Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area, 48388-48455 [2019-18850]

Download as PDF 48388 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 218 [190826–0018 ] RIN 0648–BJ06 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the HawaiiSouthern California Training and Testing Study Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comment. AGENCY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) to extend the time period from December 2023 to December 2025 for Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the HawaiiSouthern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area. In August 2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for 7-year authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to the previously allowed five years. The Navy’s activities qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004. In making the request to extend the time period covered by the MMPA HSTT regulations from five to seven years, the Navy proposes no changes to their specified activities, the geographical region in which those activities would be conducted, mitigation measures, monitoring, or reporting over the longer seven-year period. Pursuant to the MMPA, NMFS is requesting comments on the proposed seven-year rule and associated Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to cover the same activities covered by the existing 2018 HSTT regulations. NMFS will consider all public comments prior to issuing any final rule and making final decisions on the issuance of the requested LOAs, and agency responses will be summarized in the notice of the final decision. DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than October 15, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 NMFS–2019–0103, by any of the following methods: • Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20190103, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. A copy of the Navy’s applications, NMFS’ proposed and final rules and subsequent LOAs for the existing regulations, and other supporting documents and documents cited herein may be obtained online at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities. In case of problems accessing these documents, please use the contact listed here (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wendy Piniak, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of Regulatory Action These proposed regulations, issued under the authority of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), would extend the framework for authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to the Navy’s training and testing activities (which qualify as military readiness activities) from the use of sonar and other transducers, in-water detonations, air guns, impact pile driving/vibratory extraction, and the movement of vessels throughout the HSTT Study Area. The HSTT Study Area is comprised of PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 established operating and warning areas across the north-central Pacific Ocean, from the mean high tide line in Southern California west to Hawaii and the International Date Line. The Study Area includes the at-sea areas of three existing range complexes (the Hawaii Range Complex, the Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complex, and the Silver Strand Training Complex), and overlaps a portion of the Point Mugu Sea Range (PMSR). Also included in the Study Area are Navy pierside locations in Hawaii and Southern California, Pearl Harbor, San Diego Bay, and the transit corridor on the high seas where sonar training and testing may occur. NMFS received an application from the Navy requesting to extend NMFS’ existing MMPA regulations (50 CFR part 218, subpart H; hereafter ‘‘2018 HSTT regulations’’) that authorize the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the HSTT Study Area to cover seven years of the Navy’s activities, instead of five. Take is anticipated to occur by Level A harassment and Level B harassment as well as a very small number of serious injuries or mortalities incidental to the Navy’s training and testing activities. Background The MMPA prohibits the ‘‘take’’ of marine mammals, with certain exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, the public is provided with notice of the proposed incidental take authorization the opportunity to review and submit comments. An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stocks and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stocks for taking for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to in this rule as ‘‘mitigation E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 measures’’); and requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such takings. The MMPA defines ‘‘take’’ to mean to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. The Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section below discusses the definition of ‘‘negligible impact.’’ The NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004 (2004 NDAA) (Pub. L. 108–136) amended section 101(a)(5) of the MMPA to remove the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ provisions indicated above and amended the definition of ‘‘harassment’’ as it applies to a ‘‘military readiness activity’’ to read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): (i) Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A Harassment); or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered (Level B harassment). In addition, the 2004 NDAA amended the MMPA as it relates to military readiness activities such that least practicable adverse impact shall include consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. More recently, section 316 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2019 (2019 NDAA) (Pub. L. 115–232), signed on August 13, 2018, amended the MMPA to allow incidental take rules for military readiness activities under section 101(a)(5)(A) to be issued for up to seven years. Prior to this amendment, all incidental take rules under section 101(a)(5)(A) were limited to five years. Summary of Request On December 27, 2018, NMFS issued a five-year final rule governing the taking of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the HSTT Study Area (83 FR 66846; hereafter ‘‘2018 HSTT final rule’’). Previously on August 13, 2018, and towards the end of the time period in which NMFS was processing the Navy’s request for the 2018 regulations, the 2019 NDAA amended the MMPA for military readiness activities to allow incidental take regulations to be issued for up to seven years instead of the previous five years. The Navy’s training and testing activities conducted in the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 HSTT Study Area qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as amended by the 2004 NDAA. On March 11, 2019 the Navy submitted an application requesting that NMFS extend the 2018 HSTT regulations and associated LOAs such that they would cover take incidental to seven years of training and testing activities instead of five, extending the expiration date from December 20, 2023 to December 20, 2025. In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the nature of the specified activities covered by the 2018 HSTT final rule, the level of activity within and between years would be consistent with that previously analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, and all activities would be conducted within the same boundaries of the HSTT Study Area identified in the 2018 HSTT final rule. Therefore, the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted) and the mitigation, monitoring, and nearly all reporting measures are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The only changes included in the Navy’s request are to conduct those same activities in the same region for an additional two years. In its request, the Navy included all information necessary to identify the type and amount of incidental take that may occur in the two additional years so NMFS could determine whether the analyses and conclusions regarding the impacts of the proposed activities on marine mammal species and stocks previously reached for five years of activities remain the same for seven years of identical activity. The Navy’s mission is to organize, train, equip, and maintain combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas. This mission is mandated by federal law (10 U.S.C. 8062), which ensures the readiness of the naval forces of the United States. The Navy executes this responsibility by establishing and executing training programs, including at-sea training and exercises, and ensuring naval forces have access to the ranges, operating areas (OPAREAs), and airspace needed to develop and maintain skills for conducting naval activities. The Navy proposes to continue conducting training and testing activities within the HSTT Study Area. The Navy’s March 11, 2019, rulemaking and LOA extension application (hereafter ‘‘2019 Navy application’’) reflects the same compilation of training and testing activities presented in the Navy’s October 13, 2017, initial rulemaking and LOA application PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48389 (hereafter ‘‘2017 Navy application’’) and the 2018 HSTT regulations that were subsequently promulgated, which can be found at: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities. These activities are deemed by the Navy necessary to accomplish military readiness requirements and are anticipated to continue into the reasonably foreseeable future. The 2019 Navy application and this rule cover training and testing activities that would occur over seven years, including the five years already authorized under the 2018 HSTT regulations, with the regulations valid from the publication date of the final rule (if issued) through December 20, 2025. Summary of the Proposed Regulations NMFS is proposing to extend the incidental take regulations and associated LOAs through December 20, 2025, to cover the same Navy activities covered by the 2018 HSTT regulations. The 2018 HSTT final rule was only recently published and its analysis remains current and valid. In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the nature (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted) or level of the specified activities within or between years or to the boundaries of the HSTT Study Area. The mitigation, monitoring, and nearly all reporting measures (described below) would be identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The proposed regulatory language included at the end of this proposed rule, which would be published at 50 CFR part 218, subpart H, also is the same as that under the HSTT 2018 regulations, except for a small number of technical changes. No new information has been received from the Navy, or otherwise become available to NMFS, since publication of the 2018 HSTT final rule that significantly changes the analyses supporting the 2018 findings. Where there is any new information pertinent to the descriptions, analyses, or findings required to authorize incidental take for military readiness activities under MMPA section 101(a)(5)(A), that information is provided in the appropriate sections below. Because the activities included in the 2019 Navy application have not changed and the analyses and findings included in the documents provided and produced in support of the recently published 2018 HSTT final rule remain current and applicable, this proposed rule relies heavily on and references to the applicable information and analyses E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48390 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules in those documents. Below is a list of the regulatory documents referenced in this proposed rule. The list indicates the short name by which the document is referenced in this proposed rule, as well as the full titles of the cited documents. All of the documents can be found at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities and http://www.hstteis.com/. • NMFS June 26, 2018, HawaiiSouthern California Training and Testing (HSTT) proposed rule (83 FR 29872; hereafter ‘‘2018 HSTT proposed rule’’); • NMFS December 27, 2018, HawaiiSouthern California Training and Testing (HSTT) final rule (83 FR 66846; hereafter ‘‘2018 HSTT final rule’’); • Navy October 13, 2017, MMPA rulemaking and LOA application (hereafter ‘‘2017 Navy application’’); • Navy March 11, 2019, MMPA rulemaking and LOA extension application (hereafter ‘‘2019 Navy application’’); and • October 26, 2018, Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS/OEIS) (hereafter ‘‘2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS’’). khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Description of the Specified Activity The Navy requests authorization to take marine mammals incidental to conducting training and testing activities. The Navy has determined that acoustic and explosives stressors are most likely to result in impacts on marine mammals that could rise to the level of harassment. Detailed descriptions of these activities are provided in Chapter 2 of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS and in the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications. Overview of Training and Testing Activities The Navy routinely trains in the HSTT Study Area in preparation for national defense missions. Training and testing activities and components covered in the 2019 Navy application are described in detail in the Overview of Training and Testing Activities sections of the 2018 HSTT proposed rule, the 2018 HSTT final rule, and Chapter 2 (Description of Proposed Action and Alternatives) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS (http:// www.hstteis.com/). Each military training and testing activity described meets mandated Fleet requirements to deploy ready forces. The Navy proposes no changes to the specified activities described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The boundaries of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 HSTT Study Area (see Figure 2–1 of the 2019 Navy application); the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted); manner of or amount of vessel movement; and standard operating procedures presented in this proposed rule are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. Dates and Duration The specified activities would occur at any time during the seven-year period of validity of the regulations. The proposed number of training and testing activities are described in the Detailed Description of the Specified Activities section (Tables 1 through 9). Specified Geographical Region The Navy proposes no changes to the geographic extent of the HSTT Study Area as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The HSTT Study Area (see Figure 2–1 of the 2019 Navy application) is comprised of established operating and warning areas across the north-central Pacific Ocean, from the mean high tide line in Southern California west to Hawaii and the International Date Line. The Study Area includes the at-sea areas of three existing range complexes (the Hawaii Range Complex, the Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complex, and the Silver Strand Training Complex), and overlaps a portion of the Point Mugu Sea Range (PMSR). Also included in the Study Area are Navy pierside locations in Hawaii and Southern California, Pearl Harbor, San Diego Bay, and the transit corridor 1 on the high seas where sonar training and testing may occur. A Navy range complex consists of geographic areas that encompass a water component (above and below the surface) and airspace, and may encompass a land component where training and testing of military platforms, tactics, munitions, explosives, and electronic warfare systems occur. Range complexes include established OPAREAs, which may be further divided to provide better control of the area for safety reasons. Additional detail on range complexes and testing ranges was provided in the Duration and Location section of the 1 Vessel transit corridors are the routes typically used by Navy assets to traverse from one area to another. The route depicted in Figure 2–1 of the 2019 Navy application is the shortest route between Hawaii and Southern California, making it the quickest and most fuel efficient. The depicted vessel transit corridor is notional and may not represent the actual routes used by ships and submarines transiting from Southern California to Hawaii and back. Actual routes navigated are based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, weather, training, and operational requirements. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 2018 HSTT proposed rule; please see the 2018 HSTT proposed rule or the 2017 Navy application for more information and maps. Description of Acoustic and Explosive Stressors The Navy uses a variety of sensors, platforms, weapons, and other devices, including ones used to ensure the safety of Sailors and Marines, to meet its mission. Training and testing with these systems may introduce acoustic (sound) energy or shock waves from explosives into the environment. The specific components that could act as stressors by having direct or indirect impacts on the environment are described in detail in the Description of Acoustic and Explosive Stressors section of the 2018 HSTT final rule and Chapter 2 (Description of Proposed Action and Alternatives) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/ OEIS. The Navy proposes no changes to the nature of the specified activities and, therefore, the acoustic and explosive stressors are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. Other Stressor—Vessel Strike Vessel strikes are not specific to any particular training or testing activity, but rather a limited, sporadic, and incidental result of Navy vessel movement within the HSTT Study Area. Navy vessels transit at speeds that are optimal for fuel conservation or to meet training and testing requirements. The average speed of large Navy ships ranges between 10 and 15 knots and submarines generally operate at speeds in the range of 8–13 knots, while a few specialized vessels can travel at faster speeds. By comparison, this is slower than most commercial vessels where full speed for a container ship is typically 24 knots (Bonney and Leach, 2010). Should a vessel strike occur, it would likely result in incidental take from serious injury and/or mortality and, accordingly, for the purposes of the analysis we assume that any ship strike would result in serious injury or mortality. The Navy proposes no changes to the nature of the specified activities, the training and testing activities, the manner of or amount of vessel movement, or standard operating procedures described in the 2018 HSTT final rule. Therefore, the description of vessel strikes as a stressor is the same as those presented in the Other Stressor—Vessel Strike sections of the 2018 HSTT proposed rule and 2018 HSTT final rule. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Detailed Description of the Specified Activities The Navy’s proposed activities are presented and analyzed as a representative year of training to account for the natural fluctuation of training cycles and deployment schedules in any seven-year period. In the 2018 HSTT final rule, NMFS analyzed the potential impacts of these activities (i.e., incidental take of marine mammals) based on the Navy conducting three years of a representative level of activity and two years of a maximum level of activity. For the purposes of this rulemaking and analyzing potential impacts to marine mammals, the Navy proposes that the additional two years of training and testing would consist of one additional year of maximum training tempo and one representative year of training tempo consistent with the pattern set forth in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS, and the 2017 Navy application. Proposed Training Activities The number of proposed training activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities remains identical to those presented in Table 4 48391 of the 2018 HSTT final rule, and are not repeated here. The number of proposed training activities that could occur over the seven-year period are presented in Table 1. The table is organized according to primary mission areas and includes the activity name, associated stressors applicable to these proposed regulations, sound source bin, number of proposed activities, and locations of those activities in the HSTT Study Area. For further information regarding the primary platform used (e.g., ship or aircraft type) see Appendix A (Navy Activity Descriptions) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS. TABLE 1—PROPOSED TRAINING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Stressor category Activity name Description Source bin Acoustic ...................... Composite Training Unit Exercise 1. Aircraft carrier and carrier air wing integrates with surface and submarine units in a challenging multi-threat operational environment that certifies them ready to deploy. Acoustic ...................... Rim of the Pacific Exercise 1 A biennial multinational training exercise in which navies from Pacific Rim nations and the United Kingdom assemble in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to conduct training throughout the Hawaiian Islands in a number of warfare areas. Marine mammal systems may be used during a Rim of the Pacific exercise. Components of a Rim of the Pacific exercise, such as certain mine warfare and amphibious training, may be conducted in the Southern California Range Complex. Acoustic ...................... Fleet Exercise/Sustainment Exercise 1. Acoustic ...................... Undersea Warfare Exercise ... Aircraft carrier and carrier air wing integrates with surface and submarine units in a challenging multi-threat operational environment to maintain ability to deploy. Elements of the anti-submarine warfare tracking exercise combine in this exercise of multiple air, surface, and subsurface units, over a period of several days. Sonobuoys are released from aircraft. Active and passive sonar used. Location 7-Year number of events Major Training Events—Large Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW1, ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, ASW5, HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11, MF12. ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, HF3, HF4, M3, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11. SOCAL .............................. 18 HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 4 4 HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 7 35 HRC .................................. 17 HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 7 18 HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 12 12 ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 14 86 Large-caliber HE rounds (E5) HRC (W188) ..................... 105 ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11. ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11. ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11. SOCAL .............................. 18 SOCAL .............................. 18 SOCAL .............................. 18 Major Training Events—Medium Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW1, ASW2, ASW3, ASW4, HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11, MF12. ASW3, ASW4, HF1, LF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF11, MF12. Integrated/Coordinated Training—Small Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Acoustic ...................... Navy Undersea Warfare Training and Assessment Course Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training. Multiple ships, aircraft, and submarines integrate the use of their sensors to search for, detect, classify, localize, and track a threat submarine in order to launch an exercise torpedo. ASW3, ASW4, HF1, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5. Integrated/Coordinated Training—Medium Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Acoustic ...................... Submarine Commanders Course. Train prospective submarine Commanding Officers to operate against surface, air, and subsurface threats. Acoustic ...................... Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise Group Sail Independent Deployer Certification Exercise/Tailored Anti-Submarine Warfare Training. Small-scale, short duration, coordinated anti-submarine warfare exercises. Explosive .................... Naval Surface Fire Support Exercise—at Sea. Acoustic ...................... Amphibious Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise. Surface ship uses large-caliber gun to support forces ashore; however, land target simulated at sea. Rounds impact water and are scored by passive acoustic hydrophones located at or near target area. Navy and Marine Corps forces conduct advanced integration training in preparation for deployment certification. Acoustic ...................... Amphibious Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Exercise. Marine Expeditionary Unit Composite Training Unit Exercise. ASW3, ASW4, HF1, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, TORP1, TORP2. Integrated/Coordinated Training—Small Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Amphibious Warfare Acoustic ...................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Navy and Marine Corps forces conduct integration training at sea in preparation for deployment certification. Amphibious Ready Group exercises are conducted to validate the Marine Expeditionary Unit’s readiness for deployment and includes small boat raids; visit, board, search, and seizure training; helicopter and mechanized amphibious raids; and a non-combatant evacuation operation. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48392 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—PROPOSED TRAINING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA—Continued Stressor category Activity name Description 7-Year number of events Source bin Location Helicopter crews search for, track, and detect submarines. Recoverable air launched torpedoes are employed against submarine targets. Maritime patrol aircraft crews search for, track, and detect submarines. Recoverable air launched torpedoes are employed against submarine targets. Surface ship crews search for, track, and detect submarines. Exercise torpedoes are used during this event. Submarine crews search for, track, and detect submarines. Exercise torpedoes are used during this event. Helicopter crews search for, track, and detect submarines ... MF4, MF5, TORP1 ................ HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 42 728 MF5, TORP1 .......................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 70 175 ASW3, MF1, TORP1 ............. Maritime patrol aircraft aircrews search for, track, and detect submarines. Recoverable air launched torpedoes are employed against submarine targets. Surface ship crews search for, track, and detect submarines MF5 ........................................ HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. SOCAL, PMSR ................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... HRC .................................. SOCAL, PMSR ................. 350 819 336 91 1,113 3,668 42 182 350 Submarine crews search for, track, and detect submarines ASW4, HF1, HF3, MF3 .......... Air, surface, or submarine crews employ explosive torpedoes against virtual targets. HF1, MF3, MF6, TORP2, Explosive torpedoes (E11). HRC .................................. SOCAL, PMSR ................. HRC .................................. SOCAL, PMSR ................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 1,568 2,961 1,400 350 49 14 7 Anti-Submarine Warfare Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Torpedo Exercise—Helicopter. Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Torpedo Exercise—Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Anti-Submarine Warfare Torpedo Exercise—Ship. Anti-Submarine Warfare Torpedo Exercise—Submarine. Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Helicopter. Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Ship. Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Exercise—Submarine. Service Weapons Test ........... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Explosive, Acoustic .... ASW4, HF1, MF3, TORP2 .... MF4, MF5 ............................... ASW3, MF1, MF11, MF12 ..... Mine Warfare Acoustic ...................... Explosive, Acoustic .... Explosive .................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Explosive, Acoustic .... Explosive .................... Airborne Mine Countermeasure—Mine Detection. Civilian Port Defense—Homeland Security Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Exercises. Marine Mammal Systems ...... Mine Countermeasure Exercise—Ship Sonar. Mine Countermeasure Exercise—Surface. Mine Countermeasures Mine Neutralization Remotely Operated Vehicle. Mine Neutralization Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Acoustic ...................... Submarine Mine Exercise ...... Acoustic ...................... Surface Ship Object Detection Explosive .................... Underwater Demolitions Multiple Charge—Mat Weave and Obstacle Loading. Underwater Demolition Qualification and Certification. Explosive .................... Helicopter aircrews detect mines using towed or laser mine detection systems. Maritime security personnel train to protect civilian ports against enemy efforts to interfere with access to those ports. HF4 ........................................ SOCAL .............................. 70 HF4, SAS2, E2, E4 ................ Pearl Harbor, HI ............... San Diego, CA .................. 7 21 The Navy deploys trained bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) as part of the marine mammal mine-hunting and object-recovery system. Ship crews detect and avoid mines while navigating restricted areas or channels using active sonar. Mine countermeasure ship crews detect, locate, identify, and avoid mines while navigating restricted areas or channels, such as while entering or leaving port. Ship, small boat, and helicopter crews locate and disable mines using remotely operated underwater vehicles. E7 ........................................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 70 1,225 HF4, HF8, MF1K .................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. SOCAL .............................. 210 664 1,862 HF4, E4 .................................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 42 2,604 Personnel disable threat mines using explosive charges ...... E4, E5, E6, E7 ....................... HRC (Puuloa) ................... SOCAL (IB, TAR 2, TAR 3, TAR 21, SWAT 3, SOAR). HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. SOCAL (TAR 2, TAR 3) ... 140 1,358 E6, E7 .................................... HRC (Puuloa) ................... SOCAL (TAR 2) ................ 203 700 HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 1309 4480 35 70 98 HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... SOCAL .............................. 210 1,302 91 350 1,260 280 7 E1, E3, E6, E10 ..................... HRC (W188A) ................... SOCAL (SOAR) ................ 7 7 E6, E8, E10 ............................ HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HRC (W188) ..................... SOCAL (W291) ................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 70 1,498 1,598 1,722 140 70 21 4 HF4 ........................................ Submarine crews practice detecting mines in a designated HF1 ........................................ area. Ship crews detect and avoid mines while navigating re- MF1K, HF8 ............................. stricted areas or channels using active sonar. Military personnel use explosive charges to destroy barriers E10, E13 ................................ or obstacles to amphibious vehicle access to beach areas. Navy divers conduct various levels of training and certification in placing underwater demolition charges. 280 84 287 1,134 126 Surface Warfare Explosive .................... Bombing Exercise Air-to-Surface. Fixed-wing aircrews deliver bombs against surface targets .. E12 2 ....................................... Explosive .................... Gunnery Exercise Surface-toSurface Boat Medium-Caliber. Gunnery Exercise Surface-toSurface Ship Large-caliber. Small boat crews fire medium-caliber guns at surface targets. E1, E2 .................................... Surface ship crews fire large-caliber guns at surface targets E5 ........................................... Gunnery Exercise Surface-toSurface Ship Medium-Caliber. Independent Deployer Certification Exercise/Tailored Surface Warfare Training. Surface ship crews fire medium-caliber guns at surface targets. E1, E2 .................................... Multiple ships, aircraft and submarines conduct integrated multi-warfare training with a surface warfare emphasis. Serves as a ready-to-deploy certification for individual surface ships tasked with surface warfare missions. Naval Forces defend against a swarm of surface threats (ships or small boats) with bombs, missiles, rockets, and small-, medium- and large-caliber guns. Fixed-wing and helicopter aircrews fire air-to-surface missiles at surface targets. Helicopter aircrews fire both precision-guided and unguided rockets at surface targets. Surface ship crews defend against surface threats (ships or small boats) and engage them with missiles. Aircraft, ship, and submarine crews deliberately sink a seaborne target, usually a decommissioned ship made environmentally safe for sinking according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, with a variety of munitions. E1, E3, E6, E10 ..................... Explosive .................... Explosive .................... khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Explosive, Acoustic .... Explosive .................... Integrated Live Fire Exercise Explosive .................... Missile Exercise Air-to-Surface. Missile Exercise Air-to-Surface Rocket. Missile Exercise Surface-toSurface. Sinking Exercise .................... Explosive .................... Explosive .................... Explosive, Acoustic .... VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E3 ........................................... E6, E10 .................................. TORP2, E5, E10, E12 ........... E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 48393 TABLE 1—PROPOSED TRAINING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA—Continued Stressor category Activity name Description Source bin Pile driving ................. Elevated Causeway System .. A pier is constructed off of the beach. Piles are driven into the bottom with an impact hammer. Piles are removed from seabed via vibratory extractor. Only in-water impacts are analyzed. Acoustic ...................... Kilo Dip ................................... Location 7-Year number of events Impact hammer or vibratory extractor. SOCAL .............................. 14 Functional check of the dipping sonar prior to conducting a full test or training event on the dipping sonar. Submarine Navigation ExerSubmarine crews operate sonar for navigation and object cise. detection while transiting into and out of port during reduced visibility. Submarine Sonar MainteMaintenance of submarine sonar systems is conducted nance and Systems Checks. pierside or at sea. MF4 ........................................ HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. Pearl Harbor, HI ............... San Diego Bay, CA .......... 420 16,800 1,540 560 Submarine Under-Ice CertifiSubmarine crews train to operate under ice. Ice conditions cation. are simulated during training and certification events. Surface Ship Sonar MainteMaintenance of surface ship sonar systems is conducted nance and Systems Checks. pierside or at sea. HF1 ........................................ Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Training—Certification and Development. FLS2, M3, SAS2 .................... HRC .................................. Pearl Harbor, HI ............... SOCAL .............................. San Diego Bay, CA .......... HSTT Transit Corridor ...... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. Pearl Harbor, HI ............... SOCAL .............................. San Diego, CA .................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 1,820 1,820 651 644 70 84 42 525 560 1,750 1,750 56 175 70 Other Training Exercises Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Unmanned underwater vehicle certification involves training with unmanned platforms to ensure submarine crew proficiency. Tactical development involves training with various payloads for multiple purposes to ensure that the systems can be employed effectively in an operational environment. HF1, MF3 ............................... MF3 ........................................ HF8, MF1 ............................... Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex, HSTT = Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing, PMSR = Point Mugu Sea Range Overlap, TAR = Training Area and Range, SOAR = Southern California Anti-Submarine Warfare Range, IB = Imperial Beach Minefield. 1 Any non-antisubmarine warfare activity that could occur is captured in the individual activities. 2 For the Bombing Exercise Air-to-Surface, all activities were analyzed using E12 explosive bin, but smaller explosives are frequently used. Proposed Testing Activities The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented in Tables 5 through 8 of the 2018 HSTT final rule, and are not repeated here. Similar to the 2017 Navy application, the Navy’s proposed testing activities here are based on the level of testing activities anticipated to be conducted into the reasonably foreseeable future, with adjustments that account for changes in the types and tempo (increases or decreases) of testing activities to meet current and future military readiness requirements. The number of proposed testing activities that could occur for the seven-year period are presented in Tables 2 through 5. Naval Air Systems Command The proposed Naval Air Systems Command testing activities that could occur over the seven-year period within the HSTT Study Area are presented in Table 2. TABLE 2—PROPOSED NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Stressor category Activity name Description 7-Year number of events Source bin Location MF5, TORP1 .......................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 134 353 MF4, MF5, E3 ........................ SOCAL .............................. 414 ASW2, ASW5, MF5, MF6, E1, E3. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 399 436 ASW2, ASW5, HF5, HF6, SOCAL .............................. LF4, MF5, MF6, E1, E3, E4. 1,120 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Anti-Submarine Warfare Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Torpedo Test. Explosive, Acoustic .... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Test—Helicopter. Explosive, Acoustic .... Anti-Submarine Warfare Tracking Test—Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Explosive, Acoustic .... Sonobuoy Lot Acceptance Test. This event is similar to the training event torpedo exercise. Test evaluates anti-submarine warfare systems onboard rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft and the ability to search for, detect, classify, localize, track, and attack a submarine or similar target. This event is similar to the training event anti-submarine tracking exercise—helicopter. The test evaluates the sensors and systems used to detect and track submarines and to ensure that helicopter systems used to deploy the tracking systems perform to specifications. The test evaluates the sensors and systems used by maritime patrol aircraft to detect and track submarines and to ensure that aircraft systems used to deploy the tracking systems perform to specifications and meet operational requirements. Sonobuoys are deployed from surface vessels and aircraft to verify the integrity and performance of a lot or group of sonobuoys in advance of delivery to the fleet for operational use. Mine Warfare Acoustic ...................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 Airborne Dipping Sonar Minehunting Test. 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 A mine-hunting dipping sonar system that is deployed from a helicopter and uses high-frequency sonar for the detection and classification of bottom and moored mines. PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 HF4 ........................................ E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 SOCAL .............................. 24 48394 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2—PROPOSED NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA—Continued Stressor category Activity name Explosive .................... Airborne Mine Neutralization System Test. Acoustic ...................... Airborne Sonobuoy Minehunting Test. Explosive .................... Air-to-Surface Bombing Test Explosive .................... Air-to-Surface Gunnery Test .. Explosive .................... Air-to-Surface Missile Test ..... Explosive .................... Rocket Test ............................ Acoustic ...................... Kilo Dip ................................... Acoustic ...................... Undersea Range System Test 7-Year number of events Description Source bin Location A test of the airborne mine neutralization system that evaluates the system’s ability to detect and destroy mines from an airborne mine countermeasures capable helicopter (e.g., MH–60). The airborne mine neutralization system uses up to four unmanned underwater vehicles equipped with high-frequency sonar, video cameras, and explosive and non-explosive neutralizers. A mine-hunting system made up of sonobuoys deployed from a helicopter. A field of sonobuoys, using high-frequency sonar, is used for detection and classification of bottom and moored mines. E4 ........................................... SOCAL .............................. 117 HF6 ........................................ SOCAL .............................. 33 E9 ........................................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 56 98 E1 ........................................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 35 330 E6, E9, E10 ............................ HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 126 384 E3 ........................................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 14 142 MF4 ........................................ SOCAL .............................. 12 MF9 ........................................ HRC .................................. 129 Surface Warfare This event is similar to the training event bombing exercise air-to-surface. Fixed-wing aircraft test the delivery of bombs against surface maritime targets with the goal of evaluating the bomb, the bomb carry and delivery system, and any associated systems that may have been newly developed or enhanced. This event is similar to the training event gunnery exercise air-to-surface. Fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircrews evaluate new or enhanced aircraft guns against surface maritime targets to test that the gun, gun ammunition, or associated systems meet required specifications or to train aircrew in the operation of a new or enhanced weapons system. This event is similar to the training event missile exercise air-to-surface. Test may involve both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft launching missiles at surface maritime targets to evaluate the weapons system or as part of another systems integration test. Rocket tests are conducted to evaluate the integration, accuracy, performance, and safe separation of guided and unguided 2.75-inch rockets fired from a hovering or forward flying helicopter or tilt rotor aircraft. Other Testing Activities Functional check of a helicopter deployed dipping sonar system (e.g., AN/AQS–22) prior to conducting a testing or training event using the dipping sonar system. Post installation node survey and test and periodic testing of range node transmit functionality. Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex. Naval Sea Systems Command The proposed Naval Sea Systems Command testing activities that could occur over the seven-year period within the HSTT Study Area are presented in Table 3. TABLE 3—PROPOSED NAVAL SEA SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Stressor category Activity name Description Acoustic ...................... Anti-Submarine Warfare Mission Package Testing. Acoustic ...................... At-Sea Sonar Testing ............ Ships and their supporting platforms (e.g., rotary-wing aircraft and unmanned aerial systems) detect, localize, and prosecute submarines. At-sea testing to ensure systems are fully functional in an open ocean environment. Acoustic ...................... Countermeasure Testing ....... Acoustic ...................... Pierside Sonar Testing .......... Acoustic ...................... Submarine Sonar Testing/ Maintenance. Acoustic ...................... Surface Ship Sonar Testing/ Maintenance. Explosive, Acoustic .... Torpedo (Explosive) Testing .. 7-Year number of events Source bin Location ASW1, ASW2, ASW3, ASW5, MF1, MF4, MF5, MF12, TORP1. ASW3, ASW4, HF1, LF4, LF5, M3, MF1, MF1K, MF2, MF3, MF5, MF9, MF10, MF11. ASW3, ASW4, HF5, TORP1, TORP2. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 154 161 HRC .................................. HRC–SOCAL .................... SOCAL .............................. 109 7 138 HRC .................................. HRC–SOCAL .................... SOCAL .............................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... 56 28 77 14 HF1, HF3, HF8, M3, MF1, MF3, MF9. Pearl Harbor, HI ............... San Diego, CA .................. 49 49 HF1, HF3, M3, MF3 ............... HRC .................................. Pearl Harbor, HI ............... San Diego, CA .................. HRC .................................. Pearl Harbor, HI ............... San Diego, CA .................. SOCAL .............................. HRC (W188) ..................... HRC (W188) SOCAL ........ SOCAL .............................. 28 119 168 21 21 21 21 56 21 56 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Anti-Submarine Warfare VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Countermeasure testing involves the testing of systems that will detect, localize, and track incoming weapons, including marine vessel targets. Testing includes surface ship torpedo defense systems and marine vessel stopping payloads. Pierside testing to ensure systems are fully functional in a controlled pierside environment prior to at-sea test activities. Pierside and at-sea testing of submarine systems occurs periodically following major maintenance periods and for routine maintenance. Pierside and at-sea testing of ship systems occurs periodically following major maintenance periods and for routine maintenance. Air, surface, or submarine crews employ explosive and nonexplosive torpedoes against artificial targets. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 ASW3, MF1, MF1K, MF9, MF10. ASW3, HF1, HF5, HF6, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF6, TORP1, TORP2, E8, E11. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 48395 TABLE 3—PROPOSED NAVAL SEA SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA—Continued Stressor category Activity name 7-Year number of events Description Source bin Location ASW3, ASW4, HF1, HF6, M3, MF1, MF3, MF4, MF5, MF6, TORP1, TORP2, TORP3. HRC .................................. HRC SOCAL ..................... SOCAL .............................. 56 63 56 HF4, E4 .................................. SOCAL .............................. 70 HF4, SAS2, E4 ...................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. HRC SOCAL ..................... SOCAL .............................. 118 406 14 10 77 HRC .................................. HRC–SOCAL .................... SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. HRC–SOCAL .................... SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. HRC–SOCAL .................... SOCAL .............................. 49 504 49 28 336 28 91 168 140 HF4, SAS2 ............................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 21 28 HF4, MF9 ............................... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 21 2,037 HF1, M3, MF3, MF9, MF10, TORP2. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 7 7 E1, E5, E8 .............................. HRC .................................. HRC–SOCAL .................... SOCAL .............................. 63 441 102 ASW4, HF4, HF8, MF1, MF4, HRC .................................. MF5, MF6, TORP1, TORP2. HRC SOCAL ..................... SOCAL .............................. 49 60 69 Acoustic ...................... Torpedo (Non-Explosive) Testing. Air, surface, or submarine crews employ non-explosive torpedoes against submarines or surface vessels. Explosive, Acoustic .... Mine Countermeasure and Neutralization Testing. Mine Countermeasure Mission Package Testing. Mine Detection and Classification Testing. Air, surface, and subsurface vessels neutralize threat mines and mine-like objects. Vessels and associated aircraft conduct mine countermeasure operations. Air, surface, and subsurface vessels detect and classify mines and mine-like objects. Vessels also assess their potential susceptibility to mines and mine-like objects. Explosive .................... Gun Testing—Large-Caliber .. Surface crews defend against surface targets with large-caliber guns. E3 ........................................... Explosive .................... Gun Testing—Medium-Caliber Surface crews defend against surface targets with mediumcaliber guns. E1 ........................................... Explosive .................... Missile and Rocket Testing .... Missile and rocket testing includes various missiles or rockets fired from submarines and surface combatants. Testing of the launching system and ship defense is performed. E6 ........................................... Acoustic ...................... Unmanned Surface Vehicle System Testing. Acoustic ...................... Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Testing. Testing involves the production or upgrade of unmanned surface vehicles. This may include tests of mine detection capabilities, evaluations of the basic functions of individual platforms, or complex events with multiple vehicles. Testing involves the production or upgrade of unmanned underwater vehicles. This may include tests of mine detection capabilities, evaluations of the basic functions of individual platforms, or complex events with multiple vehicles. Mine Warfare Explosive, Acoustic .... Acoustic ...................... HF1, HF8, MF1, MF5 ............. Surface Warfare Unmanned Systems Vessel Evaluation Acoustic ...................... Submarine Sea Trials–Weapons System Testing. Explosive .................... Surface Warfare Testing ........ Acoustic ...................... Undersea Warfare Testing ..... Acoustic ...................... Vessel Signature Evaluation .. Submarine weapons and sonar systems are tested at-sea to meet the integrated combat system certification requirements. Tests the capabilities of shipboard sensors to detect, track, and engage surface targets. Testing may include ships defending against surface targets using explosive and non-explosive rounds, gun system structural test firing, and demonstration of the response to Call for Fire against land-based targets (simulated by sea-based locations). Ships demonstrate capability of countermeasure systems and underwater surveillance, weapons engagement, and communications systems. This tests ships ability to detect, track, and engage undersea targets. Surface ship, submarine and auxiliary system signature assessments. This may include electronic, radar, acoustic, infrared and magnetic signatures. ASW3 ..................................... HRC .................................. HRC SOCAL ..................... SOCAL .............................. 28 252 168 M3, MF9 ................................