protection to marine mammals by providing warning and/or 
giving marine mammals a chance to leave the area prior to the impact 
hammer operating at full capacity. For impact pile driving, contractors 
will be required to provide an initial set of three strikes from the 
hammer at 40 percent energy, followed by a 1-min waiting period. Then 
two subsequent three strike sets would occur. Soft Start is not 
required during vibratory pile driving and removal activities.
    Based on our evaluation of the applicant's planned measures, as 
well as other measures considered by NMFS, NMFS has determined that the 
planned mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least 
practicable impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, 
paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of 
similar significance.

Monitoring and Reporting

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

DPD Briefings

    DPD is will conduct briefings between construction supervisors and 
crews, marine mammal monitoring team, and DPD staff prior to the start 
of all pile driving activities and when new personnel join the work, in 
order to explain responsibilities, communication procedures, marine 
mammal monitoring protocol, and operational procedures. The crew will 
be requested to alert the PSO when a marine mammal is spotted in the 
action area.

Protected Species Observer Check-In With Construction Crew

    Each day prior to commencing pile driving activities, the lead NMFS 
approved Protected Species Observer (PSO) will conduct a radio check 
with the construction foreman or superintendent to confirm the 
activities and zones to be monitored that day. The construction foreman 
and lead PSO will maintain radio communications throughout the day so 
that the PSOs may be alerted to any changes in the planned construction 
activities and zones to be monitored.

[[Page 27283]]

Pre-Activity Monitoring

    Prior to the start of daily in-water construction activity, or 
whenever a break in pile driving of 30 min or longer occurs, PSOs will 
observe the shutdown and monitoring zones for a period of 30 min. The 
shutdown zone will be cleared when a marine mammal has not been 
observed within the zone for that 30-min period. If a marine mammal is 
observed within the shutdown zone, pile driving activities will not 
begin until the animal has left the shutdown zone or has not been 
observed for 15 min. If the Level B Harassment Monitoring Zone has been 
observed for 30 min and no marine mammals (for which take has not been 
authorized) are present within the zone, work can continue even if 
visibility becomes impaired within the Monitoring Zone. When a marine 
mammal permitted for Level B harassment take has been permitted is 
present in the Monitoring zone, piling activities may begin and Level B 
harassment take will be recorded.

Monitoring Zones

    DPD will establish and observe monitoring zones for Level B 
harassment as presented in Table 8. The monitoring zones for this 
project are areas where SPLs are equal to or exceed 120 dB rms (for 
vibratory pile driving/removal and socketing/rock anchoring) and 160 dB 
rms (for impact pile driving). These zones provide utility for 
monitoring conducted for mitigation purposes (i.e., shutdown zone 
monitoring) by establishing monitoring protocols for areas adjacent to 
the shutdown zones. Monitoring of the Level B harassment zones enables 
observers to be aware of and communicate the presence of marine mammals 
in the project area, but outside the shutdown zone, and thus prepare 
for potential shutdowns of activity.

