Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Restoration Blueprint; Announcement of Public Meetings, 45728-45730 [2019-18783]

Download as PDF 45728 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 169 / Friday, August 30, 2019 / Notices topic described below are subject to change. For the latest agenda please refer to the SAB website: http:// sab.noaa.gov/SABMeetings.aspx. ADDRESSES: Public access is available at: NOAA, SSMC 3 Room 8836. 1315 EastWest Highway, Silver Spring, MD. Members of the public may participate virtually by registering at: https:// attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/ 7316055114512901633. The NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) was established by a Decision Memorandum dated September 25, 1997, and is the only Federal Advisory Committee with responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on strategies for research, education, and application of science to operations and information services. SAB activities and advice provide necessary input to ensure that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) science programs are of the highest quality and provide optimal support to resource management. Status: The meeting will be open to public participation with a 5-minute public comment period at 11:50 a.m.– 11:55 a.m. EST. The SAB expects that public statements presented at its meetings will not be repetitive of previously submitted verbal or written statements. In general, each individual or group making a verbal presentation will be limited to a total time of two (2) minutes. Written comments for the meeting should be received in the SAB Executive Director’s Office by September 3, 2019 to provide sufficient time for SAB review. Written comments received after by the SAB Executive Director after these dates will be distributed to the SAB, but may not be reviewed prior to the meeting date. Special Accommodations: These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for special accommodations may be directed no later than 12:00 p.m. on September 3, 2019, to Dr. Cynthia Decker, SAB Executive Director, SSMC3, Room 11230, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MC 20910; Email: Cynthia.Decker@noaa.gov. Matters To Be Considered: The meeting will include a discussion of the recommendations from the SAB Environmental Information Services Working Group regarding the Environmental Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC). The Meeting materials, including work products will be made available on the SAB website: http:// sab.noaa.gov/SABMeetings.aspx. jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:43 Aug 29, 2019 Jkt 247001 Dr. Cynthia Decker, Executive Director, SSMC3, Room 11230, 1315 East-West Hwy., Silver Spring, MD 20910; Phone Number: 301–734–1156; Email: Cynthia.Decker@noaa.gov; or visit the SAB website at http://sab.noaa.gov/ SABMeetings.aspx. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dated: August 27, 2019. David Holst, Chief Financial Officer/Administrative Officer, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 2019–18847 Filed 8–29–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–KD–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XQ003 Special Meeting of the Advisory Committee to the United States Delegation to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of Advisory Committee meeting and webinar/conference call. AGENCY: The Advisory Committee (Committee) to the U.S. Section to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) announces a special meeting to be held September 5–6, 2019. The meeting is open to the public and will be accessible via conference call and webinar. SUMMARY: The meeting and webinar will take place in open session on September 5, 2019, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and September 6, 2019, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel, 8777 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. The meeting will also be accessible via conference call and webinar. Conference call and webinar access information are available at: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/event/specialmeeting-us-iccat-advisory-committee. The meeting agenda and materials will be posted to the same site. Participants are strongly encouraged to log/dial in 15 minutes prior to the meeting. NMFS will show the presentations via webinar and audio will be available via phone. There will not be opportunity for public comment. DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terra Lederhouse at (301) 427–8360. The Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section to ICCAT will meet in open session to receive and discuss information on recent white marlin and yellowfin tuna assessments, updates on the shortfin mako stock assessment, and ICCAT’s progress on the Atlantic bluefin tuna management strategy evaluation. Additional information on the meeting and the agenda will be posted prior to the meeting at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/event/specialmeeting-us-iccat-advisory-committee. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Special Accommodations The meeting location is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Terra Lederhouse at (301) 427–8360 at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 22, 2019. Alexa Cole, Acting Director, Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–18760 Filed 8–29–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Restoration Blueprint; Announcement of Public Meetings Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability and public meetings. AGENCY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to evaluate a range of alternatives for changes to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) to expand the boundary of the sanctuary, update sanctuary-wide regulations, update the individual marine zones and their associated regulations, and revise the sanctuary management plan. FKNMS protects 3,800 square miles of waters surrounding the Florida Keys, from SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30AUN1.SGM 30AUN1 jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 169 / Friday, August 30, 2019 / Notices south of Miami westward to the Dry Tortugas. Within the boundary of the sanctuary lie spectacular, unique, and nationally significant marine resources