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 7 7 HF1, M3, MF9 ........................ HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 14 7 Other Testing Activities Acoustic ...................... Insertion/Extraction ................ Acoustic ...................... Signature Analysis Operations Testing of submersibles capable of inserting and extracting personnel and payloads into denied areas from strategic distances. Surface ship and submarine testing of electromagnetic, acoustic, optical, and radar signature measurements. Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex, HSTT = Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing, CA = California, HI = Hawaii. Office of Naval Research khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 The proposed Office of Naval Research testing activities that could occur over the seven-year period within the HSTT Study Area are presented in Table 4. TABLE 4—PROPOSED OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Stressor category Activity name Description Source bin Location AG, ASW2, BB4, BB9, LF3, LF4, LF5, MF8, MF9, MF9, MF9, E3. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. 7-Year number of events Acoustic and Oceanographic Science and Technology Explosive, Acoustic .... VerDate Sep<11>2014 Acoustic and Oceanographic Research. 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Research using active transmissions from sources deployed from ships and unmanned underwater vehicles. Research sources can be used as proxies for current and future Navy systems. PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 14 28 48396 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 4—PROPOSED OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA—Continued Stressor category Activity name Acoustic ...................... Long Range Acoustic Communications. 7-Year number of events Description Source bin Location Bottom mounted acoustic source off of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai will transmit a variety of acoustic communications sequences. LF4 ......................................... HRC .................................. 21 Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex. Naval Information Warfare Systems Command activities that could occur over the seven-year period within the HSTT Study Area are presented in Table 5. The proposed Naval Information Warfare Systems Command testing TABLE 5—PROPOSED NAVAL INFORMATION WARFARE SYSTEMS COMMAND TESTING ACTIVITIES ANALYZED FOR SEVENYEAR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA 7-Year number of events Stressor category Activity name Description Source bin Location Acoustic ...................... Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection. Communications .................... Testing sensor systems that can detect threats to naval piers, ships, and shore infrastructure. Testing of underwater communications and networks to extend the principles of FORCEnet below the ocean surface. Develop, integrate, and demonstrate Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance systems and in-situ energy systems to support deployed systems. Testing of surface and subsurface vehicles and sensor systems that may involve Unmanned Underwater Vehicles, gliders, and Unmanned Surface Vehicles. SD1 ........................................ San Diego, CA .................. SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... HRC .................................. SOCAL .............................. HSTT Transit Corridor ...... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Acoustic ...................... Energy and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Sensor Systems. Vehicle Testing ...................... ASW2, ASW5, HF6, LF4 ....... AG, HF2, HF7, LF4, LF5, LF6, MF10. BB4, FLS2, FLS3, HF6, LF3, M3, MF9, MF13, SAS1, SAS2, SAS3. 98 112 5 70 87 357 56 8 1,141 14 Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex, HSTT = Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing, CA = California. Summary of Acoustic and Explosive Sources Analyzed for Training and Testing Tables 6 through 9 show the acoustic and explosive source classes, bins, and numbers used, airgun sources and numbers used, and numbers of pile driving and removal activities associated with the Navy’s proposed training and testing activities over a seven-year period in the HSTT Study Area that were analyzed in the 2019 Navy application and for this proposed rule. The annual numbers for acoustic source classes, explosive source bins, and airgun sources, as well as the annual pile driving and removal activities associated with Navy training and testing activities in the HSTT Study Area are identical to those presented in Tables 9 through 12 of the 2018 HSTT final rule, and are not repeated here. Consistent with the periodicity in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the Navy proposes the addition of two pile driving/extraction activities for each of the two additional years. Table 6 describes the acoustic source classes (i.e., low-frequency (LF), midfrequency (MF), and high-frequency (HF)) that could occur over seven years under the proposed training and testing activities. Acoustic source bin use in the proposed activities would vary annually. The seven-year totals for the proposed training and testing activities take into account that annual variability. TABLE 6—ACOUSTIC SOURCE CLASSES ANALYZED AND NUMBER USED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD FOR TRAINING AND TESTING ACTIVITIES IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Source class category Bin Low-Frequency (LF): Sources produce signals less than 1 kHz. that LF3 LF4 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 LF5 LF6 Mid-Frequency (MF): Tactical and nontactical sources that produce signals between 1 and 10 kHz. MF1 MF1K MF2 2 MF3 MF4 MF5 VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Training Testing 7-year total 7-year total Unit 1 Description LF sources greater than 200 dB ............. LF sources equal to 180 dB and up to 200 dB. LF sources less than 180 dB .................. LF sources greater than 200 dB with long pulse lengths. Hull-mounted surface ship sonars (e.g., AN/SQS–53C and AN/SQS–61). H H C H H 0 0 0 65 956 1,365 4,496 140 14,458 360 H 38,489 8,692 Kingfisher mode associated with MF1 sonars. Hull-mounted surface ship sonars (e.g., AN/SQS–56). Hull-mounted submarine sonars (e.g., AN/BQQ–10). Helicopter-deployed dipping sonars (e.g., AN/AQS–22 and AN/AQS–13). Active acoustic sonobuoys (e.g., DICASS). H 700 98 H 0 378 H 14,700 9,177 H 2,719 2,502 C 40,128 38,233 Frm 00010 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48397 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 6—ACOUSTIC SOURCE CLASSES ANALYZED AND NUMBER USED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD FOR TRAINING AND TESTING ACTIVITIES IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA—Continued Source class category Bin MF6 MF8 MF9 MF10 MF11 MF12 High-Frequency (HF): Tactical and nontactical sources that produce signals between 10 and 100 kHz. MF13 HF1 HF2 HF3 HF4 HF5 HF6 HF7 HF8 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW): Tactical sources (e.g., active sonobuoys and acoustic countermeasures systems) used during ASW training and testing activities. ASW1 ASW2 ASW3 ASW4 Torpedoes (TORP): Source classes associated with the active acoustic signals produced by torpedoes. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Forward Looking Sonar (FLS): Forward or upward looking object avoidance sonars used for ship navigation and safety. ASW5 3 TORP1 TORP2 TORP3 FLS2 FLS3 Acoustic Modems (M): Systems used to transmit data through the water. Swimmer Detection Sonars (SD): Systems used to detect divers and submerged swimmers. M3 SD1–SD2 Synthetic Aperture Sonars (SAS): Sonars in which active acoustic signals are post-processed to form high-resolution images of the seafloor. SAS1 SAS2 SAS3 SAS4 Broadband Sound Sources (BB): Sonar systems with large frequency spectra, used for various purposes. BB4 BB7 BB9 Active underwater sound signal devices (e.g., MK 84). Active sources (greater than 200 dB) not otherwise binned. Active sources (equal to 180 dB and up to 200 dB) not otherwise binned. Active sources (greater than 160 dB, but less than 180 dB) not otherwise binned. Hull-mounted surface ship sonars with an active duty cycle greater than 80%. Towed array surface ship sonars with an active duty cycle greater than 80%. MF sonar source ...................................... Hull-mounted submarine sonars (e.g., AN/BQQ–10). HF Marine Mammal Monitoring System .. Other hull-mounted submarine sonars (classified). Mine detection, classification, and neutralization sonar (e.g., AN/SQS–20). Active sources (greater than 200 dB) not otherwise binned. Active sources (equal to 180 dB and up to 200 dB) not otherwise binned. Active sources (greater than 160 dB, but less than 180 dB) not otherwise binned. Hull-mounted surface ship sonars (e.g., AN/SQS–61). MF systems operating above 200 dB ..... MF Multistatic Active Coherent sonobuoy (e.g., AN/SSQ–125). MF towed active acoustic countermeasure systems (e.g., AN/SLQ–25). MF expendable active acoustic device countermeasures (e.g.., MK 3). MF sonobuoys with high duty cycles ...... Lightweight torpedo (e.g., MK 46, MK 54, or Anti-Torpedo Torpedo). Heavyweight torpedo (e.g., MK 48) ......... HF sources with short pulse lengths, narrow beam widths, and focused beam patterns. VHF sources with short pulse lengths, narrow beam widths, and focused beam patterns. MF acoustic modems (greater than 190 dB). HF and VHF sources with short pulse lengths, used for the detection of swimmers and other objects for the purpose of port security. MF SAS systems ..................................... HF SAS systems ..................................... VHF SAS systems ................................... MF to HF broadband mine countermeasure sonar. LF to MF oceanographic source ............. LF oceanographic source ........................ MF optoacoustic source .......................... H 0 490 H 0 36,056 H 0 13,104 H 5,205 392 H 1,260 4,620 H H 0 12,550 2,100 5,403 H H 0 1,919 840 769 H 15,012 114,069 H C H 0 0 0 6,720 280 7,015 H 0 9,660 H 711 5,136 H C 1,503 4,824 3,290 32,900 H 37,385 19,187 C 9,023 15,398 H C 1,780 1,605 3,854 6,454 C C H 3,515 0 196 2,756 315 3,424 H 0 18,480 H 274 3,623 H 0 70 H H H H 0 6,297 0 294 13,720 60,088 32,200 0 H C H 0 0 0 6,414 196 3,360 = hours; C = count (e.g., number of individual pings or individual sonobuoys). are sources on frigate class ships, which were decommissioned during Phase II. ASW2 (H) in Phase II. Notes: dB = decibel(s), kHz = kilohertz, VHF = very high frequency. PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 7-year total 8,202 3 Formerly Jkt 247001 7-year total 63 2 MF2/MF2K 19:41 Sep 12, 2019 Testing C 1H VerDate Sep<11>2014 Training Unit 1 Description E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48398 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Table 7 describes the number of air gun shots that could occur over seven years under the proposed training and testing activities. TABLE 7—TRAINING AND TESTING AIR GUN SOURCES QUANTITATIVELY ANALYZED IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Source class category Air Guns (AG): small underwater air guns ...................................................... 1 Training Testing 7-year total 7-year total 0 5,908 Unit 1 Bin AG C C = count. One count (C) of AG is equivalent to 100 air gun firings. Table 8 summarizes the impact pile driving and vibratory pile removal activities that would occur during a 24hour period. Annually, for impact pile driving, the Navy will drive 119 piles, two times a year for a total of 238 piles. Over the seven-year period of the rule, the Navy will drive a total of 1,666 piles by impact pile driving. Annually, for vibratory pile extraction, the Navy will extract 119 piles, two times a year for a total of 238 piles. Over the seven-year period of the rule, the Navy will extract a total of 1,666 piles by vibratory pile extraction. TABLE 8—SUMMARY OF PILE DRIVING AND REMOVAL ACTIVITIES PER 24-HOUR PERIOD IN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Piles per 24hour period Method Pile Driving (Impact) .................................................................................................................... Pile Removal (Vibratory) .............................................................................................................. Table 9 describes the number of inwater explosives that could be used in any year under the proposed training and testing activities. Under the proposed activities bin use would vary annually, and the seven-year totals for Time per pile (minutes) 6 12 Total estimated time of noise per 24hour period (minutes) 15 6 90 72 the proposed training and testing activities take into account that annual variability. TABLE 9—EXPLOSIVE SOURCE BINS ANALYZED AND NUMBER USED FOR SEVEN-YEAR PERIOD FOR TRAINING AND TESTING ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Modeled underwater detonation depths (ft.) Net explosive weight (lb.) 1 Example explosive source ...................... ...................... ...................... ...................... 0.1–0.25 ................... >0.25–0.5 ................. >0.5–2.5 ................... >2.5–5 ...................... Medium-caliber projectiles .......................... Medium-caliber projectiles .......................... Large-caliber projectiles ............................. Mine neutralization charge ......................... E5 ...................... E6 ...................... E7 ...................... E8 ...................... E9 ...................... E10 .................... E11 .................... E12 .................... E13 .................... >5–10 ....................... >10–20 ..................... >20–60 ..................... >60–100 ................... >100–250 ................. >250–500 ................. >500–650 ................. >650–1,000 .............. >1,000–1,740 ........... 5 in. projectiles ........................................... Hellfire missile ............................................ Demo block/shaped charge ........................ Lightweight torpedo .................................... 500 lb. bomb ............................................... Harpoon missile .......................................... 650 lb. mine ................................................ 2,000 lb. bomb ............................................ Multiple Mat Weave charges ...................... Bin E1 E2 E3 E4 0.3, 60 ...................... 0.3, 50 ...................... 0.3, 60 ...................... 10, 16, 33, 50, 61, 65, 650. 0.3, 10, 50 ................ 0.3, 10, 50, 60 .......... 10, 50, 60 ................. 0.3, 150 .................... 0.3 ............................ 0.3 ............................ 61, 150 ..................... 0.3 ............................ NA 2 .......................... Training Testing 7-year total 7-year total 20,580 12,222 19,579 266 87,012 0 20,848 4,372 33,310 4,056 91 241 2,950 1,543 69 114 63 9,800 230 0 399 28 210 84 0 0 1 Net Explosive Weight refers to the amount of explosives; the actual weight of a munition may be larger due to other components. Not modeled because charge is detonated in surf zone; not a single E13 charge, but multiple smaller charges detonated in quick succession. Notes: in. = inch(es), lb. = pound(s), ft. = feet. 2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Vessel Movement Vessels used as part of the Planned Activities include ships, submarines, unmanned vessels, and boats ranging in size from small, 22 ft (7 m) rigid hull inflatable boats to aircraft carriers with lengths up to 1,092 ft (333 m). The average speed of large Navy ships ranges between 10 and 15 knots and submarines generally operate at speeds VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 in the range of 8–13 knots (kn), while a few specialized vessels can travel at faster speeds. Small craft (for purposes of this analysis, less than 18 m in length) have much more variable speeds (0–50+ kn, dependent on the activity), but generally range from 10 to 14 kn. From unpublished Navy data, average median speed for large Navy ships in the HSTT Study Area from 2011–2015 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 varied from 5–10 kn with variations by ship class and location (i.e., slower speeds close to the coast). While these speeds for large and small craft are representative of most events, some vessels need to temporarily operate outside of these parameters. A full description of Navy vessels that are used during training and testing activities can be found in the 2017 Navy E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules application and Chapter 2 (Description of Proposed Action and Alternatives) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS. The number of Navy vessels used in the HSTT Study Area varies based on military training and testing requirements, deployment schedules, annual budgets, and other dynamic factors. Most training and testing activities involve the use of vessels. These activities could be widely dispersed throughout the HSTT Study Area, but would typically be conducted near naval ports, piers, and range areas. Navy vessel traffic would be especially concentrated near San Diego, California and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There is no seasonal differentiation in Navy vessel use because of continual operational requirements from Combatant Commanders. The majority of large vessel traffic occurs between the installations and the OPAREAs. Support craft would be more concentrated in the coastal waters in the areas of naval installations, ports, and ranges. Activities involving vessel movements occur intermittently and are variable in duration, ranging from a few hours up to weeks. The Navy proposes no changes to the manner in which Navy vessels would be used during training and testing activities, the speeds at which they operate, the number of vessels that would be used during various activities, or the locations in which Navy vessel movement would be concentrated within the HSTT Study Area from those analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The only change related to the Navy’s request regarding Navy vessel movement is the vessel use associated with the additional two years of Navy activities. Standard Operating Procedures khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 For training and testing to be effective, personnel must be able to safely use their sensors and weapon systems as they are intended to be used in a real-world situation and to their optimum capabilities. While standard VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 operating procedures are designed for the safety of personnel and equipment and to ensure the success of training and testing activities, their implementation often yields additional benefits on environmental, socioeconomic, public health and safety, and cultural resources. Because standard operating procedures are essential to safety and mission success, the Navy considers them to be part of the proposed activities and included them in the environmental analysis. Details on standard operating procedures were provided in the 2018 HSTT proposed rule; please see the 2018 HSTT proposed rule, the 2017 Navy application, and Chapter 2 (Description of Proposed Action and Alternatives) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/ OEIS for more information. The Navy proposes no changes to the Standard Operating Procedures from those included in the 2018 HSTT final rule. Description of Marine Mammals and Their Habitat in the Area of the Specified Activities Marine mammal species and their associated stocks that have the potential to occur in the HSTT Study Area are presented in Table 10 along with the best/minimum abundance estimate and associated coefficient of variation value. Consistent with the 2018 HSTT final rule, the Navy still anticipates the take of individuals from 38 marine mammal species by Level A harassment and Level B harassment incidental to training and testing activities from the use of sonar and other transducers, inwater detonations, air guns, and impact pile driving/vibratory extraction activities. The Navy requested authorization for 13 serious injuries or mortalities combined of two marine mammal stocks from explosives, and three takes of large whales by serious injury or mortality from vessel strikes over the seven-year period. Two marine mammal species, the Hawaiian monk seal and the Main Hawaiian Islands Insular Distinct Population Segment PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48399 (DPS) of false killer whale, have critical habitat designated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the HSTT Study Area. We presented a detailed discussion of marine mammals and their occurrence in the HSTT Study Area, inclusive of important marine mammal habitat (e.g., ESA-designated critical habitat), biologically important areas (BIAs), national marine sanctuaries (NMSs), and unusual mortality events (UMEs) in the 2018 HSTT proposed rule and 2018 HSTT final rule; please see these rules and the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications for additional information. There have been no changes to important marine mammal habitat, BIAs, NMSs, or ESA designated critical habitat since the issuance of the 2018 HSTT final rule; therefore the information that supports our determinations here can be found in the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules. NMFS has reviewed the most recent 2018 final Stock Assessment Reports (SARs); information on relevant UMEs; and other scientific literature, and determined that none of these nor any other new information changes our determination of which species or stocks have the potential to be affected by the Navy’s activities or the pertinent information in the Description of Marine Mammals and Their Habitat in the Area of the Specified Activities section in the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules. Therefore the information presented in those sections of the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules remains current and valid. The species considered but not carried forward for analysis are two American Samoa stocks of spinner dolphins—(1) the Kure and Midway stock and (2) the Pearl and Hermes stock. There is no potential for overlap with any stressors from Navy activities and therefore there would be no incidental takes, in which case, these stocks are not considered further. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Humpback whale ........... Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 ............................................ ............................................ .................................................. .................................................. Peponocephala electra Feresa attenuata ........... Grampus griseus ........... Risso’s dolphins ............ Lagenorhynchus obliquidens. Stenella attenuata ......... Lissodelphis borealis ..... Pygmy killer whale ........ Northern right whale dolphin. Pacific white-sided dolphin. Pantropical spotted dolphin. Delphinus capensis ....... Lagenodelphis hosei ..... Orcinus orca .................. Fraser’s dolphin ............. Killer whale .................... Long-beaked common dolphin. Melon-headed whale ..... Pseudorca crassidens ... False killer whale ........... ............................................ ............................................ .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. Oahu ............................. 4-Islands ........................ Hawaii Island ................. Hawaii Pelagic .............. Tropical ......................... Hawaii ........................... CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaii ........................... ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ............................................ ............................................ .................................................. .................................................. CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaiian Islands ........... Kohala Resident ............ CA/OR/WA .................... ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ Endangered ....................... .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. Strategic, Depleted .................. ............................................ ............................................ CA/OR/WA Offshore ..... Hawaii Pelagic .............. Kauai and Niihau .......... Oahu ............................. 4-Islands ........................ Hawaii Island ................. Main Hawaiian Islands Insular. Hawaii Pelagic .............. Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii ........................... Eastern North Pacific Offshore. Eastern North Pacific Transient/West Coast Transient2. Hawaii ........................... California ....................... .................................................. .................................................. CA/OR/WA .................... California Coastal .......... ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ Endangered ....................... Endangered ....................... Endangered ....................... Endangered ....................... ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ Tursiops truncatus ........ Indopacetus pacificus ... .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. Strategic, Depleted .................. Strategic, Depleted .................. Strategic, Depleted .................. Strategic, Depleted .................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. Hawaii ........................... Eastern North Pacific .... Hawaii ........................... CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaii ........................... CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaii ........................... CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaii ........................... CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaii ........................... ............................................ Endangered ....................... Endangered ....................... ............................................ Endangered ....................... Threatened/ Endangered 1 ............................................ ............................................ Mesoplodon spp. ........... Berardius bairdii ............ Mesoplodon densirostris Baird’s beaked whale .... Blainville’s beaked whale. Cuvier’s beaked whale .. .................................................. Strategic, Depleted .................. Strategic, Depleted .................. .................................................. Strategic, Depleted .................. Strategic, Depleted .................. Strategic ................................... .................................................. Hawaii ........................... CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaii ........................... Eastern North Pacific .... Western North Pacific ... CA/OR/WA .................... Central North Pacific ..... CA/OR/WA .................... Endangered ....................... Endangered ....................... ............................................ ESA CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Kogia sima .................... Dwarf sperm whale ....... Strategic, Depleted .................. Strategic, Depleted .................. .................................................. MMPA Status Eastern North Pacific .... Central North Pacific ..... Eastern Tropical Pacific Stock Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Occurrence ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... Winter & Spring .................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... Summer ................................ ............................................... Summer ................................ ............................................... ............................................... Winter and Fall ..................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... Summer ................................ ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... Summer ................................ ............................................... ............................................... Summer ................................ ............................................... Seasonal absence TABLE 10—MARINE MAMMAL OCCURRENCE WITHIN THE HSTT STUDY AREA Ziphius cavirostris ......... Kogia breviceps ............ Pygmy sperm whale ...... Longman’s beaked whale. Mesoplodon beaked whales. Common Bottlenose dolphin. Physeter macrocephalus Sperm whale ................. Balaenoptera borealis ... Megaptera novaeangliae Gray whale .................... Sei whale ....................... Eschrichtius robustus .... Fin whale ....................... Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Balaenoptera physalus Bryde’s whale ................ Minke whale .................. Balaenoptera musculus Balaenoptera brydei/ edeni. Blue whale ..................... Scientific name Common name khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 unknown. unknown. 55,795 (0.40)/40,338. unknown. 10,640 (0.53)/6,998. 6,336 (0.32)/4,817. 11,613 (0.43)/8,210. unknown. 26,814 (0.28)/21,195. 8,666 (1.00)/4,299. 447 (0.12)/404. 26,556 (0.44)/18,608. 146 (0.96)/74. 101,305 (0.49)/68,432. 243 unknown/243. 51,491 (0.66)/31,034. 300 (0.1)/276. 1,540 (0.66)/928. 617 (1.11)/290. 1,924 (0.54)/1,255. 21,815 (0.57)/13,957. NA NA/97. NA. NA. NA NA/91. 167 (0.14)/149. 453 (0.06)/346. 3,044 (0.54)/1,967. 3,274 (0.67)/2,059. 723 0.69/428. 7,619 (0.66)/4,592. unknown. 519 (0.40)/374. 391 (0.90)/204. 1,997 (0.57)/1,270. 4,559 (0.33)/3,478. 4,111 (1.12)/1,924. unknown. unknown. unknown. 2,697 (0.60)/1,633. 2,105 (1.13)/980. 1,751 (0.29)/1,378. 9,029 (0.12)/8,127. 154 (1.05)/75. 26,960 (0.05)/25,849. 290 (NA)/271. 2,900 (0.05)/2,784. 10,103 (0.30)/7,891. 636 (0.72)/369. 1,647 (0.07)/1,551. 133 (1.09)/63. unknown. Stock abundance (CV)/minimum population 48400 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Delphinus delphis .......... Short-beaked common dolphin. Short-finned pilot whale VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Stenella coeruleoalba ... Phocoenoides dalli ........ Phoca vitulina ................ Neomonachus schauinslandi. Mirounga angustirostris Zalophus californianus .. Arctocephalus townsendi. Callorhinus ursinus ....... Striped dolphin .............. Dall’s porpoise ............... Harbor seal .................... Hawaiian monk seal ...... Jkt 247001 California ....................... .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. Strategic, Depleted .................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. Strategic, Depleted .................. Hawaii ........................... Hawaii Pelagic .............. Hawaii Island ................. Oahu and 4-Islands ...... Kauai and Niihau .......... Kure and Midway .......... Pearl and Hermes ......... CA/OR/WA .................... Hawaii ........................... CA/OR/WA .................... California ....................... Hawaii ........................... California ....................... U.S. Stock ..................... Mexico to California ...... .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. CA/OR/WA .................... NSD3 ............................. Hawaii ........................... CA/OR/WA .................... ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ Threatened ......................... ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ Endangered ....................... ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ ............................................ Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... Southern California ....... Hawaii ........................... Southern California ....... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... ............................................... 14,050 (NA)/7,524. 179,000 (NA)/81,368. 257,606 (NA)/233,515. 20,000 (NA)/15,830. 19,503 (0.49)/13,197. unknown. 665 (0.09)/617. NA. NA. unknown. unknown. 29,211 (0.20)/24,782. 61,021 (0.38)/44,922. 25,750 (0.45)/17,954 30,968 (NA)/27,348. 1,415 (0.03)/1,384. 836 (0.79)/466. unknown. 72,528 (0.39)/52,833. 969,861 (0.17)/839,325. two humpback whale Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) making up the California, Oregon, and Washington (CA/OR/WA) stock present in Southern California are the Mexico DPS, listed under the ESA as Threatened, and the Central America DPS, which is listed under the ESA as Endangered. 2 This stock is mentioned briefly in the Pacific Stock Assessment Report (Carretta et al., 2017) and referred to as the ‘‘Eastern North Pacific Transient’’ stock; however, the Alaska Stock Assessment Report contains assessments of all transient killer whale stocks in the Pacific and the Alaska Stock Assessment Report refers to this same stock as the ‘‘West Coast Transient’’ stock (Muto et al., 2017). 3 NSD—No stock designation. Rough-toothed dolphin has a range known to include the waters off Southern California, but there is no recognized stock or data available for the U.S West Coast. 1 The Northern fur seal ........... Northern elephant seal .. California sea lion .......... Guadalupe fur seal ........ Stenella longirostris ....... Spinner dolphin ............. Globicephala macrorhynchus. Steno bredanensis ........ Rough-toothed dolphin .. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48401 48402 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat We provided a full discussion of the potential effects of the specified activities on marine mammals and their habitat in our 2018 HSTT proposed rule and 2018 HSTT final rule. In the Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat section of the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules, NMFS provided a description of the ways marine mammals may be affected by the same activities that the Navy will be conducting during the seven-year period analyzed in this rule in the form of serious injury or mortality, physical trauma, sensory impairment (permanent and temporary threshold shifts and acoustic masking), physiological responses (particularly stress responses), behavioral disturbance, or habitat effects. Therefore, we do not repeat the information here, all of which remains current and applicable, but refer the reader to those rules and the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS (Chapter 3, Section 3.7 Marine Mammals), which NMFS participated in the development of via our cooperating agency status and adopted to meet our NEPA requirements. In addition, NMFS has reviewed new information in relevant SARs, any new information on active UMEs or new UMEs, and new scientific literature. Summaries of current UMEs and new scientific literature since publication of the 2018 HSTT final rule are presented below. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Unusual Mortality Events (UME) An UME is defined under Section 410(6) of the MMPA as a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response. From 1991 to the present, there have been 17 formally recognized UMEs affecting marine mammals in California and Hawaii and involving species under NMFS’ jurisdiction. Three UMEs that could be relevant to informing the current analysis are discussed below. Specifically, the California sea lion UME in California is still open, but will be closed soon. The Guadalupe fur seal UME in California and the gray whale UME along the west coast of North America are active and involve ongoing investigations. California Sea Lion UME From January 2013 through September 2016, a greater than expected number of young malnourished California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) stranded along the coast VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 of California. Sea lions stranding from an early age (6–8 months old) through two years of age (hereafter referred to as juveniles) were consistently underweight without other disease processes detected. Of the 8,122 stranded juveniles attributed to the UME, 93 percent stranded alive (n=7,587, with 3,418 of these released after rehabilitation) and 7 percent (n=531) stranded dead. Several factors are hypothesized to have impacted the ability of nursing females and young sea lions to acquire adequate nutrition for successful pup rearing and juvenile growth. In late 2012, decreased anchovy and sardine recruitment (CalCOFI data, July 2013) may have led to nutritionally stressed adult females. Biotoxins were present at various times throughout the UME, and while they were not detected in the stranded juvenile sea lions (whose stomachs were empty at the time of stranding), biotoxins may have impacted the adult females’ ability to support their dependent pups by affecting their cognitive function (e.g. navigation, behavior towards their offspring). Therefore, the role of biotoxins in this UME, via its possible impact on adult females’ ability to support their pups, is unclear. The proposed primary cause of the UME was malnutrition of sea lion pups and yearlings due to ecological factors. These factors included shifts in distribution, abundance and/or quality of sea lion prey items around the Channel Island rookeries during critical sea lion life history events (nursing by adult females, and transitioning from milk to prey by young sea lions). These prey shifts were most likely driven by unusual oceanographic conditions at the time due to the ‘‘Warm Water Blob’’ and El Nin˜o. This investigation will soon be closed. Please refer to: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-life-distress/2013-2017california-sea-lion-unusual-mortalityevent-california for more information on this UME. Guadalupe Fur Seal UME Increased strandings of Guadalupe fur seals began along the entire coast of California in January 2015 and were eight times higher than the historical average (approximately 10 seals/yr). Strandings have continued since 2015 and have remained well above average through 2017. Strandings have continued since 2015 and remained well above average through 2019. Numbers by year are as follows: 2015 (98), 2016 (76), 2017 (61), 2018 (45), 2019 (104, as of June 28, 2019). The total number of Guadalupe fur seals from January 1, 2015, through June 28, 2019, PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 in the UME is 438. Additionally, strandings of Guadalupe fur seals became elevated in the spring of 2019 in Washington and Oregon, subsequently strandings for seals in these two states have been added to the UME starting from January 1, 2019. The current total number of strandings for 2019 in Washington and Oregon is 55 seals as of June 28, 2019. Strandings are seasonal and generally peak in April through June of each year. The Guadalupe fur seal strandings have been mostly weaned pups and juveniles (1–2 years old) with both live and dead strandings occurring. Current findings from the majority of stranded animals include primary malnutrition with secondary bacterial and parasitic infections. This California portion of this UME is occurring in the same area as the 2013– 2016 California sea lion UME. This investigation is ongoing. Please refer to: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-life-distress/2015-2019guadalupe-fur-seal-unusual-mortalityevent-california for more information on this UME. Gray Whale UME Since January 1, 2019, elevated gray whale strandings have occurred along the west coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada. As of June 28, 2019, there have been a total of 170 strandings along the coasts of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with 84 of those strandings occurring along the U.S. coast. Partial necropsy examinations conducted on a subset of stranded whales have shown evidence of emaciation. As part of the UME investigation process, NOAA is assembling an independent team of scientists to coordinate with the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events to review the data collected, sample stranded whales, and determine the next steps for the investigation. Please refer to: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-life-distress/2019-gray-whaleunusual-mortality-event-along-westcoast for more information on this UME. New Pertinent Science Since Publication of the 2018 HSTT Final Rule Southall et al. (2019a) evaluated Southall et al. (2007) and used updated scientific information to propose revised noise exposure criteria to predict onset of auditory effects in marine mammals (i.e., PTS and TTS onset). Southall et al. (2019a) note that the quantitative processes described and the resulting exposure criteria (i.e., thresholds and auditory weighting functions) are largely identical to those in Finneran (2016) and NMFS (2016 and 2018). E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules However they differ in that the Southall et al. (2019a) exposure criteria are more broadly applicable as they include all marine mammal species (rather than only those under NMFS jurisdiction) for all noise exposures (both in air and underwater for amphibious species) and, while the hearing group compositions are identical, they renamed the hearing groups. Recent studies on the behavioral responses of cetaceans to sonar examine and continue to demonstrate the importance of not only sound source parameters, but exposure context (e.g., behavioral state, presence of other animals and social relationships, prey abundance, distance to source, presence of vessels, environmental parameters, etc.) in determining or predicting a behavioral response. Kastelein et al. (2018) examined the role of sound pressure level (SPL) and duty cycle on the behavior of two captive harbor porpoises when exposed to simulated Navy mid-frequency sonar (53C, 3.5 to 4.1 kHz). Neither harbor porpoise responded to the low duty cycle (2.7 percent) at any of the five SPLs presented, even at the maximum received SPL (143 dB re: 1 mPa). At the higher duty cycle (96 percent), one porpoise responded by increasing his respiration rate at a received SPL of greater than or equal to 119 dB re: 1 mPa, and moved away from the transducer at a received SPL of 143 dB re: 1 mPa. Kastelein et al. (2018) observed that at the same received SPL and duty cycle, harbor porpoises respond less to 53C sonar sounds than 1–2 kHz, 6–7 kHz, and 25 kHz sonar signals observed in previous studies, but noted that when examining behavioral responses it is important to take into account the spectrum and temporal structure of the signal, the duty cycle, and the psychological interpretation by the animal. Wensveen et al. (2019) examined the role of sound source (simulated sonar pulses) distance and received level in northern bottlenose whales in an environment without frequent sonar activity using multiscaled controlled exposure experiments. They observed behavioral avoidance of the sound source over a wide range of distances (0.8–28 km) and estimated avoidance thresholds ranging from received SPLs of 117–126 dB re: 1 mPa. The behavioral response characteristics and avoidance thresholds were comparable to those previously observed in beaked whale studies; however, they did not observe an effect of distance on behavioral response and found that onset and intensity of behavioral response were better VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 predicted by received SPL. When conducting controlled exposure experiments on blue whales Southall et al. (2019b) observed that after exposure to simulated and operational midfrequency active sonar, more than 50 percent of blue whales in deep-diving states responded to the sonar, while no behavioral response was observed in shallow-feeding blue whales. The behavioral responses they observed were generally brief, of low to moderate severity, and highly dependent on exposure context (behavioral state, source-to-whale horizontal range, and prey availability). Blue whale response did not follow a simple exposureresponse model based on received sound exposure level. In a review of the potential impacts of sonar on beaked whales, Bernaldo de Quiro´s et al. (2019) suggested that the effect of midfrequency active sonar on beaked whales varies among individuals or populations, and that predisposing conditions such as previous exposure to sonar and individual health risk factors may contribute to individual outcomes (such as decompression sickness). Having considered this information, we have preliminarily determined that there is no new information that substantively affects our analysis of impacts on marine mammals and their habitat that appeared in the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable and valid for our assessment of the effects of the Navy’s activities during the seven-year period of this rule. Estimated Take of Marine Mammals This section indicates the number of takes that NMFS is proposing to authorize, which are based on the amount of take that NMFS anticipates could occur or is likely to occur, depending on the type of take and the methods used to estimate it, as described below. NMFS coordinated closely with the Navy in the development of their incidental take application, and preliminarily agrees that the methods the Navy has put forth described herein and in the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules to estimate take (including the model, thresholds, and density estimates), and the resulting numbers are based on the best available science and appropriate for authorization. The number and type of incidental takes that could occur or are likely to occur annually remain identical to those authorized in the 2018 HSTT regulations. Takes are predominantly in the form of harassment, but a small number of serious injuries or mortalities are also possible. For military readiness PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48403 activities, the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as (i) Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered (Level B harassment). Proposed authorized takes would primarily be in the form of Level B harassment, as use of the acoustic and explosive sources (i.e., sonar, air guns, pile driving, explosives) is more likely to result in behavioral disruption (rising to the level of a take as described above) or temporary threshold shift (TTS) for marine mammals than other forms of take. There is also the potential for Level A harassment, however, in the form of auditory injury and/or tissue damage (the latter from explosives only) to result from exposure to the sound sources utilized in training and testing activities. Lastly, no more than three serious injuries or mortalities total (over the seven-year period) of mysticetes (except for sei whales, minke whales, Bryde’s whales, Central North Pacific stock of blue whales, Hawaii stock of fin whales, and Western North Pacific stock of gray whales) and the Hawaii stock of sperm whales have the potential occur through vessel collisions. Although we analyze the impacts of these potential serious injuries or mortalities that are proposed to be authorized, the required mitigation and monitoring measures are expected to minimize the likelihood that ship strike or these high-level explosive exposures (and the associated serious injury or mortality) actually occur. Generally speaking, for acoustic impacts we estimate the amount and type of harassment by considering: (1) Acoustic thresholds above which NMFS believes the best available science indicates marine mammals will be taken by Level B harassment (in this case, as defined in the military readiness definition of Level B harassment included above) or incur some degree of temporary or permanent hearing impairment; (2) the area or volume of water that will be ensonified above these levels in a day or event; (3) the density or occurrence of marine mammals within these ensonified areas; and (4) and the number of days of activities or events. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48404 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Acoustic Thresholds Using the best available science, NMFS, in coordination with the Navy, has established acoustic thresholds that identify the most appropriate received level of underwater sound above which marine mammals exposed to these sound sources could be reasonably expected to experience a disruption in behavior patterns to a point where they are abandoned or significantly altered, or to incur TTS (equated to Level B harassment) or permanent threshold shift (PTS) of some degree (equated to Level A harassment). Thresholds have also been developed to identify the pressure levels above which animals may incur non-auditory injury from exposure to pressure waves from explosive detonation. Despite the quickly evolving science, there are still challenges in quantifying expected behavioral responses that qualify as take by Level B harassment, especially where the goal is to use one or two predictable indicators (e.g., received level and distance) to predict responses that are also driven by additional factors that cannot be easily incorporated into the thresholds (e.g., context). So, while the new behavioral Level B harassment thresholds have been refined here to better consider the best available science (e.g., incorporating both received level and distance), they also still have some built-in conservative factors to address the challenge noted. For example, while duration of observed responses in the data are now considered in the thresholds, some of the responses that are informing take thresholds are of a very short duration, such that it is possible some of these responses might not always rise to the level of disrupting behavior patterns to a point where they are abandoned or significantly altered. We describe the application of this Level B harassment threshold as identifying the maximum number of instances in which marine mammals could be reasonably expected to experience a disruption in behavior patterns to a point where they are abandoned or significantly altered. In summary, we believe these behavioral Level B harassment thresholds are the most appropriate method for predicting behavioral Level B harassment given the best available science and the associated uncertainty. We described these acoustic thresholds and the methods used to determine thresholds, none of which have changed, in detail in the Acoustic Thresholds section of the 2018 HSTT final rule; please see the 2018 HSTT final rule for detailed information. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Navy’s Acoustic Effects Model The Navy proposes no changes to the Acoustic Effects Model as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule and there is no new information that would affect the applicability or validity of the model. Please see the 2018 HSTT final and proposed rules and Appendix E of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS for detailed information. Range to Effects The Navy proposes no changes from the 2018 HSTT final rule to the type and nature of the specified activities to be conducted during the seven-year period analyzed in this proposed rule, including equipment and sources used and exercises conducted. There is also no new information that would affect the applicability or validity of the ranges to effects previously analyzed for these activities. Therefore the ranges to effects in this proposed rule are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, including received sound levels that may cause onset of significant behavioral response and TTS and PTS in hearing for each source type or explosives that may cause non-auditory injury. Please see the Range to Effects section and Tables 24 through 40 of the 2018 HSTT final rule for detailed information. Marine Mammal Density The Navy proposes no changes to the methods used to estimate marine mammal density described in the 2018 HSTT final rule and there is no new information that would affect the applicability or validity of these methods. Please see the 2018 HSTT final rule for detailed information. Take Requests As in the 2018 HSTT final rule, in its 2019 application, the Navy determined that the three stressors below could result in the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS has reviewed the Navy’s data and analysis and determined that it is complete and accurate, and NMFS agrees that the following stressors have the potential to result in takes of marine mammals from the Navy’s planned activities: • Acoustics (sonar and other transducers; air guns; pile driving/ extraction); • Explosives (explosive shock wave and sound, assumed to encompass the risk due to fragmentation); and • Physical Disturbance and Strike (vessel strike). NMFS reviewed and agrees with the Navy’s conclusion that acoustic and explosive sources have the potential to PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 result in incidental takes of marine mammals by harassment, serious injury, or mortality. NMFS carefully reviewed the Navy’s analysis and conducted its own analysis of vessel strikes, determining that the likelihood of any particular species of large whale being struck is quite low. Nonetheless, NMFS agrees that vessel strikes have the potential to result in incidental take from serious injury or mortality for certain species of large whales and the Navy has specifically requested coverage for these species. Therefore, the likelihood of vessel strikes, and later the effects of the incidental take that is being proposed to be authorized, has been fully analyzed and is described below. Regarding the quantification of expected takes from acoustic and explosive sources (by Level A and Level B harassment, as well as mortality resulting from exposure to explosives), the number of takes are based directly on the level of activities (days, hours, counts, etc., of different activities and events) in a given year. In the 2018 HSTT final rule, take estimates across the five-years were based on the Navy conducting three years of a representative level of activity and two years of maximum level of activity. Consistent with the pattern set forth in the 2017 Navy application, the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS, and the 2018 HSTT final rule, the Navy proposes to add one additional representative year and one additional maximum year to determine the predicted take numbers in this rule. Specifically, as in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the Navy proposes to use the maximum annual level to calculate annual takes (which would remain identical to what was determined in the 2018 HSTT final rule), and the sum of all years (four representative and three maximum) to calculate the seven-year totals for this rule. The quantitative analysis process used for the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS and the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications to estimate potential exposures to marine mammals resulting from acoustic and explosive stressors is detailed in the technical report titled Quantifying Acoustic Impacts on Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles: Methods and Analytical Approach for Phase III Training and Testing (U.S. Department of the Navy, 2018). The Navy Acoustic Effects Model estimates acoustic and explosive effects without taking mitigation into account; therefore, the model overestimates predicted impacts on marine mammals within mitigation zones. To account for mitigation for marine species in the take estimates, the Navy conducts a quantitative E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48405 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules assessment of mitigation. The Navy conservatively quantifies the manner in which procedural mitigation is expected to reduce the risk for model-estimated PTS for exposures to sonars and for model-estimated mortality for exposures to explosives, based on species sightability, observation area, visibility, and the ability to exercise positive control over the sound source. Where the analysis indicates mitigation would effectively reduce risk, the modelestimated PTS are considered reduced to TTS and the model-estimated mortalities are considered reduced to injury. For a complete explanation of the process for assessing the effects of mitigation, see the 2017 Navy application and the Take Requests section of the 2018 HSTT final rule. The extent to which the mitigation areas reduce impacts on the affected species and stocks is addressed separately in the Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section. No changes have been made to the quantitative analysis process to estimate potential exposures to marine mammals resulting from acoustic and explosive stressors and calculate take estimates. In addition, there is no new information that would call into question the validity of the Navy’s quantitative analysis process. Please see the documents described in the paragraph above, the 2018 HSTT proposed rule, and the 2018 HSTT final rule for detailed descriptions of these analyses. In summary, we believe the Navy’s methods, including the method for incorporating mitigation and avoidance, are the most appropriate methods for predicting PTS, TTS, and behavioral disruption. But even with the consideration of mitigation and avoidance, given some of the more conservative components of the methodology (e.g., the thresholds do not consider ear recovery between pulses), we would describe the application of these methods as identifying the maximum number of instances in which marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be taken through PTS, TTS, or behavioral disruption. Summary of Requested Take From Training and Testing Activities Based on the methods discussed in the previous sections and the Navy’s model and quantitative assessment of mitigation, the Navy provided its take estimate and request for authorization of takes incidental to the use of acoustic and explosive sources for training and testing activities both annually (based on the maximum number of activities that could occur per 12-month period) and over the seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy application. Annual takes (based on the maximum number of activities that could occur per 12-month period) from the use of acoustic and explosive sources are identical to those presented in Tables 41 and 42 and in the Explosives subsection of the Take Requests section of the 2018 HSTT final rule. The 2019 Navy application also includes the Navy’s take estimate and request for vessel strikes due to vessel movement in the HSTT Study Area. NMFS has reviewed the Navy’s data, methodology, and analysis and determined that it is complete and accurate. NMFS agrees that the estimates for incidental takes by harassment from all sources as well as the incidental takes by serious injury or mortality from explosives requested for authorization are the maximum number of instances in which marine mammals are reasonably expected to be taken. NMFS also agrees that the takes by serious injury or mortality as a result of vessel strikes could occur. Note that the total amount of estimated incidental take from acoustic and explosive sources over the total seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy application is less than the annual total multiplied by seven because although the annual estimates are based on the maximum number of activities per year and therefore the maximum possible estimated takes, the seven-year total take estimates are based on the sum of three maximum years and four representative years. Not all activities occur every year. Some activities would occur multiple times within a year, and some activities would occur only a few times over the course of the seven-year period. Using seven years of the maximum number of activities each year would vastly overestimate the amount of incidental take that would occur over the seven-year period where the Navy knows that it will not conduct the maximum number of activities each and every year for the seven years. Estimated Harassment Take From Training Activities For training activities, Table 11 summarizes the Navy’s take estimate and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment for the seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy application that NMFS concurs is reasonably expected to occur by species or stock. For the estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B harassment annually, see Table 41 in the 2018 HSTT final rule. Note that take by Level B harassment includes both behavioral disruption and TTS. Navy Figures 6–12 through 6–50 in Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application illustrate the comparative amounts of TTS and behavioral disruption for each species annually, noting that if a modeled marine mammal was ‘‘taken’’ through exposure to both TTS and behavioral disruption in the model, it was recorded as a TTS. TABLE 11—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES- AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TRAINING ACTIVITIES 7-Year total Species Stock Level B Blue whale * ................................................. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Bryde’s whale † ........................................... Fin whale * ................................................... Humpback whale † ...................................... Minke whale ................................................ Sei whale * ................................................... Gray whale † ............................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Central North Pacific ...................................................................... Eastern North Pacific ..................................................................... Eastern Tropical Pacific ................................................................. Hawaiian † ...................................................................................... California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington † .............................................. Central North Pacific ...................................................................... California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Eastern North Pacific ..................................................................... Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Eastern North Pacific ..................................................................... Western North Pacific † ................................................................. PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 205 7,116 167 631 7,731 197 7,962 34,437 4,119 20,237 333 677 16,703 19 Level A 0 6 0 0 0 0 7 12 7 6 0 0 27 0 48406 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 11—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES- AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TRAINING ACTIVITIES—Continued 7-Year total Species Stock Level B Sperm whale * ............................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. California Coastal .......................................................................... California, Oregon, & Washington Offshore .................................. Hawaiian Pelagic ........................................................................... Kauai & Niihau ............................................................................... Oahu .............................................................................................. 4-Island .......................................................................................... Hawaii ............................................................................................ Hawaii Pelagic ............................................................................... Main Hawaiian Islands Insular † .................................................... Northwestern Hawaiian Islands ..................................................... Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Eastern North Pacific Offshore ...................................................... Eastern North Pacific Transient/West Coast Transient ................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California ........................................................................................ Hawaiian Islands ............................................................................ Kohala Resident ............................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaii Island ................................................................................. Hawaii Pelagic ............................................................................... Oahu .............................................................................................. 4-Island .......................................................................................... Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Tropical .......................................................................................... California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ NSD 1 ............................................................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaii Island ................................................................................. Hawaii Pelagic ............................................................................... Kauai & Niihau ............................................................................... Oahu & 4-Island ............................................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. U.S. ................................................................................................ Mexico ............................................................................................ California ........................................................................................ California ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California ........................................................................................ Dwarf sperm whale ..................................... Pygmy sperm whale .................................... Kogia whales ............................................... Baird’s beaked whale .................................. Blainville’s beaked whale ............................ Cuvier’s beaked whale ................................ Longman’s beaked whale ........................... Mesoplodon spp (beaked whale guild) ....... Bottlenose dolphin ....................................... False killer whale † ...................................... Fraser’s dolphin ........................................... Killer whale .................................................. Long-beaked common dolphin .................... Melon-headed whale ................................... Northern right whale dolphin ....................... Pacific white-sided dolphin .......................... Pantropical spotted dolphin ......................... Pygmy killer whale ...................................... Risso’s dolphin ............................................ Rough-toothed dolphin ................................ Short-beaked common dolphin ................... Short-finned pilot whale .............................. Spinner dolphin ........................................... Striped dolphin ............................................ khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Dall’s porpoise ............................................. California sea lion ....................................... Guadalupe fur seal * .................................... Northern fur seal ......................................... Harbor seal .................................................. Hawaiian monk seal * .................................. Northern elephant seal ................................ 8,834 10,341 84,232 33,431 38,609 8,524 23,491 47,178 7,898 82,293 25,404 1,295 201,619 13,080 500 57,288 1,052 291 4,353 2,710 1,585 177,198 460 855 513 784,965 14,137 1,278 357,001 274,892 17,739 42,318 28,860 1,816 35,531 2,977 477,389 40,800 26,769 0 5,875,431 6,341 53,627 609 18,870 1,961 10,424 777,001 32,806 171,250 460,145 3,342 62,138 19,214 938 241,277 Level A 0 0 215 94 149 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 99 0 0 57 19 0 0 0 0 0 0 45 0 0 0 307 6 0 0 0 0 8 5 0 894 629 0 0 48 5 490 * ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the HSTT Study Area. † Only designated stocks are ESA-listed. 1 NSD: No stock designation. Estimated Harassment Take From Testing Activities For testing activities, Table 12 summarizes the Navy’s take estimate and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A harassment and VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Level B harassment for the seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy application that NMFS concurs is reasonably expected to occur by species or stock. For the estimated amount and type of Level A harassment and Level B PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 harassment annually, see Table 42 in the 2018 HSTT final rule. Note that take by Level B harassment includes both behavioral disruption and TTS. Navy Figures 6–12 through 6–50 in Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application illustrate E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48407 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules the comparative amounts of TTS and behavioral disruption for each species annually, noting that if a modeled marine mammal was ‘‘taken’’ through exposure to both TTS and behavioral disruption in the model, it was recorded as a TTS. TABLE 12—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TESTING ACTIVITIES 7-Year total Species Stock Level B Blue whale * ................................................. Bryde’s whale † ........................................... Fin whale * ................................................... Humpback whale † ...................................... Minke whale ................................................ Sei whale * ................................................... Gray whale † ............................................... Sperm whale * ............................................. Dwarf sperm whale ..................................... Pygmy sperm whale .................................... Kogia whales ............................................... Baird’s beaked whale .................................. Blainville’s beaked whale ............................ Cuvier’s beaked whale ................................ Longman’s beaked whale ........................... Mesoplodon spp (beaked whale guild) ....... Bottlenose dolphin ....................................... False killer whale † ...................................... Fraser’s dolphin ........................................... Killer whale .................................................. Long-beaked common dolphin .................... Melon-headed whale ................................... Northern right whale dolphin ....................... Pacific white-sided dolphin .......................... Pantropical spotted dolphin ......................... Pygmy killer whale ...................................... Risso’s dolphin ............................................ khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Rough-toothed dolphin ................................ Short-beaked common dolphin ................... Short-finned pilot whale .............................. Spinner dolphin ........................................... Striped dolphin ............................................ Dall’s porpoise ............................................. California sea lion ....................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Central North Pacific ...................................................................... Eastern North Pacific ..................................................................... Eastern Tropical Pacific ................................................................. Hawaiian † ...................................................................................... California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington † .............................................. Central North Pacific ...................................................................... California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Eastern North Pacific ..................................................................... Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Eastern North Pacific ..................................................................... Western North Pacific † ................................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. California Coastal .......................................................................... California, Oregon, & Washington Offshore .................................. Hawaiian Pelagic ........................................................................... Kauai & Niihau ............................................................................... Oahu .............................................................................................. 4-Island .......................................................................................... Hawaii ............................................................................................ Hawaii Pelagic ............................................................................... Main Hawaiian Islands Insular † .................................................... Northwestern Hawaiian Islands ..................................................... Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Eastern North Pacific Offshore ...................................................... Eastern North Pacific Transient/West Coast Transient ................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California ........................................................................................ Hawaiian Islands ............................................................................ Kohala Resident ............................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaii Island ................................................................................. Hawaii Pelagic ............................................................................... Oahu .............................................................................................. 4-Island .......................................................................................... Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Tropical .......................................................................................... California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ NSD 1 ............................................................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ Hawaii Island ................................................................................. Hawaii Pelagic ............................................................................... Kauai & Niihau ............................................................................... Oahu & 4-Island ............................................................................. California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California, Oregon, & Washington ................................................. U.S. ................................................................................................ PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 93 5,679 97 278 6,662 108 4,961 23,750 1,855 9,822 178 329 13,077 15 7,409 5,269 43,374 17,396 20,766 4,841 11,455 30,180 3,784 41,965 16,383 11,158 158,700 8,469 3,091 3,230 1,129 260 2,287 1,256 837 85,193 236 438 279 805,063 7,678 1,119 280,066 213,380 9,568 24,805 1,349 2,513 18,347 1,928 339,334 19,027 14,851 0 3,795,732 6,253 29,269 1,394 9,534 9,277 1,987 371,328 16,270 115,353 334,332 Level A 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 19 0 7 0 0 9 0 0 0 197 83 94 0 0 28 0 0 15 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 34 0 0 22 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 24 0 0 0 304 0 0 0 0 0 0 20 0 478 36 48408 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 12—SEVEN-YEAR TOTAL SPECIES AND STOCK-SPECIFIC TAKE ESTIMATES PROPOSED FOR AUTHORIZATION FROM ACOUSTIC AND EXPLOSIVE SOUND SOURCE EFFECTS FOR ALL TESTING ACTIVITIES—Continued 7-Year total Species Stock Level B Guadalupe fur seal * .................................... Northern fur seal ......................................... Harbor seal .................................................. Hawaiian monk seal * .................................. Northern elephant seal ................................ Mexico ............................................................................................ California ........................................................................................ California ........................................................................................ Hawaiian ........................................................................................ California ........................................................................................ 6,167 36,921 15,898 372 151,754 Level A 0 7 12 0 187 * ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the HSTT Study Area. † Only designated stocks are ESA-listed. 1 NSD: No stock designation. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Estimated Take From Vessel Strikes and Explosives by Serious Injury or Mortality Vessel Strike Vessel strikes from commercial, recreational, and military vessels are known to affect large whales and have resulted in serious injury and occasional fatalities to cetaceans (BermanKowalewski et al., 2010; Calambokidis, 2012; Douglas et al., 2008; Laggner 2009; Lammers et al., 2003). Records of collisions date back to the early 17th century, and the worldwide number of collisions appears to have increased steadily during recent decades (Laist et al., 2001; Ritter 2012). Numerous studies of interactions between surface vessels and marine mammals have demonstrated that freeranging marine mammals often, but not always (e.g., McKenna et al., 2015), engage in avoidance behavior when surface vessels move toward them. It is not clear whether these responses are caused by the physical presence of a surface vessel, the underwater noise generated by the vessel, or an interaction between the two (Amaral and Carlson, 2005; Au and Green, 2000; Bain et al., 2006; Bauer 1986; Bejder et al., 1999; Bejder and Lusseau, 2008; Bejder et al., 2009; Bryant et al., 1984; Corkeron, 1995; Erbe, 2002; Fe´lix, 2001; Goodwin and Cotton, 2004; Lemon et al., 2006; Lusseau, 2003; Lusseau, 2006; Magalhaes et al., 2002; Nowacek et al., 2001; Richter et al., 2003; Scheidat et al., 2004; Simmonds, 2005; Watkins, 1986; Williams et al., 2002; Wursig et al., 1998). Several authors suggest that the noise generated during motion is probably an important factor (Blane and Jaakson, 1994; Evans et al., 1992; Evans et al., 1994). Water disturbance may also be a factor. These studies suggest that the behavioral responses of marine mammals to surface vessels are similar to their behavioral responses to predators. Avoidance behavior is expected to be even stronger in the subset of instances during which the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Navy is conducting training or testing activities using active sonar or explosives. The most vulnerable marine mammals are those that spend extended periods of time at the surface in order to restore oxygen levels within their tissues after deep dives (e.g., sperm whales). In addition, some baleen whales seem generally unresponsive to vessel sound, making them more susceptible to vessel collisions (Nowacek et al., 2004). These species are primarily large, slow moving whales. Some researchers have suggested the relative risk of a vessel strike can be assessed as a function of animal density and the magnitude of vessel traffic (e.g., Fonnesbeck et al., 2008; Vanderlaan et al., 2008). Differences among vessel types also influence the probability of a vessel strike. The ability of any ship to detect a marine mammal and avoid a collision depends on a variety of factors, including environmental conditions, ship design, size, speed, and ability and number of personnel observing, as well as the behavior of the animal. Vessel speed, size, and mass are all important factors in determining if injury or death of a marine mammal is likely due to a vessel strike. For large vessels, speed and angle of approach can influence the severity of a strike. For example, Vanderlaan and Taggart (2007) found that between vessel speeds of 8.6 and 15 knots, the probability that a vessel strike is lethal increases from 0.21 to 0.79. Large whales also do not have to be at the water’s surface to be struck. Silber et al. (2010) found when a whale is below the surface (about one to two times the vessel draft), there is likely to be a pronounced propeller suction effect. This suction effect may draw the whale into the hull of the ship, increasing the probability of propeller strikes. There are some key differences between the operation of military and non-military vessels, which make the likelihood of a military vessel striking a whale lower than some other vessels PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (e.g., commercial merchant vessels). Key differences include: • Many military ships have their bridges positioned closer to the bow, offering better visibility ahead of the ship (compared to a commercial merchant vessel). • There are often aircraft associated with the training or testing activity (which can serve as Lookouts), which can more readily detect cetaceans in the vicinity of a vessel or ahead of a vessel’s present course before crew on the vessel would be able to detect them. • Military ships are generally more maneuverable than commercial merchant vessels, and if cetaceans are spotted in the path of the ship, could be capable of changing course more quickly. • The crew size on military vessels is generally larger than merchant ships, allowing for stationing more trained Lookouts on the bridge. At all times when vessels are underway, trained Lookouts and bridge navigation teams are used to detect objects on the surface of the water ahead of the ship, including cetaceans. Additional Lookouts, beyond those already stationed on the bridge and on navigation teams, are positioned as Lookouts during some training events. • When submerged, submarines are generally slow moving (to avoid detection) and therefore marine mammals at depth with a submarine are likely able to avoid collision with the submarine. When a submarine is transiting on the surface, there are Lookouts serving the same function as they do on surface ships. Vessel strike to marine mammals is not associated with any specific training or testing activity but is rather an extremely limited and sporadic, but possible, accidental result of Navy vessel movement within the HSTT Study Area or while in transit. There have been two recorded Navy vessel strikes of large whales in the HSTT Study Area from 2009 through 2018, the period in which the Navy E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules began implementing effective mitigation measures to reduce the likelihood of vessel strikes. Both strikes occured in 2009 and both were to fin whales. In order to account for the accidental nature of vessel strikes to large whales in general, and the potential risk from any vessel movement within the HSTT Study Area within the seven-year period in particular, the Navy requested incidental takes based on probabilities derived from a Poisson distribution using ship strike data between 2009– 2018 in the HSTT Study Area (the time period from when current mitigations were instituted until the Navy conducted the analysis for the 2019 Navy application), as well as historical at-sea days in the HSTT Study Area from 2009–2018 and estimated potential at-sea days for the period from 2018 to 2025 covered by the requested regulations. This distribution predicted the probabilities of a specific number of strikes (n=0, 1, 2, etc.) over the period from 2018 to 2025. The analysis for the period of 2018 to 2023 is described in detail in Chapter 6 of the 2017 Navy application and has been updated for this seven-year proposed rulemaking. For the same reasons listed above, describing why a Navy vessel strike is comparatively unlikely, it is highly unlikely that a Navy vessel would strike a whale, dolphin, porpoise, or pinniped without detecting it and, accordingly, NMFS is confident that the Navy’s reported strikes are accurate and appropriate for use in the analysis. Specifically, Navy ships have multiple Lookouts, including on the forward part of the ship that can visually detect a hit animal, in the unlikely event ship personnel do not feel the strike (which has occasionally occurred). Navy’s strict internal procedures and mitigation requirements include reporting of any vessel strikes of marine mammals, and the Navy’s discipline, extensive training (not only for detecting marine mammals, but for detecting and reporting any potential navigational obstruction), and strict chain of command give NMFS a high level of confidence that all strikes actually get reported. The Navy used those two fin whale strikes in their calculations to determine the number of strikes likely to result from their activities (although worldwide strike information, from all Navy activities and other sources, was used to inform the species that may be struck) and evaluated data beginning in 2009, as that was the start of the Navy’s Marine Species Awareness Training and adoption of additional mitigation measures to address ship strike, which will remain in place along with VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 additional mitigation measures during the seven years of this rule. The probability analysis concluded that there was a 22 percent chance that zero whales would be struck by Navy vessels over the seven-year period, and a 33, 25, 13, and 5 percent chance that one, two, three, or four whales, respectively, would be struck over the seven-year period (with a 78 percent chance that greater than one whale would be struck over the seven-year period). Therefore, the Navy estimates, and NMFS agrees, that there is some probability that the Navy could strike, and take by serious injury or mortality, up to three large whales incidental to training and testing activities within the HSTT Study Area over the course of the seven years. The probability of the Navy striking up to three large whales over the sevenyear period (which is a 13 percent chance) as analyzed for this proposed rule using updated Navy vessel strike data and at-sea days is very close to the probability of the Navy striking up to three large whales over five years (which was a 10 percent chance). As the probability of striking three large whales does not differ significantly from the 2018 HSTT final rule, and the probability of striking four large whales over seven years remains very low to the point of being unlikely (less than 5 percent), the Navy has requested, and we are proposing, no change in the number of takes by serious injury or mortality due to vessel strikes. Small delphinids, porpoises, and pinnipeds are not expected to be struck by Navy vessels. In addition to the reasons listed above that make it unlikely that the Navy will hit a large whale (more maneuverable ships, larger crew, etc.), following are the additional reasons that vessel strike of dolphins, small whales, porpoises, and pinnipeds is considered very unlikely. Dating back more than 20 years and for as long as it has kept records, the Navy has no records of individuals of these groups being struck by a vessel as a result of Navy activities and, further, their smaller size and maneuverability make a strike unlikely. Also, NMFS has never received any reports from other authorized activities indicating that these species have been struck by vessels. Worldwide ship strike records show little evidence of strikes of these groups from the shipping sector and larger vessels and the majority of the Navy’s activities involving fastermoving vessels (that could be considered more likely to hit a marine mammal) are located in offshore areas where smaller delphinid, porpoise, and pinniped densities are lower. Based on this information, NMFS concurs with PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48409 the Navy’s assessment and recognizes the potential for (and is proposing for authorization) incidental take by vessel strike of large whales only (i.e., no dolphins, small whales, porpoises, or pinnipeds) over the course of the sevenyear regulations from training and testing activities as discussed below. As noted in the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules, in the 2017 Navy application the Navy initially considered a weight of evidence approach that considered relative abundance, historical strike data over many years, and the overlap of Navy activities with the stock distribution in their request. NMFS and the Navy further discussed the available information and considered two factors in addition to those considered in the Navy’s additional request: (1) The relative likelihood of hitting one stock versus another based on available strike data from all vessel types as denoted in the SARs and (2) whether the Navy has ever definitively struck an individual from a particular stock and, if so, how many times. For this seven-year rule, we have reconsidered these two factors and updated the analysis with the Navy’s seven-year ship strike probability analysis and any new/updated ship strike data from the SARs. To address number (1) above, NMFS compiled information from NMFS’ SARs on detected annual rates of large whale serious injury or mortality from vessel collisions. The annual rates of large whale serious injury or mortality from vessel collisions from the SARs help inform the relative susceptibility of large whale species to vessel strike in SOCAL and Hawaii as recorded systematically over the last five years (the period used for the SARs). We summed the annual rates of serious injury or mortality from vessel collisions as reported in the SARs, then divided each species’ annual rate by this sum to get the relative likelihood. To estimate the percent likelihood of striking a particular species of large whale, we multiplied the relative likelihood of striking each species by the total probability of striking a whale (i.e., 78 percent, as described by the Navy’s probability analysis above). We also calculated the percent likelihood of striking a particular species of large whale twice by squaring the value estimated for the probability of striking a particular species of whale once (i.e., to calculate the probability of an event occurring twice, multiply the probability of the first event by the second). We note that these probabilities vary from year to year as the average annual mortality for a given five-year window in the SAR changes (and we E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48410 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 include the annual averages from 2017 and 2018 SARs in Table 13 to illustrate), however, over the years and through changing SARs, stocks tend to consistently maintain a relatively higher or relatively lower likelihood of being struck. The probabilities calculated as described above are then considered in combination with the information indicating the species that the Navy has definitively hit in the HSTT Study Area since 1991 (since they started tracking consistently), as well as the information originally considered by the Navy in their 2017 application, which includes relative abundance, total recorded strikes, and the overlay of all of this information with the Navy’s action area. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 We note that for all of the mortal take of species specifically denoted in Table 13 below, 19 percent of the individuals struck overall by any vessel type remained unidentified and 36 percent of those struck by the Navy (5 of 14 in the Pacific) remained unidentified. However, given the information on known stocks struck, the analysis below remains appropriate. We also note that Rockwood et al. (2017) modeled the likely vessel strike of blue whales, fin whales, and humpback whales on the U.S. West Coast (discussed in more detail in the Serious Injury or Mortality subsection of the Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section), and those numbers help inform PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 the relative likelihood that the Navy will hit those stocks. For each indicated stock, Table 13 includes the percent likelihood of hitting an individual whale once based on SAR data, total strikes from Navy vessels and from all other vessels, relative abundance, and modeled vessel strikes from Rockwood et al. (2017). The last column indicates the annual mortality proposed to be authorized: those stocks with one serious injury or mortality (M/SI) take proposed to be authorized over the seven-year period of the rule are shaded lightly, while those with two M/SI takes proposed to be authorized over the seven-year period of the rule are shaded more darkly. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 BILLING CODE 3510–22–C Accordingly, stocks that have no record of ever having been struck by any vessel are considered unlikely to be struck by the Navy in the seven-year period of the rule. Stocks that have never been struck by the Navy, have rarely been struck by other vessels, and have a low percent likelihood based on the SAR calculation and a low relative abundance are also considered unlikely to be struck by the Navy during the seven-year rule. We note that while vessel strike records have not differentiated between Eastern North Pacific and Western North Pacific gray whales, given their small population VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 size and the comparative rarity with which individuals from the Western North Pacific stock are detected off the U.S. West Coast, it is highly unlikely that they would be encountered, much less struck. This rules out all but six stocks. Three of the six stocks (CA/OR/WA stock of fin whale, Eastern North Pacific stock of gray whale, and Central North Pacific stock of humpback whale) are the only stocks to have been hit more than one time each by the Navy in the HSTT Study Area, have the three highest total strike records (21, 35, and 58 respectively), have three of the four PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48411 highest percent likelihoods based on the SAR records, have three of the four significantly higher relative abundances, and have up to a 3.4 percent likelihood of being struck twice based on NMFS’ SAR calculation (not shown in Table 13, but proportional to percent likelihood of being struck once). Based on all of these factors, it is considered reasonably likely that these stocks could be struck twice during the seven-year rule. Based on the information summarized in Table 13, and the fact that there is the potential for up to three large whales to be struck, it is considered reasonably likely that one individual from the E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.000</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48412 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules remaining three stocks could be one of the three whales struck. Sperm whales have only been struck a total of two times by any vessel type in the whole HSTT Study Area, however, the Navy struck a sperm whale once in Hawaii prior to 2009 and the relative abundance of sperm whales in Hawaii is the highest of any of the stocks present. Therefore, we consider it reasonably likely that the Hawaii stock of sperm whales could be struck once during the seven-year rule. The total strikes of Eastern North Pacific blue whales, the percent likelihood of striking one based on the SAR calculation, and their relative abundance can all be considered moderate compared to other stocks, and the Navy has struck one in the past prior to 2009 (with the likelihood of striking two based on the SAR calculation being below one percent). Therefore, we consider it reasonably likely that the Navy could strike one individual over the course of the seven-year rule. The Navy has not hit a humpback whale in the HSTT Study Area and the relative abundance of the CA/OR/WA stock is very low. However, the Navy has struck a humpback whale in the Northwest and as a species, humpbacks have a moderate to high number of total strikes and percent likelihood of being struck. Although the likelihood of CA/OR/WA humpback whales being struck overall is moderate to high relative to other stocks, the distribution of the Mexico DPS versus the Central America DPS, as well as the distribution of overall vessel strikes inside versus outside of the SOCAL area (the majority are outside), supports the reasonable likelihood that the Navy could strike one individual humpback whale from the CA/OR/WA stock (not two), and that that individual would be highly likely to be from the Mexico DPS, as described below. Specifically, regarding the likelihood of striking a humpback whale from a particular DPS, as suggested in Wade et al. (2016), the probability of encountering (which is thereby applied to striking) humpback whales from each DPS in the CA/OR area is 89.6 percent and 19.7 percent for the Mexico and Central America DPSs, respectively (note that these percentages reflect the upper limit of the 95 percent confidence interval to reduce the likelihood of underestimating take, and thereby do not total to 100). This suggests that the chance of striking a humpback whale from the Central America DPS is one tenth to one fifth of the overall chance of hitting a CA/OR/WA humpback whale in general in the SOCAL part of the HSTT Study Area, which in combination with the fact that no VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 humpback whale has been struck in SOCAL makes it highly unlikely, and thereby no strikes of whales from the Central America DPS are anticipated or authorized. If a humpback whale were struck in SOCAL, it is likely it would be of the Mexico DPS. However, regarding the overall likelihood of striking a humpback whale at all and the likely number of times, we note that the majority of strikes of the CA/OR/WA humpback whale (i.e., the numbers reflected in Table 13) take place outside of SOCAL and, whereas the comparative DPS numbers cited above apply in the California and Oregon feeding area, in the Washington and Southern British Columbia feeding area, Wade et al. (2016) suggest that 52.9, 41.9, and 14.7 percent of humpback whales encountered will come from the Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America DPSs, respectively. This means that the numbers in Table 13 indicating the overall strikes of CA/OR/WA humpback whales and SAR calculations based on average annual mortality over the last five years are actually lower than indicated for the Mexico DPS, which would only be a subset of those mortalities. Last, the Rockwood et al. paper supports a relative likelihood of 1:1:2 for striking blue whales, humpback whales, and fin whales off the U.S. West Coast, which supports the proposed authorized take included in this rule, which is 1, 1, and 2, respectively over the seven-year period. For these reasons, one mortal take of CA/OR/WA humpback whales, which would be expected to be of the Mexico DPS, could reasonably likely occur and is proposed for authorization. Accordingly, the Navy has requested take by M/SI from vessel strike of up to two of any of the following species/ stocks in the seven-year period: gray whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), fin whale (CA/OR/WA stock), humpback whale (Central North Pacific stock); and one of any of the following species/ stocks in the seven-year period: Blue whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), humpback whale (CA/OR/WA stock, Mexico DPS), or sperm whale (Hawaii stock). As described above, the Navy analysis suggests, and NMFS analysis concurs, that vessel strikes to the stocks below are very unlikely to occur due to the stocks’ relatively low occurrence in the HSTT Study Area, particularly in core HSTT training and testing subareas, and the fact that the stocks have not been struck by the Navy and are rarely, if ever, recorded struck by other vessels. Therefore the Navy is not requesting lethal take authorization, and NMFS is not proposing to authorize lethal take, PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 for the following stocks: Bryde’s whale (Eastern Tropical Pacific stock), Bryde’s whale (Hawaii stock), humpback whale (CA/OR/WA stock, Central America DPS), minke whale (CA/OR/WA stock), minke whale (Hawaii stock), sei whale (Hawaii stock), sei whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), and sperm whale (CA/ OR/WA stock). In conclusion, although it is generally unlikely that any whales will be struck in a year, based on the information and analysis above, NMFS anticipates that there is the potential of no more than three whales taken by M/SI over the seven-year period of the rule, and that those three whales may include no more than two of any of the following stocks: Gray whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), fin whale (CA/OR/WA stock), and humpback whale (Central North Pacific stock); and no more than one of any of the following stocks: Blue whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), humpback whale (CA/OR/WA, Mexico DPS), and sperm whale (Hawaii stock). Accordingly, NMFS has evaluated under the negligible impact standard the M/SI of 0.14 or 0.29 whales annually from each of these species or stocks (i.e., 1 or 2 takes, respectively, divided by seven years to get the annual number), along with the expected incidental takes by harassment. Explosives The Navy’s model and quantitative analysis process used for the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS and in the Navy’s 2017 and 2019 applications to estimate potential exposures of marine mammals to explosive stressors is detailed in the technical report titled Quantifying Acoustic Impacts on Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles: Methods and Analytical Approach for Phase III Training and Testing Report (U.S. Department of the Navy, 2018). Specifically, over the course of a modelled maximum year of training and testing, the Navy’s model and quantitative analysis process estimates M/SI of two short-beaked common dolphin and one California sea lion as a result of exposure to explosive training and testing activities (please see Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application where it is explained how maximum annual estimates are calculated). Over the five-year period of the 2018 HSTT regulations, mortality of 6 short-beaked common dolphins and 4 California sea lions was estimated and authorized (10 marine mammals in total) as a result of exposure to explosive training and testing activities. In extending the same training and testing activities for an additional two years, over the seven-year period of the proposed E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 regulations M/SI of 8 short-beaked common dolphins and 5 California sea lions (13 marine mammals in total) is estimated as a result of exposure to explosive training and testing activities. As explained in the aforementioned Analytical Approach technical report, expected impacts were calculated considering spatial and seasonal differences in model inputs, as well as the expected variation in the number of training and testing events from year to year, described as representative and maximum levels of activity. The summed impacts over any multi-year period, therefore, are the expected value for impacts over that time period rather than a multiple of a single maximum year’s impacts. Therefore, calculating the seven-year total is not a matter of simply multiplying the annual estimate by seven, as the total amount of estimated mortalities over the seven years covered by the 2019 Navy application is less than the sum total of each year. As explained earlier, although the annual estimates are based on the maximum number of activities per year and therefore the maximum estimated takes, the seven-year total take estimates are based on the sum of three maximum years and four representative years. NMFS coordinated with the Navy in the development of their take estimates and concurs with the Navy’s approach for estimating the number of animals from each species or stock that could be taken by M/SI from explosives. Proposed Mitigation Measures Under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to the activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the species or stock(s) and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (‘‘least practicable adverse impact’’). NMFS does not have a regulatory definition for least practicable adverse impact. The 2004 NDAA amended the MMPA as it relates to military readiness activities and the incidental take authorization process such that a determination of ‘‘least practicable adverse impact’’ shall include consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. For the full discussion of how NMFS interprets least practicable adverse impact, including how it relates to the negligible-impact standard, see the Mitigation Measures section in the 2018 HSTT final rule. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Section 101(a)(5)(A)(i)(II) requires NMFS to issue, in conjunction with its authorization, binding—and enforceable—restrictions (in the form of regulations) setting forth how the activity must be conducted, thus ensuring the activity has the ‘‘least practicable adverse impact’’ on the affected species or stocks. In situations where mitigation is specifically needed to reach a negligible impact determination, section 101(a)(5)(A)(i)(II) also provides a mechanism for ensuring compliance with the ‘‘negligible impact’’ requirement. Finally, the least practicable adverse impact standard also requires consideration of measures for marine mammal habitat, with particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and other areas of similar significance, and for subsistence impacts, whereas the negligible impact standard is concerned solely with conclusions about the impact of an activity on annual rates of recruitment and survival.2 In evaluating what mitigation measures are appropriate, NMFS considers the potential impacts of the Specified Activities, the availability of measures to minimize those potential impacts, and the practicability of implementing those measures, as we describe below. Implementation of Least Practicable Adverse Impact Standard Our evaluation of potential mitigation measures includes consideration of two primary factors: (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, implementation of the potential measure(s) is expected to reduce adverse impacts to marine mammal species or stocks, their habitat, and their availability for subsistence uses (where relevant). This analysis considers such things as the nature of the potential adverse impact (such as likelihood, scope, and range), the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented, and the likelihood of successful implementation; and (2) The practicability of the measures for applicant implementation. Practicability of implementation may consider such things as cost, impact on activities, and, in the case of a military readiness activity, specifically considers personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. 16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(A)(iii). While the language of the least practicable adverse impact standard 2 Outside of the military readiness context, mitigation may also be appropriate to ensure compliance with the ‘‘small numbers’’ language in MMPA sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D). PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48413 calls for minimizing impacts to affected species or stocks, we recognize that the reduction of impacts to those species or stocks accrues through the application of mitigation measures that limit impacts to individual animals. Accordingly, NMFS’ analysis focuses on measures that are designed to avoid or minimize impacts on individual marine mammals that are likely to increase the probability or severity of populationlevel effects. While direct evidence of impacts to species or stocks from a specified activity is rarely available, and additional study is still needed to understand how specific disturbance events affect the fitness of individuals of certain species, there have been improvements in understanding the process by which disturbance effects are translated to the population. With recent scientific advancements (both marine mammal energetic research and the development of energetic frameworks), the relative likelihood or degree of impacts on species or stocks may often be inferred given a detailed understanding of the activity, the environment, and the affected species or stocks—and the best available science has been used here. This same information is used in the development of mitigation measures and helps us understand how mitigation measures contribute to lessening effects (or the risk thereof) to species or stocks. We also acknowledge that there is always the potential that new information, or a new recommendation could become available in the future and necessitate reevaluation of mitigation measures (which may be addressed through adaptive management) to see if further reductions of population impacts are possible and practicable. In the evaluation of specific measures, the details of the specified activity will necessarily inform each of the two primary factors discussed above (expected reduction of impacts and practicability), and are carefully considered to determine the types of mitigation that are appropriate under the least practicable adverse impact standard. Analysis of how a potential mitigation measure may reduce adverse impacts on a marine mammal stock or species, consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and consideration of the impact on effectiveness of military readiness activities are not issues that can be meaningfully evaluated through a yes/ no lens. The manner in which, and the degree to which, implementation of a measure is expected to reduce impacts, as well as its practicability in terms of these considerations, can vary widely. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48414 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules For example, a time/area restriction could be of very high value for decreasing population-level impacts (e.g., avoiding disturbance of feeding females in an area of established biological importance) or it could be of lower value (e.g., decreased disturbance in an area of high productivity but of less firmly established biological importance). Regarding practicability, a measure might involve restrictions in an area or time that impede the Navy’s ability to certify a strike group (higher impact on mission effectiveness), or it could mean delaying a small in-port training event by 30 minutes to avoid exposure of a marine mammal to injurious levels of sound (lower impact). A responsible evaluation of ‘‘least practicable adverse impact’’ will consider the factors along these realistic scales. Accordingly, the greater the likelihood that a measure will contribute to reducing the probability or severity of adverse impacts to the species or stock or its habitat, the greater the weight that measure is given when considered in combination with practicability to determine the appropriateness of the mitigation measure, and vice versa. In the evaluation of specific measures, the details of the specified activity will necessarily inform each of the two primary factors discussed above (expected reduction of impacts and practicability), and will be carefully considered to determine the types of mitigation that are appropriate under the least practicable adverse impact standard. For more detail on how we apply these factors, see the discussion in the Mitigation Measures section of the 2018 HSTT final rule. NMFS fully reviewed the Navy’s specified activities and the mitigation measures for the 2018 HSTT rulemaking and determined that the mitigation measures would result in the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammals. There is no change in either the activities or the mitigation measures for this rule. See the 2019 Navy application and the 2018 HSTT final rule for detailed information on the Navy’s mitigation measures. NMFS worked with the Navy in the development of the Navy’s initially proposed measures, which were informed by years of implementation and monitoring. A complete discussion of the Navy’s evaluation process used to develop, assess, and select mitigation measures, which was informed by input from NMFS, can be found in Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/ OEIS. The process described in Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/ OEIS robustly supported NMFS’ independent evaluation of whether the mitigation measures would meet the least practicable adverse impact standard. The Navy has implemented the mitigation measures under the 2018 HSTT regulations and would be required to continue implementation of the mitigation measures identified in this rule for the full seven years it covers to avoid or reduce potential impacts from acoustic, explosive, and physical disturbance and ship strike stressors. In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the mitigation measures in the 2018 HSTT final rule and there is no new information that affects NMFS’ assessment of the applicability or effectiveness of those measures over the new seven-year period. See the 2018 HSTT proposed rule and the 2018 HSTT final rule for our full assessment of these measures. In summary, the Navy has agreed to procedural mitigation measures that will reduce the probability and/or severity of impacts expected to result from acute exposure to acoustic sources or explosives, ship strike, and impacts to marine mammal habitat. Specifically, the Navy will use a combination of delayed starts, powerdowns, and shutdowns to minimize or avoid M/SI minimize the likelihood or severity of PTS or other injury, and reduce instances of TTS or more severe behavioral disruption caused by acoustic sources or explosives. The Navy will also implement multiple time/area restrictions (several of which were added in the 2018 HSTT final rule since the previous HSTT MMPA incidental take rule) that would reduce take of marine mammals in areas or at times where they are known to engage in important behaviors, such as feeding or calving, where the disruption of those behaviors would have a higher probability of resulting in impacts on reproduction or survival of individuals that could lead to population-level impacts. Summaries of the Navy’s procedural mitigation measures and mitigation areas for the HSTT Study Area are provided in Tables 14 and 15. TABLE 14—SUMMARY OF PROCEDURAL MITIGATION Stressor or activity Mitigation zone sizes and other requirements Environmental Awareness and Education .......... Active Sonar ........................................................ • Afloat Environmental Compliance Training program for applicable personnel. Depending on sonar source: • 1,000 yd power down, 500 yd power down, and 200 yd shut down. • 200 yd shut down. • 150 yd. • 100 yd. • 30 degrees on either side of the firing line out to 70 yd. • 600 yd. • 2,100 yd. • 1,000 yd (large-caliber projectiles). • 600 yd (medium-caliber projectiles during surface-to-surface activities). • 200 yd (medium-caliber projectiles during air-to-surface activities). • 2,000 yd (21–500 lb. net explosive weight). • 900 yd (0.6–20 lb. net explosive weight). • 2,500 yd. • 2.5 nmi. • 2,100 yd (6–650 lb net explosive weight). • 600 yd (0.1–5 lb net explosive weight). • 1,000 yd (21–60 lb net explosive weight for positive control charges and charges using time-delay fuses). • 500 yd (0.1–20 lb net explosive weight for positive control charges). • 700 yd. Air Guns .............................................................. Pile Driving .......................................................... Weapons Firing Noise ......................................... Explosive Sonobuoys .......................................... Explosive Torpedoes ........................................... Explosive Medium-Caliber and Large-Caliber Projectiles. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Explosive Missiles and Rockets .......................... Explosive Bombs ................................................. Sinking Exercises ................................................ Explosive Mine Countermeasure and Neutralization Activities. Explosive Mine Neutralization Activities Involving Navy Divers. Underwater Demolition Multiple Charge—Mat Weave and Obstacle Loading. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 48415 TABLE 14—SUMMARY OF PROCEDURAL MITIGATION—Continued Stressor or activity Mitigation zone sizes and other requirements Maritime Security Operations—Anti-Swimmer Grenades. Vessel Movement ................................................ Towed In-Water Devices ..................................... Small-, Medium-, and Large-Caliber Non-Explosive Practice Munitions. Non-Explosive Missiles and Rockets .................. Non-Explosive Bombs and Mine Shapes ........... • 200 yd. • • • • 500 200 250 200 yd (whales). yd (other marine mammals). yd (marine mammals). yd. • 900 yd. • 1,000 yd. Notes: lb: Pounds; nmi: Nautical miles; yd: Yards. TABLE 15—SUMMARY OF MITIGATION AREAS FOR MARINE MAMMALS Summary of Mitigation Area Requirements Hawaii Island Mitigation Area (year-round): • Navy personnel must not conduct more than 300 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or 20 hours of MF4 dipping sonar, or use explosives that could potentially result in takes of marine mammals during training and testing.1 4-Islands Region Mitigation Area (November 15–April 15 for active sonar; year-round for explosives): • Navy personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or explosives that could potentially result in takes of marine mammals during training and testing.1 Humpback Whale Special Reporting Areas (December 15–April 15): • Navy personnel must report the total hours of surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar used in in the special reporting areas in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. San Diego Arc, San Nicolas Island, and Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Areas (June 1–October 31): • Navy personnel must not conduct more than a total of 200 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar in the combined areas, excluding normal maintenance and systems checks, during training and testing.1 • Within the San Diego Arc Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75″ rockets) activities during training and testing.1 • Within the San Nicolas Island Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75″ rockets) activities during training.1 • Within the Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75″ rockets) activities during training and testing.1 Santa Barbara Island Mitigation Area (year-round): • Navy personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar during training and testing, or explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during medium-caliber or large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75″ rockets) activities during training.1 Awareness Notification Message Areas (seasonal according to species): • Navy personnel must issue awareness notification messages to alert ships and aircraft to the possible presence of humpback whales (November–April), blue whales (June–October), gray whales (November–March), or fin whales (November–May). 1 If Naval units need to conduct more than the specified amount of training or testing, they will obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. The Navy will provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Mitigation Conclusions NMFS has carefully evaluated the Navy’s proposed mitigation measures— many of which were developed with NMFS’ input during the previous phases of Navy training and testing authorizations and none of which have changed since our evaluation during the 2018 HSTT rulemaking—and considered a broad range of other measures (i.e., the measures considered but eliminated in the 2018 HSTT FEIS/ OEIS, which reflect many of the comments that have arisen via NMFS or public input in past years) in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of potential measures included VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 consideration of the following factors in relation to one another: the manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the mitigation measures is expected to reduce the likelihood and/or magnitude of adverse impacts to marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat; the proven or likely efficacy of the measures; and the practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, including consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. There is no new information that affects our analysis from the 2018 HSTT rulemaking, all of which remains applicable and valid for our assessment of the appropriateness of the mitigation measures during the seven-year period of this rule. PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Based on our evaluation of the Navy’s proposed measures (which are being implemented under the 2018 HSTT regulations), as well as other measures considered by the Navy and NMFS, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the Navy’s proposed mitigation measures (which are identical to those in the 2018 HSTT final rule) are appropriate means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and considering specifically personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. Additionally, as described in more detail below, the 2018 HSTT final rule includes an adaptive management E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48416 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 provision, which the Navy proposes to extend, which ensures that mitigation is regularly assessed and provides a mechanism to improve the mitigation, based on the factors above, through modification as appropriate. The proposed rule comment period provides the public an opportunity to submit recommendations, views, and/or concerns regarding the Navy’s activities and the proposed mitigation measures. While NMFS has preliminarily determined that the Navy’s proposed mitigation measures would effect the least practicable adverse impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, NMFS will consider all public comments to help inform our final decision. Consequently, the proposed mitigation measures may be refined, modified, removed, or added to prior to the issuance of the final rule based on public comments received, and where appropriate, further analysis of any additional mitigation measures. Proposed Monitoring Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA states that in order to authorize incidental take for an activity, NMFS must set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(13) indicate that requests for incidental take authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present. In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the monitoring described in the 2018 HSTT final rule. They would continue implementation of the robust Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program and Strategic Planning Process described in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The Navy’s monitoring strategy, currently required by the 2018 HSTT regulations, is well-designed to work across Navy ranges to help better understand the impacts of the Navy’s activities on marine mammals and their habitat by focusing on learning more about marine mammal occurrence in different areas and exposure to Navy stressors, marine mammal responses to different sound sources, and the consequences of those exposures and responses on marine mammal populations. Similarly, the proposed seven-year regulations would include identical adaptive management provisions and reporting requirements as the 2018 HSTT regulations. There is no new information that would indicate VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 that the monitoring measures put in place under the 2018 HSTT final rule would not remain applicable and appropriate for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Monitoring section of the 2018 HSTT final rule for more details on the monitoring that would be required under this rule. In addition, please see the 2019 Navy application, which references Chapter 13 of the 2017 Navy application for full details on the monitoring and reporting proposed by the Navy. Adaptive Management The 2018 HSTT regulations governing the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities in the HSTT Study Area contain an adaptive management component. Our understanding of the effects of Navy training and testing activities (e.g., acoustic and explosive stressors) on marine mammals continues to evolve, which makes the inclusion of an adaptive management component both valuable and necessary within the context of seven-year regulations. The 2019 Navy application proposes no changes to the adaptive management component included in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The reporting requirements associated with this rule are designed to provide NMFS with monitoring data from the previous year to allow NMFS to consider whether any changes to existing mitigation and monitoring requirements are appropriate. The use of adaptive management allows NMFS to consider new information from different sources to determine (with input from the Navy regarding practicability) on an annual or biennial basis if mitigation or monitoring measures should be modified (including additions or deletions). Mitigation measures could be modified if new data suggests that such modifications would have a reasonable likelihood of more effectively accomplishing the goals of the mitigation and monitoring and if the measures are practicable. If the modifications to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures are substantial, NMFS will publish a notice of the planned LOA in the Federal Register and solicit public comment. The following are some of the possible sources of applicable data to be considered through the adaptive management process: (1) Results from monitoring and exercises reports, as required by MMPA authorizations; (2) compiled results of Navy funded R&D studies; (3) results from specific stranding investigations; (4) results from general marine mammal and sound research; and (5) any information which PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 reveals that marine mammals may have been taken in a manner, extent, or number not authorized by these regulations or subsequent LOAs. The results from monitoring reports and other studies may be viewed at https:// www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us. Reporting In order to issue incidental take authorization for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring. Reports from individual monitoring events, results of analyses, publications, and periodic progress reports for specific monitoring projects will be posted to the Navy’s Marine Species Monitoring web portal: http:// www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us. The 2019 Navy application proposes no changes to the reporting requirements. Except as discussed below, reporting requirements would remain identical to those described in the 2018 HSTT final rule, and there is no new information that would indicate that the reporting requirements put in place under the 2018 HSTT final rule would not remain applicable and appropriate for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Reporting section of the 2018 HSTT final rule for more details on the reporting that would be required under this rule. In addition, the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules unintentionally failed to include the requirement for the Navy to submit a final activity ‘‘close out’’ report at the end of the regulatory period. That oversight is being corrected through this rulemaking. This comprehensive training and testing activity report would provide the annual totals for each sound source bin with a comparison to the annual allowance and the sevenyear total for each sound source bin with a comparison to the seven-year allowance. Additionally, if there were any changes to the sound source allowance, this report would include a discussion of why the change was made and include analysis to support how the change did or did not result in a change in the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS and final rule determinations. Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., populationlevel effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be taken through mortality, serious injury, and Level A or Level B harassment (as presented in Tables 11 and 12), NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS’ implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where known, other ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, ambient noise levels, and specific consideration of take by Level A harassment or M/SI previously authorized for other NMFS activities). In the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals sections of this proposed rule and the 2018 HSTT final rule (where the activities, species and stocks, potential effects, and mitigation measures are the same as for this rule), we identified the subset of potential effects that would be expected to rise to the level of takes both annually and over the seven-year period covered by this rule, and then identified the number of each of those mortality takes that we believe could occur or the maximum number of harassment takes that are reasonably expected to occur based on the methods described. The impact that any given take will have is dependent on many case-specific factors that need to be considered in the negligible impact analysis (e.g., the context of behavioral exposures such as duration or intensity of a disturbance, the health of impacted animals, the status of a species that incurs fitness-level impacts to individuals, etc.). For this proposed rule we evaluated the likely impacts of the enumerated maximum number of VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 harassment takes that are proposed for authorization and reasonably expected to occur, in the context of the specific circumstances surrounding these predicted takes. We also assessed M/SI takes that have the potential to occur, as well as considering the traits and statuses of the affected species and stocks. Last, we collectively evaluated this information, as well as other more taxa-specific information and mitigation measure effectiveness, in group-specific assessments that support our negligible impact conclusions for each stock. The Navy proposes no changes to the nature or level of the specified activities or the boundaries of the HSTT Study Area, and therefore the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted) are the same as those analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. In addition, the mitigation, monitoring, and nearly all reporting measures are identical to those described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. As described above, there is no new information since the publication of the 2018 HSTT final rule regarding the impacts of the specified activities on marine mammals, the status and distribution of any of the affected marine mammal species or stocks, or the effectiveness of the mitigation and monitoring measures that would change our analyses, except for one species. For that one species— gray whales—we have considered the effects of the new UME on the west coast of North America along with the effects of the Navy’s activities in the negligible impact analysis. Harassment As described in the Estimated Takes of Marine Mammals section, the annual number of takes proposed for authorization and reasonably expected to occur by Level A harassment and Level B harassment (based on the maximum number of activities per 12month period) are identical to those presented in Tables 41 through 42 in the Take Requests section of the 2018 HSTT final rule. As such, the negligible impact analyses and determinations of the effects of the estimated Level A harassment and Level B harassment takes on annual rates of recruitment or survival for each species and stock are nearly identical to and substantively unchanged from those presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The primary difference is that the annual levels of take and the associated effects on reproduction or survival would occur for the seven-year period of the proposed rule instead of the five-year PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48417 period of the 2018 HSTT final rule, which would make no difference in effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. The other differences in the analyses include our consideration of the newly-declared gray whale UME and slightly modified explosive take estimates, neither of which, as described below, affect the results of the analyses or our determinations. For detailed discussion of the impacts that affected individuals may experience given the specific characteristics of the specified activities and required mitigation (e.g., from behavioral disruption, masking, and temporary or permanent threshold shift), along with the effects of the expected Level A harassment and Level B harassment take on reproduction and survival, see the applicable subsections in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 HSTT final rule (83 FR 66977–67018). Serious Injury or Mortality Based on the information and methods discussed in the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals section (which are identical to those used in the 2018 HSTT final rule), the number of potential mortalities due to ship strike proposed to be authorized over the seven year period of this rule is the same as those authorized in the 2018 HSTT final rule. As the potential mortalities are now spread over seven years rather than five, an annual average of 0.29 gray whales (Eastern North Pacific stock), fin whales (CA/OR/WA stock), and humpback whales (Central North Pacific stock) and an annual average of 0.14 blue whales (Eastern North Pacific stock), humpback whales (CA/OR/WA stock, Mexico DPS), and sperm whales (Hawaii stock) as described in Table 16 (i.e., one, or two, take(s) over seven years divided by seven to get the annual number) are expected to potentially occur and are proposed for authorization. As this annual number is less than that analyzed and authorized in the 2018 HSTT final rule, which was an annual average of 0.4 whales or 0.2 whales respectively for the same species and stocks, and with the exception of the new gray whale UME on the U.S. west coast no other relevant information about the status, abundance, or effects of M/SI on each species or stock has changed, the analysis of the effects of vessel strike mirrors that presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48418 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 16—SUMMARY INFORMATION RELATED TO MORTALITIES REQUESTED FOR SHIP STRIKE, 2018–2025 Species (stock) Fisheries interactions (Y/N); annual rate of M/SI from fisheries interactions * Vessel collisions (Y/N); annual rate of M/SI from vessel collision * ≥43.5 139 Y; ≥0.5 ............. Y, 9.6 ............... Y, 1.6 ............... Y, 0.8 ............... 81 801 37.5 662 0.14 ≥40.2 Y; ≥15.7 ........... Y, 22 ................ 16.7 10,103 0.29 26 Y; 9.9 ............... Y, 1.5 ............... 4,559 6 1,647 0.14 0.14 0.7 ≥19 Y, 0.7 ............... ≥0.96 ............... N ...................... Y, 18 ................ Stock abundance (Nbest) * Annual authorized take by serious injury or mortality 1 9,029 26,960 0.29 0.29 2,900 Fin whale (CA/OR/WA stock) Gray whale (Eastern North Pacific stock). Humpback whale (CA/OR/WA stock, Mexico DPS). Humpback whale (Central North Pacific stock) 5. Sperm whale (Hawaii stock) .. Blue whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock). Total annual M/SI * 2 PBR * Residual PBR–PBR minus annual M/SI 3 Stock trend * 4 Recent UME (Y/N); number and year (since 2007) N. Y, 170, 2019. ¥23.5 ↑ ...................... stable since 2003. ↑ ...................... 83 57 ↑ ...................... N. 13.9 2.3 13.2 ¥16.7 ? ...................... stable ............... N. Y; 3, 2007. N. * Presented in the 2018 final SARs. 1 This column represents the annual take by serious injury or mortality (M/SI) by vessel collision and was calculated by the number of mortalities for authorization divided by seven years (the length of the rule and LOAs). 2 This column represents the total number of incidents of M/SI that could potentially accrue to the specified species or stock. This number comes from the SAR, but deducts the takes accrued from either Navy strikes or NMFS’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) takes in the SARs to ensure not double-counted against PBR. However, for these species, there were no takes from either other Navy activities or SWFSC in the SARs to deduct that would be considered double-counting. 3 This value represents the calculated PBR less the average annual estimate of ongoing anthropogenic mortalities (i.e., total annual human-caused M/SI, which is presented in the SARs). 4 See relevant SARs for more information regarding stock status and trends. 5 Some values for the Central North Pacific stock of humpback whales were unintentionally presented incorrectly in Table 69 of the 2018 HSTT final rule. The correct values are provided here. These transcription errors do not affect the analysis or conclusions in the 2018 HSTT final rule, as the correct values were used in the analysis presented in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section. 6 The stock abundance for the Hawaii stock of sperm whales was unintentionally presented incorrectly as 5,559 in the 2018 HSTT final rule and has been corrected here. This transcription error does not affect the analysis or conclusions reached in the 2018 HSTT final rule. explosives: 5 California sea lions and 8 short-beaked common dolphins over the seven-year period (therefore 0.71 mortalities annually for California sea lions and 1.14 mortalities annually for short-beaked common dolphin), as described in Table 17. As this annual number is less than that analyzed and authorized in the 2018 HSTT final rule, which was an annual average of 0.8 The Navy has also requested a small number of takes by M/SI from explosives. To calculate the annual average of mortalities for explosives in Table 17 we used the same method as described for vessel strikes. The annual average is the total number of takes over seven years divided by seven. Specifically, NMFS is proposing to authorize the following M/SI takes from California sea lions and 1.2 short-beaked common dolphins, and no other relevant information about the status, abundance, or effects of mortality on each species or stock has changed, the analysis of the effects of explosives mirrors that presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule. TABLE 17—SUMMARY INFORMATION RELATED TO MORTALITIES FROM EXPLOSIVES, 2018–2025 Species (stock) khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 California sea lion (U.S. stock). Short-beaked common dolphin (CA/OR/WA stock). Stock abundance (Nbest) * Annual authorized take by serious injury or mortality 1 257,606 0.71 969,861 1.14 Fisheries interactions (Y/N); annual rate of M/SI from fisheries interactions * PBR * 319.4 Y;197 ............... ≥40 Y; ≥40 .............. Total annual M/SI * 2 SWFSC authorized take (annual) 3 Residual PBR— PBR minus annual M/ SI and SWFSC 4 14,011 ............. 6.6 13,685 ↑ ...................... Y; 2013. 8,393 ............... 2.8 8,350.2 ? ...................... N. Stock trend * 5 UME (Y/N); number and year * Presented in the 2018 final SARs. 1 This column represents the annual take by serious injury or mortality (M/SI) during explosive detonations and was calculated by the number of mortalities planned for authorization divided by seven years (the length of the rule and LOAs). 2 This column represents the total number of incidents of M/SI that could potentially accrue to the specified species or stock. This number comes from the SAR, but deducts the takes accrued from either Navy activities or NMFS’ SWFSC takes in the SARs to ensure not double-counted against PBR. In this case, for California sea lion 0.8 annual M/SI from the U.S. West Coast during scientific trawl and longline operations conducted by NMFS and 1.8 annual M/SI from marine mammal research related mortalities authorized by NMFS was deducted from total annual M/SI (322). 3 This column represents annual take authorized through NMFS’ SWFSC rulemaking/LOAs (80 FR 58982). 4 This value represents the calculated PBR less the average annual estimate of ongoing anthropogenic mortalities (i.e., total annual human-caused M/SI column and the annual authorized take from the SWFSC column. In the case of California sea lion the M/SI column (319.4) and the annual authorized take from the SWFSC (6.6) were subtracted from the calculated PBR of 14,011. In the case of Short-beaked common dolphin the M/SI column (40) and the annual authorized take from the SWFSC (2.8) were subtracted from the calculated PBR of 8,393. 5 See relevant SARs for more information regarding stock status and trends. See the Serious Injury or Mortality subsection in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 HSTT final rule (83 FR 66985–66993) for detailed discussions of the impacts of M/SI, including a description of how the agency uses the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 PBR metric and other factors to inform our analysis, and an analysis of the impacts on each species and stock for which M/SI is proposed for authorization, including the relationship of potential mortality for PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 each species to the insignificance threshold and residual PBR. Stocks With M/SI Below the Insignificance Threshold As noted in the Serious Injury or Mortality subsection of the Negligible E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Impact Analysis and Determination section in the 2018 HSTT final rule, for a species or stock with incidental M/SI less than 10 percent of residual PBR, we consider M/SI from the specified activities to represent an insignificant incremental increase in ongoing anthropogenic M/SI that alone (i.e., in the absence of any other take and barring any other unusual circumstances) will clearly not adversely affect annual rates of recruitment and survival. In this case, as shown in Tables 16 and 17, the following species or stocks have potential or estimated M/SI from ship strike and explosive takes, respectively, and proposed for authorization below their insignificance threshold: Fin whale (CA/OR/WA stock), gray whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), humpback whale (Central North Pacific stock), sperm whale (Hawaii stock), California sea lion (U.S stock), and short-beaked common dolphin (CA/OR/WA stock). While the proposed authorized M/SI of California sea lions (U.S. stock) and gray whales (Eastern North Pacific stock) are below the insignificance threshold, because of the recent UMEs, we further address how the proposed authorized M/SI and the UME inform the negligible impact determination immediately below. For the other four stocks with proposed authorized M/SI below the insignificance threshold, there are no other known factors, information, or unusual circumstances that indicate anticipated M/SI below the insignificance threshold could have adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival and they are not discussed further. For the remaining two stocks with anticipated potential M/ SI above the insignificance threshold, how that M/SI compares to residual PBR, as well as additional factors, as appropriate, are discussed below as well. California Sea Lion (U.S. Stock) The estimated (and proposed for authorization) lethal take of California sea lions is well below the insignificance threshold (0.71 as compared to a residual PBR of 13,686) and NMFS classifies the stock as ‘‘increasing’’ in the 2018 Final SARs. Nonetheless, we consider here how the 2013-present California Sea Lion UME informs our negligible impact determination. This UME was confined to pup and yearling sea lions and many were emaciated, dehydrated, and underweight. Although this UME has not been closed, NMFS staff confirmed that the mortality of pups and yearlings returned to normal in 2017 and 2018 and we plan to present it to the UME VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Working Group to discuss closure by the summer of 2019 (Deb Fauquier, pers. comm.). NMFS’ findings to date indicate that a change in the availability of sea lion prey, especially anchovy and sardines, a high value food source for nursing mothers, was a likely contributor to the large number of strandings. Sardine spawning grounds shifted further offshore in 2012 and 2013, and while other prey were available (market squid and rockfish), these may not have provided adequate nutrition in the milk of sea lion mothers supporting pups, or for newly-weaned pups foraging on their own. Although the pups showed signs of some viruses and infections, findings indicate that this event was not caused by disease, but rather by the lack of high quality, close-by food sources for nursing mothers. Average mortalities from 2013–2017 were 1,000–3,000 more annually than they were in the previous 10 years. However, even if these unusual mortalities were still occurring (with current data suggesting they are not), combined with other annual human-caused mortalities, and viewed through the PBR lens (for human-caused mortalities), total human-caused mortality (inclusive of the potential for additional UME deaths) would still fall well below residual PBR. Further, the loss of pups and yearlings would not be expected to have as much of an effect on annual population rates as the death of adult females. In conclusion, because of the abundance, population trend, and residual PBR of this stock, as well as the fact that the increased mortality stopped two years ago and the UME is expected to be closed soon, this UME is not expected to have any impacts on individuals during the period of this proposed rule, nor is it thought to have had impacts on the population rate when it was occurring that would influence our evaluation of the effects of the mortality proposed for authorization on the stock. Gray Whales (Eastern North Pacific Stock) Since January 2019, gray whale strandings along the west coast of North America have been significantly higher than the previous 18-year averages. Preliminary findings from necropsies have shown evidence of emaciation. The seasonal pattern of elevated strandings in the spring and summer months is similar to that of the previous gray whale UME in 1999–2000. Current total monthly strandings are slightly higher than 1999 and lower than 2000. If strandings continue to follow a similar pattern, we would anticipate a decrease in strandings in late summer PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48419 and fall. However, combined with other annual human-caused mortalities, and viewed through the PBR lens (for human-caused mortalities), total human-caused mortality (inclusive of the potential for additional UME deaths) would still fall well below residual PBR and the insignificance threshold. Because of the abundance, population trend (increasing, despite the UME in 1999–2000), and residual PBR (662) of this stock, this UME is not expected to have impacts on the population rate that, in combination with the effects of mortality proposed for authorization, would affect annual rates of recruitment or survival. Stocks With M/SI Above the Insignificance Threshold Humpback Whale (CA/OR/WA Stock, Mexico DPS) For this stock, PBR is currently set at 16.7 and the total annual M/SI is estimated at greater than or equal to 40.2, yielding a residual PBR of ¥23.5. NMFS proposes to authorize one M/SI over the seven-year duration of the rule (which is 0.14 annually for the purposes of comparing to PBR and considering other effects on annual rates of recruitment and survival), which means that residual PBR is exceeded by 23.64. In the 2018 HSTT final rule the PBR was incorrectly reported as 33.4 and the total annual M/SI was incorrectly reported as greater than or equal to 40.76 (yielding a residual PBR of ¥7.36). These transcription errors do not affect the fundamental analysis or conclusion reached in the 2018 HSTT final rule, however, and we have corrected these values here using data from the 2018 Final SARs. In the commercial fisheries setting for ESA-listed marine mammals (which is similar to the non-fisheries incidental take setting, in that a negligible impact determination is required that is based on the assessment of take caused by the activity being analyzed) NMFS may find the impact of the authorized take from a specified activity to be negligible even if total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR, if the authorized mortality is less than 10 percent of PBR and management measures are being taken to address serious injuries and mortalities from the other activities causing mortality (i.e., other than the specified activities covered by the incidental take authorization in consideration). When those considerations are applied in the section 101(a)(5)(A) context here, the proposed authorized lethal take (0.14 annually) of humpback whales from the CA/OR/WA stock is significantly less than 10 percent of PBR (in fact less than E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48420 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 1 percent of 16.7) and there are management measures in place to address M/SI from activities other than those the Navy is conducting (as discussed below). Based on identical simulations as those conducted to identify Recovery Factors for PBR in Wade et al. (1998), but where values less than 0.1 were investigated (P. Wade, pers. comm.), we predict that where the mortality from a specified activity does not exceed Nmin * 1/2 Rmax * 0.013, the contemplated mortality for the specific activity will not delay the time to recovery by more than 1 percent. For this stock of humpback whales, Nmin * 1/2 Rmax * 0.013 = 1.45 and the annual mortality proposed for authorization is 0.14 (i.e., less than 1.45), which means that the mortality proposed to be authorized in this rule for HSTT activities would not delay the time to recovery by more than 1 percent. As described in the 2018 HSTT final rule, NMFS must also ensure that impacts by the applicant on the species or stock from other types of take (i.e., harassment) do not combine with the impacts from M/SI to adversely affect the species or stock via impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival, which is discussed further below in the species- and stock-specific section. In June 2019, NMFS published 2018 final SARs in which PBR is reported as 16.7 with the predicted average annual mortality greater than or equal to 38.6 (including 22 estimated from vessel collisions and greater than 14.1 observed fisheries interactions). While the observed M/SI from vessel strikes remains low at 2.1, the 2018 draft and final SARs rely on a new method to estimate annual deaths by ship strike utilizing an encounter theory model that combined species distribution models of whale density, vessel traffic characteristics, and whale movement patterns obtained from satellite-tagged animals in the region to estimate encounters that would result in mortality (Rockwood et al., 2017). The model predicts 22 annual mortalities of humpback whales from this stock from vessel strikes. The authors (Rockwood et al., 2017) do not suggest that ship strike suddenly increased to 22. In fact, the model is not specific to a year, but rather offers a generalized prediction of ship strike off the U.S. West Coast. Therefore, if the Rockwood et al. (2017) model is an accurate representation of vessel strike, then similar levels of ship strike have been occurring in past years as well. Put another way, if the model is correct, for some number of years total human-caused mortality has been significantly underestimated, and PBR VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 has been similarly exceeded by a notable amount, and yet the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales is considered stable nevertheless. The CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales experienced a steady increase from the 1990s through approximately 2008, and more recent estimates through 2014 indicate a leveling off of the population size. This stock is comprised of the feeding groups of three DPSs. Two DPSs associated with this stock are listed under the ESA as either endangered (Central America DPS) or threatened (Mexico DPS), while the third is not listed. The mortality authorized by this rule is for an individual from the Mexico DPS only. As described in the Final Rule Identifying 14 DPSs of the Humpback Whale and Revision of Species-Wide Listing (81 FR 62260, September 8, 2016), the Mexico DPS was initially proposed not to be listed as threatened or endangered, but the final decision was changed in consideration of a new abundance estimate using a new methodology that was more accurate (less bias from capture heterogeneity and lower coefficient of variation) and resulted in a lower abundance than was previously estimated. To be clear, the new abundance estimate did not indicate that the numbers had decreased, but rather, the more accurate new abundance estimate (3,264), derived from the same data but based on an integrated spatial multi-strata mark recapture model (Wade et al., 2016) was simply notably lower than earlier estimates, which were 6,000–7,000 from the SPLASH project (Calambokidis et al., 2008) or higher (Barlow et al., 20111). The updated abundance was still higher than 2,000, which is the Biological Review Team’s (BRT) threshold between ‘‘not likely to be at risk of extinction due to low abundance alone’’ and ‘‘increasing risk from factors associated with low abundance.’’ Further, the BRT concluded that the DPS was unlikely to be declining because of the population growth throughout most of its feeding areas, in California/Oregon and the Gulf of Alaska, but they did not have evidence that the Mexico DPS was actually increasing in overall population size. As discussed earlier, we also take into consideration management measures in place to address M/SI caused by other activities. The California swordfish and thresher shark drift gillnet fishery is one of the primary causes of M/SI take from fisheries interactions for humpback whales on the West Coast. NMFS established the Pacific Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Team in 1996 and prepared an associated Plan PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (PCTRP) to reduce the risk of M/SI via fisheries interactions. In 1997, NMFS published final regulations formalizing the requirements of the PCTRP, including the use of pingers following several specific provisions and the employment of Skipper education workshops. Crab pot fisheries are also a significant source of mortality for humpback whales and, unfortunately, have increased mortalities over recent years. However, the 2018 SAR notes that a recent increase in disentanglement efforts has resulted in an increase in the fraction of cases that are reported as non-serious injuries as a result of successful disentanglement. More importantly, since 2015, NMFS has engaged in a multi-stakeholder process in California (including California State resource managers, fishermen, NGOs, and scientists) to identify and develop solutions and make recommendations to regulators and the fishing industry for reducing whale entanglements (see http://www.opc.ca.gov/whaleentanglement-working-group/), referred to as the Whale Entanglement Working Group. More recently, similar efforts to address the entanglement issue have also been initiated in Oregon and Washington. The Whale Entanglement Working Group has made significant progress since 2015 and is tackling the problem from multiple angles, including: • Development of Fact Sheets and Best Practices for specific Fisheries issues (e.g., California Dungeness Crab Fishing BMPs and the 2018–2019 Best Fishing Practices Guide); • 2018–2019 Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) to support the state of California in working collaboratively with experts (fishermen, researchers, NGOs, etc.) to identify and assess elevated levels of entanglement risk and determine the need for management options to reduce risk of entanglement; and • Support of pilot studies to test new fisheries technologies to reduce take (e.g., Exploring Ropeless Fishing Technologies for the California Dungeness Crab Fishery). The Working Group meets regularly, posts reports and annual recommendations, and makes all of their products and guidance documents readily accessible for the public. The March 2019 Working Group Report reports on the status of the fishery closure, progress and continued development of the RAMP (though there is a separate RAMP report), discussed the role of the Working Group (development of a new Charter) and indicated next steps. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Importantly, in early 2019, as a result of a litigation settlement agreement, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) closed the Dungeness crab fishery three months early for the year, which is expected to reduce the number of likely entanglements. The agreement also limits the fishery duration over the next couple of years and has different triggers to reduce or close it further. Further, pursuant to the settlement, CDFW is required to apply for a Section 10 Incidental Take Permit under the ESA to address protected species interactions with fishing gear and crab fishing gear (pots), and they have agreed to do so by May 2020. Any request for such a permit must include a Habitat Conservation Plan that specifies, among other things, what steps the applicant will take to minimize and mitigate the impacts, and the funding that will be available to implement such steps. Regarding measures in place to reduce mortality from sources other than the Navy, the Channel Islands NMS staff coordinates, collects, and monitors whale sightings in and around the Whale Advisory Zone and the Channel Islands NMS region, which is within the area of highest strike mortality (90th percentile) for humpback whales on the U.S. West coast (Rockwood et al., 2017). The seasonally established Whale Advisory Zone spans from Point Arguello to Dana Point, including the Traffic Separation Schemes in the Santa Barbara Channel and San Pedro Channel. Vessels transiting the area from June through November are recommended to exercise caution and voluntarily reduce speed to 10 kn or less for blue, humpback, and fin whales. Channel Island NMS observers collect information from aerial surveys conducted by NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game, and Navy chartered aircraft. Information on seasonal presence, movement, and general distribution patterns of large whales is shared with mariners, NMFS’ Office of Protected Resources, the U.S. Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Marine Exchange of Southern California, and whale scientists. Real time and historical whale observation data collected from multiple sources can be viewed on the Point Blue Whale Database. In this case, 0.14 M/SI annually means the potential for one mortality in one of the seven years and zero mortalities in six of those seven years. Therefore, the Navy would not be contributing to the total human-caused mortality at all in six of the seven, or VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 85.7 percent, of the years covered by this rule. That means that even if a humpback whale from the CA/OR/WA stock were to be struck, in six of the seven years there could be no effect on annual rates of recruitment or survival from Navy-caused M/SI. Additionally, as noted previously, the loss of a male would have far less, if any, of an effect on population rates and absent any information suggesting that one sex is more likely to be struck than another, we can reasonably assume that there is a 50 percent chance that the single strike authorized by this rule would be a male, thereby further decreasing the likelihood of impacts on the population rate. In situations like this where potential M/SI is fractional, consideration must be given to the lessened impacts anticipated due to the absence of M/SI in six of the years and due to the fact that a single strike could be of a male. Lastly, we reiterate that PBR is a conservative metric and also not sufficiently precise to serve as an absolute predictor of population effects upon which mortality caps would appropriately be based. This is especially important given the minor difference between zero and one across the seven-year period covered by this rule, which is the smallest distinction possible when considering mortality. Wade et al. (1998), authors of the paper from which the current PBR equation is derived, note that ‘‘Estimating incidental mortality in one year to be greater than the PBR calculated from a single abundance survey does not prove the mortality will lead to depletion; it identifies a population worthy of careful future monitoring and possibly indicates that mortality-mitigation efforts should be initiated.’’ The information included here illustrates that this humpback whale stock is stable, the potential (and proposed) mortality is well below 10 percent (0.8 percent) of PBR, and management actions are in place to minimize both fisheries interactions and ship strike from other vessel activity in one of the highest-risk areas for strikes. More specifically, although the total human-mortality exceeds PBR, the authorized mortality for the Navy’s specified activities would incrementally contribute less than 1 percent of that and, further, given the fact that it would occur in only one of seven years and could be comprised of a male (far less impactful to the population), the potential impacts on population rates are even less. Based on the presence of the factors described above, including consideration of the fact that the proposed mortality of 0.14 would not PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48421 delay the time to recovery by more than 1 percent, we do not expect the potential lethal take from Navy activities, alone, to adversely affect the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Nonetheless, the fact that total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR necessitates close attention to the remainder of the impacts (i.e., harassment) on the CA/ OR/WA stock of humpback whales from the Navy’s activities to ensure that the total proposed authorized takes would have a negligible impact on the species and stock. Therefore this information will be considered in combination with our assessment of the impacts of harassment takes later in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section. Blue Whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock) For blue whales (Eastern North Pacific stock), PBR is currently set at 2.3 and the total annual M/SI is estimated at greater than or equal to 19, yielding a residual PBR of ¥16.7. This is unchanged since the 2018 HSTT final rule. NMFS proposes to authorize one M/SI for the Navy over the seven-year duration of the rule (indicated as 0.14 annually for the purposes of comparing to PBR and evaluating overall effects on annual rates of recruitment and survival), which means that residual PBR is exceeded by 16.84. However, as described previously, in the commercial fisheries setting for ESA-listed marine mammals (which is similar to the incidental take setting, in that the negligible impact determination is based on the assessment of take of the activity being analyzed) NMFS may find the impact of the proposed authorized take from a specified activity to be negligible even if total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR, if the proposed authorized mortality is less than 10 percent of PBR and management measures are being taken to address serious injuries and mortalities from the other activities causing mortality (i.e., other than the specified activities covered by the incidental take authorization in consideration). When those considerations are applied in the section 101(a)(5)(A) context, the authorized lethal take (0.14 annually) of blue whales from the Eastern North Pacific stock is less than 10 percent of PBR (which is 2.3) and there are management measures in place to address M/SI from activities other than those the Navy is conducting (as discussed below). Perhaps more importantly, the population is considered ‘‘stable’’ and, specifically, the available data suggests that the current number of ship strikes E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48422 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules is not likely to have an adverse impact on the population, despite the fact that it exceeds PBR, with the Navy’s minimal additional mortality of one whale in the seven years not creating the likelihood of adverse impact. Immediately below, we explain the information that supports our finding that the Navy’s proposed authorized M/ SI is not expected to result in more than a negligible impact on this stock. As described previously, NMFS must also ensure that impacts by the applicant on the species or stock from other types of take (i.e., harassment) do not combine with the impacts from mortality to adversely affect the species or stock via impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival, which occurs further below in the stock-specific conclusion sections. As discussed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the 2018 draft SAR and the recently published 2018 final SAR rely on a new method to estimate annual deaths by ship strike utilizing an encounter theory model that combined species distribution models of whale density, vessel traffic characteristics, and whale movement patterns obtained from satellite-tagged animals in the region to estimate encounters that would result in mortality (Rockwood et al., 2017). The model predicts 18 annual mortalities of blue whales from vessel strikes, which, with the additional M/SI of 0.96 from fisheries interactions, results in the current estimate of residual PBR being ¥16.7. Although NMFS’ Permits and Conservation Division in the Office of Protected Resources has independently reviewed the new ship strike model and its results and agrees that it is appropriate for estimating blue whale mortality by ship strike on the U.S. West Coast, for analytical purposes we also note that if the historical method were used to predict vessel strike (i.e., using observed mortality by vessel strike, or 0.2, instead of 18), then total human-caused mortality including the Navy’s potential take would not exceed PBR. We further note that the authors (Rockwood et al., 2017) do not suggest that ship strike suddenly increased to 18 recently. In fact, the model is not specific to a year, but rather offers a generalized prediction of ship strike off the U.S. West Coast. Therefore, if the Rockwood et al. (2017) model is an accurate representation of vessel strike, then similar levels of ship strike have been occurring in past years as well. Put another way, if the model is correct, for some number of years total-humancaused mortality has been significantly underestimated and PBR has been VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 similarly exceeded by a notable amount, and yet the Eastern North Pacific stock of blue whales remains stable nevertheless. NMFS’ 2018 final SAR states that the stock is ‘‘stable’’ and there is no indication of a population size increase in this blue whale population since the early 1990s. The lack of a species’ or stock’s population increase can have several causes, some of which are positive. The SAR further cites to Monnahan et al. (2015), which used a population dynamics model to estimate that the Eastern North Pacific blue whale population was at 97 percent of carrying capacity in 2013 and to suggest that the observed lack of a population increase since the early 1990s was explained by density dependence, not impacts from ship strike. This would mean that this stock of blue whales shows signs of stability and is not increasing in population size because the population size is at or nearing carrying capacity for its available habitat. In fact, we note that this population has maintained this status throughout the years that the Navy has consistently tested and trained at similar levels (with similar vessel traffic) in areas that overlap with blue whale occurrence, which would be another indicator of population stability. Monnahan et al. (2015) modeled vessel numbers, ship strikes, and the population of the Eastern North Pacific blue whale population from 1905 out to 2050 using a Bayesian framework to incorporate informative biological information and assign probability distributions to parameters and derived quantities of interest. The authors tested multiple scenarios with differing assumptions, incorporated uncertainty, and further tested the sensitivity of multiple variables. Their results indicated that there is no immediate threat (i.e., through 2050) to the population from any of the scenarios tested, which included models with 10 and 35 strike mortalities per year. Broadly, the authors concluded that, unlike other blue whale stocks, the Eastern North Pacific blue whales have recovered from 70 years of whaling and are in no immediate threat from ship strikes. They further noted that their conclusion conflicts with the depleted and strategic designation under the MMPA, as well as PBR specifically. As discussed, we also take into consideration management measures in place to address M/SI caused by other activities. The Channel Islands NMS staff coordinates, collects, and monitors whale sightings in and around the Whale Advisory Zone and the Channel PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Islands NMS region. Redfern et al. (2013) note that the most risky area for blue whales is the Santa Barbara Channel, where shipping lanes intersect with common feeding areas. The seasonally established Whale Advisory Zone spans from Point Arguello to Dana Point, including the Traffic Separation Schemes in the Santa Barbara Channel and San Pedro Channel. Vessels transiting the area from June through November are recommended to exercise caution and voluntarily reduce speed to 10 kn or less for blue, humpback, and fin whales. Channel Island NMS observers collect information from aerial surveys conducted by NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game, and U.S. Navy chartered aircraft. Information on seasonal presence, movement, and general distribution patterns of large whales is shared with mariners, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Marine Exchange of Southern California, and whale scientists. Real time and historical whale observation data collected from multiple sources can be viewed on the Point Blue Whale Database. In this case, 0.14 M/SI means one mortality in one of the seven years and zero mortalities in six of those seven years. Therefore, the Navy would not be contributing to the total human-caused mortality at all in six of the seven, or 85.7 percent, of the years covered by this rule. That means that even if a blue whale were to be struck, in six of the seven years there could be no effect on annual rates of recruitment or survival from Navy-caused M/SI. Additionally, as with humpback whales discussed previously, the loss of a male would have far less, if any, effect on population rates and absent any information suggesting that one sex is more likely to be struck than another, we can reasonably assume that there is a 50 percent chance that the single strike authorized by this rule would be a male, thereby further decreasing the likelihood of impacts on the population rate. In situations like this where potential M/SI is fractional, consideration must be given to the lessened impacts anticipated due to the absence of M/SI in six of the seven years and the fact that the single strike could be a male. Lastly, as with the CA/OR/ WA stock of humpback whales above, we reiterate that PBR is a conservative metric and also not sufficiently precise to serve as an absolute predictor of population effects upon which mortality caps would appropriately be based. This E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 is especially important given the minor difference between zero and one across the seven-year period covered by this rule, which is the smallest distinction possible when considering mortality. As noted above, Wade et al. (1998), authors of the paper from which the current PBR equation is derived, note that ‘‘Estimating incidental mortality in one year to be greater than the PBR calculated from a single abundance survey does not prove the mortality will lead to depletion; it identifies a population worthy of careful future monitoring and possibly indicates that mortality-mitigation efforts should be initiated.’’ The information included here indicates that this blue whale stock is stable, approaching carrying capacity, and has leveled off because of densitydependence, not human-caused mortality, in spite of what might be otherwise indicated from the calculated PBR. Further, potential (and proposed for authorization) M/SI is below 10 percent of PBR and management actions are in place to minimize ship strike from other vessel activity in one of the highest-risk areas for strikes. Based on the presence of the factors described above, we do not expect lethal take from Navy activities, alone, to adversely affect Eastern North Pacific blue whales through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Nonetheless, the fact that total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR necessitates close attention to the remainder of the impacts (i.e., harassment) on the Eastern North Pacific stock of blue whales from the Navy’s activities to ensure that the total authorized takes have a negligible impact on the species or stock. Therefore, this information will be considered in combination with our assessment of the impacts of proposed harassment takes in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section that follows. Group and Species-Specific Analyses In addition to broader analyses of the impacts of the Navy’s activities on mysticetes, odontocetes, and pinnipeds, the 2018 HSTT final rule contained detailed analyses of the effects of the Navy’s activities in the HSTT Study Area on each affected species and stock. All of that information and analyses remain applicable and valid for our analyses of the effects of the same Navy activities on the same species and stocks for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Group and Species-Specific Analyses subsection in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 HSTT final rule (83 FR 66993–67018). In addition, no new information has been VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 received since the publication of the 2018 HSTT final rule that significantly changes the analyses on the effects of the Navy’s activities on each species and stock presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule (the potential impact of the new gray whale UME and the corrected numbers from the humpback whale SARs were discussed earlier in the rule). In the discussions below, the estimated Level B harassment takes represent instances of take, not the number of individuals taken (the much lower and less frequent Level A harassment takes are far more likely to be associated with separate individuals), and in many cases some individuals are expected to be taken more than one time, while in other cases a portion of individuals will not be taken at all. Below, we compare the total take numbers (including PTS, TTS, and behavioral disruption) for species or stocks to their associated abundance estimates to evaluate the magnitude of impacts across the species or stock and to individuals. Specifically, when an abundance percentage comparison is below 100, it means that that percentage or less of the individuals in the stock will be affected (i.e., some individuals will not be taken at all), that the average for those taken is one day per year, and that we would not expect any individuals to be taken more than a few times in a year. When it is more than 100 percent, it means there will definitely be some number of repeated takes of individuals. For example, if the percentage is 300, the average would be each individual is taken on three days in a year if all were taken, but it is more likely that some number of individuals will be taken more than three times and some number of individuals fewer times or not at all. While it is not possible to know the maximum number of days across which individuals of a stock might be taken, in acknowledgement of the fact that it is more than the average, for the purposes of this analysis, we assume a number approaching twice the average. For example, if the percentage of take compared to the abundance is 800, we estimate that some individuals might be taken as many as 16 times. Those comparisons are included in the sections below. For some stocks these numbers have been adjusted slightly (with these adjustments being in the single digits) so as to more consistently apply this approach, but these minor changes did not change the analysis or findings. To assist in understanding what this analysis means, we clarify a few issues related to estimated takes and the analysis here. An individual that incurs a PTS or TTS take may sometimes, for PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48423 example, also be subject to behavioral disturbance at the same time. As described in the Harassment subsection of the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, the degree of PTS, and the degree and duration of TTS, expected to be incurred from the Navy’s activities are not expected to impact marine mammals such that their reproduction or survival could be affected. Similarly, data do not suggest that a single instance in which an animal accrues PTS or TTS and is subject to behavioral disturbance would result in impacts to reproduction or survival. Alternately, we recognize that if an individual is subjected to behavioral disturbance repeatedly for a longer duration and on consecutive days, effects could accrue to the point that reproductive success is jeopardized (as discussed below in the stock-specific summaries). Accordingly, in analyzing the number of takes and the likelihood of repeated and sequential takes (which could result in reproductive impacts), we consider the total takes, not just the Level B harassment takes by behavioral disrupion, so that individuals potentially exposed to both threshold shift and behavioral disruption are appropriately considered. We note that the same reasoning applies with the potential addition of behavioral disruption to tissue damage from explosives, the difference being that we do already consider the likelihood of reproductive impacts whenever tissue damage occurs. Further, the number of Level A harassment takes by either PTS or tissue damage are so low compared to abundance numbers that it is considered highly unlikely that any individual would be taken at those levels more than once. Having considered all of the information and analyses previously presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule, including the Group and SpeciesSpecific Analyses discussions organized by the different groups and species, below we present tables showing instances of total take as a percentage of stock abundance for each group, updated with the new explosion and vessel strike calculations. We then summarize the information for each species or stock, considering the analysis from the 2018 HSTT final rule and any new analysis. The analyses below in some cases address species collectively if they occupy the same functional hearing group (i.e., low, mid, and high-frequency cetaceans and pinnipeds in water), share similar life history strategies, and/or are known to behaviorally respond similarly to E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 acoustic stressors. Because some of these groups or species share characteristics that inform the impact analysis similarly, it would be duplicative to repeat the same analysis for each species or stock. In addition, animals belonging to each stock within a species typically have the same hearing capabilities and behaviorally respond in the same manner as animals in other stocks within the species. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Mysticetes In Tables 18 and 19 below for mysticetes, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Tables 18 and 19 have been updated from Tables 71 and 72 in the 2018 HSTT final rule as appropriate with the 2018 final SARs PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 and updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Mysticetes discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.001</GPH> 48424 BILLING CODE 3510–22–C Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our preliminary determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected mysticete species and stocks. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Blue Whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock) The SAR identifies this stock as ‘‘stable’’ even though the larger species is listed as endangered under the ESA. We further note that this stock was originally listed under the ESA as a result of the impacts from commercial whaling, which is no longer affecting the species. NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality over the seven years covered by this rule, or 0.14 mortality annually. With the addition of this 0.14 annual mortality, residual PBR is exceeded, resulting in the total human-caused mortality exceeding PBR VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 by 16.84. However, as described in more detail in the Serious Injury or Mortality section above, when total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR, we consider whether the incremental addition of a small amount of authorized mortality from the specified activity may still result in a negligible impact, in part by identifying whether it is less than 10 percent of PBR. In this case, the authorized mortality is well below 10 percent of PBR, management measures are in place to reduce mortality from other sources, and the incremental addition of a single mortality over the course of the seven-year Navy rule is not expected to, alone, lead to adverse impacts on the stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. In addition, even with the additional two years of activities under this rule, no additional M/SI is estimated for this stock, leading to a slight decrease (from 0.2 to 0.14 annually) in annual mortality from the 2018 HSTT final rule. PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48425 Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is 253 and 121 percent, respectively (Table 19). Given the range of blue whales, this information suggests that only some portion of individuals in the stock are likely impacted, but that there will likely be some repeat exposure (maybe 5 or 6 days within a year) of some subset of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL Range. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Additionally, E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.002</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 48426 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 the Navy implements time/area mitigation in SOCAL in the majority of the BIAs, which will reduce the severity of impacts to blue whales by reducing interference in feeding that could result in lost feeding opportunities or necessitate additional energy expenditure to find other good opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, we have explained in the 2018 HSTT final rule that they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with blue whale communication or other important low-frequency cues— and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or survival of that one individual, even if it were to be experienced by an animal that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption. Altogether, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual blue whale is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset potentially disturbed across five or six days, but minimized in biologically important areas. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on the reproduction or survival of any individuals and, therefore, when combined with the authorized mortality (which our earlier analysis indicated would not, alone, have more than a negligible impact on this stock of blue whales), the total take is not expected to adversely affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Eastern North Pacific stock of blue whales. Bryde’s Whale (Eastern Tropical Pacific Stock) Little is known about this stock, or its status, and it is not listed under the ESA. No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed to be authorized. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance is 3,154 percent, however, the abundance upon VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 which this percentage is based (1.3 whales from the Navy estimate, which is extrapolated from density estimates based on very few sightings) is clearly erroneous and the SAR does not include an abundance estimate because all of the survey data is outdated (Table 19). However, the abundance in the early 1980s was estimated as 22,000 to 24,000, a portion of the stock was estimated at 13,000 in 1993, and the minimum number in the Gulf of California was estimated at 160 in 1990. Given this information and the fact that 41 total takes of Bryde’s whales were estimated, this information suggests that only a small portion of the individuals in the stock are likely impacted, and few, if any, are likely taken over more than one day. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with Bryde’s whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues. Any associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. Altogether, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual Bryde’s whale is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with few, if any, individuals exposed over more than one day in the year. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Eastern Tropical Pacific stock of Bryde’s whales. Fin Whale (CA/OR/WA Stock) The SAR identifies this stock as ‘‘increasing,’’ even though the larger species is listed as endangered under the ESA. NMFS proposes to authorize two mortalities over the seven years covered by this rule, or 0.29 mortality annually. The addition of this 0.29 annual mortality still leaves the total human-caused mortality well under residual PBR. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is 613 and 25 percent, respectively (Table 19). This information suggests that only some portion (less than 25 percent) of individuals in the stock are likely impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure (perhaps up to 12 days within a year) of some subset of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL complex. Some of these takes could occur on a few sequential days for some small number of individuals, for example, if they resulted from a multi-day exercise on a range while individuals were in the area for multiple days feeding. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Additionally, while there are no BIAs for fin whales in the SOCAL range, the Navy implements time/area mitigation in SOCAL in blue whale BIAs, and fin whales are known to sometimes feed in some of the same areas, which means they could potentially accrue some benefits from the mitigation. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with fin whale communication or other important low-frequency cues—and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effects on the reproduction or survival of that one individual. Altogether, this population is increasing, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be impacted, and any individual fin whale is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one and twelve days, with a few individuals potentially taken on a few sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, nor are these harassment takes combined with the proposed authorized mortality expected to adversely affect E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of fin whales. Humpback Whale (CA/OR/WA Stock) The SAR identifies this stock as stable (having shown a long-term increase from 1990 and then leveling off between 2008 and 2014) and the individuals in this stock are associated with three DPSs, one of which is not listed under the ESA (Hawaii), one of which is designated as threatened (Mexico), and one of which is designated as endangered (Central America) (individuals encountered in the SOCAL portion of the HSTT Study Area are likely to come from the latter two DPSs). NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality over the seven years covered by this rule, or 0.14 mortality annually (Mexico DPS only). With the addition of this 0.14 annual mortality, the total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR by 23.64. However, as described in more detail in the Serious Injury or Mortality section, when total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR, we consider whether the incremental addition of a small amount of authorized mortality from the specified activity may still result in a negligible impact, in part by identifying whether it is less than 10 percent of PBR, which is 16.7. In this case, the authorized mortality is well below 10 percent of PBR (less than one percent, in fact) and management measures are in place to reduce mortality from other sources. More importantly, as described above in the Serious Injury or Mortality section, the authorized mortality of 0.14 will not delay the time to recovery by more than 1 percent. Given these factors, the incremental addition of a single mortality over the course of the sevenyear Navy rule is not expected to, alone, lead to adverse impacts on the stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is 808 and 69 percent, respectively (Table 19). Given the range of humpback whales, this information suggests that only some portion of individuals in the stock are likely impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure (perhaps up to 16 days within a year) of some VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 subset of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL complex. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Some of these takes could occur on several sequential days for some small number of individuals, for example, if they resulted from a multi-day exercise on a range while individuals were in the area for multiple days feeding. However, in these amounts it would still not be expected to adversely impact reproduction or survival of any individuals. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with humpback whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues—and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effects on the reproduction or survival of that one individual. Altogether, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual humpback whale is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset potentially disturbed up to 16 days, but with no reason to think that more than a few of those days would be sequential. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on the reproduction or survival of any individuals and, therefore, when combined with the proposed authorized mortality (which our earlier analysis indicated would not, alone, have more than a negligible impact on this stock of humpback whales), the total take is not expected to adversely affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales. Minke Whale (CA/OR/WA Stock) The status of this stock is unknown and it is not listed under the ESA. No PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48427 mortality from vessel strike or tissue damage from explosive exposure is anticipated or proposed for authorization for this species. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navyestimated abundance and the SAR) is 568 and 146 percent, respectively (Table 19). Based on the behaviors of minke whales, which often occur along continental shelves and sometimes establish home ranges along the West Coast, this information suggests that only a portion of individuals in the stock are likely impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure (perhaps up to 11 days within a year) of some subset of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL complex. Some of these takes could occur on a few sequential days for some small number of individuals, for example, if they resulted from a multiday exercise on a range while individuals were in the area for multiple days feeding. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with minke whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues—and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effects on the reproduction or survival of that individual. Altogether, only a portion of the stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual minke whale is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one and eleven days, with a few individuals potentially taken on a few sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48428 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of minke whales. Sei Whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock) The status of this stock is unknown and it is listed under the ESA. No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed for authorization. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is 2,633 and 15 percent, respectively (Table 19), however, the abundance upon which the Navy percentage is based (3 from the Navy estimate, which is extrapolated from density estimates based on very few sightings) is likely an underestimate of the number of individuals in the HSTT study Area, resulting in an overestimated percentage. Given this information and the large range of sei whales, and the fact that only 79 total Level B harassment takes of sei whales were estimated, it is likely that some very small number of sei whales would be taken repeatedly, potentially up to 15 days in a year (typically 2,633 percent would lead to the estimate of 52 days/ year, however, given that there are only 79 sei whale total takes, we used the conservative assumption that five individuals might be taken up to 15 times, with the few remaining takes distributed among other individuals). Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Some of these takes could occur on a few sequential days for some small number of individuals, for example, if they resulted from a multi-day exercise on a range while individuals were in the area for multiple days feeding, however, in these amounts it would still not be expected to adversely impact reproduction or survival of any individuals. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be lowlevel, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with sei whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues—and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Altogether, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual sei whale is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with only a few individuals exposed over one to 15 days in a year, with no more than a few sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Eastern North Pacific stock of sei whales. Gray Whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock) The SAR identifies this stock as ‘‘increasing’’ and the species is not listed under the ESA. NMFS is proposing to authorize two mortalities over the seven years covered by this rule, or 0.29 mortality annually. The addition of this 0.29 annual mortality still leaves the total human-caused mortality well under the insignificance threshold of residual PBR (663). On May 31, 2019, NMFS declared the unusual spike in strandings of gray whales along the west coast of North America since January 1, 2019 an UME. As of June 13, 2019, 155 gray whales have stranded along the west coast of North America (in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico). Including these mortalities in the calculated residual PBR still leaves the addition of 0.29 annual mortality well under the insignificance threshold of residual PBR (508 including known deaths due to the UME). Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is 2,424 and 17 percent, respectively (Table 19). This information suggests that only some small portion of individuals in the stock are likely impacted (less than 17 percent), but that there is likely some level of repeat exposure of some subset of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL complex. Typically 2,424 percent would lead to the estimate of 48 days/year, however, given that a large number of gray whales are known to migrate through the SOCAL complex and the fact that there are 4,678 total takes, we believe that it is more likely that a larger number of individuals would be taken one to a few times, while a small number staying in an area PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 to feed for several days may be taken on 5–10 days. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Some of these takes could occur on a couple of sequential days for some small number of individuals, however, in these amounts it would still not be expected to adversely impact reproduction or survival of any individuals. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with gray whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at the expected scale the 7 estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for gray whales would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals. Altogether, while we have considered the impacts of the gray whale UME, gray whales are not endangered or threatened under the ESA and the Eastern North Pacific stock is increasing. Only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual gray whale is likely to be disturbed at a lowmoderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice and a subset potentially disturbed across five to ten days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts to reproduction or survival for any individuals and nor are these harassment takes combined with the proposed authorized mortality of two whales over the seven year period expected to adversely affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Eastern North Pacific stock of gray whales. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Gray Whale (Western North Pacific Stock) The Western North Pacific stock of gray whales is reported as increasing in the 2018 final SAR, but is listed as endangered under the ESA. No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed for authorization. This stock is expected to incur the very small number of 6 Level B harassment takes (2 behavioral disruption and 4 TTS) to a stock with a SAR-estimated abundance of 290 (Table 19). These takes will likely accrue to different individuals, the behavioral disturbances will be of a lowmoderate level, and the TTS instances will be at a low level and short duration. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, much less to adversely affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Western North Pacific stock of gray whales. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Humpback Whale (Central North Pacific Stock) The 2018 final SAR identifies this stock as ‘‘increasing’’ and the DPS is not listed under the ESA. No Level A harassment by tissue damage is proposed for authorization. NMFS proposes to authorize two mortalities over the seven years covered by this rule, or 0.29 mortalities annually. The addition of this 0.29 annual mortality still leaves the total human-caused mortality well under the insignificance threshold for residual PBR. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of take compared to the abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 180 and 161 percent (Table 18). This information and the complicated far-ranging nature of the stock structure suggests that some portion of the stock (but not all) are likely impacted, over one to several days per year, with little likelihood of take across sequential days. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 evoke a severe response). Additionally, as noted above, there are two mitigation areas implemented by the Navy that span a large area of the important humpback reproductive area (BIA) and minimize impacts by limiting the use of MF1 active sonar and explosives, thereby reducing both the number and severity of takes of humpback whales. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with humpback whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues, and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at the expected scale the 3 estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for humpback whales would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals. Altogether, this stock is increasing and the DPS is not listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. Only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual humpback whale is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one to several days per year, with little likelihood of take across sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, nor are these harassment takes combined with the authorized mortality expected to adversely affect this stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Central North Pacific stock of humpback whales. Blue Whale (Central North Pacific Stock) and the Hawaii Stocks of Bryde’s Whale, Fin Whale, Minke Whale, and Sei Whale The status of these stocks are not identified in the SARs. Blue whale (Central North Pacific stock) and the Hawaii stocks of fin whale and sei whale are listed as endangered under the ESA; the Hawaii stocks of minke whales and Bryde’s whales are not PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48429 listed under the ESA. No mortality or Level A harassment by tissue damage is anticipated or proposed for authorization for any of these stocks. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of take compared to the abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 92–135 and 103–142 percent (Table 18). This information suggests that some portion of the stocks (but not all) are likely impacted, over one to several days per year, with little likelihood of take across sequential days. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with mysticete communication or other important lowfrequency cues—and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule) the two estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the Hawaii stock of minke whales are unlikely to have any effects on the reproduction or survival of any individuals. Altogether, only a portion of these stocks are anticipated to be impacted and any individuals of these stocks are likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one and several days, with little chance that any are taken across sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, much less have impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on these stocks. Odontocetes Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales In Tables 20 and 21 below for sperm whale, dwarf sperm whales, and pygmy sperm whales, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48430 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules the Hawaii stock of sperm whales, as discussed above. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Tables 20 and 21 are unchanged from Tables 73 and 74 in the 2018 HSTT final rule, except for updated information on mortality for and Pygmy Sperm Whales discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. Table 20. Annual estimated takes by Level B harassment, Level A harassment, and mortality for sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales, and pygmy sperm whales in the HRC portion of the HSTT Study Area and number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of stock abundance. h'utan.::es of total take as pert-.nt of To!aiToko• abundam:.• Takes {within Total Navy abundance i1'1lside NAVY EU) and outsld• EfZ Note: For the HI take estimates, we compare predicted takes to abundance estimates generated from the same underlying density estimates (as described in the Estimated Take ofMarineMammals section of the 2018 HSTT final rule), both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ. Because the portion of the Navy's study area inside the U.S. EEZ is generally concomitant with the area used to generate the abundance estimates in the SARs, and the abundance predicted by the same underlying density estimates is the preferred abundance to use, there is no need to separately compare the take to the SARs abundance estimate. Total takes inside and outside U.S. EEZ represent the sum of annual Level A and Level B harassment from training and testing activities. The annual mortality of 0.14 is the result of no more than one mortality over the course of seven years from vessel strikes as described above in the Estimated Take ofMarine Mammals section. Table 21. Annual estimated takes by Level B harassment, Level A harassment, and mortality for sperm whales, dwarf sperm whales, and pygmy sperm whales in the SOCAL portion of the HSTT Study Area and number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of stock abundance. lnstaneos of in<lie•tod typ .. of lneidontoltako ~"' cllsturbonze) level S Harusmtfnt Speties: Kogi<' wh,,les '\~>€!mwh~le Stock :.A/OR/W.O. :.A/Of!./WA S-ehavio:ral Disturbance 2,779 2..437 TotaiTakos tns.tances of total take a® pe~'ll!nt of abundane~ Al:m!1thtn.ce levei A Harassment TIS (may ol•o inetude "'" Morta~ity PTS disturbance) 6,353 56 Damage Ar••l 38 0 0 0 0 0 Tololtokeu Tot:af Takes (entire Study abundance Action Are-a 9,170 2,493 NMI'SSA!tS abundance percantage of total Navy abundance in Action Area 757 4,1!1 273 1.997 1.211 913 Total take ;a$ pen::enta.ge: of tota! SAR abuntbtnee 223 125 Note: For the SOCAL take estimates, because of the manner in which the Navy study area overlaps the ranges of many MMPA stocks (i.e., a stock may range far north to Washington state and beyond and abundance may only be predicted within the U.S. EEZ, while the Navy study area is limited to Southern California and northern Mexico, but extends beyond the U.S. EEZ), we compare predicted takes to both the abundance estimates for the study area, as well as the SARs (as described in the Estimated Take ofMarineMammals section ofthe 2018 HSTT final mle). VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales (CA/OR/WA Stocks) The SAR identifies the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales as ‘‘stable’’ and the species is listed as endangered under the ESA. The status of the CA/ OR/WA stocks of pygmy and dwarf PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 sperm whales is unknown and neither are listed under the ESA. Neither mortality nor Level A harassment by tissue damage from exposure to explosives is expected or proposed for authorization for any of these three stocks. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.004</GPH> Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our preliminary determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected species and stocks addressed in this section. EP13SE19.003</GPH> khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Total takes inside and outside U.S. EEZ represent the sum of annual Level A and Level B harassment ±rom training and testing activities. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Due to their pelagic distribution, small size, and cryptic behavior, pygmy sperm whales and dwarf sperm whales are rarely sighted during at-sea surveys and are difficult to distinguish between when visually observed in the field. Many of the relatively few observations of Kogia spp. off the U.S. West Coast were not identified to species. All at-sea sightings of Kogia spp. have been identified as pygmy sperm whales or Kogia spp. Stranded dwarf sperm and pygmy sperm whales have been found on the U.S. West Coast, however dwarf sperm whale strandings are rare. NMFS SARs suggest that the majority of Kogia sighted off the U.S. West Coast were likely pygmy sperm whales. As such, the stock estimate in the NMFS SAR for pygmy sperm whales is the estimate derived for all Kogia spp. in the region (Barlow, 2016), and no separate abundance estimate can be determined for dwarf sperm whales, though some low number likely reside in the U.S. EEZ. Due to the lack of abundance estimate it is not possible to predict the take of dwarf sperm whales and take estimates are identified as Kogia spp. (including both pygmy and dwarf sperm whales). We assume only a small portion of those takes are likely to be dwarf sperm whales as the density and abundance in the U.S. EEZ is thought to be low. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is, respectively, 913 and 125 for sperm whales and 1,211 and 223 for Kogia spp., with a large proportion of these anticipated to be pygmy sperm whales due to the low abundance and density of dwarf sperm whales in the HSTT Study Area. (Table 21). Given the range of these stocks (which extends the entire length of the West Coast, as well as beyond the U.S. EEZ boundary), this information suggests that some portion of the individuals in these stocks will not be impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure (perhaps up to 24 days within a year for Kogia spp. and 18 days a year for sperm whales) of some small subset of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL Range. Additionally, while interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, to occasionally moderate, level and less likely to evoke a severe response). However, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of sequential days for some number on individuals. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with sperm whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues, and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity (PTS) may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at the expected scale the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the dwarf and pygmy sperm whale stocks would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals. Thus the 38 total Level A harassment takes by PTS for these two stocks would be unlikely to affect rates of recruitment and survival for the stocks. Altogether, most members of the stocks will likely be taken by Level B harassment (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, and some smaller portion of the stocks are expected to be taken on a relatively moderate to high number of days (up to 18 or 24) across the year, some of which could be sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, the larger number of takes for a subset of individuals makes it more likely that a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal. As discussed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48431 any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven years very low) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a small number of instances of foregone reproduction would not be expected to adversely affect these stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. We also note that residual PBR is 19 for pygmy dwarf sperm whales and 1.6 for sperm whales. Both the abundance and PBR are unknown for dwarf sperm whales, however, we know that take of this stock is likely significantly lower in magnitude and severity (i.e., lower number of total takes and repeated takes any individual) than pygmy sperm whales. For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stocks of sperm whales and pygmy and dwarf sperm whales. Sperm Whale (Hawaii Stock) The SAR does not identify a trend for this stock and the species is listed as endangered under the ESA. No Level A harassment by PTS or tissue damage is expected or proposed authorization. NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality over the seven years covered by this rule, which is 0.14 mortalities annually. The addition of this 0.14 annual mortality still leaves the total human-caused mortality well under the insignificance threshold for residual PBR. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of take compared to the abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 151 and 147 percent (Table 20). This information and the sperm whale stock range suggest that likely only a smaller portion of the stock would be impacted, over one to several days per year, with little likelihood of take across sequential days. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, to occasionally moderate, level and less likely to evoke a severe response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with sperm whale communication or other important low-frequency cues, and that E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48432 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. Altogether, a relatively small portion of this stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individuals are likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one and several days, with little chance that any are taken across sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, nor are these harassment takes combined with the single authorized mortality expected to adversely affect the stock through annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Hawaii stock of sperm whales. Pygmy and Dwarf Sperm Whales (Hawaii Stocks) khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 The SAR does not identify a trend for these stocks and the species are not listed under the ESA. No Level A harassment by tissue damage is anticipated or proposed for authorization. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of take compared to the abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 244–249 and 235– 240 percent (Table 20). This information and the pygmy and dwarf sperm whale stock ranges (at least throughout the U.S. EEZ around the entire Hawaiian Islands) suggest that likely a fair portion of each stock is not impacted, but that VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 a subset of individuals may be taken over one to perhaps five days per year, with little likelihood of take across sequential days. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, to occasionally moderate, level and less likely to evoke a severe response). Additionally, as discussed earlier, within the Hawaii Island Mitigation Area, explosives are not used and the use of MF1 and MF4 active sonar is limited, greatly reducing the severity of impacts within the small resident population BIA for dwarf sperm whales, which is entirely contained within this mitigation area. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with sperm whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues—and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at the expected scale, estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for dwarf and pygmy sperm whales would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals, even if it were to be experienced by an animal that also experiences one or PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 more instances of Level B harassment by behavioral disruption. Thus the 29 and 64 total Level A harassment takes by PTS for dwarf and pygmy sperm whales, respectively, would be unlikely to affect rates of recruitment and survival for these stocks. Altogether, a portion of these stocks are likely to be impacted and any individuals are likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one and five days, with little chance that any are taken across sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of Level A and Level B harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, much less impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the expected and authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Hawaii stocks of pygmy and dwarf sperm whales. Beaked Whales In Tables 22 and 23 below for beaked whales, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Tables 22 and 23 are unchanged from Tables 75 and 76 in the 2018 HSTT final rule. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Beaked Whales discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Blainville’s, Cuvier’s, and Longman’s Beaked Whales (Hawaii Stocks) The SAR does not identify a trend for these stocks and the species are not listed under the ESA. No mortality or Level A harassment are expected or VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 proposed for authorization for any of these three stocks. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of take compared to the abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 521–545 and 514–539 percent (Table 22). This information and the stock ranges (at least of the small, resident Island associated stocks around Hawaii) suggest that likely a fair portion of the stocks (but not all) will be impacted, over one to perhaps eleven days per PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 year, with little likelihood of much take across sequential days. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 160 dB, though with beaked whales, which are considered somewhat more sensitive, this could mean that some individuals will leave preferred habitat for a day or two (i.e., moderate level takes). However, while interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.006</GPH> Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this section. 48433 EP13SE19.005</GPH> khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 48434 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options nearby. Additionally, as noted earlier, within the Hawaii Island mitigation area (which entirely contains the BIAs for Cuvier’s and Blainville’s beaked whales), explosives are not used and the use of MF1 and MF4 active sonar is limited, greatly reducing the severity of impacts within these two small resident populations. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with beaked whale communication or other important lowfrequency cues, and that the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or survival. Altogether, a fair portion of these stocks are anticipated to be impacted and any individuals are likely to be disturbed at a moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one and eleven days, with little chance that individuals are taken across more than a few sequential days. This low, to occasionally moderate, magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, much less have impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Hawaii stocks of beaked whales. Baird’s and Cuvier’s Beaked Whales and Mesoplodon Species (all CA/OR/WA Stocks) The species are not listed under the ESA and their populations have been identified as ‘‘stable,’’ ‘‘decreasing,’’ and ‘‘increasing,’’ respectively. No mortality is expected or proposed for authorization for any of these three stocks and only two takes by Level A harassment (PTS) are proposed for authorization. No methods are available to distinguish between the six species of Mesoplodon beaked whale CA/OR/WA stocks (Blainville’s beaked whale (M. densirostris), Perrin’s beaked whale (M. perrini), Lesser beaked whale (M. peruvianus), Stejneger’s beaked whale (M. stejnegeri), Gingko-toothed beaked whale (M. gingkodens), and Hubbs’ beaked whale (M. carlhubbsi)) when observed during at-sea surveys (Carretta et al., 2018). Bycatch and stranding records from the region indicate that the Hubbs’ beaked whale is most commonly VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 encountered (Carretta et al., 2008, Moore and Barlow, 2013). As indicated in the SAR, no species-specific abundance estimates are available, the abundance estimate includes all CA/ OR/WA Mesoplodon spp, and the six species are managed as one unit. Due to the lack of species-specific abundance estimates it is not possible to predict the take of individual species and take estimates are identified as Mesoplodon spp. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance for these stocks is 2,762, 2,212, and 6,960 percent (measured against Navy-estimated abundance) and 76, 351, and 203 percent (measured against the SAR) for Baird’s beaked whales, Cuvier’s beaked whales, and Mesoplodon spp., respectively (Table 23). Given the ranges of these stocks, this information suggests that some smaller portion of the individuals of these stocks will be taken, and that some subset of individuals within the stock will be taken repeatedly within the year (perhaps up to 20–25 days, and potentially more for Cuvier’s)— potentially over a fair number of sequential days, especially where individuals spend extensive time in the SOCAL Range. Note that we predict lower days of repeated exposure for these stocks than their percentages might have suggested because of the number of overall takes—i.e., using the higher percentage would suggest that an unlikely portion of the takes are taken up by a small portion of the stock incurring a very large number of repeat takes, with little room for take resulting from few or moderate numbers of repeats, which is unlikely. While interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, we have explained that the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 160 dB, though with beaked whales, which are considered somewhat more sensitive, this could mean that some individuals will leave preferred habitat for a day or two (i.e., of a moderate level). In addition, as noted, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of sequential days for these stocks. The severity of TTS takes is expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effects on the reproduction or survival of any individuals. Altogether, a portion of these stocks will likely be taken (at a moderate or sometimes low level) over several days a year, and some smaller portion of the stock is expected to be taken on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the year, some of which could be sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a moderate severity, the repeated takes over a potentially fair number of sequential days for some individuals makes it more likely that a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal. As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven years very low) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a small number of instances of foregone reproduction would not be expected to adversely affect these stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given the residual PBR of these three beaked whale stocks (16, 21, and 20, respectively). Further, Navy activities have been conducted in SOCAL for many years at similar levels and the SAR considers Mesoplodon spp. as increasing and Baird’s beaked whales as stable. While NMFS’ SAR indicates that Cuvier’s beaked whales on the U.S. West Coast are declining based on a Bayesian trend analysis of NMFS’ survey data collected from 1991 through 2014, results from passive acoustic monitoring and other research have estimated regional Cuvier’s beaked whale densities that E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 were higher than indicated by NMFS’ broad-scale visual surveys for the U.S. West Coast (Debich et al., 2015a; Debich et al., 2015b; Falcone and Schorr, 2012, 2014; Hildebrand et al., 2009; Moretti, 2016; Sˇirovic´ et al., 2016; Smultea and Jefferson, 2014). Research also indicates higher than expected residency in the Navy’s instrumented Southern California Anti-Submarine Warfare Range in particular (Falcone and Schorr, 2012) and photo identification studies in the SOCAL have identified approximately 100 individual Cuvier’s beaked whale individuals with 40 percent having been seen in one or more prior years, with re-sightings up to seven years apart (Falcone and Schorr, 2014). The documented residency by VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 many Cuvier’s beaked whales over multiple years suggest that a stable population may exist in that small portion of the stock’s overall range (Falcone et al., 2009; Falcone and Schorr, 2014; Schorr et al., 2017). For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stocks of Baird’s and Cuvier’s beaked whales, as well as all six species included within the Mesoplodon spp. Small Whales and Dolphins In Tables 24 and 25 below for dolphins and small whales, we indicate PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48435 the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Tables 24 and 25 are updated from Tables 77 and 78 in the 2018 HSTT final rule as appropriate with the 2018 final SARs and with updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Small Whales and Dolphins discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48436 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Table 24. Annual estimated takes by Level B harassment, Level A harassment, and mortality for dolphins and small whales in the HRC portion of the HSTT Study Area and number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of stock abundance. Note: For the HI take estimates, we compare predicted takes to abundance estimates generated from the same underlying density estimates (as described in the Estimated Take ofMarine Mammals section of the 2018 HSTT final rule), both in and outside of the U.S. EEZ. Because the portion of the Navy's study area inside the U.S. EEZ is generally concomitant with the area used to generate the abundance estimates in the SARs, and the abundance predicted by the same underlying density estimates is the preferred abundance to use, there is no need to separately compare the take to the SARs abundance estimate. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.007</GPH> khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Total takes inside and outside U.S. EEZ represent the sum of annual Level A and Level B harassment from training and testing activities. Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this section. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Long-Beaked Common Dolphin (California Stock), Northern Right Whale Dolphin (CA/OR/WA Stock), and Short-Beaked Common Dolphin (CA/ OR/WA Stock) None of these stocks is listed under the ESA and their stock statuses are considered ‘‘increasing,’’ ‘‘unknown,’’ and ‘‘stable,’’ respectively. Eight mortalities or serious injuries of shortbeaked common dolphins are proposed for authorization over the seven-year rule, or 1.14 M/SI annually. The addition of this 1.14 annual mortality VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 still leaves the total human-caused mortality well under the insignificance threshold for residual PBR. The three stocks are expected to accrue 2, 1, and 10 Level A harassment takes from tissue damage resulting from exposure to explosives, respectively. As described in detail in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the impacts of a Level A harassment take by tissue damage could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy’s procedural mitigation, exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the spectrum is less likely and we cautiously assume some moderate impact for these takes that could lower the affected individual’s fitness within the year such that a female (assuming a 50 percent chance of it being a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48437 reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for only one year in seven, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven five years very low), and 1 to 10 instances would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival for these stocks. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is 2,411, 1,273, and 571 percent (respective to the stocks listed in the heading) and 244, 369, and 154 percent (respective to the stocks listed in the heading) (Table 25). Given the range of these stocks, this information suggests E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.008</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48438 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules that likely some portion (but not all or even the majority) of the individuals in the Northern right whale dolphin and short-beaked common dolphin stocks are likely impacted, while it is entirely possible that most or all of the rangelimited long-beaked common dolphin is taken. All three stocks likely will experience some repeat Level B harassment exposure (perhaps up to 48, 25, or 11 days within a year, respective to the stocks listed in the heading) of some subset of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL range complex. While interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). However, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of sequential days for long-beaked common dolphins or northern right whale dolphins, or even some number of short-beaked common dolphins, given the high number of total takes (i.e., the probability that some number of individuals get taken on a higher number of sequential days is higher, because the total take number is relatively high, even though the percentage is not that high). The severity of TTS takes is expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important low-frequency cues, and the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, as discussed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, it would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals. Altogether and as described in more detail above, 1.14 annual lethal takes of short-beaked common dolphins are proposed for authorization, all three stocks may experience a very small VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 number of takes by tissue damage or PTS (relative to the stock abundance and PBR), and a moderate to large portion of all three stocks will likely be taken (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, and some smaller portion of these stocks is expected to be taken on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the year, some of which could be sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, the larger number of takes (in total and for certain individuals) makes it more likely (probabilistically) that a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal. As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for only one year out of seven, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven years very low) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a small number of instances of foregone reproduction (including in combination with that which might result from the small number of tissue damage takes) would not be expected to adversely affect the stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given the very high residual PBRs of these stocks (621, 175, and 8,353, respectively). For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined (mortality, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment), we have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on these three stocks of dolphins. All Other SOCAL Dolphin Stocks (Except Long-Beaked Common Dolphin, Northern Right Whale Dolphin, and Short-Beaked Common Dolphin) None of these stocks is listed under the ESA and their stock statuses are considered ‘‘unknown,’’ except for the bottlenose dolphin (California coastal stock) and killer whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), which are considered PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 ‘‘stable.’’ No M/SI or Level A harassment via tissue damage from exposure to explosives is expected or proposed for authorization for these stocks. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is from 440 to 2,675 percent and 36 to 2,881 percent, respectively (Table 25). Given the range of these stocks (along the entire U.S. West Coast, or even beyond, with some also extending seaward of the HSTT Study Area boundaries), this information suggests that some portion (but not all or even the majority) of the individuals of any of these stocks will be taken, with the exception that most or all of the individuals of the more range-limited California coastal stock of bottlenose dolphin may be taken. It is also likely that some subset of individuals within most of these stocks will be taken repeatedly within the year (perhaps up to 10–15 days within a year), but with no more than several potentially sequential days, although the CA/OR/ WA stocks of bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins may include individuals that are taken repeatedly within the year over a higher number of days (up to 57, 22, and 40 days, respectively) and potentially over a fair number of sequential days, especially where individuals spend extensive time in the SOCAL range complex. Note that though percentages are high for the Eastern North Pacific stock of killer whales and short-finned pilot whales, given the low overall number of takes, it is highly unlikely that any individuals would be taken across the number of days their percentages would suggest. While interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, we have explained that the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, or sometimes moderate level, less likely to evoke a severe response). However, as noted, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of sequential days for the three stocks listed earlier. The severity of TTS takes is expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important low-frequency cues. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, it would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals. Altogether, a portion of all of these stocks will likely be taken (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, and some smaller portion of CA/OR/WA stocks of bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins, specifically, are expected to be taken on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the year, some of which could be sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, the larger number of takes (in total and for certain individuals) for the CA/OR/WA stocks of bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins makes it more likely (probabilistically) that a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal. As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for only one year in seven, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven five years very low) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a small number of instances of foregone reproduction would not be expected to adversely affect the stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given the residual PBRs of the CA/OR/WA stocks of bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins (9.4, 183, and 84, respectively). For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Navy’s activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on these stocks of dolphins. All HRC Dolphin Stocks With the exception of the Main Hawaiian Island stock of false killer whales (listed as endangered under the ESA, with the MMPA stock identified as ‘‘decreasing’’), none of these stocks are listed under the ESA and their stock statuses are considered ‘‘unknown.’’ No M/SI or Level A harassment via tissue damage from exposure to explosives is expected or proposed for authorization for these stocks. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is from 46 to 1,169 percent and 41 to 2,130 percent, respectively (Table 24). Given the ranges of these stocks (many of them are small, resident, islandassociated stocks), this information suggests that a fairly large portion of the individuals of many of these stocks will be taken, but that most individuals will only be impacted across a smaller to moderate number of days within the year (1–15), and with no more than several potentially sequential days, although two stocks (the Oahu stocks of bottlenose dolphin and pantropical spotted dolphin) have a slightly higher percentage, suggesting they could be taken up to 23 days within a year, with perhaps a few more of those days being sequential. We note that although the percentage is higher for the tropical stock of pygmy killer whale within the U.S. EEZ (2,130), given (1) the low overall number of takes (760) and (2) the fact that the small within-U.S. EEZ abundance is not a static set of individuals, but rather individuals moving in and out of the U.S. EEZ making it more appropriate to use the percentage comparison for the total takes versus total abundance—it is highly unlikely that any individuals would be taken across the number of days the within-U.S. EEZ percentage suggests (42). While interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, or PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48439 sometimes moderate level, less likely to evoke a severe response). However, as noted, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of sequential days for the Oahu stocks of bottlenose dolphin and pantropical spotted dolphins. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important lowfrequency cues. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, they would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals, even if accrued to individuals that are also taken by behavioral harassment at the same time. Altogether, most of these stocks (all but the Oahu stocks of bottlenose dolphin and pantropical spotted dolphins) will likely be taken (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, with some smaller portion of the stock potentially taken on a more moderate number of days across the year (perhaps up to 15 days for Fraser’s dolphin, though others notably less), some of which could be across a few sequential days, which is not expected to affect the reproductive success or survival of individuals. For the Oahu stocks of bottlenose dolphin and pantropical spotted dolphins, some subset of individuals could be taken up to 23 days in a year, with some small number being taken across several sequential days, such that a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal. As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven years very low) has far less of an impact E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules on population rates than mortality and a small number of instances of foregone reproduction would not be expected to adversely affect these two stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on all of the stocks of dolphins found in the vicinity of the HRC. In Table 26 below for porpoises, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 26 is unchanged from Table 79 in the 2018 HSTT final rule. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Dall’s Porpoise discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 HTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect Dall’s porpoises through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Dall’s porpoise is not listed under the ESA and the stock status is considered ‘‘unknown.’’ No M/SI or Level A harassment via tissue damage from exposure to explosives is expected or proposed for authorization for this stock. Most Level B harassments to Dall’s porpoise from hull-mounted sonar (MF1) in the HSTT Study Area would result from received levels between 154 and 166 dB SPL (85 percent). While harbor porpoises have been observed to be especially sensitive to human activity, the same types of responses have not been observed in Dall’s porpoises. Dall’s porpoises are typically notably longer than, and weigh more than twice as much as, harbor porpoises, making them generally less likely to be preyed upon and likely differentiating their behavioral repertoire somewhat from harbor porpoises. Further, they are typically seen in large groups and feeding aggregations, or exhibiting bow-riding behaviors, which is very different from the group dynamics observed in the more typically solitary, cryptic harbor porpoises, which are not often seen bow-riding. For these reasons, Dall’s porpoises are not treated as especially sensitive species (as compared to harbor porpoises which have a lower threshold for Level B harassment by behavioral disruption and more distant cutoff) but, rather, are analyzed similarly to other odontocetes. Therefore, the majority of Level B harassment takes are expected to be in the form of milder responses compared to higher level exposures. As discussed more fully in the 2018 HSTT final rule, we anticipate more severe effects from takes when animals are exposed to higher received levels. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) is 2,170 and 173 percent, respectively (Table 26). Given the range of this stock (up the U.S. West Coast through Washington and sometimes beyond the U.S. EEZ), this information suggests that some smaller portion of the individuals of this stock will be taken, and that some subset of individuals within the stock will be taken repeatedly within the year (perhaps up to 42 days)—potentially over a fair number of sequential days, especially where individuals spend extensive time in the SOCAL range complex. While interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, or sometimes moderate level, less likely to evoke a severe response). However, as noted, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of sequential days for this stock. The severity of TTS takes is expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Dall’s Porpoise PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.009</GPH> khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48440 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal. Similarly, we acknowledge the potential for this to occur to a few individuals out of the 209 total that might incur a higher degree of PTS. As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for only one year in seven, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven five years very low) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality. Further, the small number of instances of foregone reproduction that could potentially result from PTS and/ or the few repeated, more severe Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption would not be expected to adversely affect the stock through effects PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 on annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given the status of the species (not endangered or threatened; minimum population of 25,170 just within the U.S. EEZ) and residual PBR of Dall’s porpoise (171.4). For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on Dall’s porpoise. Pinnipeds In Tables 27 and 28 below for pinnipeds, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Tables 27 and 28 have been updated from Tables 80 and 81 in the 2018 HSTT final rule, as appropriate, with the 2018 final SARs and updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see the Pinnipeds discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically noted. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.010</GPH> khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the estimated 209 Level A harassment takes by PTS for Dall’s porpoise would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival for most individuals. Because of the high number of PTS takes, however, we acknowledge that a few animals could potentially incur permanent hearing loss of a higher degree that could potentially interfere with their successful reproduction and growth. Given the status of the stock, even if this occurred, it would not adversely impact rates of recruitment or survival. Altogether, a portion of this stock will likely be taken (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, and some smaller portion of the stock is expected to be taken on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the year, some of which could be sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, the larger number of takes (in total and for certain individuals) for the Dall’s porpoise makes it more likely (probabilistically) that a small number of individuals 48441 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 BILLING CODE 3510–22–C Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our determination that the Navy’s activities would not adversely affect any pinnipeds through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this section. Five M/SI takes of California sea lions are proposed for authorization and when this mortality is combined with the other human-caused mortality from other sources, it still falls well below the insignificance threshold for residual PBR (13, 685). A small number of Level A harassment takes by tissue damage are also proposed for authorization (9 and 2 for California sea lions and northern elephant seals, respectively), which, as discussed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy’s mitigation, exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the spectrum is less likely. Nevertheless, we cautiously assume some moderate impact on the individuals that experience these small numbers of take that could lower the individual’s fitness within the year such that a female (assuming a 50 percent chance of it being a female) might forego reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for only one VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 within seven years, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven years very low) and these low numbers of instances (especially assuming the likelihood that only 50 percent of the takes would affect females) would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given the population sizes of these species. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), for Hawaiian monk seals and Guadalupe fur seals, the two species listed under the ESA, the estimated instances of takes as compared to the stock abundance does not exceed 124 percent, which suggests that some portion of these two stocks would be taken on one to a few days per year. For the remaining stocks, the number of estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navyestimated abundance and the SAR) for these stocks is 1,484 to 2,896 percent and 18 to 40 percent, respectively (Table 27). Given the ranges of these stocks (i.e., very large ranges, but with individuals often staying in the vicinity of haulouts), this information suggests that some very small portion of the individuals of these stocks will be taken, but that some subset of PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 individuals within the stock will be taken repeatedly within the year (perhaps up to 58 days)—potentially over a fair number of sequential days. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB, which is considered a relatively low to occasionally moderate level for pinnipeds. However, as noted, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of sequential days for this stock. As described in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the Hawaii and 4-Islands mitigation areas protect (by not using explosives and limiting MFAS within) a significant portion of the designated critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals in the Main Hawaiian Islands, including all of it around the islands of Hawaii and Lanai, most around Maui, and good portions around Molokai and Kaho’olawe. As discussed, this protection reduces the overall number of takes, and further reduces the severity of effects by minimizing impacts near pupping beaches and in important foraging habitat. The severity of TTS takes are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, or other important low-frequency cues that E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 EP13SE19.011</GPH> 48442 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules would affect the individual’s reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, the one to eight estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for monk seals, northern fur seals, and harbor seals would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals. Because of the high number of PTS takes for California sea lions and northern elephant seals (87 and 97, respectively); however, we acknowledge that a few animals could potentially incur permanent hearing loss of a higher degree that could potentially interfere with their successful reproduction and growth. Given the status of the stocks, even if this occurred, it would not adversely impact rates of recruitment or survival (residual PBR of 13,686 and 4,873, respectively). Altogether, an individual Hawaiian monk seal and Guadalupe fur seal would be taken no more than a few days in any year, with none of the expected take anticipated to affect individual reproduction or survival, let alone annual rates of recruitment and survival. With all other stocks, only a very small portion of the stock will be taken in any manner. Of those taken, some individuals will be taken by Level B harassment (at a moderate or sometimes low level) over several days a year, and some smaller portion of those taken will be on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the year (up to 58), a fair number of which would likely be sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, the repeated takes over a potentially fair number of sequential days for some individuals makes it more likely that some number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year (energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal). As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 (especially for only one year within seven, which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven five years very low) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a relatively small number of instances of foregone reproduction (as compared to the stock abundance and residual PBR) would not be expected to adversely affect the stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival, especially given the status of these stocks. Accordingly, we do not anticipate the relatively small number of individual Northern fur seals or harbor seals that might be taken over repeated days within the year in a manner that results in one year of foregone reproduction to adversely affect the stocks through effects on rates of recruitment or survival, given the status of the stocks, which are respectively increasing and stable with abundances and residual PBRs of 14,050/30,968 and 449/1,598. For California sea lions, given the very high abundance and residual PBR (257,606 and 13,685, respectively), as well as the increasing status of the stock in the presence of similar levels of Navy activities over past years—the impacts of 0.71 annual mortalities, potential foregone reproduction for up to nine individuals in a year taken by tissue damage, and some relatively small number of individuals taken as a result of repeated behavioral harassment over a fair number of sequential days are not expected to adversely affect the stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. Similarly, for Northern elephant seals, given the very high abundance and residual PBR (179,000 and 4,873, respectively), as well as the increasing status of the stock in the presence of similar levels of Navy activities over past years, the impacts of potential foregone reproduction for up to two individuals in a year taken by tissue damage and some relatively small number of individuals taken as a result of repeated behavioral harassment over a fair number of sequential days are not expected to adversely affect the stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy’s activities combined (M/SI, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment), we have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on all pinniped species and stocks. PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48443 Determination The 2018 HSTT final rule included a detailed discussion of all of the anticipated impacts on the affected species and stocks from serious injury or mortality, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment; impacts on habitat; and how the Navy’s mitigation and monitoring measures reduce the number and/or severity of adverse effects. We have evaluated how these impacts and mitigation measures are expected to combine, annually, to affect individuals of each species and stock. Those effects were then evaluated in the context of whether they are reasonably likely to impact reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and then, if so, further analyzed to determine whether there would be effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival that would adversely affect the species or stock. As described above, the basis for the negligible impact determination is the assessment of effects on annual rates of recruitment and survival. Accordingly, the analysis included in the 2018 HSTT final rule used annual activity levels, the best available science, and approved methods to predict the annual impacts to marine mammals, which were then analyzed in the context of whether each species or stock would incur more than a negligible impact based on anticipated adverse impacts to annual rates of recruitment or survival. As we have described above, none of the factors upon which the conclusions in the 2018 HSTT final rule were based have changed. Therefore, even though this proposed rule includes two additional years, because our findings are based on annual rates of recruitment and survival, and little has changed that would change our 2018 HSTT final rule annual analyses, it is appropriate to rely on those analyses, as well as the new information and analysis discussed above, for this proposed rule. Based on the applicable information and analysis from the 2018 HSTT final rule as updated with the information and analysis contained herein on the potential and likely effects of the specified activities on the affected marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the incidental take from the specified activities will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species and stocks. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48444 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules Subsistence Harvest of Marine Mammals There are no subsistence uses or harvest of marine mammals in the geographic area affected by the specified activities. Therefore, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the total taking affecting species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 ESA There are nine marine mammal species under NMFS jurisdiction that are listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA with confirmed or possible occurrence in the HSTT Study Area: Blue whale (Eastern and Central North Pacific stocks), fin whale (CA/OR/ WA and Hawaii stocks), gray whale (Western North Pacific stock), humpback whale (Mexico and Central America DPSs), sei whale (Eastern North Pacific and Hawaii stocks), sperm whale (CA/OR/WA and Hawaii stocks), false killer whale (Main Hawaiian Islands Insular), Hawaiian monk seal (Hawaii stock), and Guadalupe fur seal (Mexico to California). There is also ESA-designated critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals and Main Hawaiian Islands Insular false killer whales. The Navy consulted with NMFS pursuant to section 7 of the ESA for HSTT activities. NMFS also consulted internally on the issuance of the 2018 HSTT regulations and LOAs under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA. NMFS issued a Biological Opinion on December 10, 2018 concluding that the issuance of the 2018 HSTT final rule and subsequent LOAs are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the threatened and endangered species under NMFS’ jurisdiction and are not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat in the HSTT Study Area. The Biological Opinion for this action is available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-mammal-protection/ incidental-take-authorizations-militaryreadiness-activities. NMFS’ Permits and Conservation Division is currently discussing the 2019 Navy application with NMFS’ ESA Interagency Cooperation Division. National Marine Sanctuaries Act Federal agency actions that are likely to injure national marine sanctuary resources are subject to consultation with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) under section 304(d) of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA). There are two VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 national marine sanctuaries in the HSTT Study Area, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. NMFS will work with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to fulfill our responsibilities under the NMSA as warranted and will complete any NMSA requirements prior to a determination on the issuance of the final rule and LOAs. 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 evaluate our proposed actions and alternatives with respect to potential impacts on the human environment. NMFS participated as a cooperating agency on the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS (published on October 26, 2018, http:// www.hstteis.com) which evaluated impacts from Navy training and testing activities in the HSTT Study Area for the reasonably foreseeable future (including through 2025). In accordance with 40 CFR 1506.3, NMFS independently reviewed and evaluated the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS and determined that it was adequate and sufficient to meet our responsibilities under NEPA for the issuance of the 2018 HSTT final rule and associated LOAs. NOAA therefore adopted the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS. In accordance with 40 CFR 1502.9 and the information and analysis contained in this proposed rule, the Navy and NMFS as a cooperating agency have made a preliminary determination that this proposed rule and any subsequent LOAs would not result in impacts that were not fully considered in the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS. As indicated in this proposed rule, the Navy has made no substantial changes to the activities nor are there significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns or their impacts. NMFS will make a final NEPA determination prior to a decision whether to issue a final rule. Classification The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this proposed rule is not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The RFA requires Federal agencies to prepare an analysis of a rule’s impact on small entities whenever the agency is required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking. However, a Federal agency may certify, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), that the action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Navy is the sole entity that would be affected by this rulemaking, and the Navy is not a small governmental jurisdiction, small organization, or small business, as defined by the RFA. Any requirements imposed by an LOA issued pursuant to these regulations, and any monitoring or reporting requirements imposed by these regulations, would be applicable only to the Navy. NMFS does not expect the issuance of these regulations or the associated LOAs to result in any impacts to small entities pursuant to the RFA. Because this action, if adopted, would directly affect the Navy and not a small entity, NMFS concludes the action would not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 218 Exports, Fish, Imports, Incidental take, Indians, Labeling, Marine mammals, Navy, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seafood, Sonar, Transportation. Dated: August 26, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For reasons set forth in the preamble, 50 CFR part 218 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 218—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS 1. The authority citation for part 218 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., unless otherwise noted. 2. Revise subpart H to part 218 to read as follows: ■ Subpart H—Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy’s Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Sec. 218.70 Specified activity and geographical region. 