Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specific Activities; Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Pile Driving Activities During Construction of a Ferry Terminal at Seaplane Lagoon, Alameda Point, San Francisco, California, 45983-45997 [2019-18884]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, NMFS consults internally whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species. NMFS is proposing to authorize take of North Atlantic right whales and fin whales, which are listed under the ESA. The NMFS Office of Protected Resources has requested initiation of Section 7 consultation with the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office for the issuance of this IHA. NMFS will conclude the ESA consultation prior to reaching a determination regarding the proposed issuance of the authorization. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Proposed Authorization As a result of these preliminary determinations, NMFS proposes to issue an IHA to Transco for conducting construction activities in Raritan Bay for a period of one year, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated. A draft of the proposed IHA can be found at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act. Request for Public Comments We request comment on our analyses, the proposed authorization, and any other aspect of this Notice of Proposed IHA for the proposed action. We also request at this time comment on the potential renewal of this proposed IHA as described in the paragraph below. Please include with your comments any supporting data or literature citations to help inform decisions on the request for this IHA or a subsequent Renewal. On a case-by-case basis, NMFS may issue a one-year IHA renewal with an additional 15 days for public comments when (1) another year of identical or nearly identical activities as described in the Specified Activities section of this notice is planned or (2) the activities as described in the Specified Activities section of this notice would not be completed by the time the IHA expires and a Renewal would allow for completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section of this notice, provided all of the following conditions are met: • A request for renewal is received no later than 60 days prior to expiration of the current IHA. • The request for renewal must include the following: (1) An explanation that the activities to be conducted under the requested Renewal are identical to the activities analyzed under the initial IHA, are a subset of the activities, or include changes so minor (e.g., reduction in pile VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 size) that the changes do not affect the previous analyses, mitigation and monitoring requirements, or take estimates (with the exception of reducing the type or amount of take because only a subset of the initially analyzed activities remain to be completed under the Renewal). (2) A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized. • Upon review of the request for Renewal, the status of the affected species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS determines that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, the mitigation and monitoring measures will remain the same and appropriate, and the findings in the initial IHA remain valid. Dated: August 28, 2019. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–18931 Filed 8–30–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XR009 Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specific Activities; Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Pile Driving Activities During Construction of a Ferry Terminal at Seaplane Lagoon, Alameda Point, San Francisco, California 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 the City of Alameda (City) to incidentally harass, by Level A and B harassment only, marine mammals during pile driving and removal activities during construction of a ferry terminal at Seaplane Lagoon, Alameda Point, San Francisco, California. DATES: This Authorization is effective from August 20, 2019 through August 19, 2020. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 45983 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-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 February 22, 2019, NMFS received a request from the City for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving activities during construction of a ferry terminal in Seaplane Lagoon, Alameda, California. The application was deemed adequate and complete on June 28, 2019. The applicant’s request was for take seven species of marine mammals by Level B harassment only. Neither the City nor NMFS expects serious injury or mortality to result from E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 45984 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices this activity and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate. Description of Activity Seaplane Lagoon is located at the western end of Alameda Island within the 150-acre Waterfront Town Center area of Alameda Point and on the former Alameda Point Naval Air Station in Alameda, California. The project area is located along the eastern shoreline of Seaplane Lagoon, west of Ferry Point, south of West Atlantic Avenue, and north of West Oriskany Avenue. The purpose of this project is to provide facilities to expand the existing ferry service from Alameda and Oakland to San Francisco in order to address the limited capacity at the existing Main Street Ferry Terminal, accommodate the anticipated increase in demand for ferry service from Alameda to San Francisco due to planned development of the Alameda Point Project, and to provide enhanced emergency response services to Alameda in the event of transbay service disruptions. Project construction is expected begin in August 2019 and will be completed within approximately one year of initiation. All of the in-water work (float installation with piles and gangway) is expected to be completed within one environmental work season (August 20 to November 30). Approximately 24 total days of pile driving activities are estimated to occur, with 12 days of vibratory hammering installation and removal for template piles, 6 days of vibratory hammering for permanent piles, and 6 days of impact hammering for permanent piles. A pier and abutment are required at the entrance to the ferry terminal to provide secure and safe entry from the land to the passenger access gangway. The pier will extend out from the abutment to provide sufficient depth for the ferry vessels and float. The abutment will be located on the shoreline and will consist of a concrete abutment (24 feet (ft) long by 3 ft wide) supported on steel piles. The pier will be placed in the water and consist of a cast-in-place concrete structure (83.1 ft long by 20 ft wide) supported on piles with a perimeter guardrail. Approximately six 24-inch (in) diameter octagonal concrete piles offshore of the revetment and four 24-in diameter steel piles inshore of the revetment will be used for the pier. The abutment and pier deck will be installed above the high tide line. The pier will be covered by a canopy similar to those on other San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) terminals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dimensions would be longer than the pier by 16 ft (100 ft long by 20 ft wide), with an approximate height of 8.5 ft to 20 ft above the pier deck. The additional length would overhang the pier landside and shade the stairs up to the pier. A gangway will connect the pier to the boarding float. The aluminum gangway (90 ft long by 10 ft wide) will be supported on the landside end of the pier by cantilevered seat supports, and the waterside end of the gangway will be supported by a boarding float. The finished walking surface, which will consist of fiberglass micromesh decking, will range in elevation from 8.4 ft at the pier to approximately 4.4 ft above the water surface on the boarding float. The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal will include a boarding float where passengers will board and disembark from the ferry (see Figure 3 of the application). The float structure will be a steel pontoon barge (135 ft long by 42 ft wide by 8 ft deep) with internal compartments. Fenders and mooring cleats will be located around the perimeter of the float to accommodate vessel berthing scenarios. The float will be held in position with an arrangement of four 36-in diameter steel guide piles and two 36-in diameter steel fender piles, totaling six piles. Piles will be installed for the abutment, pier, and float. The 36-in steel piles will be installed with a vibratory hammer, 24-in concrete piles will be installed with an impact hammer, and 14-in steel template piles will be installed with a vibratory hammer (see Table 1 below). The abutment piles will be installed from the landside, and are expected to require an impact hammer to penetrate the underlying material. Four steel piles (the abutment piles) will be installed above the high tide line and therefore are not discussed further. Template piles will be used to support the in-water piles. These will consist of 12 to 18 14-in steel H-type piles (see Table 1 below). One template typically includes four piles, but up to six template piles would be used at one time. (see Table 1 below). TABLE 1—PILE DRIVING AND REMOVAL ACTIVITIES FOR SEAPLANE LAGOON FERRY TERMINAL Project component Temporary template pile installation Description Diameter of Steel Pile (inches) ........................................................................ # of Piles .......................................................................................................... Temporary template pile removal Permanent pile installation Permanent pile installation 14 18 14 18 24 6 36 6 18 6 18 6 0 0 6 1 0 0 0 0 6 1 0 0 Vibratory Pile Driving Total Quantity .................................................................................................. Max # Piles Vibrated per Day .......................................................................... khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Impact Pile Driving Total Quantity .................................................................................................. Max # Piles Impacted per Day ........................................................................ Further details of the planned DPD project is provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 34347; July 18, 2019). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 Comments and Responses A notice of NMFS’s proposal to issue an IHA to the City was published in the Federal Register on July 18, 2019 (84 FR 34347). That notice described, in detail, PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the City’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 E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices comments from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). The Commission recommended that NMFS issue the IHA, subject to inclusion of the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures. Comment: The Commission informally noted there were specification missing or incorrect in the proposed hydroacoustic monitoring plan, including number of piles monitored, farfield measurements, frequency range of the hydrophone, and collection of background sound Response: NMFS discussed these items with the Commission during the comment period and have confirmed the following changes. Two piles from each pile type will be monitored. For impact installation, two 24-in concrete piles, for vibratory installation, 36-in steel piles, and for vibratory installation and extraction, two H-piles will be monitored. The far-field hydrophone will be located at least 1 km from the 36-in piles during vibratory installation to better assess the extent of the Level B harassment zone. The City will conduct recordings from 10 Hz to 20 kHz. Further, the City will collect background sound measurements continuously for 10 minutes prior to pile driving. NMFS has confirmed that the various additions and revisions are included in the final authorization and the hydroacoustic monitoring plan. Comment: The Commission indicated in previous letter that NMFS should consult with scientists and acousticians to determine the appropriate accumulation time that action proponents should use to determine the extent of the Level A harassment zones based on the associated SELcum thresholds in such situations. The Commission understands that NMFS has formed an internal committee to address this issue and is consulting with external acousticians and modelers as well. The Commission continues to believe that animat modeling, that considers various operational and animal scenarios, is the best way to determine the appropriate accumulation time. More importantly, animat modeling could directly inform or be incorporated into NMFS’s user spreadsheet that currently estimates the Level A harassment zones. Commission recommends that NMFS continue to make this issue a priority to resolve in the near future and consider incorporating animat modeling into its user spreadsheet. Response: As described in NMFS 2018 Revision to Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing, NMFS is committed VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 to re-examining the default 24-hour accumulation period and continues to work with the internal committee to investigate alternative means of identifying appropriate accumulation periods. Comment: The Commission recommends that, for all relevant incidental take authorizations, NMFS refrain from using a source level reduction factor for sound attenuation device implementation during impact pile driving due to the different noise level reduction. Response: While it is true that noise level reduction measured at different received ranges does vary, given that both Level A and Level B estimation using geometric modeling is based on noise levels measured at near-source distances (approximately 10m), NMFS believes it reasonable to use a source level reduction factor for sound attenuation device implementation during impact pile driving. In the case