including North America’s only coral barrier reef, extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands, and more than 6,000 species of marine life. The sanctuary also protects pieces of our Nation’s history such as shipwrecks and other archeological resources. The DEIS includes a proposed action and a range of alternatives that would help improve the condition of resources in the Florida Keys through a series of regulatory and management measures designed to reduce threats and, where appropriate, restore coral reefs, seagrasses, and other important habitats. NOAA is soliciting public comment on the DEIS, also referred to as the Restoration Blueprint. DATES: Comments on this DEIS will be considered if received by January 31, 2020. Public meetings will be held in the following locations and times as indicated below. Date: Monday, September 23, Location: Key West High School, Address: 2100 Flagler Avenue, Key West, FL 33040, Time: 6–9 p.m. Date: Monday, September 30, Location: Marathon Middle High School, Address: 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon, FL 33050, Time: 6–9 p.m. Date: Monday, October 7, Location: Coral Shores High School, Address: 89901 Old Highway, Tavernier, FL 33070, Time: 6–9 p.m. Date: Tuesday, October 15, Location: TBD, Address: 1 Knights Key Boulevard, Marathon, FL 33050, Time: 9 a.m.—TBD. Date: Monday, October 28, Location: Newman Alumni Center, Address: 6200 San Amaro Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146, Time: 6–9 p.m. Date: Monday, November 4, Location: Holiday Inn Airport at Town Center, Address: 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive Fort Myers, FL 33913, Time: 6– 9 p.m. Date: Tuesday, December 10, Location: TBD, Address: 1 Knights Key Boulevard, Marathon, FL 33050, Time: 9 a.m.—TBD. The public meetings on September 23, 30, and October 7 in the Florida Keys are designed to be informational only. NOAA will not provide time for oral public comment; however, written comments will be accepted. These meetings will explain the actions, purpose, and likely impacts proposed in the Restoration Blueprint. NOAA will provide for oral and written public comment at the October 15 and December 10 Sanctuary Advisory Council meetings at the Isla Bella Beach VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:43 Aug 29, 2019 Jkt 247001 Resort in Marathon. Please check https://floridakeys.noaa.gov/ for the schedule and time. NOAA will also accept oral and written public comment at the October 28 Miami-area public meeting and at the November 4 public meeting in Fort Myers. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NOS–2019–0094, by the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-20190094, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Written comments may also be mailed to: Sarah Fangman, Superintendent, FKNMS, 33 East Quay Rd., Key West, FL 33040. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personally identifiable information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Beth Dieveney, Policy Analyst, FKNMS at 305–797–6818 or by email at beth.dieveney@noaa.gov. Copies of the DEIS can be downloaded or viewed on the internet at www.regulations.gov (search for docket #NOAA–NOS–2019–0094) or at https://floridakeys.noaa.gov/. Copies can also be obtained by contacting Beth Dieveney. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: I. Background Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Designated in 1990, FKNMS was the ninth national marine sanctuary to be established in a network that comprises 13 sanctuaries and two marine national monuments. As one of the largest marine protected areas in the United States, the sanctuary currently protects approximately 3,800 square miles of coastal and ocean waters from the estuarine waters of South Florida along the Florida Keys archipelago, PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 45729 encompassing more than 1,700 islands, out to Dry Tortugas National Park. The mission of the sanctuary is to protect the marine resources of the Florida Keys while facilitating human uses that are consistent with the primary objective of sanctuary resource protection. Through continued sciencebased management, FKNMS endeavors to sustain high-quality environmental and socioeconomic resources for current and future generations. The Florida Keys support more than 77,000 residents and approximately 5.5 million visitors, who collectively contribute to the $4.7 billion economy (Key West Chamber of Commerce, 2018), which relies on the existence and maintenance of a healthy marine environment. The ecosystems of FKNMS provide habitats for more than 6,000 species of fishes, invertebrates, and plants in addition to uniquely expansive and diverse seagrass and coral reef communities. These resources are increasingly threatened by various factors, including high levels of use, coral disease, and climate change. Since release of the 2011 condition report, sanctuary resources have been impacted by Hurricane Irma, a serious coral disease outbreak, a seagrass die-off and other threats. FKNMS is currently operating under a 2007 revised management plan and regulations largely developed as part of the original management plan process in 1997, with minor modifications to the regulations in 2001 and 2010. Consequently, the sanctuary’s 1997 regulations and marine zones and 2007 management plan need updating to reflect current strategies for protecting sanctuary resource and providing recreational access and public use opportunities. II. NOAA’s Proposed Action This DEIS includes a proposed action with various components intended to counteract the decline in resource condition in the Florida Keys through a series of regulatory and management measures. These measures are designed to reduce threats and, where appropriate, restore coral reefs, seagrasses, and other important habitats. Following the principles and processes set forth in the National Marine Sanctuaries Act ((NMSA), 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.), this DEIS evaluates the impacts to the human and ecological environment under a variety of management measures that would further protect the ecosystem and maintain the vibrant quality of life and economies of the Florida Keys. As the lead agency for this federal action, NOAA proposes to expand the boundary of the