218.71 Effective dates. 218.72 Permissible methods of taking. 218.73 Prohibitions. 218.74 Mitigation requirements. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 48445 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules 218.75 Requirements for monitoring and reporting. 218.76 Letters of Authorization. 218.77 Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization. 218.78 and 218.79 [Reserved] OF FINAL RULE IN THE Federal Register] through December 20, 2025. § 218.72 Subpart H—Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy’s HawaiiSouthern California Training and Testing (HSTT) khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 § 218.70 Specified activity and geographical region. (a) Regulations in this subpart apply only to the U.S. Navy for the taking of marine mammals that occurs in the area described in paragraph (b) of this section and that occurs incidental to the activities listed in paragraph (c) of this section. (b) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy under this subpart may be authorized in Letters of Authorization (LOAs) only if it occurs within the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area, which includes established operating and warning areas across the north-central Pacific Ocean, from the mean high tide line in Southern California west to Hawaii and the International Date Line. The Study Area includes the at-sea areas of three existing range complexes, the Hawaii Range Complex (HRC), the Southern California Range Complex (SOCAL), and the Silver Strand Training Complex, and overlaps a portion of the Point Mugu Sea Range (PMSR). Also included in the Study Area are Navy pierside locations in Hawaii and Southern California, Pearl Harbor, San Diego Bay, and the transit corridor on the high seas where sonar training and testing may occur. (c) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy is only authorized if it occurs incidental to the Navy conducting training and testing activities, including: (1) Training. (i) Amphibious warfare; (ii) Anti-submarine warfare; (iii) Electronic warfare; (iv) Expeditionary warfare; (v) Mine warfare; (vi) Surface warfare; and (vii) Pile driving. (2) Testing. (i) Naval Air Systems Command Testing Activities; (ii) Naval Sea System Command Testing Activities; (iii) Office of Naval Research Testing Activities; and (iv) Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. § 218.71 Effective dates. Regulations in this subpart are effective from [DATE OF PUBLICATION VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 Permissible methods of taking. (a) Under LOAs issued pursuant to §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.76, the Holder of the LOAs (hereinafter ‘‘Navy’’) may incidentally, but not intentionally, take marine mammals within the area described in § 218.70(b) by Level A harassment and Level B harassment associated with the use of active sonar and other acoustic sources and explosives as well as serious injury or mortality associated with vessel strikes and explosives, provided the activity is in compliance with all terms, conditions, and requirements of these regulations in this subpart and the applicable LOAs. (b) The incidental take of marine mammals by the activities listed in § 218.70(c) is limited to the following species: TABLE 1 TO § 218.72 Species Stock Blue whale ............................. Blue whale ............................. Bryde’s whale ........................ Bryde’s whale ........................ Fin whale ............................... Fin whale ............................... Humpback whale ................... Humpback whale ................... Minke whale ........................... Minke whale ........................... Sei whale ............................... Sei whale ............................... Gray whale ............................ Gray whale ............................ Sperm whale .......................... Sperm whale .......................... Dwarf sperm whale ................ Pygmy sperm whale .............. Kogia whales ......................... Baird’s beaked whale ............ Blainville’s beaked whale ...... Cuvier’s beaked whale .......... Cuvier’s beaked whale .......... Longman’s beaked whale ...... Mesoplodon spp .................... Bottlenose dolphin ................. Bottlenose dolphin ................. Bottlenose dolphin ................. Bottlenose dolphin ................. Bottlenose dolphin ................. Bottlenose dolphin ................. Bottlenose dolphin ................. False killer whale ................... False killer whale ................... False killer whale ................... Fraser’s dolphin ..................... Killer whale ............................ Killer whale ............................ Killer whale ............................ Long-beaked common dolphin. Melon-headed whale ............. Melon-headed whale ............. Northern right whale dolphin Pacific white-sided dolphin .... Pantropical spotted dolphin ... Pantropical spotted dolphin ... Pantropical spotted dolphin ... Pantropical spotted dolphin ... Pygmy killer whale ................. Pygmy killer whale ................. Risso’s dolphin ...................... Risso’s dolphin ...................... Rough-toothed dolphin .......... PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4701 Central North Pacific. Eastern North Pacific. Eastern Tropical Pacific. Hawaii. CA/OR/WA. Hawaiian. CA/OR/WA. Central North Pacific. CA/OR/WA. Hawaii. Eastern North Pacific. Hawaii. Eastern North Pacific. Western North Pacific. CA/OR/WA. Hawaii. Hawaii. Hawaii. CA/OR/WA. CA/OR/WA. Hawaii. CA/OR/WA. Hawaii. Hawaii. CA/OR/WA. California Coastal. CA/OR/WA Offshore. Hawaii Pelagic. Kauai & Niihau. Oahu. 4-Island. Hawaii. Hawaii Pelagic. Main Hawaiian Islands Insular. Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii. Eastern North Pacific (ENP) Offshore. ENP Transient/West Coast Transient. Hawaii. California. Hawaiian Islands. Kohala Resident. CA/OR/WA. CA/OR/WA. Hawaii Island. Hawaii Pelagic. Oahu. 4-Island. Hawaii. Tropical. CA/OR/WA. Hawaii. Hawaii. Sfmt 4702 TABLE 1 TO § 218.72—Continued Species Stock Short-beaked common dolphin. Short-finned pilot whale ......... Short-finned pilot whale ......... Spinner dolphin ...................... Spinner dolphin ...................... Spinner dolphin ...................... Spinner dolphin ...................... Striped dolphin ....................... Striped dolphin ....................... Dall’s porpoise ....................... California sea lion .................. Guadalupe fur seal ................ Northern fur seal .................... Harbor seal ............................ Hawaiian monk seal .............. Northern elephant seal .......... Note to Table Washington. § 218.73 1: CA/OR/WA. CA/OR/WA. Hawaii. Hawaii Island. Hawaii Pelagic. Kauai & Niihau. Oahu & 4-Island. CA/OR/WA. Hawaii. CA/OR/WA. U.S. Mexico. California. California. Hawaii. California. CA/OR/WA = California/Oregon/ Prohibitions. Notwithstanding incidental takings contemplated in § 218.72(a) and authorized by LOAs issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.76, no person in connection with the activities listed in § 218.70(c) may: (a) Violate, or fail to comply with, the terms, conditions, and requirements of this subpart or an LOA issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.76; (b) Take any marine mammal not specified in § 218.72(b); (c) Take any marine mammal specified in § 218.72(b) in any manner other than as specified in the LOAs; or (d) Take a marine mammal specified in § 218.72(b) if NMFS determines such taking results in more than a negligible impact on the species or stocks of such marine mammal. § 218.74 Mitigation requirements. When conducting the activities identified in § 218.70(c), the mitigation measures contained in any LOAs issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.76 must be implemented. These mitigation measures include, but are not limited to: (a) Procedural mitigation. Procedural mitigation is mitigation that the Navy must implement whenever and wherever an applicable training or testing activity takes place within the HSTT Study Area for each applicable activity category or stressor category and includes acoustic stressors (i.e., active sonar, air guns, pile driving, weapons firing noise), explosive stressors (i.e., sonobuoys, torpedoes, medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles, missiles and rockets, bombs, sinking exercises, mines, anti-swimmer grenades, and mat weave and obstacle loading), and physical disturbance and strike stressors (i.e., vessel movement; towed in-water devices; small-, medium-, and largecaliber non-explosive practice munitions; non-explosive missiles and rockets; and non-explosive bombs and mine shapes). E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48446 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules (1) Environmental awareness and education. Appropriate Navy personnel (including civilian personnel) involved in mitigation and training or testing activity reporting under the specified activities will complete one or more modules of the U.S Navy Afloat Environmental Compliance Training Series, as identified in their career path training plan. Modules include: Introduction to the U.S. Navy Afloat Environmental Compliance Training Series, Marine Species Awareness Training; U.S. Navy Protective Measures Assessment Protocol; and U.S. Navy Sonar Positional Reporting System and Marine Mammal Incident Reporting. (2) Active sonar. Active sonar includes low-frequency active sonar, mid-frequency active sonar, and highfrequency active sonar. For vessel-based activities, mitigation applies only to sources that are positively controlled and deployed from manned surface vessels (e.g., sonar sources towed from manned surface platforms). For aircraftbased activities, mitigation applies only to sources that are positively controlled and deployed from manned aircraft that do not operate at high altitudes (e.g., rotary-wing aircraft). Mitigation does not apply to active sonar sources deployed from unmanned aircraft or aircraft operating at high altitudes (e.g., maritime patrol aircraft). (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform—(A) Hullmounted sources. One Lookout for platforms with space or manning restrictions while underway (at the forward part of a small boat or ship) and platforms using active sonar while moored or at anchor (including pierside); and two Lookouts for platforms without space or manning restrictions while underway (at the forward part of the ship). (B) Sources that are not hull-mounted sources. One Lookout on the ship or aircraft conducting the activity. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. During the activity, at 1,000 yards (yd) Navy personnel must power down 6 decibels (dB), at 500 yd Navy personnel must power down an additional 4 dB (for a total of 10 dB), and at 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for lowfrequency active sonar ≥200 dB and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar; or at 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for low-frequency active sonar <200 dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull-mounted, and high-frequency active sonar. (A) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 personnel must relocate or delay the start of active sonar transmission until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must also observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of active sonar transmission. (B) During the activity for lowfrequency active sonar at or above 200 dB and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and power down active sonar transmission by 6 dB if marine mammals are observed within 1,000 yd of the sonar source; power down by an additional 4 dB (for a total of 10 dB total) if marine mammals are observed within 500 yd of the sonar source; and cease transmission if marine mammals are observed within 200 yd of the sonar source. (C) During the activity for lowfrequency active sonar below 200 dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull mounted, and highfrequency active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and cease active sonar transmission if marine mammals are observed within 200 yd of the sonar source. (D) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing or powering up active sonar transmission) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the sonar source; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 minutes (min) for aircraft-deployed sonar sources or 30 min for vessel-deployed sonar sources; for mobile activities, the active sonar source has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting; or for activities using hull-mounted sonar where a dolphin(s) is observed in the mitigation zone, the Lookout concludes that the dolphin(s) are deliberately closing in on the ship to ride the ship’s bow wave, and are therefore out of the main transmission axis of the sonar (and there are no other marine mammal sightings within the mitigation zone). (ii) [RESERVED] PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (3) Air guns—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout positioned on a ship or pierside. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 150 yd around the air gun. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must also observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of air gun use. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease air gun use. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing air gun use) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the air gun; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the air gun has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (4) Pile driving. Pile driving and pile extraction sound during Elevated Causeway System training. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the shore, the elevated causeway, or a small boat. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 100 yd around the pile driver. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (for 30 min), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of pile driving or vibratory pile extraction. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules must cease impact pile driving or vibratory pile extraction. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. The Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing pile driving or pile extraction) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the pile driving location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min. (5) Weapons firing noise. Weapons firing noise associated with large-caliber gunnery activities. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the ship conducting the firing. Depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one provided for under ‘‘Explosive mediumcaliber and large-caliber projectiles’’ or under ‘‘Small-, medium-, and largecaliber non-explosive practice munitions’’ in paragraphs (a)(8)(i) and (a)(18)(i) of this section. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. Thirty degrees on either side of the firing line out to 70 yd from the muzzle of the weapon being fired. (A) Prior to the start of the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of weapons firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must also observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of weapons firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease weapons firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing weapons firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the firing ship; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the firing ship has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (6) Explosive sonobuoys—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft or on small boat. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 600 yd around an explosive sonobuoy. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during deployment of a sonobuoy field, which typically lasts 20–30 min), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of sonobuoy or source/ receiver pair detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel also must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the sonobuoy; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints (e.g., helicopter), or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48447 (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (7) Explosive torpedoes—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout positioned in an aircraft. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,100 yd around the intended impact location. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during deployment of the target), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation and jellyfish aggregations; if floating vegetation or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use the information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel also must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48448 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (8) Explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles. Gunnery activities using explosive mediumcaliber and large-caliber projectiles. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be on the vessel or aircraft conducting the activity. For activities using explosive large-caliber projectiles, depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one described in ‘‘Weapons firing noise’’ in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 200 yd around the intended impact location for air-to-surface activities using explosive medium-caliber projectiles. (B) 600 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-surface activities using explosive mediumcaliber projectiles. (C) 1,000 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-surface activities using explosive large-caliber projectiles. (D) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (E) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (F) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for vessel-based firing; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (G) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (9) Explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed explosive missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 900 yd around the intended impact location for missiles or rockets with 0.6– 20 lb net explosive weight. (B) 2,000 yd around the intended impact location for missiles with 21– 500 lb net explosive weight. PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (F) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets will assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (10) Explosive bombs—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft conducting the activity. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,500 yd around the intended target. E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment. (B) During the activity (e.g., during target approach), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing bomb deployment) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended target; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended target has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (11) Sinking exercises—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. Two Lookouts (one must be positioned in an aircraft and one must be positioned on a vessel). If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2.5 nautical miles (nmi) around the target ship hulk. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (90 min prior to the first firing), Navy personnel must conduct aerial observations of the mitigation zone for floating vegetation and jellyfish aggregations; if floating vegetation or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must conduct aerial observations of the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use the information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals from the vessel; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. Immediately after any planned or unplanned breaks in weapons firing of longer than two hours, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals from the aircraft and vessel; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay recommencement of firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the target ship hulk; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min. (D) After completion of the activity (for two hours after sinking the vessel or until sunset, whichever comes first), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets will assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48449 (12) Explosive mine countermeasure and neutralization activities—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) One Lookout must be positioned on a vessel or in an aircraft when implementing the smaller mitigation zone. (B) Two Lookouts (one must be positioned in an aircraft and one must be on a small boat) when implementing the larger mitigation zone. (C) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 600 yd around the detonation site for activities using 0.1–5 lb net explosive weight. (B) 2,100 yd around the detonation site for activities using 6–650 lb net explosive weight (including high explosive target mines). (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station; typically, 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations. (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, and individual foraging seabirds; if marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, or individual foraging seabirds are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations. (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity or a sighting of seabird concentrations or individual foraging seabirds during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted animal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to detonation site; or E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48450 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (F) After completion of the activity (typically 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (13) Explosive mine neutralization activities involving Navy divers—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) Two Lookouts (two small boats with one Lookout each, or one Lookout must be on a small boat and one must be in a rotary-wing aircraft) when implementing the smaller mitigation zone. (B) Four Lookouts (two small boats with two Lookouts each), and a pilot or member of an aircrew must serve as an additional Lookout if aircraft are used during the activity, when implementing the larger mitigation zone. (C) All divers placing the charges on mines will support the Lookouts while performing their regular duties and will report applicable sightings to their supporting small boat or Range Safety Officer. (D) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around the detonation site during activities under positive control using 0.1–20 lb net explosive weight. (B) 1,000 yd around the detonation site during all activities using timedelay fuses (0.1–29 lb net explosive weight) and during activities under positive control using 21–60 lb net explosive weight charges. (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station for activities under positive control; 30 min for activities using timedelay firing devices), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 or fuse initiation until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations or fuse initiation. (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, and individual foraging seabirds (in the water and not on shore); if marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, or individual foraging seabirds are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations or fuse initiation. To the maximum extent practicable depending on mission requirements, safety, and environmental conditions, Navy personnel must position boats near the mid-point of the mitigation zone radius (but outside of the detonation plume and human safety zone), must position themselves on opposite sides of the detonation location (when two boats are used), and must travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location with one Lookout observing inward toward the detonation site and the other observing outward toward the perimeter of the mitigation zone. If used, Navy aircraft must travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location to the maximum extent practicable. Navy personnel must not set time-delay firing devices (0.1–29 lb. net explosive weight) to exceed 10 min. (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity or a sighting of seabird concentrations or individual foraging seabirds during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted animal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the detonation site; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min during activities under positive control with aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min during activities under positive control with aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained and during activities using time-delay firing devices. (F) After completion of an activity (for 30 min), the Navy must observe for marine mammals for 30 min. Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (14) Maritime security operations— anti-swimmer grenades—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the small boat conducting the activity. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended detonation location. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended detonation location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or the intended detonation location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets will assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (15) Underwater demolition multiple charge—mat weave and obstacle loading exercises—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. Two Lookouts (one must be positioned on a small boat and one must be positioned on shore from an elevated platform). If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 700 yd around the intended detonation location. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity, or 30 min prior to the first detonation, the Lookout positioned on a small boat must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation and marine mammals; if floating vegetation or marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. For 10 min prior to the first detonation, the Lookout positioned on shore must use binoculars to observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of detonations. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the detonation location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min (as determined by the Navy shore observer). VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 (D) After completion of the activity (for 30 min), the Lookout positioned on a small boat must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred. (16) Vessel movement. The mitigation will not be applied if: The vessel’s safety is threatened; the vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver (e.g., during launching and recovery of aircraft or landing craft, during towing activities, when mooring); the vessel is operated autonomously; or when impracticable based on mission requirements (e.g., during Amphibious Assault—Battalion Landing exercise). (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be on the vessel that is underway. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around whales. (B) 200 yd around all other marine mammals (except bow-riding dolphins and pinnipeds hauled out on man-made navigational structures, port structures, and vessels). (iii) During the activity. When underway Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance. (iv) Incident reporting procedures. If a marine mammal vessel strike occurs, Navy personnel must follow the established incident reporting procedures. (17) Towed in-water devices. Mitigation applies to devices that are towed from a manned surface platform or manned aircraft. The mitigation will not be applied if the safety of the towing platform or in-water device is threatened. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on a manned towing platform. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 250 yd around marine mammals. (iii) During the activity. During the activity (i.e., when towing an in-water device), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance. (18) Small-, medium-, and largecaliber non-explosive practice munitions. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target. PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48451 (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the platform conducting the activity. Depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one described for ‘‘Weapons firing noise’’ in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended impact location. (A) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for vessel-based firing; or for activities using a mobile target, the intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (19) Non-explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed nonexplosive missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 900 yd around the intended impact location. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48452 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing. (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting prior to or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained. (20) Non-explosive bombs and mine shapes. Non-explosive bombs and nonexplosive mine shapes during mine laying activities. (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft. (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 1,000 yd around the intended target. (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment or mine laying until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment or mine laying. (B) During the activity (e.g., during approach of the target or intended minefield location), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and, if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment or mine laying. (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting prior to or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing bomb deployment or mine laying) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended target or minefield location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended target has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting. (b) Mitigation areas. In addition to procedural mitigation, Navy personnel must implement mitigation measures within mitigation areas to avoid or reduce potential impacts on marine mammals. (1) Mitigation areas for marine mammals in the Hawaii Range Complex for sonar, explosives, and vessel strikes—(i) Mitigation area requirements—(A) Hawaii Island Mitigation Area (year-round). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not conduct more than 300 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted midfrequency active sonar or 20 hours of MF4 dipping sonar annually, or use explosives that could potentially result in takes of marine mammals during training and testing. (2) Should national security require conduct of more than 300 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted midfrequency active sonar or 20 hours of MF4 dipping sonar, or use of explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during training or testing, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS. (B) 4-Islands Region Mitigation Area (November 15–April 15 for active sonar; year-round for explosives). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or explosives that could potentially result in takes of marine mammals during training and testing. (2) Should national security require use of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or explosives that could potentially result PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 in the take of marine mammals during training or testing, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS. (C) Humpback Whale Special Reporting Areas (December 15–April 15). Navy personnel must report the total hours of surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar used in the special reporting areas in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS. (D) Humpback Whale Awareness Notification Message Area (November– April). (1) Navy personnel must issue a seasonal awareness notification message to alert ships and aircraft operating in the area to the possible presence of concentrations of large whales, including humpback whales. (2) To maintain safety of navigation and to avoid interactions with large whales during transits, Navy personnel must instruct vessels to remain vigilant to the presence of large whale species (including humpback whales). (3) Platforms must use the information from the awareness notification message to assist their visual observation of applicable mitigation zones during training and testing activities and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation. (ii) [Reserved] (2) Mitigation areas for marine mammals in the Southern California portion of the study area for sonar, explosives, and vessel strikes—(i) Mitigation area requirements—(A) San Diego Arc, San Nicolas Island, and Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Areas (June 1–October 31). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not conduct more than a total of 200 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted midfrequency active sonar in the combined areas, excluding normal maintenance and systems checks, during training and testing. (2) Should national security require conduct of more than 200 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted midfrequency active sonar in the combined areas during training and testing (excluding normal maintenance and systems checks), Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS. (3) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(4) of this section, within the San Diego Arc Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training and testing. (4) Should national security require use of explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75inch rockets) activities during training or testing within the San Diego Arc Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS. (5) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(6) of this section, within the San Nicolas Island Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75inch rockets) activities during training. (6) Should national security require use of explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training in the San Nicolas Island Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS. (7) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(8) of this section, within the Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training and testing. (8) Should national security require use of explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training or testing in the Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS. (B) Santa Barbara Island Mitigation Area (year-round). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar during training or testing, or explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mediumcaliber or large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training. (2) Should national security require use of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar during training or testing, or explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mediumcaliber or large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS. (C) Blue Whale (June–October), Gray Whale (November–March), and Fin Whale (November–May) Awareness Notification Message Areas. (1) Navy personnel must issue a seasonal awareness notification message to alert ships and aircraft operating in the area to the possible presence of concentrations of large whales, including blue whales, gray whales, and fin whales. (2) To maintain safety of navigation and to avoid interactions with large whales during transits, Navy personnel must instruct vessels to remain vigilant to the presence of large whale species. (3) Platforms must use the information from the awareness notification messages to assist their visual observation of applicable mitigation zones during training and testing activities and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation. (ii) [Reserved] PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 48453 § 218.75 Requirements for monitoring and reporting. (a) Unauthorized take. Navy personnel must notify NMFS immediately (or as soon as operational security considerations allow) if the specified activity identified in § 218.70 is thought to have resulted in the mortality or serious injury of any marine mammals, or in any Level A harassment or Level B harassment take of marine mammals not identified in this subpart. (b) Monitoring and reporting under the LOAs. The Navy must conduct all monitoring and reporting required under the LOAs, including abiding by the HSTT Study Area monitoring program. Details on program goals, objectives, project selection process, and current projects are available at www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us. (c) Notification of injured, live stranded, or dead marine mammals. The Navy must consult the Notification and Reporting Plan, which sets out notification, reporting, and other requirements when dead, injured, or live stranded marine mammals are detected. The Notification and Reporting Plan is available at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/ incidentaltake-authorizations-militaryreadinessactivities. (d) Annual HSTT Study Area marine species monitoring report. The Navy must submit an annual report of the HSTT Study Area monitoring describing the implementation and results from the previous calendar year. Data collection methods must be standardized across range complexes and study areas to allow for comparison in different geographic locations. The report must be submitted to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, either within three months after the end of the calendar year, or within three months after the conclusion of the monitoring year, to be determined by the Adaptive Management process. This report will describe progress of knowledge made with respect to intermediate scientific objectives within the HSTT Study Area associated with the Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program (ICMP). Similar study questions must be treated together so that progress on each topic can be summarized across all Navy ranges. The report need not include analyses and content that does not provide direct assessment of cumulative progress on the monitoring plan study questions. As an alternative, the Navy may submit a multi-Range Complex annual Monitoring Plan report to fulfill this requirement. Such a report will describe progress of knowledge made with respect to monitoring study E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 48454 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules questions across multiple Navy ranges associated with the ICMP. Similar study questions must be treated together so that progress on each topic can be summarized across multiple Navy ranges. The report need not include analyses and content that does not provide direct assessment of cumulative progress on the monitoring study question. This will continue to allow the Navy to provide a cohesive monitoring report covering multiple ranges (as per ICMP goals), rather than entirely separate reports for the HSTT, Gulf of Alaska, Mariana Islands, and Northwest Study Areas. (e) Annual HSTT Study Area training exercise report and testing activity report. Each year, the Navy must submit two preliminary reports (Quick Look Report) detailing the status of authorized sound sources within 21 days after the anniversary of the date of issuance of each LOA to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS. Each year, the Navy must submit detailed reports to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, within 3 months after the one-year anniversary of the date of issuance of the LOA. The HSTT annual Training Exercise Report and Testing Activity Report can be consolidated with other exercise reports from other range complexes in the Pacific Ocean for a single Pacific Exercise Report, if desired. The annual reports must contain information on major training exercises (MTEs), Sinking Exercise (SINKEX) events, and a summary of all sound sources used, including within specific mitigation reporting areas as described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section. The analysis in the detailed reports must be based on the accumulation of data from the current year’s report and data collected from previous reports. The detailed reports must contain information identified in paragraphs (e)(1) through (7) of this section. (1) MTEs. This section of the report must contain the following information for MTEs conducted in the HSTT Study Area. (i) Exercise Information (for each MTE). (A) Exercise designator. (B) Date that exercise began and ended. (C) Location. (D) Number and types of active sonar sources used in the exercise. (E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise. (F) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms participating in exercise. (G) Total hours of all active sonar source operation. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 (H) Total hours of each active sonar source bin. (I) Wave height (high, low, and average) during exercise. (ii) Individual marine mammal sighting information for each sighting in each exercise where mitigation was implemented: (A) Date/Time/Location of sighting. (B) Species (if not possible, indication of whale/dolphin/pinniped). (C) Number of individuals. (D) Initial Detection Sensor (e.g., sonar, Lookout). (E) Indication of specific type of platform observation was made from (including, for example, what type of surface vessel or testing platform). (F) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine mammal. (G) Sea state. (H) Visibility. (I) Sound source in use at the time of sighting. (J) Indication of whether animal was less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd from sonar source. (K) Whether operation of sonar sensor was delayed, or sonar was powered or shut down, and how long the delay. (L) If source in use was hull-mounted, true bearing of animal from the vessel, true direction of vessel’s travel, and estimation of animal’s motion relative to vessel (opening, closing, parallel). (M) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on surface and not swimming, etc.) and if any calves were present. (iii) An evaluation (based on data gathered during all of the MTEs) of the effectiveness of mitigation measures designed to minimize the received level to which marine mammals may be exposed. This evaluation must identify the specific observations that support any conclusions the Navy reaches about the effectiveness of the mitigation. (2) SINKEXs. This section of the report must include the following information for each SINKEX completed that year. (i) Exercise information (gathered for each SINKEX). (A) Location. (B) Date and time exercise began and ended. (C) Total hours of observation by Lookouts before, during, and after exercise. (D) Total number and types of explosive source bins detonated. (E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise. PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (F) Total hours of passive acoustic search time. (G) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms, participating in exercise. (H) Wave height in feet (high, low, and average) during exercise. (I) Narrative description of sensors and platforms utilized for marine mammal detection and timeline illustrating how marine mammal detection was conducted. (ii) Individual marine mammal observation (by Navy Lookouts) information for each sighting where mitigation was implemented. (A) Date/Time/Location of sighting. (B) Species (if not possible, indicate whale, dolphin, or pinniped). (C) Number of individuals. (D) Initial detection sensor (e.g., sonar or Lookout). (E) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine mammal. (F) Sea state. (G) Visibility. (H) Whether sighting was before, during, or after detonations/exercise, and how many minutes before or after. (I) Distance of marine mammal from actual detonations (or target spot if not yet detonated): Less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd. (J) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on surface and not swimming etc.), including speed and direction and if any calves were present. (K) The report must indicate whether explosive detonations were delayed, ceased, modified, or not modified due to marine mammal presence and for how long. (L) If observation occurred while explosives were detonating in the water, indicate munition type in use at time of marine mammal detection. (3) Summary of sources used. This section of the report must include the following information summarized from the authorized sound sources used in all training and testing events: (i) Total annual hours or quantity (per the LOA) of each bin of sonar or other acoustic sources (e.g., pile driving and air gun activities); and (ii) Total annual expended/detonated ordinance (missiles, bombs, sonobuoys, etc.) for each explosive bin. (4) Humpback Whale Special Reporting Area (December 15–April 15). The Navy must report the total hours of operation of surface ship hull-mounted E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / Proposed Rules mid-frequency active sonar used in the special reporting area. (5) HSTT Study Area Mitigation Areas. The Navy must report any use that occurred as specifically described in these areas. Information included in the classified annual reports may be used to inform future adaptive management of activities within the HSTT Study Area. (6) Geographic information presentation. The reports must present an annual (and seasonal, where practical) depiction of training and testing bin usage (as well as pile driving activities) geographically across the HSTT Study Area. (7) Sonar exercise notification. The Navy must submit to NMFS (contact as specified in the LOA) an electronic report within fifteen calendar days after the completion of any MTE indicating: (i) Location of the exercise; (ii) Beginning and end dates of the exercise; and (iii) Type of exercise. (f) Seven-year close-out comprehensive training and testing activity report. This report must be included as part of the 2025 annual training and testing report. This report must provide the annual totals for each sound source bin with a comparison to the annual allowance and the sevenyear total for each sound source bin with a comparison to the seven-year allowance. Additionally, if there were any changes to the sound source allowance, this report must include a discussion of why the change was made and include the analysis to support how the change did or did not result in a change in the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS and final rule determinations. The draft report must be submitted within three months after the expiration of this subpart to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS. NMFS must submit comments on the draft close-out report, if any, within three months of receipt. The report will be considered final after the Navy has addressed NMFS’ comments, or 3 months after the submittal of the draft if NMFS does not provide comments. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS2 § 218.76 Letters of Authorization. (a) To incidentally take marine mammals pursuant to the regulations in this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain LOAs in accordance with § 216.106 of this chapter. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:30 Sep 12, 2019 Jkt 247001 (b) LOAs, unless suspended or revoked, may be effective for a period of time not to exceed December 20, 2025. (c) If an LOA expires prior to December 20, 2025, the Navy may apply for and obtain a renewal of the LOA. (d) In the event of projected changes to the activity or to mitigation, monitoring, or reporting (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision of § 218.77(c)(1)) required by an LOA issued under this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain a modification of the LOA as described in § 218.77. (e) Each LOA must set forth: (1) Permissible methods of incidental taking; (2) Geographic areas for incidental taking; (3) Means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact (i.e., mitigation) on the species or stocks of marine mammals and their habitat; and (4) Requirements for monitoring and reporting. (f) Issuance of the LOA(s) must be based on a determination that the level of taking is consistent with the findings made for the total taking allowable under the regulations in this subpart. (g) Notice of issuance or denial of the LOA(s) must be published in the Federal Register within 30 days of a determination. § 218.77 Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization. (a) An LOA issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.76 for the activity identified in § 218.70(c) may be renewed or modified upon request by the applicant, provided that: (1) The planned specified activity and mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures, as well as the anticipated impacts, are the same as those described and analyzed for the regulations in this subpart (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section); and (2) NMFS determines that the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures required by the previous LOA(s) were implemented. (b) For LOA modification or renewal requests by the applicant that include changes to the activity or to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 48455 provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section) that do not change the findings made for the regulations or result in no more than a minor change in the total estimated number of takes (or distribution by species or stock or years), NMFS may publish a notice of planned LOA in the Federal Register, including the associated analysis of the change, and solicit public comment before issuing the LOA. (c) An LOA issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.76 may be modified by NMFS under the following circumstances: (1) Adaptive management. After consulting with the Navy regarding the practicability of the modifications, NMFS may modify (including adding or removing measures) the existing mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures if doing so creates a reasonable likelihood of more effectively accomplishing the goals of the mitigation and monitoring. (i) Possible sources of data that could contribute to the decision to modify the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures in an LOA include: (A) Results from the Navy’s monitoring from the previous year(s); (B) Results from other marine mammal and/or sound research or studies; or (C) Any information that reveals marine mammals may have been taken in a manner, extent, or number not authorized by the regulations in this subpart or subsequent LOAs. (ii) If, through adaptive management, the modifications to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures are substantial, NMFS will publish a notice of planned LOA in the Federal Register and solicit public comment. (2) Emergencies. If NMFS determines that an emergency exists that poses a significant risk to the well-being of the species or stocks of marine mammals specified in LOAs issued pursuant to §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 218.76, an LOA may be modified without prior notice or opportunity for public comment. Notice would be published in the Federal Register within thirty days of the action. § § 218.78–218.79 [Reserved] [FR Doc. 2019–18850 Filed 9–12–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\13SEP2.SGM 13SEP2