of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge impact driving isopleth estimates using an air bubble curtain for source level reduction, NMFS reviewed Caltrans’ bubble curtain ‘‘on and off’’ studies conducted in San Francisco Bay in 2003 and 2004. The equipment used for bubble curtains has likely improved since 2004 but due to concerns for fish species, Caltrans has not able to conduct ‘‘on and off’’ tests recently. Based on 74 measurements (37 with the bubble curtain on and 37 with the bubble curtain off) at both near (< 100 m) and far (> 100 m) distances, the linear averaged received level reduction is 6 dB. If limiting the data points (a total of 28 measurements, with 14 during bubble curtain on and 14 during bubble curtain off) to only near distance measurements, the linear averaged noise level reduction is 7 dB. Based on this analysis, we conclude that there is not a significant difference of source level reduction between near and far-distance measurements. As a conservative approach, NMFS used the reduction of 7 dB of the source level for impact zone estimates. NMFS will evaluate the appropriateness of using a certain source level reduction factor for sound attenuation device implementation during impact pile driving for all relevant incidental take authorizations when more data become available. Nevertheless at this point, we think it appropriate that a 7 dB reduction is reasonable to be used as a source level reduction factor for impact pile driving using an air bubble curtain system. Comment: The Commission questioned whether the public notice provisions for IHA Renewals fully PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 45985 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 responded to these comments previously and refers the reader to the comment responses included in the final notice of the issuance of an IHA to Avangrid Renewables, LLC (84 FR 31035–31036, June 28, 2019). Comment: The Commission claims that NMFS did not have sufficient time to review public comments or to revise the proposed IHA accordingly. The Commission recommended that NMFS (1) delay issuance of the Final IHA until it has thoroughly reviewed and assessed the Commission’s recommendations and any comments from the public and revised the authorization accordingly and (2) take all steps necessary in the future to ensure that it publishes and finalizes IHAs far enough in advance of the planned start date of the project activities to ensure full consideration is given to comments received. Response: NMFS thanks the Commission for its concerns regarding the IHA process. NMFS had sufficient time and we thoroughly reviewed the comments received. We made all appropriate revisions to the final IHA. Changes From the Proposed IHA to Final IHA As described in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 34347; July 18, 2019), no estimated take by Level A harassment was proposed. After additional consideration, NMFS is authorizing six instances of take by Level A harassment of harbor seals, one instance of take for each day during the six days of impact pile driving. The permanent threshold shift (PTS) ispopleth is 28.5 m for harbor seals during impact pile driving, but because there is a nearby haulout, it is possible that a harbor seal could enter the Level A harassment zone before it was detected and the City is able to shutdown. As discussed above in the Comments and Responses section above, changes were made to the hydoacoustic monitoring plan to clarify monitoring. Two piles from each pile type will be monitored. For impact installation, two 24-in concrete piles, for vibratory installation, 36-in steel piles, and for E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 45986 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices vibratory installation and extraction, two H-piles will be monitored. The farfield hydrophone will be located at least 1 km (or as close to 1 km as possible due to access) from the 36-in piles during vibratory installation to better assess the extent of the Level B harassment zone. The City will conduct recordings from 10 Hz to 20 kHz. Further, the City will collect background sound measurements continuously for 10 minutes prior to pile driving. NMFS has confirmed that the various additions and revisions are included in the final authorization and the hydroacoustic monitoring plan. 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’s U.S. Pacific and SARs (Carretta et al., 2018). All values presented in Table 2 are the most recent available at the time of publication (the SARS available online at: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/draftmarine-mammal-stock-assessmentreports). TABLE 2—MARINE MAMMAL OCCURRENCE IN THE PROJECT AREA Common name Scientific name Stock ESA/ MMPA status; Strategic (Y/N) 1 Stock abundance (CV, Nmin, most recent abundance survey) 2 PBR Annual M/SI 3 Order Cetartiodactyla—Cetacea—Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Eschrichtiidae: Gray whale ..... Family Balaenopteridae (rorquals): Humpback whale. Eschrichtius robustus. Eastern North Pacific. -/- ; N ..... 26,960 (0.05, 25,849, 2016) 801 ........ 138 Megaptera novaeangliae. California/Oregon/ Washington. E/D ; Y .. 2,900 (0.048, 2,784, 2014) 16.7 (U.S. waters). 18.8 Superfamily Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises) Family Delphinidae: Bottlenose dolphin. Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): Harbor porpoise. Tursiops truncatus California Coastal -/- ; N ..... 453 (0.06, 346, 2011) 2.7 ......... >2 Phocoena phocoena. San FranciscoRussian River. -/- ; N ..... 9,886 (0.51, 6,625, 2011) 66 .......... 0 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Order Carnivora—Superfamily Pinnipedia Family Otariidae (eared seals and sea lions): California sea lion. Northern fur seal .... Guadalupe fur seal. Family Phocidae (earless seals): VerDate Sep<11>2014 Zalophus californianus. Callorhinus ursinus ............................... Arctocephalus townsendi. 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 U.S. ....................... -/- ; N ..... 257,606 (n/a, 233,515, 2014) 14,011 ... ≥319 California ............... Eastern North Pacific. Mexico to California. -/- ; N ..... -/- ; N ..... 14,050 (n/a, 7,524, 2013) 626,734 (n/a., 530,474, 2014) 451 ........ 11,405 ... 1.8 1.1 T/D ; Y ... 20,000 (n/a, 15,830, 2010) 542 ........ > 3.2 PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 45987 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices TABLE 2—MARINE MAMMAL OCCURRENCE IN THE PROJECT AREA—Continued Common name Pacific harbor seal. Northern elephant seal. Stock ESA/ MMPA status; Strategic (Y/N) 1 California ............... -/- ; N ..... 30,968 (n/a, 27,348, 2012) 1,641 ..... 43 California Breeding -/- ; N ..... 179,000 (n/a, 81,368, 2010) 4,882 ..... 8.8 Scientific name Phoca vitulina richardii. Mirounga angustirostris. Stock abundance (CV, Nmin, most recent abundance survey) 2 PBR Annual M/SI 3 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 authorized. All species that could potentially occur in the project area are included in Table 2. However, the temporal and/or spatial occurrence of humpback whales and Guadalupe fur seals is such that take is not expected to occur, and they are not discussed further as this was previously explained in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 34347; July 18, 2019). A detailed description of the of the species likely to be affected by the City’s 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 34347; July 18, 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. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 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. The effects of underwater noise from the City’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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 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 34347; July 18, 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 34347; July 18, 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 34347; July 18, 2019); therefore, that information is not repeated here; please refer to that Federal Register notice for that information. PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Estimated Take This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes authorized through this IHA, which will inform 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 the City’s pile driving and removal activities could occur as a result of Level A and 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 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 E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 45988 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices 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 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). The City’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. The City’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. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD 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 Sound Propagation 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. Transmission loss (TL) is the decrease in acoustic intensity as an acoustic pressure wave propagates out from a source. TL parameters vary with frequency, temperature, sea conditions, current, source and receiver depth, water depth, water chemistry, and bottom composition and topography. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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. E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 45989 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices 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 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 (CALTRANS 2015) that were evaluated and used as proxy sound source levels to determine reasonable sound source levels likely result from the City’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—PREDICTED SOUND SOURCE LEVELS Sound source level at 10 meters Activity Sound source Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal 14-in H pile steel pile temporary ...................................... 155 SPL ............................. 36-in steel pile permanent ................................................ 170 SPL ............................. CALTRANS 2015 (12-in H piles sound source value used, as no 14-in H pile sound source level is available). CALTRANS 2015. Impact Pile Driving 24-in concrete pile permanent .......................................... 166 SEL/176 SPL .............. CALTRANS 2015. Notes: These are unattentuated values, as the applicant proposes to use a bubble curtain for a 7dB reduction for impact driving. 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 Level A harassment take. However, these tools offer the best way to predict appropriate isopleths when more sophisticated 3D modeling methods are not available, and NMFS continues to develop ways to quantitatively refine these tools, and will qualitatively address the output where appropriate. For stationary sources (such as 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 not 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 Spreadsheet Tab A.1 Vibratory Pile Driving Used khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 14-in H piles (temporary install/removal) 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) † .................................................................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 155 2.5 6 4 15 10 36-in piles (permanent) 170 2.5 1 20 15 10 45990 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices 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 24-in concrete 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) † .............................................................................................................................. * 159 2 3100 1 15 10 * this includes the 7dB reduction from use of a bubble curtain. 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 Low-frequency cetaceans Mid-frequency cetaceans High-frequency cetaceans Phocid Otariid Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal 14-in H pile steel installation/removal. 36-in steel permanent installation. 155 dB SPL ................. 1.5 0.1 2.2 0.9 0.1 170 dB SPL ................. 13.1 1.2 19.3 7.9 0.6 1.9 63.5 28.5 2.1 Impact Pile Driving 24-in concrete permanent installation. 166 SEL/176 SPL (159 dB SEL as attenuated). Level B Harassment Utilizing the practical spreading loss model, the City determined underwater noise will fall below the behavioral effects threshold of 120 dB rms for 53.3 marine mammals at the distances shown in Table 8 for vibratory pile driving/ removal. 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 for marine mammals at the distances shown in Table 8 for impact pile driving. Table 8 below provides all Level B Harassment radial distances (m) and their corresponding areas (km2) during the City’s planned activities. TABLE 8—RADIAL DISTANCES (METERS) TO RELEVANT BEHAVIORAL ISOPLETHS AND ASSOCIATED ENSONIFIED AREAS (SQUARE KILOMETERS (KM2)) USING THE PRACTICAL SPREADING MODEL Activity Level B harassment Zone (m) * Received level at 10 m Level B Harassment Zone (km2) Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal 14-in H piles installation/removal .............................................. 36-in steel permanent installation ............................................. 155 dB SPL ..................................................... 170 dB SPL ..................................................... 2,154 21,544 2.190 21.49 39.8 0.004 Impact Pile Driving khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 24-in concrete permanent installation ....................................... Marine Mammal Occurrence and Take Calculation and Estimation In this section we provide the information about the presence, density, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:38 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 166 dB ............................................................. SEL/176 dB ..................................................... SPL (169 dB SPL attenuated) ......................... or group dynamics of marine mammals that inform the take calculations. Potential exposures to impact pile driving and vibratory pile driving/ removal for each acoustic threshold PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 were estimated using group size estimates and local observational data to create a density estimate. As previously stated, take by Level B harassment only will be considered for this action. E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices Distances to Level A harassment thresholds are relatively small and mitigation is expected to avoid Level A harassment from these activities. 