Visual Monitoring

    Monitoring would be conducted 30 min before, during, and 30 min 
after all pile driving/removal and socking/rock anchoring activities. 
In addition, PSO shall record all incidents of marine mammal 
occurrence, regardless of distance from activity, and shall document 
any behavioral reactions in concert with distance from piles being 
driven/removed or during socketing and rock anchoring. Pile driving/
removal and socketing/anchoring activities include the time to install, 
remove, or socket/rock anchor a single pile or series of piles, as long 
as the time elapsed between uses of the pile driving equipment is no 
more than 30 min.
    Monitoring will be conducted by PSOs from on land and from a 
vessel. The number of PSOs will vary from three to four, depending on 
the type of pile driving, method of pile driving and size of pile, all 
of which determines the size of the harassment zones. Monitoring 
locations will be selected to provide an unobstructed view of all water 
within the shutdown zone and as much of the Level B harassment zone as 
possible for pile driving activities. Three PSOs will monitor during 
all impact pile driving activity at the lightering float project site. 
Three PSOs will monitor during all impact pile driving activities at 
the Berth II project site. Three PSOs will monitor during vibratory 
pile driving of 24-in and 30-in steel piles. Four PSOs will monitor 
during vibratory pile driving of 36-in and 42-in steel piles and during 
all socketing/rock anchoring activities.
    Three PSOs will monitor during all pile driving activities at the 
lightering float project site, with locations as follows: PSO #1: 
Stationed at or near the site of pile driving; PSO #2: Stationed on 
Long Island (southwest of Hoonah in Port Frederick Inlet) and 
positioned to be able to view west into Port Frederick Inlet and north 
towards the project area; and PSO #3: Stationed on a vessel traveling a 
circuitous route through the Level B harassment monitoring zone. Three 
PSOs will monitor during all impact pile driving activities at the 
Berth II project site, with locations as follows: PSO #1: Stationed at 
or near the site of pile driving; PSO #2: Stationed on Halibut Island 
(northwest of the project site in Port Frederick Inlet) and positioned 
to be able to view east towards Icy Strait and southeast towards the 
project area; and PSO #3: Stationed on a vessel traveling a circuitous 
route through the Level B monitoring zone.
    Three PSOs will monitoring during vibratory pile driving of 24- and 
30-in steel piles at the Berth II project site, with locations as 
follows PSO #1: Stationed at or near the site of pile driving; PSO #2: 
Stationed on Scraggy Island (northwest of the project site in Port 
Frederick Inlet) an positioned to be able to view south towards the 
project area; and PSO#3: Stationed on a vessel traveling a circuitous 
route through the Level B harassment monitoring zone.
    Four PSOs will monitor during vibratory pile driving of 36-in and 
42-in steel piles and during all socketing/rock anchoring activities 
with locations as follows: PSO #1: Stationed at or near the site of 
pile driving; PSO #2: Stationed on Hoonah Island (northwest of the 
project site in Port Frederick Inlet) and positioned to be able to view 
south towards the project site; PSO #3: Stationed across Icy Strait 
north of the project site (on the mainland or the Porpoise Islands) and 
positioned to be able to view west into Icy Strait and southwest 
towards the project site; and PSO #4: Stationed on a vessel traveling a 
circuitous route through the Level B monitoring zone.
    In addition, PSOs will work in shifts lasting no longer than 4 
hours with at least a 1-hour break between shifts, and will not perform 
duties as a PSO for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period (to reduce 
PSO fatigue).
    Monitoring of pile driving shall be conducted by qualified, NMFS-
approved PSOs, who shall have no other assigned tasks during monitoring 
periods. DPD shall adhere to the following conditions when selecting 
PSOs:
    [ssquf] Independent PSOs shall be used (i.e., not construction 
personnel);
    [ssquf] At least one PSO must have prior experience working as a 
marine mammal observer during construction activities;
    [ssquf] Other PSOs may substitute education (degree in biological 
science or related field) or training for experience;
    [ssquf] Where a team of three or more PSOs are required, a lead 
observer or monitoring coordinator shall be designated. The lead 
observer must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer 
during construction; and
    [ssquf] DPD shall submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS for all 
observers prior to monitoring.
    DPD shall ensure that the PSOs have the following additional 
qualifications:
    [ssquf] Visual acuity in both eyes (correction is permissible) 
sufficient for discernment of moving targets at the water's surface 
with ability to estimate target size and distance; use of binoculars 
may be necessary to correctly identify the target;
    [ssquf] Experience and ability to conduct field observations and 
collect data according to assigned protocols;
    [ssquf] Experience or training in the field identification of 
marine mammals, including the identification of behaviors;
    [ssquf] Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the 
construction operation to provide for personal safety during 
observations;
    [ssquf] Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of 
observations including but not limited to the number and species of 
marine mammals observed; dates and times when in-water construction 
activities were conducted; dates, times,

[[Page 27284]]

and reason for implementation of mitigation (or why mitigation was not 
implemented when required); and marine mammal behavior;
    [ssquf] Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with 
project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals 
observed in the area as necessary; and
    [ssquf] Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the 
construction operations to provide for personal safety during 
observations.

Notification of Intent To Commence Construction

    DPD shall inform NMFS OPR and the NMFS Alaska Region Protected 
Resources Division one week prior to commencing construction 
activities.