sanctuary, update E:\FR\FM\30AUN1.SGM 30AUN1 45730 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 169 / Friday, August 30, 2019 / Notices sanctuary-wide regulations, update the individual marine zones and their associated regulations, and revise the sanctuary management plan. In preparing this DEIS, NOAA worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), a cooperating agency that manages the USFWS Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge Complex areas that overlap portions of FKNMS. NOAA is seeking public comment on the DEIS, which is available at https:// floridakeys.noaa.gov/ or may be obtained by contacting the individual listed under the heading FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. Dated: August 23, 2019. John Armor, Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. [FR Doc. 2019–18783 Filed 8–29–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–NK–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XW004 Marine Mammals; Pinniped Removal Authority National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: On June 13, 2019, NMFS received an application from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, on behalf of their respective states; the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation; and the Willamette Committee (hereafter called—‘‘eligible entities’’). The eligible entities are requesting authorization to intentionally take, by lethal methods, California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus: Eastern stock) that are located in the main stem of the Columbia River between river mile 112 and McNary Dam (river mile 292), or in any tributary to the Columbia River that includes spawning habitat of threatened or endangered salmon or steelhead (Onchorynchus spp.). This action is intended to reduce or eliminate sea lion predation on the fishery stocks that are jspears on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:43 Aug 29, 2019 Jkt 247001 listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Comments must be received by October 29, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2019–0073, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http:// www.regulations.gov. Go to https:// www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAANMFS-2019-0073, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Comments on the application should be addressed to: National Marine Fisheries Service, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232 ATTN: Protected Resources Division, NOAA– NMFS–2019–0073. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publically accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). DATES: Mr. Robert Anderson, NMFS, West Coast Region (503) 231–2226. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Electronic Access The application is available via the internet at the following address: http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ protected_species/marine_mammals/ authorized_stateshtml. Statutory Authority Section 120 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361, et seq.) allows the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, and the West Coast Regional Administrator of NMFS, to authorize the intentional lethal taking of individually identifiable pinnipeds that are having a significant negative impact on the decline or recovery of salmonid fishery stocks which have been listed as threatened or endangered species under the ESA, are approaching threatened species or endangered species status (as those terms are defined in that Act), or PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 migrate through the Ballard Locks at Seattle, Washington. Section 120(b)(1) establishes the criteria whereby a state may apply to the Secretary requesting authorization for the intentional lethal taking of individually identifiable pinnipeds which are having a significant negative impact on the decline or recovery of salmonid fishery stocks. Section 120(b)(2) requires that any such application shall include a means of identifying the individual pinniped or pinnipeds, and shall include a detailed description of the problem interaction and expected benefits of the taking. Section 120(c)(1) requires the Secretary to determine whether an application has produced sufficient evidence to warrant establishing a Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force (Task Force). On June 18, 2019, NMFS determined that the application received on June 13, 2019, contained sufficient evidence to warrant establishing a Task Force, which will be established after the closing of a public comment period. Public Law 115–329, the Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act of 2018, amended Public Law 103–238, the MMPA Amendments of 1994, by replacing section 120(f) California sea lions and Pacific harbor seals; investigation and report, with a new section 120(f) Temporary Marine Mammal Removal Authority on the Waters of the Columbia River or its Tributaries. The 2018 amendments to section 120(f) superseded the individually identifiable and significant negative impact criteria, within the meaning of section 120(b)(1), by statutory exception. The 2018 Amendments also included additional eligible entities 1 not identified in section 120(b)(1), that may apply for authorization to intentionally take, by lethal methods, sea lions present within the geographic area (see Summary) established in section 120(f). For the purposes of this application, a sea lion or sea lions present within the geographic area (see Summary) established in section 120(f) are deemed to be individually 1 The Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation; and the section 120(f)(6)(D) Committee. The 120(f)(6)(D) Committee fulfills the requirements for an eligible entity under section 120(f)(6)(A)(iii) of the MMPA. Pursuant to this section of the statute, the Committee members include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community, and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon. E:\FR\FM\30AUN1.SGM 30AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 169 (Friday, August 30, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45728-45730]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-18783]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Restoration Blueprint; 
Announcement of Public Meetings

AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of 
Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability and public meetings.

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

SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has 
prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to evaluate a 
range of alternatives for changes to the Florida Keys National Marine 
Sanctuary (FKNMS) to expand the boundary of the sanctuary, update 
sanctuary-wide regulations, update the individual marine zones and 
their associated regulations, and revise the sanctuary management plan. 
FKNMS protects 3,800 square miles of waters surrounding the Florida 
Keys, from

[[Page 45729]]

south of Miami westward to the Dry Tortugas. Within the boundary of the 
sanctuary lie spectacular, unique, and nationally significant marine 
resources including North America's only coral barrier reef, extensive 
seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands, and more than 6,000 species of 
marine life. The sanctuary also protects pieces of our Nation's history 
such as shipwrecks and other archeological resources. The DEIS includes 
a proposed action and a range of alternatives that would help improve 
the condition of resources in the Florida Keys through a series of 
regulatory and management measures designed to reduce threats and, 
where appropriate, restore coral reefs, seagrasses, and other important 
habitats. NOAA is soliciting public comment on the DEIS, also referred 
to as the Restoration Blueprint.

DATES: Comments on this DEIS will be considered if received by January 
31, 2020. Public meetings will be held in the following locations and 
times as indicated below.

Date: Monday, September 23, Location: Key West High School, Address: 
2100 Flagler Avenue, Key West, FL 33040, Time: 6-9 p.m.
Date: Monday, September 30, Location: Marathon Middle High School, 
Address: 350 Sombrero Beach Road, Marathon, FL 33050, Time: 6-9 p.m.
Date: Monday, October 7, Location: Coral Shores High School, Address: 
89901 Old Highway, Tavernier, FL 33070, Time: 6-9 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, October 15, Location: TBD, Address: 1 Knights Key 
Boulevard, Marathon, FL 33050, Time: 9 a.m.--TBD.
Date: Monday, October 28, Location: Newman Alumni Center, Address: 6200 
San Amaro Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146, Time: 6-9 p.m.
Date: Monday, November 4, Location: Holiday Inn Airport at Town Center, 
Address: 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive Fort Myers, FL 33913, Time: 6-9 
p.m.
Date: Tuesday, December 10, Location: TBD, Address: 1 Knights Key 
Boulevard, Marathon, FL 33050, Time: 9 a.m.--TBD.