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 breeding grounds (NMFS 2018). Gray whales are uncommon in the San Francisco Bay. It is estimated that approximately 2–6 individuals enter the bay in a typical year (CALTRANS 2018). However nine gray whales have stranded in the San Francisco Bay in 2019 (Katz 2019). To be conservative, NMFS authorizes seven instances of take by Level B harassment of gray whales. Because the required shutdown measures are larger than the associated Level A harassment zones, and those zones are relatively small (53.3 m at the largest during impact pile driving), and activities will occur over a small number of days, we believe the PSO will be able to effectively monitor the Level A harassment zones and we do not anticipate take by Level A harassment of gray whales. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Bottlenose Dolphin There are no density estimates of Bottlenose dolphin available in the project area. Individuals in the San Francisco Bay are typically sighted near the Golden Gate Bridge, where an average of five dolphins enter the bay approximately three times annually. Two individuals are sighted regularly near Alameda Point, outside of the Seaplane Lagoon (CALTRANS 2018). Low numbers (ranging from 1 to 5) of individually identified coastal bottlenose dolphins have been seen along the southwest side of Alameda Island since July 2016. Much of the time, the dolphins were close to the south side of the main outer breakwater that separates the bay from the lagoon areas. The last reliable sighting there was April 7, 2019 of a single individual (TMMC, B. Keener pers. comm. 2019). For the purpose of this assessment it is predicted that two bottlenose dolphins may occur in the San Francisco Bay in the Project vicinity on all pile driving days (i.e., up to 48 individuals in 24 days. Therefore, NMFS authorizes 48 instances of take of bottlenose dolphin by Level B harassment. The Level A harassment zones are all under 2 m for mid-frequency cetaceans; therefore, no VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 take by Level A harassment is anticipated. Harbor Porpoise, Harbor Seals, and California Sea Lions In-water densities of harbor porpoises, harbor seals, California sea lions were calculated based on 17 years of observations during monitoring for the San Francisco Bay-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) construction and demolition project (Caltrans 2018). Care was taken to eliminate multiple observations of the same animal, although this can be difficult and is likely that the same individual may have been counted multiple times on the same day. The amount of monitoring performed per year varied, depending on the frequency and duration of construction activities with the potential to affect marine mammals. During the 257 days of monitoring from 2000 through 2017 (including 15 days of baseline monitoring in 2003), 1,029 harbor seals, 83 California sea lions, and 24 harbor porpoises were observed in waters in the project vicinity in total. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, the number of harbor seals in the project area increased significantly. A California sea lion density estimate of 0.161 animals/km2 was calculated using the data from 2000–2017. In 2017, the number of harbor porpoise in the project area also increased significantly. Therefore, a harbor seal density estimate of 3.957 animals/km2 was calculated using the 2015–2017 data. A harbor porpoise density estimate of 0.167 animals/km2 was calculated using the 2017 data, which may better reflect the current use of the project area by these animals. These observations included data from baseline, pre-, during, and post-pile driving, mechanical dismantling, onshore blasting, and off-shore implosion activities. In addition to the information provided above regarding harbor seal density estimates, harbor seals are known to use the tip of Breakwater Island, which is located approximately 1.0 mile southwest of the project area, as a haulout site. These seals forage in the project area as well (WETA 2011). In recent years, up to 32 harbor seals have been observed making irregular use of the Breakwater Island haulout (AECOM 2017). The City of Alameda has also recently installed a haulout platform approximately 0.5 mile southeast of the site. Although these locations are not considered primary haulouts for harbor PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 45991 seals due to the relatively low numbers of individuals that are present, Breakwater Island and the City haulout platform are reportedly the only haulout sites in the central Bay that are accessible to seals throughout the full tidal range. A local group of Alameda Point Harbor Seal Monitors regularly counts the number of harbor seals at Alameda Point, and based on count data from 2014 to 2019 an average of 11.7 harbor seals is present at Alameda Point yearround (Bangert pers. comm. 2019 in the application). However, the numbers of harbor seals present in the area varies considerably with season, with higher numbers in the winter due to the presence of spawning Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) in the San Francisco Bay. Project pile driving activities will occur during the months of August and September, and therefore we estimated the average number of harbor seals based on count data these months only. The data summary indicated that the numbers of harbor seals present at Alameda increased in 2017 and 2018 compared to 2015 and 2016, and therefore only count data from 2017 and 2018 was used to ensure that the density estimate reflects current conditions. The average number of harbor seals counted at Alameda Point in August and September of 2017 and 2018 was 6.5 individuals. These densities described above for harbor porpoise, harbor seals, and California sea lions are then used to calculate estimated take and described in the sub-sections below for these species. Harbor Porpoise A predicted density of 0.167 animals/ km2 based for harbor porpoise was used to estimate take (Table 9). The estimated take was calculated using this density multiplied by the area ensonified above the threshold multiplied by the number of days per activity (e.g., 6 days of impact pile driving) (Table 9). Therefore, a total of 26 instances of take by Level B harassment are authorized for harbor porpoise. Because the required shutdown measures are larger than the associated Level A harassment zones, and the harassment zones are not very larger (63.5 m at the largest during impact pile driving), and will only occur over a small number of days, we believe the PSO can effectively monitor the Level A harassment zones and therefore we do not anticipate take by Level A harassment of harbor porpoise. E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 45992 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices TABLE 9—ESTIMATED TAKE BY LEVEL B HARASSMENT OF HARBOR PORPOISE Density (animals/km2) Source Area (km2) Days of activity Take by level B harassment Vibratory Installation and Removal 14-in H piles ................................ Vibratory 36-in piles ............................................................................ Impact 24-in piles ................................................................................ 0.167 0.167 0.167 2.190 21.490 0.004 12 6 6 Total Take by Level B harassment .............................................. ........................ ........................ ........................ Harbor Seal A predicted a density of 3.957 animals/km2 for harbor seals was used to estimate take by Level B harassment (Table 10). This density should account for harbor seals exposed in the water while moving to and from the breakwater haulout since those animals would be in the bay and accounted for by the density estimate. The estimated take was calculated using this density multiplied by the area ensonified above the threshold multiplied by the number of days per activity (e.g., 6 days of impact pile driving) (Table 10). Therefore, a total of 615 instances of take by Level B harassment are authorized for harbor seals. As discussed in the Changes from the Proposed IHA to the Final IHA section we reconsidered Level A harassment for harbor seals during impact pile driving. Although the PTS isopleths are small 4.389. 21.533. 0.004. 25.926 (rounded to 26). (28.5 m at the largest during impact pile driving), it is possible a harbor seal could pop up in the Level A harassment zone without being detected and before a PSO could communicate a shutdown to the contractor. Therefore, we will authorize one instance of take by Level A harassment of harbor seals per day during the six days of impact piles driving for a total of six instances of take by Level A harassment of harbor seals. TABLE 10—ESTIMATED TAKE BY LEVEL B HARASSMENT OF HARBOR SEAL Density (animals/km2) Source Area (km2) Days of activity Take by level B harassment Vibratory Installation and Removal 14-in H piles ................................ Vibratory 36-in piles ............................................................................ Impact 24-in piles ................................................................................ 3.957 3.957 3.957 2.190 21.490 0.004 12 6 6 Total Take by Level B harassment .............................................. ........................ ........................ ........................ California Sea Lions A predicted a density of 0.161 animals/km2 based for California sea lions was used to estimate take by Level B harassment (Table 11). The estimated take was calculated using this density multiplied by the area ensonified above the threshold multiplied by the number of days per activity (e.g., 6 days of impact pile driving) (Table 11). Therefore, a total of 25 instances of take 103.999. 510.216. 0.095. 614.31 (rounded to 615). by Level B harassment are authorized for California sea lions. The Level A harassment zones are all under 2.1 m for otariids; therefore, no take by Level A harassment of California sea lions is anticipated. TABLE 11—ESTIMATED TAKE BY LEVEL B HARASSMENT OF CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS Density (animals/km2) Source Days of activity Take by level B harassment Vibratory Installation and Removal 14-in H piles ................................ Vibratory 36-in piles ............................................................................ Impact 24-in piles ................................................................................ 0.161 0.161 0.161 2.190 21.490 0.004 12 6 6 Total Take by Level B Harassment ............................................. ........................ ........................ ........................ Northern Elephant Seal khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Area (km2) There are no density estimates of northern elephant seals available in the project area. Elephant seals breed between December and March and have been rarely cited in San Francisco Bay. It is anticipated that if an elephant seal is encountered at all during pile driving or drilling it would be a juvenile. For the purpose of this assessment, we predict that up to one northern elephant VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 seal may occur in the San Francisco Bay in the Project vicinity on up to 20 percent of pile driving days (i.e., up to 4.8 individuals in 24 days). This assumption is consistent with the recent IHA for the demolition and reuse of the marine foundations of the original east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (CALTRANS 2018). Therefore, NMFS authorizes five instances of take (0.2 seals/day multiplied by 24 project days) by Level B harassment of elephant PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4.231. 20.759. 0.004. 24.994 (rounded to 25). seals. Because the required shutdown measures are larger than the associated Level A harassment zones, and those zones are relatively small (28.5 m at the largest during impact pile driving), we believe the PSO can effectively monitor the Level A harassment zones and therefore we do not anticipate any take by Level A harassment of northern elephant seals. E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 45993 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices Northern Fur Seals There are no density estimates of northern fur seals available in the project area. The Marine Mammal Center reported only two to four northern fur seal strandings in the Bay in 2015 and 2016 (in Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties) (TMMC 2017). To account for the possible rare presence of the species in the action area, NMFS authorizes three instances of take by Level B harassment of northern fur seals. The Level A harassment zones are all under 2.1 m for otariids; therefore, no take by Level A harassment of Northern fur seals is anticipated. Table 12 below summarizes the estimated take for all the species described above as a percentage of stock abundance. TABLE 12—AUTHORIZED TAKE AS A PERCENTAGE OF STOCK ABUNDANCE Stock (NEST) Gray Whale ..................................... Bottlenose Dolphin ......................... Harbor Porpoise ............................. Eastern North Pacific (26,960) ...... California Coastal (453) ................. San Francisco-Russian River (9,886). California (30,968) ......................... California Breeding (179,000) ........ U.S. (257,606) ................................ Eastern DPS, California (20,000 ) Harbor Seal .................................... Northern Elephant Seal .................. California Sea Lion ......................... Northern fur seal ............................. Mitigation khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Authorized level A harassment Species 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 Authorized level B harassment 0 0 0 7 48 27 4 0 0 0 615 5 25 3 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, a 12-in thick wood cushion block will be used. Bubble curtains will be also used during any impact pile driving of piles located in the water. The bubble curtain will be operated in a manner consistent with the following performance standards: a. The bubble curtain will distribute air bubbles around 100 percent of the piling perimeter for the full depth of the water column; b. The lowest bubble ring will be in contact with the mudline for the full circumference of the ring, and the weights attached to the bottom ring shall ensure 100 percent mudline contact. No parts of the ring or other objects shall prevent full mudline contact; and PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Percent of stock Less than 1 percent. 10.596 percent. Less than one percent. Less Less Less Less than than than than 2 percent. one percent. one percent. one percent. c. Air flow to the bubblers must be balanced around the circumference of the pile. Soft Start Soft start requires contractors to provide an initial set of strikes at reduced energy, followed by a thirtysecond waiting period, then two subsequent reduced energy strike sets. A soft start must be implemented at the start of each day’s impact pile driving and at any time following cessation of impact pile driving for a period of thirty minutes or longer. Shutdown Zone for In-Water Heavy Machinery Work For in-water heavy machinery work other than pile driving, 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. Shutdown Zones For all pile driving/removal activities, the City will establish shutdown zones for a marine mammal species that is greater than its corresponding Level A harassment zone. The calculated PTS isopleths were rounded up to a whole number to determine the actual shutdown zones that the applicant will operate under (Table 13). 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). E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 45994 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices TABLE 13—PILE DRIVING SHUTDOWN ZONES DURING PROJECT ACTIVITIES Shutdown zones (radial distance in meters, area in km2 *) Activity Lowfrequency cetaceans Highfrequency cetaceans Mid-frequency cetaceans Phocid Otariid In-Water Construction Activities Heavy machinery work (other than pile driving). 10 (0.00015 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2) ...... 10 (0.00015 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2) ...... 10 (0.00015 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2) ...... 10 (0.00015 km2). 30 (0.00141 km2) ...... 10 (0.00015 km2). Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal 14-in H pile steel installation/removal ............ 36-in steel permanent installation .................. 10 (0.00015 km2). 15 (0.00035 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2). 20 (0.00063 km2). Impact Pile Driving 24-in concrete permanent installation ............ 55 (0.00475 km2). 10 (0.00015 km2). 65 (0.00663 km2). * Note: km2 were divided by two to account for land. 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 has elapsed for pinnipeds and small cetaceans and 30 minutes for large whales. Based on our evaluation of the City’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. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 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 action area. Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 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; 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. PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Pre-Activity Monitoring Prior to the start of daily in-water construction activity, or whenever a break in pile driving of 30 minutes or longer occurs, PSOs will observe the shutdown and monitoring zones for a period of 30 minutes. 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 minutes. If the Level B Harassment Monitoring Zone has been observed for 30 minutes 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 The City 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 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 E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 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 will be conducted 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after all pile driving/removal and socking/rock anchoring activities. In addition, PSO will 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. Pile driving/ removal activities include the time to install, remove a single pile or series of piles, as long as the time elapsed between uses of the pile driving equipment is no more than 30 minutes. Monitoring will be conducted by PSOs from on land. The number of PSOs will vary from one to two, 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. A single monitor will be present during impact pile driving, when impacts of the project will be limited to the area within the Alameda Lagoon, and two monitors will be present during vibratory pile driving when project impacts will extend into the waters of the San Francisco Bay. Any areas that the PSO is not able to see will include a correction factor in the take estimate. 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 will be conducted by qualified, NMFSapproved PSOs, who shall have no other assigned tasks during monitoring periods. The City will adhere to the following conditions when selecting PSOs: D Independent PSOs will 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 monitoring coordinator will be designated. The lead observer must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction; and D The City will submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS for all observers prior to monitoring. The City 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, 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. Acoustic Monitoring The City has developed a sound attenuation monitoring plan to protect fish and marine mammals during pile driving activities (see Appendix B of the application for further details). The acoustic monitoring will include, but not limited to: D Two piles from each pile type will be monitored. For impact installation, two 24-in concrete piles, for vibratory installation, 36-in steel piles, and for vibratory installation and extraction, two H-piles will be monitored; D The far-field hydrophone will be located at least 1 km from the 36-in piles during vibratory installation to better assess the extent of the Level B harassment zone; PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 45995 D Recordings will be conducted from 10 Hz to 20 kHz; D Background sound measurements will occur continuously for 10 minutes prior to pile driving; The acoustic monitoring will include documentation of the following, at a minimum: D Hydrophone equipment and methods: Recording device, sampling rate, distance from the pile where recordings were made; and depth of recording device(s); D Type of pile being driven and method of driving during recordings; and D Mean, medium, and maximum sound levels (dB re: 1 mPa): Cumulative sound exposure level, peak sound pressure level, rms sound pressure level, and single-strike sound exposure level. 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, the City must immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the NMFS Office of Protected Resources and the West Coast 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 the City to determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The City may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS. In the event the City 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), the City must immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Region Stranding E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 45996 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices 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 the City to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate. In the event that the City 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), the City must report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. 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; and 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; and 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. Final Report The City 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. The City 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); 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; and Æ Estimated amount of time that the animals remained in the Level A or B Harassment Zone; Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., populationlevel effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be ‘‘taken’’ through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS’s implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or ambient noise levels). As stated in the mitigation section, shutdown zones that are larger than the Level A harassment zones and are expected avoid the likelihood of Level VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 A harassment for six of the seven species. As previously described, six instances of take by Level A harassment were added for harbor seals as a conservative measure if they enter the Level A harassment zone before detected by PSOs. Exposures to elevated sound levels produced during pile driving activities may cause behavioral disturbance of marine mammals, 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, and thereby both the scale and potential severity of the anticipated effects, the City will use pile cushions and a bubble curtain during impact pile driving. 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 activities are underway. Depending on the activity, the City will employ one to two PSOs to ensure all monitoring and shutdown zones are properly observed. Two known pinniped haulout sites (non-pupping sites) are located in the vicinity of the project area. One is an existing haulout platform approximately 0.5 mile southeast of the project area (separated from project activities by approximately 0.3 mile of developed areas on-land). The second haulout is the western end of Breakwater Island, approximately 1.0 mile southwest of the location of pile driving activities (Figure 4 of the application). They are both well outside the PTS isopleths for pinnipeds. Exposures to elevated sound levels produced during pile driving activities once the animals enter the water from E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 3, 2019 / Notices the haulouts may cause behavioral responses by an animal, but they are expected to be mild and temporary and limited to Level B harassment. The planned activities would not result in permanent impacts to habitats used directly by marine mammals except the actual footprint of the project. The footprint of the project is small, and equal to the area the ferry associated pile placement. The installation of piles for the new pier will result in permanent impacts on 61 ft2 of aquatic habitat. At best, the impact area, which is located in Seaplane Lagoon, provides marginal foraging habitat for marine mammals and fish. 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 in the bay. The most likely impact to prey will be temporary behavioral avoidance of the immediate area. During pile driving/removal 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: D No serious injury or mortality is anticipated; 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; D Minimal impacts to marine mammal habitat are expected; D The action area is located and within an active marine commercial area; D There are no rookeries, or other known areas or features of special significance for foraging or reproduction in the project area; D The required mitigation measures (i.e., shutdown zones and pile cushion, and bubble curtain) 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 Aug 30, 2019 Jkt 247001 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 take of 6 marine mammal stocks comprises less than two percent of the stock abundance, and less than 11 percent for bottlenose dolphins (California coastal). 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. 45997 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. No ESA listed species are authorized for take. Therefore, NMFS has determined consultation under the ESA is not required. Authorization As a result of these determinations, NMFS authorizes an IHA to the City for pile driving and removal activities during construction of the Alameda Seaplane Lagoon ferry terminal provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated. Dated: August 27, 2019. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–18884 Filed 8–30–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination There are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 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 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 AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 RIN 0648–XR031 Marine Mammals; File No. 23117 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of application. Notice is hereby given that BBC Worldwide Americas, 1120 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036 (Responsible Party: Orla Doherty), has applied in due form for a permit to conduct commercial or educational photography on Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii), minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and killer whales (Orcinus orca). DATES: Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before October 3, 2019. ADDRESSES: These documents are available upon written request or by appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 EastSUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 170 (Tuesday, September 3, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45983-45997]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-18884]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XR009


Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specific Activities; 
Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Pile Driving Activities During 
Construction of a Ferry Terminal at Seaplane Lagoon, Alameda Point, San 
Francisco, California

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 
the City of Alameda (City) to incidentally harass, by Level A and B 
harassment only, marine mammals during pile driving and removal 
activities during construction of a ferry terminal at Seaplane Lagoon, 
Alameda Point, San Francisco, California.

DATES: This Authorization is effective from August 20, 2019 through 
August 19, 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 February 22, 2019, NMFS received a request from the City for an 
IHA to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving activities during 
construction of a ferry terminal in Seaplane Lagoon, Alameda, 
California. The application was deemed adequate and complete on June 
28, 2019. The applicant's request was for take seven species of marine 
mammals by Level B harassment only. Neither the City nor NMFS expects 
serious injury or mortality to result from

[[Page 45984]]

this activity and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate.

Description of Activity

    Seaplane Lagoon is located at the western end of Alameda Island 
within the 150-acre Waterfront Town Center area of Alameda Point and on 
the former Alameda Point Naval Air Station in Alameda, California. The 
project area is located along the eastern shoreline of Seaplane Lagoon, 
west of Ferry Point, south of West Atlantic Avenue, and north of West 
Oriskany Avenue. The purpose of this project is to provide facilities 
to expand the existing ferry service from Alameda and Oakland to San 
Francisco in order to address the limited capacity at the existing Main 
Street Ferry Terminal, accommodate the anticipated increase in demand 
for ferry service from Alameda to San Francisco due to planned 
development of the Alameda Point Project, and to provide enhanced 
emergency response services to Alameda in the event of transbay service 
disruptions.
    Project construction is expected begin in August 2019 and will be 
completed within approximately one year of initiation. All of the in-
water work (float installation with piles and gangway) is expected to 
be completed within one environmental work season (August 20 to 
November 30). Approximately 24 total days of pile driving activities 
are estimated to occur, with 12 days of vibratory hammering 
installation and removal for template piles, 6 days of vibratory 
hammering for permanent piles, and 6 days of impact hammering for 
permanent piles.
    A pier and abutment are required at the entrance to the ferry 
terminal to provide secure and safe entry from the land to the 
passenger access gangway. The pier will extend out from the abutment to 
provide sufficient depth for the ferry vessels and float. The abutment 
will be located on the shoreline and will consist of a concrete 
abutment (24 feet (ft) long by 3 ft wide) supported on steel piles. The 
pier will be placed in the water and consist of a cast-in-place 
concrete structure (83.1 ft long by 20 ft wide) supported on piles with 
a perimeter guardrail. Approximately six 24-inch (in) diameter 
octagonal concrete piles offshore of the revetment and four 24-in 
diameter steel piles inshore of the revetment will be used for the 
pier. The abutment and pier deck will be installed above the high tide 
line.
    The pier will be covered by a canopy similar to those on other San 
Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) 
terminals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dimensions would be longer 
than the pier by 16 ft (100 ft long by 20 ft wide), with an approximate 
height of 8.5 ft to 20 ft above the pier deck. The additional length 
would overhang the pier landside and shade the stairs up to the pier.
    A gangway will connect the pier to the boarding float. The aluminum 
gangway (90 ft long by 10 ft wide) will be supported on the landside 
end of the pier by cantilevered seat supports, and the waterside end of 
the gangway will be supported by a boarding float. The finished walking 
surface, which will consist of fiberglass micromesh decking, will range 
in elevation from 8.4 ft at the pier to approximately 4.4 ft above the 
water surface on the boarding float.
    The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal will include a boarding float 
where passengers will board and disembark from the ferry (see Figure 3 
of the application). The float structure will be a steel pontoon barge 
(135 ft long by 42 ft wide by 8 ft deep) with internal compartments. 
Fenders and mooring cleats will be located around the perimeter of the 
float to accommodate vessel berthing scenarios. The float will be held 
in position with an arrangement of four 36-in diameter steel guide 
piles and two 36-in diameter steel fender piles, totaling six piles.
    Piles will be installed for the abutment, pier, and float. The 36-
in steel piles will be installed with a vibratory hammer, 24-in 
concrete piles will be installed with an impact hammer, and 14-in steel 
template piles will be installed with a vibratory hammer (see Table 1 
below). The abutment piles will be installed from the landside, and are 
expected to require an impact hammer to penetrate the underlying 
material. Four steel piles (the abutment piles) will be installed above 
the high tide line and therefore are not discussed further.
    Template piles will be used to support the in-water piles. These 
will consist of 12 to 18 14-in steel H-type piles (see Table 1 below). 
One template typically includes four piles, but up to six template 
piles would be used at one time. (see Table 1 below).

                 Table 1--Pile Driving and Removal Activities for Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         Project component
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                   Description                       Temporary       Temporary       Permanent       Permanent
                                                  template  pile  template  pile       pile            pile
                                                    installation      removal      installation    installation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Diameter of Steel Pile (inches).................              14              14              24              36
# of Piles......................................              18              18               6               6
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Vibratory Pile Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Quantity..................................              18              18               0               6
Max # Piles Vibrated per Day....................               6               6               0               1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Impact Pile Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Quantity..................................               0               0               6               0
Max # Piles Impacted per Day....................               0               0               1               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Further details of the planned DPD project is provided in the 
Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (84 FR 34347; July 18, 
2019).

Comments and Responses

    A notice of NMFS's proposal to issue an IHA to the City was 
published in the Federal Register on July 18, 2019 (84 FR 34347). That 
notice described, in detail, the City'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

[[Page 45985]]

comments from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). The Commission 
recommended that NMFS issue the IHA, subject to inclusion of the 
mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures.
    Comment: The Commission informally noted there were specification 
missing or incorrect in the proposed hydroacoustic monitoring plan, 
including number of piles monitored, farfield measurements, frequency 
range of the hydrophone, and collection of background sound
    Response: NMFS discussed these items with the Commission during the 
comment period and have confirmed the following changes. Two piles from 
each pile type will be monitored. For impact installation, two 24-in 
concrete piles, for vibratory installation, 36-in steel piles, and for 
vibratory installation and extraction, two H-piles will be monitored. 
The far-field hydrophone will be located at least 1 km from the 36-in 
piles during vibratory installation to better assess the extent of the 
Level B harassment zone. The City will conduct recordings from 10 Hz to 
20 kHz. Further, the City will collect background sound measurements 
continuously for 10 minutes prior to pile driving. NMFS has confirmed 
that the various additions and revisions are included in the final 
authorization and the hydroacoustic monitoring plan.
    Comment: The Commission indicated in previous letter that NMFS 
should consult with scientists and acousticians to determine the 
appropriate accumulation time that action proponents should use to 
determine the extent of the Level A harassment zones based on the 
associated SELcum thresholds in such situations. The Commission 
understands that NMFS has formed an internal committee to address this 
issue and is consulting with external acousticians and modelers as 
well. The Commission continues to believe that animat modeling, that 
considers various operational and animal scenarios, is the best way to 
determine the appropriate accumulation time. More importantly, animat 
modeling could directly inform or be incorporated into NMFS's user 
spreadsheet that currently estimates the Level A harassment zones. 
Commission recommends that NMFS continue to make this issue a priority 
to resolve in the near future and consider incorporating animat 
modeling into its user spreadsheet.
    Response: As described in NMFS 2018 Revision to Technical Guidance 
for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal 
Hearing, NMFS is committed to re-examining the default 24-hour 
accumulation period and continues to work with the internal committee 
to investigate alternative means of identifying appropriate 
accumulation periods.
    Comment: The Commission recommends that, for all relevant 
incidental take authorizations, NMFS refrain from using a source level 
reduction factor for sound attenuation device implementation during 
impact pile driving due to the different noise level reduction.
    Response: While it is true that noise level reduction measured at 
different received ranges does vary, given that both Level A and Level 
B estimation using geometric modeling is based on noise levels measured 
at near-source distances (approximately 10m), NMFS believes it 
reasonable to use a source level reduction factor for sound attenuation 
device implementation during impact pile driving. In the case of the 
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge impact driving isopleth estimates 
using an air bubble curtain for source level reduction, NMFS reviewed 
Caltrans' bubble curtain ``on and off'' studies conducted in San 
Francisco Bay in 2003 and 2004. The equipment used for bubble curtains 
has likely improved since 2004 but due to concerns for fish species, 
Caltrans has not able to conduct ``on and off'' tests recently. Based 
on 74 measurements (37 with the bubble curtain on and 37 with the 
bubble curtain off) at both near (< 100 m) and far (> 100 m) distances, 
the linear averaged received level reduction is 6 dB. If limiting the 
data points (a total of 28 measurements, with 14 during bubble curtain 
on and 14 during bubble curtain off) to only near distance 
measurements, the linear averaged noise level reduction is 7 dB. Based 
on this analysis, we conclude that there is not a significant 
difference of source level reduction between near and far-distance 
measurements. As a conservative approach, NMFS used the reduction of 7 
dB of the source level for impact zone estimates.
    NMFS will evaluate the appropriateness of using a certain source 
level reduction factor for sound attenuation device implementation 
during impact pile driving for all relevant incidental take 
authorizations when more data become available. Nevertheless at this 
point, we think it appropriate that a 7 dB reduction is reasonable to 
be used as a source level reduction factor for impact pile driving 
using an air bubble curtain system.
    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 responded to these comments previously and 
refers the reader to the comment responses included in the final notice 
of the issuance of an IHA to Avangrid Renewables, LLC (84 FR 31035-
31036, June 28, 2019).
    Comment: The Commission claims that NMFS did not have sufficient 
time to review public comments or to revise the proposed IHA 
accordingly. The Commission recommended that NMFS (1) delay issuance of 
the Final IHA until it has thoroughly reviewed and assessed the 
Commission's recommendations and any comments from the public and 
revised the authorization accordingly and (2) take all steps necessary 
in the future to ensure that it publishes and finalizes IHAs far enough 
in advance of the planned start date of the project activities to 
ensure full consideration is given to comments received.
    Response: NMFS thanks the Commission for its concerns regarding the 
IHA process. NMFS had sufficient time and we thoroughly reviewed the 
comments received. We made all appropriate revisions to the final IHA.