Reporting of Injured or Dead Marine Mammals

    In the unanticipated event that the planned activity clearly causes 
the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the IHA, such as 
serious injury, or mortality, DPD must immediately cease the specified 
activities and report the incident to the NMFS Office of Protected 
Resources and the Alaska Region Stranding Coordinator. The report must 
include the following information:
    [ssquf] Time and date of the incident;
    [ssquf] Description of the incident;
    [ssquf] Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, 
Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);
    [ssquf] Description of all marine mammal observations and active 
sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;
    [ssquf] Species identification or description of the animal(s) 
involved;
    [ssquf] Fate of the animal(s); and
    [ssquf] Photographs or video footage of the animal(s).
    Activities must not resume until NMFS is able to review the 
circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS will work with DPD to 
determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of 
further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. DPD may not resume 
their activities until notified by NMFS.
    In the event DPD discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and 
the lead observer determines that the cause of the injury or death is 
unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a 
moderate state of decomposition), DPD must immediately report the 
incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska 
Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report must include the same 
information as the bullets described above. Activities may continue 
while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work 
with DPD to determine whether additional mitigation measures or 
modifications to the activities are appropriate.
    In the event that DPD discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, 
and the lead observer determines that the injury or death is not 
associated with or related to the specified activities (e.g., 
previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced 
decomposition, or scavenger damage), DPD must report the incident to 
the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Region 
Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery.

Interim Monthly Reports

    During construction, DPD will submit brief, monthly reports to the 
NMFS Alaska Region Protected Resources Division that summarize PSO 
observations and recorded takes. Monthly reporting will allow NMFS to 
track the amount of take (including extrapolated takes), to allow 
reinitiation of consultation in a timely manner, if necessary. The 
monthly reports will be submitted by email to a NMFS representative. 
The reporting period for each monthly PSO report will be the entire 
calendar month, and reports will be submitted by close of business on 
the fifth day of the month following the end of the reporting period 
(e.g., the monthly report covering September 1-30, 2019, would be 
submitted to the NMFS by close of business on October 5, 2019).

Final Report

    DPD shall submit a draft report to NMFS no later than 90 days 
following the end of construction activities or 60 days prior to the 
issuance of any subsequent IHA for the project. DPD shall provide a 
final report within 30 days following resolution of NMFS' comments on 
the draft report. Reports shall contain, at minimum, the following:
    [ssquf] Date and time that monitored activity begins and ends for 
each day conducted (monitoring period);
    [ssquf] Construction activities occurring during each daily 
observation period, including how many and what type of piles driven;
    [ssquf] Deviation from initial proposal in pile numbers, pile 
types, average driving times, etc.;
    [ssquf] Weather parameters in each monitoring period (e.g., wind 
speed, percent cloud cover, visibility);
    [ssquf] Water conditions in each monitoring period (e.g., sea 
state, tide state);
    [ssquf] For each marine mammal sighting:
    [cir] Species, numbers, and, if possible, sex and age class of 
marine mammals;
    [cir] Description of any observable marine mammal behavior 
patterns, including bearing and direction of travel and distance from 
pile driving activity;
    [cir] Type of construction activity that was taking place at the 
time of sighting;
    [cir] Location and distance from pile driving activities to marine 
mammals and distance from the marine mammals to the observation point;
    [cir] If shutdown was implemented, behavioral reactions noted and 
if they occurred before or after shutdown.
    [cir] Estimated amount of time that the animals remained in the 
Level A or B Harassment Zone.
    [ssquf] Description of implementation of mitigation measures within 
each monitoring period (e.g., shutdown or delay);
    [ssquf] Other human activity in the area within each monitoring 
period.
    [ssquf] A summary of the following:
    [cir] Total number of individuals of each species detected within 
the Level B Harassment Zone, and estimated as taken if correction 
factor appropriate.
    [cir] Total number of individuals of each species detected within 
the Level A Harassment Zone and the average amount of time that they 
remained in that zone.
    [cir] Daily average number of individuals of each species 
(differentiated by month as appropriate) detected within the Level B 
Harassment Zone, and estimated as taken, if appropriate.

Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination

    NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the 
specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not 
reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A 
negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-
level effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough 
information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to 
considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be 
``taken'' through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the 
likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context 
of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or

[[Page 27285]]

location, migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely 
effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, 
and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative 
to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS's 
implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts 
from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated 
into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline 
(e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population 
size and growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused 
mortality, or ambient noise levels).
    As stated in the mitigation section, shutdown zones that are larger 
than the Level A harassment zones will be implemented in the majority 
of construction days, which, in combination with the fact that the 
zones are so small to begin with, is expected avoid the likelihood of 
Level A harassment for seven of the nine species. For the other two 
species (harbor seals and harbor porpoises), a small amount of Level A 
harassment has been conservatively authorized because the Level A 
harassment zones are larger than the planned shutdown zones. However, 
we expect, given the relatively short duration of the sound source 
(minutes a day during impact pile driving) that these animals may 
potentially be exposed to, could result in only a small degree of PTS 
that would impact the fitness of any individual animals.
    Exposures to elevated sound levels produced during pile driving 
activities may cause behavioral responses by an animal, but they are 
expected to be mild and temporary. Effects on individuals that are 
taken by Level B harassment, on the basis of reports in the literature 
as well as monitoring from other similar activities, will likely be 
limited to reactions such as increased swimming speeds, increased 
surfacing time, or decreased foraging (if such activity were occurring) 
(e.g., Thorson and Reyff, 2006; Lerma, 2014). Most likely, individuals 
will simply move away from the sound source and be temporarily 
displaced from the areas of pile driving, although even this reaction 
has been observed primarily only in association with impact pile 
driving. These reactions and behavioral changes are expected to subside 
quickly when the exposures cease.
    To minimize noise during pile driving, DPC will use pile caps (pile 
softening material). Much of the noise generated during pile 
installation comes from contact between the pile being driven and the 
steel template used to hold the pile in place. The contractor will use 
high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or ultra-high-molecular- weight 
polyethylene (UHMW) softening material on all templates to eliminate 
steel on steel noise generation.
    During all impact driving, implementation of soft start procedures 
and monitoring of established shutdown zones will be required, 
significantly reducing the possibility of injury. Given sufficient 
notice through use of soft start (for impact driving), marine mammals 
are expected to move away from an irritating sound source prior to it 
becoming potentially injurious. In addition, PSOs will be stationed 
within the action area whenever pile driving/removal and socketing/rock 
anchoring activities are underway. Depending on the activity, DDP will 
employ the use of three to four PSOs to ensure all monitoring and 
shutdown zones are properly observed. Although the expansion of Berth 
facilities would have some permanent removal of habitat available to 
marine mammals, the area lost would be small, approximately equal to 
the area of the cruise ship berth and associated pile placements. The 
planned design would not impede migration of marine mammals through the 
planned action area. The small lightering facility nearer to the 
cannery would likely not impact any marine mammal habitat since its 
planned location is in between two existing, heavily-traveled docks, 
and within an active marine commercial and tourist area. There are no 
known pinniped haulouts or other biologically important areas for 
marine mammals near the action area.
    In addition, impacts to marine mammal prey species are expected to 
be minor and temporary. Overall, the area impacted by the project is 
very small compared to the available habitat around Hoonah. The most 
likely impact to prey will be temporary behavioral avoidance of the 
immediate area. During pile driving/removal and socketing/rock 
anchoring activities, it is expected that fish and marine mammals would 
temporarily move to nearby locations and return to the area following 
cessation of in-water construction activities. Therefore, indirect 
effects on marine mammal prey during the construction are not expected 
to be substantial.
    In summary and as described above, the following factors primarily 
support our determination that the impacts resulting from this activity 
are not expected to adversely affect the species or stock through 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival:
    [ssquf] No mortality is anticipated or authorized;
    [ssquf] Anticipated incidents of Level A harassment are very small 
in number and would consist of no more than a small degree of PTS;
    [ssquf] Anticipated incidents of Level B harassment consist of, at 
worst, temporary modifications in behavior; and
    [ssquf] There are no rookeries, or other known areas or features of 
special significance for foraging or reproduction in the project area;
    [ssquf] Minimal impacts to marine mammal habitat are expected;
    [ssquf] The action area is located and within an active marine 
commercial and tourist area;
    [ssquf] The required mitigation measures (i.e. shutdown zones and 
pile caps) are expected to be effective in reducing the effects of the 
specified activity.
    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the 
specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into 
consideration the implementation of the planned monitoring and 
mitigation measures, NMFS finds that the total marine mammal take from 
the planned activity will have a negligible impact on all affected 
marine mammal species or stocks.