    The public meetings on September 23, 30, and October 7 in the 
Florida Keys are designed to be informational only. NOAA will not 
provide time for oral public comment; however, written comments will be 
accepted. These meetings will explain the actions, purpose, and likely 
impacts proposed in the Restoration Blueprint. NOAA will provide for 
oral and written public comment at the October 15 and December 10 
Sanctuary Advisory Council meetings at the Isla Bella Beach Resort in 
Marathon. Please check https://floridakeys.noaa.gov/ for the schedule 
and time. NOAA will also accept oral and written public comment at the 
October 28 Miami-area public meeting and at the November 4 public 
meeting in Fort Myers.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NOS-2019-0094, by the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2019-0094, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Written comments may also be mailed to: Sarah Fangman, 
Superintendent, FKNMS, 33 East Quay Rd., Key West, FL 33040.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personally identifiable 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beth Dieveney, Policy Analyst, FKNMS 
at 305-797-6818 or by email at [email protected].
    Copies of the DEIS can be downloaded or viewed on the internet at 
www.regulations.gov (search for docket #NOAA-NOS-2019-0094) or at 
https://floridakeys.noaa.gov/. Copies can also be obtained by 
contacting Beth Dieveney.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

    Designated in 1990, FKNMS was the ninth national marine sanctuary 
to be established in a network that comprises 13 sanctuaries and two 
marine national monuments. As one of the largest marine protected areas 
in the United States, the sanctuary currently protects approximately 
3,800 square miles of coastal and ocean waters from the estuarine 
waters of South Florida along the Florida Keys archipelago, 
encompassing more than 1,700 islands, out to Dry Tortugas National 
Park.
    The mission of the sanctuary is to protect the marine resources of 
the Florida Keys while facilitating human uses that are consistent with 
the primary objective of sanctuary resource protection. Through 
continued science-based management, FKNMS endeavors to sustain high-
quality environmental and socioeconomic resources for current and 
future generations. The Florida Keys support more than 77,000 residents 
and approximately 5.5 million visitors, who collectively contribute to 
the $4.7 billion economy (Key West Chamber of Commerce, 2018), which 
relies on the existence and maintenance of a healthy marine 
environment. The ecosystems of FKNMS provide habitats for more than 
6,000 species of fishes, invertebrates, and plants in addition to 
uniquely expansive and diverse seagrass and coral reef communities. 
These resources are increasingly threatened by various factors, 
including high levels of use, coral disease, and climate change. Since 
release of the 2011 condition report, sanctuary resources have been 
impacted by Hurricane Irma, a serious coral disease outbreak, a 
seagrass die-off and other threats.
    FKNMS is currently operating under a 2007 revised management plan 
and regulations largely developed as part of the original management 
plan process in 1997, with minor modifications to the regulations in 
2001 and 2010. Consequently, the sanctuary's 1997 regulations and 
marine zones and 2007 management plan need updating to reflect current 
strategies for protecting sanctuary resource and providing recreational 
access and public use opportunities.

II. NOAA's Proposed Action

    This DEIS includes a proposed action with various components 
intended to counteract the decline in resource condition in the Florida 
Keys through a series of regulatory and management measures. These 
measures are designed to reduce threats and, where appropriate, restore 
coral reefs, seagrasses, and other important habitats. Following the 
principles and processes set forth in the National Marine Sanctuaries 
Act ((NMSA), 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.), this DEIS evaluates the impacts 
to the human and ecological environment under a variety of management 
measures that would further protect the ecosystem and maintain the 
vibrant quality of life and economies of the Florida Keys.
    As the lead agency for this federal action, NOAA proposes to expand 
the boundary of the sanctuary, update

[[Page 45730]]

sanctuary-wide regulations, update the individual marine zones and 
their associated regulations, and revise the sanctuary management plan. 
In preparing this DEIS, NOAA worked closely with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (USFWS), a cooperating agency that manages the USFWS 
Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge Complex areas that overlap 
portions of FKNMS.
    NOAA is seeking public comment on the DEIS, which is available at 
https://floridakeys.noaa.gov/ or may be obtained by contacting the 
individual listed under the heading FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.

    Dated: August 23, 2019.
John Armor,
Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
[FR Doc. 2019-18783 Filed 8-29-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P