Changes From the Proposed IHA to Final IHA

    As described in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA 
(84 FR 34347; July 18, 2019), no estimated take by Level A harassment 
was proposed. After additional consideration, NMFS is authorizing six 
instances of take by Level A harassment of harbor seals, one instance 
of take for each day during the six days of impact pile driving. The 
permanent threshold shift (PTS) ispopleth is 28.5 m for harbor seals 
during impact pile driving, but because there is a nearby haulout, it 
is possible that a harbor seal could enter the Level A harassment zone 
before it was detected and the City is able to shutdown.
    As discussed above in the Comments and Responses section above, 
changes were made to the hydoacoustic monitoring plan to clarify 
monitoring. Two piles from each pile type will be monitored. For impact 
installation, two 24-in concrete piles, for vibratory installation, 36-
in steel piles, and for

[[Page 45986]]

vibratory installation and extraction, two H-piles will be monitored. 
The far-field hydrophone will be located at least 1 km (or as close to 
1 km as possible due to access) from the 36-in piles during vibratory 
installation to better assess the extent of the Level B harassment 
zone. The City will conduct recordings from 10 Hz to 20 kHz. Further, 
the City will collect background sound measurements continuously for 10 
minutes prior to pile driving. NMFS has confirmed that the various 
additions and revisions are included in the final authorization and the 
hydroacoustic monitoring plan.

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's U.S. Pacific and SARs (Carretta et al., 2018). All values 
presented in Table 2 are the most recent available at the time of 
publication (the SARS available online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/draft-marine-mammal-stock-assessment-reports).

                                                  Table 2--Marine Mammal Occurrence in the Project Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   ESA/MMPA status;
         Common name            Scientific name        Stock        Strategic (Y/N)    Stock abundance (CV, Nmin, most         PBR          Annual M/SI
                                                                          \1\           recent abundance survey) \2\                            \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Order Cetartiodactyla--Cetacea--Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Eschrichtiidae:
    Gray whale...............  Eschrichtius      Eastern North     -/- ; N.........         26,960 (0.05, 25,849, 2016)  801............             138
                                robustus.         Pacific.
Family Balaenopteridae
 (rorquals):
    Humpback whale...........  Megaptera         California/       E/D ; Y.........          2,900 (0.048, 2,784, 2014)  16.7 (U.S.                 18.8
                                novaeangliae.     Oregon/                                                                 waters).
                                                  Washington.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Superfamily Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Delphinidae:
    Bottlenose dolphin.......  Tursiops          California        -/- ; N.........               453 (0.06, 346, 2011)  2.7............             > 2
                                truncatus.        Coastal.
Family Phocoenidae
 (porpoises):
    Harbor porpoise..........  Phocoena          San Francisco-    -/- ; N.........           9,886 (0.51, 6,625, 2011)  66.............               0
                                phocoena.         Russian River.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Order Carnivora--Superfamily Pinnipedia
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Otariidae (eared seals
 and sea lions):
    California sea lion......  Zalophus          U.S.............  -/- ; N.........        257,606 (n/a, 233,515, 2014)  14,011.........           >=319
                                californianus.
Northern fur seal............  Callorhinus       California......  -/- ; N.........           14,050 (n/a, 7,524, 2013)  451............             1.8
                                ursinus.
                               ................  Eastern North     -/- ; N.........       626,734 (n/a., 530,474, 2014)  11,405.........             1.1
                                                  Pacific.
    Guadalupe fur seal.......  Arctocephalus     Mexico to         T/D ; Y.........          20,000 (n/a, 15,830, 2010)  542............           > 3.2
                                townsendi.        California.
Family Phocidae (earless
 seals):

[[Page 45987]]

 
    Pacific harbor seal......  Phoca vitulina    California......  -/- ; N.........          30,968 (n/a, 27,348, 2012)  1,641..........              43
                                richardii.
    Northern elephant seal...  Mirounga          California        -/- ; N.........         179,000 (n/a, 81,368, 2010)  4,882..........             8.8
                                angustirostris.   Breeding.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 authorized.

    All species that could potentially occur in the project area are 
included in Table 2. However, the temporal and/or spatial occurrence of 
humpback whales and Guadalupe fur seals is such that take is not 
expected to occur, and they are not discussed further as this was 
previously explained in the Federal Register notice for the proposed 
IHA (84 FR 34347; July 18, 2019).
    A detailed description of the of the species likely to be affected 
by the City's 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 
34347; July 18, 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. The effects of 
underwater noise from the City'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 34347; July 18, 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 
34347; July 18, 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 34347; July 18, 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 will inform 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 the City's pile driving and 
removal activities could occur as a result of Level A and 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 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

[[Page 45988]]

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 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). The 
City'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.
    The City'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 [micro]Pa, and cumulative sound exposure level (LE)
  has a reference value of 1[micro]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 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.


[[Page 45989]]


    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 
(CALTRANS 2015) that were evaluated and used as proxy sound source 
levels to determine reasonable sound source levels likely result from 
the City'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--Predicted Sound Source Levels
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Sound source
           Activity                level at 10          Sound source
                                      meters
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal
------------------------------------------------------------------------
14-in H pile steel pile         155 SPL..........  CALTRANS 2015 (12-in
 temporary.                                         H piles sound source
                                                    value used, as no 14-
                                                    in H pile sound
                                                    source level is
                                                    available).
36-in steel pile permanent....  170 SPL..........  CALTRANS 2015.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           Impact Pile Driving
------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in concrete pile permanent.  166 SEL/176 SPL..  CALTRANS 2015.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: These are unattentuated values, as the applicant proposes to use
  a bubble curtain for a 7dB reduction for impact driving.

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 Level A harassment take. However, these tools offer the 
best way to predict appropriate isopleths when more sophisticated 3D 
modeling methods are not available, and NMFS continues to develop ways 
to quantitatively refine these tools, and will qualitatively address 
the output where appropriate. For stationary sources (such as 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 not 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 Spreadsheet Tab A.1
                       Vibratory Pile Driving Used
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           14-in H piles
                                            (temporary      36-in piles
                                             install/       (permanent)
                                             removal)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Level (RMS SPL)..................             155             170
Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz).......             2.5             2.5
Number of piles within 24-hr period.....               6               1
Duration to drive a single pile (min)...               4              20
Propagation (xLogR).....................              15              15
Distance of source level measurement                  10              10
 (meters) [dagger]......................
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 45990]]


    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
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          24-in concrete
                                                               piles
                                                            (permanent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Level (Single Strike/shot SEL)...................           * 159
Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz).......................               2
Number of strikes per pile..............................            3100
Number of piles per day.................................               1
Propagation (xLogR).....................................              15
Distance of source level measurement (meters) [dagger]..              10
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* this includes the 7dB reduction from use of a bubble curtain.


                     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    Low-frequency   Mid-frequency  High-frequency
                                                                             cetaceans       cetaceans       cetaceans        Phocid          Otariid
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14-in H pile steel installation/removal...  155 dB SPL..................             1.5             0.1             2.2             0.9             0.1
36-in steel permanent installation........  170 dB SPL..................            13.1             1.2            19.3             7.9             0.6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Impact Pile Driving
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in concrete permanent installation.....  166 SEL/176 SPL (159 dB SEL             53.3             1.9            63.5            28.5             2.1
                                             as attenuated).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Level B Harassment
    Utilizing the practical spreading loss model, the City 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. 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 for marine mammals at the 
distances shown in Table 8 for impact pile driving. Table 8 below 
provides all Level B Harassment radial distances (m) and their 
corresponding areas (km\2\) during the City's planned activities.

   Table 8--Radial Distances (meters) to Relevant Behavioral Isopleths and Associated Ensonified Areas (square
                             kilometers (km\2\)) Using the Practical Spreading Model
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                      Level B         Level B
                   Activity                          Received level at 10 m         harassment      Harassment
                                                                                    Zone (m) *     Zone (km\2\)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14-in H piles installation/removal............  155 dB SPL......................           2,154           2.190
36-in steel permanent installation............  170 dB SPL......................          21,544           21.49
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Impact Pile Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in concrete permanent installation.........  166 dB..........................            39.8           0.004
                                                SEL/176 dB......................
                                                SPL (169 dB SPL attenuated).....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 inform the take 
calculations. Potential exposures to impact pile driving and vibratory 
pile driving/removal for each acoustic threshold were estimated using 
group size estimates and local observational data to create a density 
estimate. As previously stated, take by Level B harassment only will be 
considered for this action.