Small Numbers

    As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be 
authorized under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for specified 
activities other than military readiness activities. The MMPA does not 
define small numbers and so, in practice, where estimated numbers are 
available, NMFS compares the number of individuals taken to the most 
appropriate estimation of abundance of the relevant species or stock in 
our determination of whether an authorization is limited to small 
numbers of marine mammals. Additionally, other qualitative factors may 
be considered in the analysis, such as the temporal or spatial scale of 
the activities.
    The authorized take for six of the nine marine mammal stocks 
comprises less than five percent of the stock abundance. For Alaska 
resident, northern resident and transient killer whales, the number of 
instances of take as compared to the stock abundance are 19.9 percent, 
19.9, and 20.2 percent, respectively. However, since three stocks of 
killer whales could occur in the action area, the 570 total killer 
whale takes are likely split among the three stocks. Nonetheless, since 
NMFS does not have a good way to predict exactly how take will be 
split, NMFS

[[Page 27286]]

looked at the most conservative scenario, which is that all 570 takes 
could potentially be distributed to each of the three stocks. This is a 
highly unlikely scenario to occur and the percentages of each stock 
taken are predicted to be significantly lower. Further, these 
percentages do not take into consideration that some number of these 
take instances are likely repeat takes incurred by the same 
individuals, thereby lowering the number of individuals.
    There are no official stock abundances for harbor porpoise and 
minke whales; however, as discussed in greater detail in the 
``Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities,'' 
we believe for the abundance information that is available, the 
estimated takes are likely small percentages of the stock abundance. 
For harbor porpoise, the abundance for the Southeast Alaska stock is 
likely more represented by the aerial surveys that were conducted as 
these surveys had better coverage and were corrected for observer bias. 
Based on this data, the estimated take could potentially be 
approximately 17 percent of the stock abundance. However, this is 
unlikely and the percentage of the stock taken is likely lower as the 
take estimates are conservative and the project occurs in a small 
footprint compared to the available habitat in Southeast Alaska. For 
minke whales, in the northern part of their range they are believed to 
be migratory and so few minke whales have been seen during three 
offshore Gulf of Alaska surveys that a population estimate could not be 
determined. With only nine planned takes for this species, the 
percentage of take in relation to the stock abundance is likely to be 
very small.
    Based on the analysis contained herein of the planned activity 
(including the mitigation and monitoring measures) and the anticipated 
take of marine mammals, NMFS finds that small numbers of marine mammals 
will be taken relative to the population size of the affected species 
or stocks.

Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination

    In September 2018, DPD contacted the Indigenous People's Council 
for Marine Mammals (IPCoMM), the Alaska Sea Otter and Steller Sea Lion 
Commission, and the Hoonah Indian Association (HIA) to determine 
potential project impacts on local subsistence activities. No comments 
were received from IPCoMM or the Alaska Sea Otter and Steller Sea Lion 
Commission. On October 23, 2018, a conference call between 
representatives from DPD, Turnagain Marine Construction, SolsticeAK, 
and the HIA were held to discuss tribal concerns regarding subsistence 
impacts. The tribe confirmed that Steller sea lions and harbor seals 
are harvested in and around the project area. The HIA referenced the 
2012 subsistence technical paper by Wolf et al. (2013) as the most 
recent information available on marine mammal harvesting in Hoonah and 
agreed that the planned construction activities are unlikely to have 
significant impacts to marine mammals as they are used in subsistence 
applications. Information on the timing of the IHA issuance was 
provided by DPD via email to the tribe on October 23, 2018. There have 
been no further comments on this project.
    Therefore, we believe there are no relevant subsistence uses of the 
affected marine mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. 
NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks 
would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of 
such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

National Environmental Policy Act

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

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any 
action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated 
critical habitat. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, 
NMFS consults internally, in this case with the Alaska Regional Office 
(AKRO) whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or 
threatened species.
    NMFS is authorizing take of Mexico DPS humpback whales, which are 
listed and Western DPS Steller sea lions under the ESA. The Permit and 
Conservation Division completed a Section 7 consultation with the 
Alaska Regional Office for the issuance of this IHA. The Alaska 
Regional Office's biological opinion states that the action is not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of Western DPS Steller sea 
lions or Mexico DPS humpback whales.

Authorization

    As a result of these determinations, NMFS authorizes an IHA to DPD 
for conducting pile driving and removal activities for the construction 
of the Hoonah Berth II cruise ship terminal and lightering float, Icy 
Strait, Hoonah Alaska provided the previously mentioned mitigation, 
monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated.

    Dated: June 6, 2019.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-12318 Filed 6-11-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P