[[Page 45991]]

Distances to Level A harassment thresholds are relatively small and 
mitigation is expected to avoid Level A harassment from these 
activities.
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 breeding grounds 
(NMFS 2018). Gray whales are uncommon in the San Francisco Bay. It is 
estimated that approximately 2-6 individuals enter the bay in a typical 
year (CALTRANS 2018). However nine gray whales have stranded in the San 
Francisco Bay in 2019 (Katz 2019). To be conservative, NMFS authorizes 
seven instances of take by Level B harassment of gray whales. Because 
the required shutdown measures are larger than the associated Level A 
harassment zones, and those zones are relatively small (53.3 m at the 
largest during impact pile driving), and activities will occur over a 
small number of days, we believe the PSO will be able to effectively 
monitor the Level A harassment zones and we do not anticipate take by 
Level A harassment of gray whales.
Bottlenose Dolphin
    There are no density estimates of Bottlenose dolphin available in 
the project area. Individuals in the San Francisco Bay are typically 
sighted near the Golden Gate Bridge, where an average of five dolphins 
enter the bay approximately three times annually. Two individuals are 
sighted regularly near Alameda Point, outside of the Seaplane Lagoon 
(CALTRANS 2018). Low numbers (ranging from 1 to 5) of individually 
identified coastal bottlenose dolphins have been seen along the 
southwest side of Alameda Island since July 2016. Much of the time, the 
dolphins were close to the south side of the main outer breakwater that 
separates the bay from the lagoon areas. The last reliable sighting 
there was April 7, 2019 of a single individual (TMMC, B. Keener pers. 
comm. 2019). For the purpose of this assessment it is predicted that 
two bottlenose dolphins may occur in the San Francisco Bay in the 
Project vicinity on all pile driving days (i.e., up to 48 individuals 
in 24 days. Therefore, NMFS authorizes 48 instances of take of 
bottlenose dolphin by Level B harassment. The Level A harassment zones 
are all under 2 m for mid-frequency cetaceans; therefore, no take by 
Level A harassment is anticipated.
Harbor Porpoise, Harbor Seals, and California Sea Lions
    In-water densities of harbor porpoises, harbor seals, California 
sea lions were calculated based on 17 years of observations during 
monitoring for the San Francisco Bay-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) 
construction and demolition project (Caltrans 2018). Care was taken to 
eliminate multiple observations of the same animal, although this can 
be difficult and is likely that the same individual may have been 
counted multiple times on the same day. The amount of monitoring 
performed per year varied, depending on the frequency and duration of 
construction activities with the potential to affect marine mammals. 
During the 257 days of monitoring from 2000 through 2017 (including 15 
days of baseline monitoring in 2003), 1,029 harbor seals, 83 California 
sea lions, and 24 harbor porpoises were observed in waters in the 
project vicinity in total. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, the number of 
harbor seals in the project area increased significantly. A California 
sea lion density estimate of 0.161 animals/km\2\ was calculated using 
the data from 2000-2017. In 2017, the number of harbor porpoise in the 
project area also increased significantly. Therefore, a harbor seal 
density estimate of 3.957 animals/km\2\ was calculated using the 2015-
2017 data. A harbor porpoise density estimate of 0.167 animals/km\2\ 
was calculated using the 2017 data, which may better reflect the 
current use of the project area by these animals. These observations 
included data from baseline, pre-, during, and post-pile driving, 
mechanical dismantling, on-shore blasting, and off-shore implosion 
activities.
    In addition to the information provided above regarding harbor seal 
density estimates, harbor seals are known to use the tip of Breakwater 
Island, which is located approximately 1.0 mile southwest of the 
project area, as a haulout site. These seals forage in the project area 
as well (WETA 2011). In recent years, up to 32 harbor seals have been 
observed making irregular use of the Breakwater Island haulout (AECOM 
2017). The City of Alameda has also recently installed a haulout 
platform approximately 0.5 mile southeast of the site. Although these 
locations are not considered primary haulouts for harbor seals due to 
the relatively low numbers of individuals that are present, Breakwater 
Island and the City haulout platform are reportedly the only haulout 
sites in the central Bay that are accessible to seals throughout the 
full tidal range.
    A local group of Alameda Point Harbor Seal Monitors regularly 
counts the number of harbor seals at Alameda Point, and based on count 
data from 2014 to 2019 an average of 11.7 harbor seals is present at 
Alameda Point year-round (Bangert pers. comm. 2019 in the application). 
However, the numbers of harbor seals present in the area varies 
considerably with season, with higher numbers in the winter due to the 
presence of spawning Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) in the San 
Francisco Bay. Project pile driving activities will occur during the 
months of August and September, and therefore we estimated the average 
number of harbor seals based on count data these months only. The data 
summary indicated that the numbers of harbor seals present at Alameda 
increased in 2017 and 2018 compared to 2015 and 2016, and therefore 
only count data from 2017 and 2018 was used to ensure that the density 
estimate reflects current conditions. The average number of harbor 
seals counted at Alameda Point in August and September of 2017 and 2018 
was 6.5 individuals. These densities described above for harbor 
porpoise, harbor seals, and California sea lions are then used to 
calculate estimated take and described in the sub-sections below for 
these species.

Harbor Porpoise

    A predicted density of 0.167 animals/km\2\ based for harbor 
porpoise was used to estimate take (Table 9). The estimated take was 
calculated using this density multiplied by the area ensonified above 
the threshold multiplied by the number of days per activity (e.g., 6 
days of impact pile driving) (Table 9). Therefore, a total of 26 
instances of take by Level B harassment are authorized for harbor 
porpoise. Because the required shutdown measures are larger than the 
associated Level A harassment zones, and the harassment zones are not 
very larger (63.5 m at the largest during impact pile driving), and 
will only occur over a small number of days, we believe the PSO can 
effectively monitor the Level A harassment zones and therefore we do 
not anticipate take by Level A harassment of harbor porpoise.

[[Page 45992]]



                        Table 9--Estimated Take by Level B Harassment of Harbor Porpoise
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Density
                Source                     (animals/     Area (km\2\)       Days of          Take by level B
                                            km\2\)                         activity            harassment
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vibratory Installation and Removal 14-           0.167           2.190              12  4.389.
 in H piles.
Vibratory 36-in piles.................           0.167          21.490               6  21.533.
Impact 24-in piles....................           0.167           0.004               6  0.004.
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Take by Level B harassment..  ..............  ..............  ..............  25.926 (rounded to 26).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harbor Seal

    A predicted a density of 3.957 animals/km\2\ for harbor seals was 
used to estimate take by Level B harassment (Table 10). This density 
should account for harbor seals exposed in the water while moving to 
and from the breakwater haulout since those animals would be in the bay 
and accounted for by the density estimate. The estimated take was 
calculated using this density multiplied by the area ensonified above 
the threshold multiplied by the number of days per activity (e.g., 6 
days of impact pile driving) (Table 10). Therefore, a total of 615 
instances of take by Level B harassment are authorized for harbor 
seals.
    As discussed in the Changes from the Proposed IHA to the Final IHA 
section we reconsidered Level A harassment for harbor seals during 
impact pile driving. Although the PTS isopleths are small (28.5 m at 
the largest during impact pile driving), it is possible a harbor seal 
could pop up in the Level A harassment zone without being detected and 
before a PSO could communicate a shutdown to the contractor. Therefore, 
we will authorize one instance of take by Level A harassment of harbor 
seals per day during the six days of impact piles driving for a total 
of six instances of take by Level A harassment of harbor seals.

                          Table 10--Estimated Take by Level B Harassment of Harbor Seal
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Density
                Source                     (animals/     Area (km\2\)       Days of          Take by level B
                                            km\2\)                         activity            harassment
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vibratory Installation and Removal 14-           3.957           2.190              12  103.999.
 in H piles.
Vibratory 36-in piles.................           3.957          21.490               6  510.216.
Impact 24-in piles....................           3.957           0.004               6  0.095.
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Take by Level B harassment..  ..............  ..............  ..............  614.31 (rounded to 615).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

California Sea Lions

    A predicted a density of 0.161 animals/km\2\ based for California 
sea lions was used to estimate take by Level B harassment (Table 11). 
The estimated take was calculated using this density multiplied by the 
area ensonified above the threshold multiplied by the number of days 
per activity (e.g., 6 days of impact pile driving) (Table 11). 
Therefore, a total of 25 instances of take by Level B harassment are 
authorized for California sea lions. The Level A harassment zones are 
all under 2.1 m for otariids; therefore, no take by Level A harassment 
of California sea lions is anticipated.

                     Table 11--Estimated Take by Level B Harassment of California Sea Lions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Density
                Source                     (animals/     Area (km\2\)       Days of          Take by level B
                                            km\2\)                         activity            harassment
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vibratory Installation and Removal 14-           0.161           2.190              12  4.231.
 in H piles.
Vibratory 36-in piles.................           0.161          21.490               6  20.759.
Impact 24-in piles....................           0.161           0.004               6  0.004.
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Take by Level B Harassment..  ..............  ..............  ..............  24.994 (rounded to 25).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Northern Elephant Seal
    There are no density estimates of northern elephant seals available 
in the project area. Elephant seals breed between December and March 
and have been rarely cited in San Francisco Bay. It is anticipated that 
if an elephant seal is encountered at all during pile driving or 
drilling it would be a juvenile. For the purpose of this assessment, we 
predict that up to one northern elephant seal may occur in the San 
Francisco Bay in the Project vicinity on up to 20 percent of pile 
driving days (i.e., up to 4.8 individuals in 24 days). This assumption 
is consistent with the recent IHA for the demolition and reuse of the 
marine foundations of the original east span of the San Francisco-
Oakland Bay Bridge (CALTRANS 2018). Therefore, NMFS authorizes five 
instances of take (0.2 seals/day multiplied by 24 project days) by 
Level B harassment of elephant seals. Because the required shutdown 
measures are larger than the associated Level A harassment zones, and 
those zones are relatively small (28.5 m at the largest during impact 
pile driving), we believe the PSO can effectively monitor the Level A 
harassment zones and therefore we do not anticipate any take by Level A 
harassment of northern elephant seals.

[[Page 45993]]

Northern Fur Seals
    There are no density estimates of northern fur seals available in 
the project area. The Marine Mammal Center reported only two to four 
northern fur seal strandings in the Bay in 2015 and 2016 (in Marin, San 
Francisco, and Santa Clara counties) (TMMC 2017). To account for the 
possible rare presence of the species in the action area, NMFS 
authorizes three instances of take by Level B harassment of northern 
fur seals. The Level A harassment zones are all under 2.1 m for 
otariids; therefore, no take by Level A harassment of Northern fur 
seals is anticipated.
    Table 12 below summarizes the estimated take for all the species 
described above as a percentage of stock abundance.

                          Table 12--Authorized Take as a Percentage of Stock Abundance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Authorized      Authorized
              Species                    Stock (NEST)          level A         level B        Percent of stock
                                                             harassment      harassment
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gray Whale........................  Eastern North Pacific               0               7  Less than 1 percent.
                                     (26,960).
Bottlenose Dolphin................  California Coastal                  0              48  10.596 percent.
                                     (453).
Harbor Porpoise...................  San Francisco-Russian               0              27  Less than one
                                     River (9,886).                                         percent.
Harbor Seal.......................  California (30,968)..               4             615  Less than 2 percent.
Northern Elephant Seal............  California Breeding                 0               5  Less than one
                                     (179,000).                                             percent.
California Sea Lion...............  U.S. (257,606).......               0              25  Less than one
                                                                                            percent.
Northern fur seal.................  Eastern DPS,                        0               3  Less than one
                                     California (20,000 ).                                  percent.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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, a 12-in thick wood 
cushion block will be used. Bubble curtains will be also used during 
any impact pile driving of piles located in the water. The bubble 
curtain will be operated in a manner consistent with the following 
performance standards:
    a. The bubble curtain will distribute air bubbles around 100 
percent of the piling perimeter for the full depth of the water column;
    b. The lowest bubble ring will be in contact with the mudline for 
the full circumference of the ring, and the weights attached to the 
bottom ring shall ensure 100 percent mudline contact. No parts of the 
ring or other objects shall prevent full mudline contact; and
    c. Air flow to the bubblers must be balanced around the 
circumference of the pile.

Soft Start

    Soft start requires contractors to provide an initial set of 
strikes at reduced energy, followed by a thirty-second waiting period, 
then two subsequent reduced energy strike sets. A soft start must be 
implemented at the start of each day's impact pile driving and at any 
time following cessation of impact pile driving for a period of thirty 
minutes or longer.

Shutdown Zone for In-Water Heavy Machinery Work

    For in-water heavy machinery work other than pile driving, 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.

Shutdown Zones

    For all pile driving/removal activities, the City will establish 
shutdown zones for a marine mammal species that is greater than its 
corresponding Level A harassment zone. The calculated PTS isopleths 
were rounded up to a whole number to determine the actual shutdown 
zones that the applicant will operate under (Table 13). 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).

[[Page 45994]]



                                             Table 13--Pile Driving Shutdown Zones During Project Activities
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Shutdown zones (radial distance in meters, area in km\2\ *)
                                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Activity                   Low- frequency           Mid-frequency         High- frequency
                                            cetaceans               cetaceans              cetaceans                Phocid                Otariid
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            In-Water Construction Activities
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Heavy machinery work (other than     10 (0.00015 km\2\)....  10 (0.00015 km\2\)....  10 (0.00015 km\2\)...  10 (0.00015 km\2\)...  10 (0.00015 km\2\).
 pile driving).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Vibratory Pile Driving/Removal
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14-in H pile steel installation/     10 (0.00015 km\2\)....  10 (0.00015 km\2\)....  10 (0.00015 km\2\)...  10 (0.00015 km\2\)...  10 (0.00015 km\2\).
 removal.
36-in steel permanent installation.  15 (0.00035 km\2\)....  10 (0.00015 km\2\)....  20 (0.00063 km\2\)...  10 (0.00015 km\2\)...  10 (0.00015 km\2\).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Impact Pile Driving
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-in concrete permanent             55 (0.00475 km\2\)....  10 (0.00015 km\2\)....  65 (0.00663 km\2\)...  30 (0.00141 km\2\)...  10 (0.00015 km\2\).
 installation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Note: km\2\ were divided by two to account for land.

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 has elapsed for pinnipeds and small cetaceans 
and 30 minutes for large whales.
    Based on our evaluation of the City'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 
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.

Pre-Activity Monitoring

    Prior to the start of daily in-water construction activity, or 
whenever a break in pile driving of 30 minutes or longer occurs, PSOs 
will observe the shutdown and monitoring zones for a period of 30 
minutes. 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 minutes. If the Level B Harassment Monitoring Zone 
has been observed for 30 minutes 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

    The City 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 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

[[Page 45995]]

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 will be conducted 30 minutes before, during, and 30 
minutes after all pile driving/removal and socking/rock anchoring 
activities. In addition, PSO will 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. Pile driving/removal activities include the time to 
install, remove a single pile or series of piles, as long as the time 
elapsed between uses of the pile driving equipment is no more than 30 
minutes.
    Monitoring will be conducted by PSOs from on land. The number of 
PSOs will vary from one to two, 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. A single monitor will be present during impact pile 
driving, when impacts of the project will be limited to the area within 
the Alameda Lagoon, and two monitors will be present during vibratory 
pile driving when project impacts will extend into the waters of the 
San Francisco Bay. Any areas that the PSO is not able to see will 
include a correction factor in the take estimate.
    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[hyphen]hour period (to 
reduce PSO fatigue).
    Monitoring of pile driving will be conducted by qualified, NMFS-
approved PSOs, who shall have no other assigned tasks during monitoring 
periods. The City will adhere to the following conditions when 
selecting PSOs:
    [ssquf] Independent PSOs will 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 will be designated. The lead 
observer must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer 
during construction; and
    [ssquf] The City will submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS for all 
observers prior to monitoring.
    The City 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, 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.

Acoustic Monitoring

    The City has developed a sound attenuation monitoring plan to 
protect fish and marine mammals during pile driving activities (see 
Appendix B of the application for further details). The acoustic 
monitoring will include, but not limited to:
    [ssquf] Two piles from each pile type will be monitored. For impact 
installation, two 24-in concrete piles, for vibratory installation, 36-
in steel piles, and for vibratory installation and extraction, two H-
piles will be monitored;
    [ssquf] The far-field hydrophone will be located at least 1 km from 
the 36-in piles during vibratory installation to better assess the 
extent of the Level B harassment zone;
    [ssquf] Recordings will be conducted from 10 Hz to 20 kHz;
    [ssquf] Background sound measurements will occur continuously for 
10 minutes prior to pile driving;
    The acoustic monitoring will include documentation of the 
following, at a minimum:
    [ssquf] Hydrophone equipment and methods: Recording device, 
sampling rate, distance from the pile where recordings were made; and 
depth of recording device(s);
    [ssquf] Type of pile being driven and method of driving during 
recordings; and
    [ssquf] Mean, medium, and maximum sound levels (dB re: 1 
[micro]Pa): Cumulative sound exposure level, peak sound pressure level, 
rms sound pressure level, and single-strike sound exposure level.

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, the City must immediately cease the 
specified activities and report the incident to the NMFS Office of 
Protected Resources and the West Coast 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 the City to 
determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of 
further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The City may not 
resume their activities until notified by NMFS.
    In the event the City 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), the City must immediately report the 
incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast 
Region Stranding

[[Page 45996]]

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 the City to 
determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to 
the activities are appropriate.
    In the event that the City 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), the City must report the incident 
to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Region 
Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery.

Final Report

    The City 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. The City 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; and
    [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; and
    [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; and
    [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 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 and are expected avoid the likelihood 
of Level A harassment for six of the seven species. As previously 
described, six instances of take by Level A harassment were added for 
harbor seals as a conservative measure if they enter the Level A 
harassment zone before detected by PSOs.
    Exposures to elevated sound levels produced during pile driving 
activities may cause behavioral disturbance of marine mammals, 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, and thereby both the scale 
and potential severity of the anticipated effects, the City will use 
pile cushions and a bubble curtain during impact pile driving.
    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 activities are 
underway. Depending on the activity, the City will employ one to two 
PSOs to ensure all monitoring and shutdown zones are properly observed.
    Two known pinniped haulout sites (non-pupping sites) are located in 
the vicinity of the project area. One is an existing haulout platform 
approximately 0.5 mile southeast of the project area (separated from 
project activities by approximately 0.3 mile of developed areas on-
land). The second haulout is the western end of Breakwater Island, 
approximately 1.0 mile southwest of the location of pile driving 
activities (Figure 4 of the application). They are both well outside 
the PTS isopleths for pinnipeds. Exposures to elevated sound levels 
produced during pile driving activities once the animals enter the 
water from

[[Page 45997]]

the haulouts may cause behavioral responses by an animal, but they are 
expected to be mild and temporary and limited to Level B harassment.
    The planned activities would not result in permanent impacts to 
habitats used directly by marine mammals except the actual footprint of 
the project. The footprint of the project is small, and equal to the 
area the ferry associated pile placement. The installation of piles for 
the new pier will result in permanent impacts on 61 ft\2\ of aquatic 
habitat. At best, the impact area, which is located in Seaplane Lagoon, 
provides marginal foraging habitat for marine mammals and fish. 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 in the bay. The most likely 
impact to prey will be temporary behavioral avoidance of the immediate 
area. During pile driving/removal 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 serious injury or mortality is anticipated;
    [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;
    [ssquf] Minimal impacts to marine mammal habitat are expected;
    [ssquf] The action area is located and within an active marine 
commercial area;
    [ssquf] There are no rookeries, or other known areas or features of 
special significance for foraging or reproduction in the project area;
    [ssquf] The required mitigation measures (i.e., shutdown zones and 
pile cushion, and bubble curtain) 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 take of 6 marine mammal stocks comprises less than two percent 
of the stock abundance, and less than 11 percent for bottlenose 
dolphins (California coastal).
    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

    There are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine 
mammal stocks or species implicated by this action.

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 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. No ESA listed species are authorized for take. 
Therefore, NMFS has determined consultation under the ESA is not 
required.

Authorization

    As a result of these determinations, NMFS authorizes an IHA to the 
City for pile driving and removal activities during construction of the 
Alameda Seaplane Lagoon ferry terminal provided the previously 
mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are 
incorporated.

    Dated: August 27, 2019.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-18884 Filed 8-30-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P