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 178 (Friday, September 13, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 48388-48455]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-18850]



[[Page 48387]]

Vol. 84

Friday,

No. 178

September 13, 2019

Part II





Department of Commerce





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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration





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50 CFR Part 218





Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental 
to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Hawaii-Southern 
California Training and Testing Study Area; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 84 , No. 178 / Friday, September 13, 2019 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 48388]]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 218

[190826-0018 ]
RIN 0648-BJ06


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to the U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the 
Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comment.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) to 
extend the time period from December 2023 to December 2025 for Marine 
Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations authorizing the take of marine 
mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in 
the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area. 
In August 2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National 
Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for 7-
year authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to 
the previously allowed five years. The Navy's activities qualify as 
military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the 
NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004. In making the request to extend the time 
period covered by the MMPA HSTT regulations from five to seven years, 
the Navy proposes no changes to their specified activities, the 
geographical region in which those activities would be conducted, 
mitigation measures, monitoring, or reporting over the longer seven-
year period. Pursuant to the MMPA, NMFS is requesting comments on the 
proposed seven-year rule and associated Letters of Authorization (LOAs) 
to cover the same activities covered by the existing 2018 HSTT 
regulations. NMFS will consider all public comments prior to issuing 
any final rule and making final decisions on the issuance of the 
requested LOAs, and agency responses will be summarized in the notice 
of the final decision.

DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than October 
15, 2019.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2019-0103, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0103, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Jolie Harrison, Chief, 
Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East West Highway, Silver 
Spring, MD 20910.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter 
``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). 
Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, 
Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    A copy of the Navy's applications, NMFS' proposed and final rules 
and subsequent LOAs for the existing regulations, and other supporting 
documents and documents cited herein may be obtained online at: 
www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities. In case of problems 
accessing these documents, please use the contact listed here (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose of Regulatory Action

    These proposed regulations, issued under the authority of the MMPA 
(16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), would extend the framework for authorizing 
the take of marine mammals incidental to the Navy's training and 
testing activities (which qualify as military readiness activities) 
from the use of sonar and other transducers, in-water detonations, air 
guns, impact pile driving/vibratory extraction, and the movement of 
vessels throughout the HSTT Study Area. The HSTT Study Area is 
comprised of established operating and warning areas across the north-
central Pacific Ocean, from the mean high tide line in Southern 
California west to Hawaii and the International Date Line. The Study 
Area includes the at-sea areas of three existing range complexes (the 
Hawaii Range Complex, the Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complex, 
and the Silver Strand Training Complex), and overlaps a portion of the 
Point Mugu Sea Range (PMSR). Also included in the Study Area are Navy 
pierside locations in Hawaii and Southern California, Pearl Harbor, San 
Diego Bay, and the transit corridor on the high seas where sonar 
training and testing may occur.
    NMFS received an application from the Navy requesting to extend 
NMFS' existing MMPA regulations (50 CFR part 218, subpart H; hereafter 
``2018 HSTT regulations'') that authorize the take of marine mammals 
incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the 
HSTT Study Area to cover seven years of the Navy's activities, instead 
of five. Take is anticipated to occur by Level A harassment and Level B 
harassment as well as a very small number of serious injuries or 
mortalities incidental to the Navy's training and testing activities.

Background

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

[[Page 48389]]

measures''); and requirements pertaining to the monitoring and 
reporting of such takings. The MMPA defines ``take'' to mean to harass, 
hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill 
any marine mammal. The Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact 
Determination section below discusses the definition of ``negligible 
impact.''
    The NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004 (2004 NDAA) (Pub. L. 108-136) amended 
section 101(a)(5) of the MMPA to remove the ``small numbers'' and 
``specified geographical region'' provisions indicated above and 
amended the definition of ``harassment'' as it applies to a ``military 
readiness activity'' to read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): 
(i) Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a 
marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A Harassment); 
or (ii) Any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal 
or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural 
behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, 
surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where 
such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered (Level 
B harassment). In addition, the 2004 NDAA amended the MMPA as it 
relates to military readiness activities such that least practicable 
adverse impact shall include consideration of personnel safety, 
practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the 
military readiness activity.
    More recently, section 316 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2019 (2019 
NDAA) (Pub. L. 115-232), signed on August 13, 2018, amended the MMPA to 
allow incidental take rules for military readiness activities under 
section 101(a)(5)(A) to be issued for up to seven years. Prior to this 
amendment, all incidental take rules under section 101(a)(5)(A) were 
limited to five years.

Summary of Request

    On December 27, 2018, NMFS issued a five-year final rule governing 
the taking of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing 
activities conducted in the HSTT Study Area (83 FR 66846; hereafter 
``2018 HSTT final rule''). Previously on August 13, 2018, and towards 
the end of the time period in which NMFS was processing the Navy's 
request for the 2018 regulations, the 2019 NDAA amended the MMPA for 
military readiness activities to allow incidental take regulations to 
be issued for up to seven years instead of the previous five years. The 
Navy's training and testing activities conducted in the HSTT Study Area 
qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as 
amended by the 2004 NDAA. On March 11, 2019 the Navy submitted an 
application requesting that NMFS extend the 2018 HSTT regulations and 
associated LOAs such that they would cover take incidental to seven 
years of training and testing activities instead of five, extending the 
expiration date from December 20, 2023 to December 20, 2025.
    In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the nature 
of the specified activities covered by the 2018 HSTT final rule, the 
level of activity within and between years would be consistent with 
that previously analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, and all 
activities would be conducted within the same boundaries of the HSTT 
Study Area identified in the 2018 HSTT final rule. Therefore, the 
training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and sources used, 
exercises conducted) and the mitigation, monitoring, and nearly all 
reporting measures are identical to those described and analyzed in the 
2018 HSTT final rule. The only changes included in the Navy's request 
are to conduct those same activities in the same region for an 
additional two years. In its request, the Navy included all information 
necessary to identify the type and amount of incidental take that may 
occur in the two additional years so NMFS could determine whether the 
analyses and conclusions regarding the impacts of the proposed 
activities on marine mammal species and stocks previously reached for 
five years of activities remain the same for seven years of identical 
activity.
    The Navy's mission is to organize, train, equip, and maintain 
combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring 
aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas. This mission is 
mandated by federal law (10 U.S.C. 8062), which ensures the readiness 
of the naval forces of the United States. The Navy executes this 
responsibility by establishing and executing training programs, 
including at-sea training and exercises, and ensuring naval forces have 
access to the ranges, operating areas (OPAREAs), and airspace needed to 
develop and maintain skills for conducting naval activities.
    The Navy proposes to continue conducting training and testing 
activities within the HSTT Study Area. The Navy's March 11, 2019, 
rulemaking and LOA extension application (hereafter ``2019 Navy 
application'') reflects the same compilation of training and testing 
activities presented in the Navy's October 13, 2017, initial rulemaking 
and LOA application (hereafter ``2017 Navy application'') and the 2018 
HSTT regulations that were subsequently promulgated, which can be found 
at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities. These 
activities are deemed by the Navy necessary to accomplish military 
readiness requirements and are anticipated to continue into the 
reasonably foreseeable future. The 2019 Navy application and this rule 
cover training and testing activities that would occur over seven 
years, including the five years already authorized under the 2018 HSTT 
regulations, with the regulations valid from the publication date of 
the final rule (if issued) through December 20, 2025.

Summary of the Proposed Regulations

    NMFS is proposing to extend the incidental take regulations and 
associated LOAs through December 20, 2025, to cover the same Navy 
activities covered by the 2018 HSTT regulations. The 2018 HSTT final 
rule was only recently published and its analysis remains current and 
valid. In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the 
nature (e.g., equipment and sources used, exercises conducted) or level 
of the specified activities within or between years or to the 
boundaries of the HSTT Study Area. The mitigation, monitoring, and 
nearly all reporting measures (described below) would be identical to 
those described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The proposed 
regulatory language included at the end of this proposed rule, which 
would be published at 50 CFR part 218, subpart H, also is the same as 
that under the HSTT 2018 regulations, except for a small number of 
technical changes. No new information has been received from the Navy, 
or otherwise become available to NMFS, since publication of the 2018 
HSTT final rule that significantly changes the analyses supporting the 
2018 findings. Where there is any new information pertinent to the 
descriptions, analyses, or findings required to authorize incidental 
take for military readiness activities under MMPA section 101(a)(5)(A), 
that information is provided in the appropriate sections below.
    Because the activities included in the 2019 Navy application have 
not changed and the analyses and findings included in the documents 
provided and produced in support of the recently published 2018 HSTT 
final rule remain current and applicable, this proposed rule relies 
heavily on and references to the applicable information and analyses

[[Page 48390]]

in those documents. Below is a list of the regulatory documents 
referenced in this proposed rule. The list indicates the short name by 
which the document is referenced in this proposed rule, as well as the 
full titles of the cited documents. All of the documents can be found 
at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities and http://www.hstteis.com/.
     NMFS June 26, 2018, Hawaii-Southern California Training 
and Testing (HSTT) proposed rule (83 FR 29872; hereafter ``2018 HSTT 
proposed rule'');
     NMFS December 27, 2018, Hawaii-Southern California 
Training and Testing (HSTT) final rule (83 FR 66846; hereafter ``2018 
HSTT final rule'');
     Navy October 13, 2017, MMPA rulemaking and LOA application 
(hereafter ``2017 Navy application'');
     Navy March 11, 2019, MMPA rulemaking and LOA extension 
application (hereafter ``2019 Navy application''); and
     October 26, 2018, Hawaii-Southern California Training and 
Testing (HSTT) Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas 
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS/OEIS) (hereafter ``2018 HSTT FEIS/
OEIS'').

Description of the Specified Activity

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

Overview of Training and Testing Activities

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

Dates and Duration

    The specified activities would occur at any time during the seven-
year period of validity of the regulations. The proposed number of 
training and testing activities are described in the Detailed 
Description of the Specified Activities section (Tables 1 through 9).

Specified Geographical Region

    The Navy proposes no changes to the geographic extent of the HSTT 
Study Area as described in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The HSTT Study 
Area (see Figure 2-1 of the 2019 Navy application) is comprised of 
established operating and warning areas across the north-central 
Pacific Ocean, from the mean high tide line in Southern California west 
to Hawaii and the International Date Line. The Study Area includes the 
at-sea areas of three existing range complexes (the Hawaii Range 
Complex, the Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complex, and the Silver 
Strand Training Complex), and overlaps a portion of the Point Mugu Sea 
Range (PMSR). Also included in the Study Area are Navy pierside 
locations in Hawaii and Southern California, Pearl Harbor, San Diego 
Bay, and the transit corridor \1\ on the high seas where sonar training 
and testing may occur.
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    \1\ Vessel transit corridors are the routes typically used by 
Navy assets to traverse from one area to another. The route depicted 
in Figure 2-1 of the 2019 Navy application is the shortest route 
between Hawaii and Southern California, making it the quickest and 
most fuel efficient. The depicted vessel transit corridor is 
notional and may not represent the actual routes used by ships and 
submarines transiting from Southern California to Hawaii and back. 
Actual routes navigated are based on a number of factors including, 
but not limited to, weather, training, and operational requirements.
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    A Navy range complex consists of geographic areas that encompass a 
water component (above and below the surface) and airspace, and may 
encompass a land component where training and testing of military 
platforms, tactics, munitions, explosives, and electronic warfare 
systems occur. Range complexes include established OPAREAs, which may 
be further divided to provide better control of the area for safety 
reasons. Additional detail on range complexes and testing ranges was 
provided in the Duration and Location section of the 2018 HSTT proposed 
rule; please see the 2018 HSTT proposed rule or the 2017 Navy 
application for more information and maps.

Description of Acoustic and Explosive Stressors

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

Other Stressor--Vessel Strike

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

[[Page 48391]]

Detailed Description of the Specified Activities

    The Navy's proposed activities are presented and analyzed as a 
representative year of training to account for the natural fluctuation 
of training cycles and deployment schedules in any seven-year period. 
In the 2018 HSTT final rule, NMFS analyzed the potential impacts of 
these activities (i.e., incidental take of marine mammals) based on the 
Navy conducting three years of a representative level of activity and 
two years of a maximum level of activity. For the purposes of this 
rulemaking and analyzing potential impacts to marine mammals, the Navy 
proposes that the additional two years of training and testing would 
consist of one additional year of maximum training tempo and one 
representative year of training tempo consistent with the pattern set 
forth in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS, and the 
2017 Navy application.
Proposed Training Activities
    The number of proposed training activities that could occur 
annually and the duration of those activities remains identical to 
those presented in Table 4 of the 2018 HSTT final rule, and are not 
repeated here. The number of proposed training activities that could 
occur over the seven-year period are presented in Table 1. The table is 
organized according to primary mission areas and includes the activity 
name, associated stressors applicable to these proposed regulations, 
sound source bin, number of proposed activities, and locations of those 
activities in the HSTT Study Area. For further information regarding 
the primary platform used (e.g., ship or aircraft type) see Appendix A 
(Navy Activity Descriptions) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS.

           Table 1--Proposed Training Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in the HSTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                        7-Year
  Stressor category      Activity name      Description       Source bin            Location           number of
                                                                                                        events
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Major Training Events--Large Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Composite         Aircraft carrier  ASW1, ASW2,      SOCAL...................          18
                        Training Unit     and carrier air   ASW3, ASW4,
                        Exercise \1\.     wing integrates   ASW5, HF1,
                                          with surface      LF6, MF1, MF3,
                                          and submarine     MF4, MF5,
                                          units in a        MF11, MF12.
                                          challenging
                                          multi-threat
                                          operational
                                          environment
                                          that certifies
                                          them ready to
                                          deploy.
Acoustic.............  Rim of the        A biennial        ASW2, ASW3,      HRC.....................           4
                        Pacific           multinational     ASW4, HF1,      SOCAL...................           4
                        Exercise \1\.     training          HF3, HF4, M3,
                                          exercise in       MF1, MF3, MF4,
                                          which navies      MF5, MF11.
                                          from Pacific
                                          Rim nations and
                                          the United
                                          Kingdom
                                          assemble in
                                          Pearl Harbor,
                                          Hawaii, to
                                          conduct
                                          training
                                          throughout the
                                          Hawaiian
                                          Islands in a
                                          number of
                                          warfare areas.
                                          Marine mammal
                                          systems may be
                                          used during a
                                          Rim of the
                                          Pacific
                                          exercise.
                                          Components of a
                                          Rim of the
                                          Pacific
                                          exercise, such
                                          as certain mine
                                          warfare and
                                          amphibious
                                          training, may
                                          be conducted in
                                          the Southern
                                          California
                                          Range Complex.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Major Training Events--Medium Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Fleet Exercise/   Aircraft carrier  ASW1, ASW2,      HRC.....................           7
                        Sustainment       and carrier air   ASW3, ASW4,     SOCAL...................          35
                        Exercise \1\.     wing integrates   HF1, LF6, MF1,
                                          with surface      MF3, MF4, MF5,
                                          and submarine     MF11, MF12.
                                          units in a
                                          challenging
                                          multi-threat
                                          operational
                                          environment to
                                          maintain
                                          ability to
                                          deploy.
Acoustic.............  Undersea Warfare  Elements of the   ASW3, ASW4,      HRC.....................          17
                        Exercise.         anti-submarine    HF1, LF6, MF1,
                                          warfare           MF3, MF4, MF5,
                                          tracking          MF11, MF12.
                                          exercise
                                          combine in this
                                          exercise of
                                          multiple air,
                                          surface, and
                                          subsurface
                                          units, over a
                                          period of
                                          several days.
                                          Sonobuoys are
                                          released from
                                          aircraft.
                                          Active and
                                          passive sonar
                                          used.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Integrated/Coordinated Training--Small Integrated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Navy Undersea     Multiple ships,   ASW3, ASW4,      HRC.....................           7
                        Warfare           aircraft, and     HF1, MF1, MF3,  SOCAL...................          18
                        Training and      submarines        MF4, MF5.
                        Assessment        integrate the
                        Course Surface    use of their
                        Warfare           sensors to
                        Advanced          search for,
                        Tactical          detect,
                        Training.         classify,
                                          localize, and
                                          track a threat
                                          submarine in
                                          order to launch
                                          an exercise
                                          torpedo.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Integrated/Coordinated Training--Medium Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Submarine         Train             ASW3, ASW4,      HRC.....................          12
                        Commanders        prospective       HF1, MF1, MF3,  SOCAL...................          12
                        Course.           submarine         MF4, MF5,
                                          Commanding        TORP1, TORP2.
                                          Officers to
                                          operate against
                                          surface, air,
                                          and subsurface
                                          threats.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Integrated/Coordinated Training--Small Coordinated Anti-Submarine Warfare Training
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Amphibious Ready  Small-scale,      ASW2, ASW3,      HRC.....................          14
                        Group/Marine      short duration,   ASW4, HF1,      SOCAL...................          86
                        Expeditionary     coordinated       MF1, MF3, MF4,
                        Unit Exercise     anti-submarine    MF5, MF11.
                        Group Sail        warfare
                        Independent       exercises.
                        Deployer
                        Certification
                        Exercise/
                        Tailored Anti-
                        Submarine
                        Warfare
                        Training.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Amphibious Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive............  Naval Surface     Surface ship      Large-caliber    HRC (W188)..............         105
                        Fire Support      uses large-       HE rounds (E5).
                        Exercise--at      caliber gun to
                        Sea.              support forces
                                          ashore;
                                          however, land
                                          target
                                          simulated at
                                          sea. Rounds
                                          impact water
                                          and are scored
                                          by passive
                                          acoustic
                                          hydrophones
                                          located at or
                                          near target
                                          area.
Acoustic.............  Amphibious        Navy and Marine   ASW2, ASW3,      SOCAL...................          18
                        Marine            Corps forces      ASW4, HF1,
                        Expeditionary     conduct           MF1, MF3, MF4,
                        Unit Exercise.    advanced          MF5, MF11.
                                          integration
                                          training in
                                          preparation for
                                          deployment
                                          certification.
Acoustic.............  Amphibious        Navy and Marine   ASW2, ASW3,      SOCAL...................          18
                        Marine            Corps forces      ASW4, HF1,
                        Expeditionary     conduct           MF1, MF3, MF4,
                        Unit              integration       MF5, MF11.
                        Integration       training at sea
                        Exercise.         in preparation
                                          for deployment
                                          certification.
Acoustic.............  Marine            Amphibious Ready  ASW2, ASW3,      SOCAL...................          18
                        Expeditionary     Group exercises   ASW4, HF1,
                        Unit Composite    are conducted     MF1, MF3, MF4,
                        Training Unit     to validate the   MF5, MF11.
                        Exercise.         Marine
                                          Expeditionary
                                          Unit's
                                          readiness for
                                          deployment and
                                          includes small
                                          boat raids;
                                          visit, board,
                                          search, and
                                          seizure
                                          training;
                                          helicopter and
                                          mechanized
                                          amphibious
                                          raids; and a
                                          non-combatant
                                          evacuation
                                          operation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 48392]]

 
                                             Anti-Submarine Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Helicopter crews  MF4, MF5, TORP1  HRC.....................          42
                        Warfare Torpedo   search for,                       SOCAL...................         728
                        Exercise--Helic   track, and
                        opter.            detect
                                          submarines.
                                          Recoverable air
                                          launched
                                          torpedoes are
                                          employed
                                          against
                                          submarine
                                          targets.
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Maritime patrol   MF5, TORP1.....  HRC.....................          70
                        Warfare Torpedo   aircraft crews                    SOCAL...................         175
                        Exercise--Marit   search for,
                        ime Patrol        track, and
                        Aircraft.         detect
                                          submarines.
                                          Recoverable air
                                          launched
                                          torpedoes are
                                          employed
                                          against
                                          submarine
                                          targets.
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Surface ship      ASW3, MF1,       HRC.....................         350
                        Warfare Torpedo   crews search      TORP1.          SOCAL...................         819
                        Exercise--Ship.   for, track, and
                                          detect
                                          submarines.
                                          Exercise
                                          torpedoes are
                                          used during
                                          this event.
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Submarine crews   ASW4, HF1, MF3,  HRC.....................         336
                        Warfare Torpedo   search for,       TORP2.          SOCAL...................          91
                        Exercise--Subma   track, and
                        rine.             detect
                                          submarines.
                                          Exercise
                                          torpedoes are
                                          used during
                                          this event.
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Helicopter crews  MF4, MF5.......  HRC.....................       1,113
                        Warfare           search for,                       SOCAL, PMSR.............       3,668
                        Tracking          track, and                        HSTT Transit Corridor...          42
                        Exercise--Helic   detect
                        opter.            submarines.
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Maritime patrol   MF5............  HRC.....................         182
                        Warfare           aircraft                          SOCAL, PMSR.............         350
                        Tracking          aircrews search
                        Exercise--Marit   for, track, and
                        ime Patrol        detect
                        Aircraft.         submarines.
                                          Recoverable air
                                          launched
                                          torpedoes are
                                          employed
                                          against
                                          submarine
                                          targets.
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Surface ship      ASW3, MF1,       HRC.....................       1,568
                        Warfare           crews search      MF11, MF12.     SOCAL, PMSR.............       2,961
                        Tracking          for, track, and
                        Exercise--Ship.   detect
                                          submarines.
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Submarine crews   ASW4, HF1, HF3,  HRC.....................       1,400
                        Warfare           search for,       MF3.            SOCAL, PMSR.............         350
                        Tracking          track, and                        HSTT Transit Corridor...          49
                        Exercise--Subma   detect
                        rine.             submarines.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Service Weapons   Air, surface, or  HF1, MF3, MF6,   HRC.....................          14
                        Test.             submarine crews   TORP2,          SOCAL...................           7
                                          employ            Explosive
                                          explosive         torpedoes
                                          torpedoes         (E11).
                                          against virtual
                                          targets.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Mine Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Airborne Mine     Helicopter        HF4............  SOCAL...................          70
                        Countermeasure-   aircrews detect
                        -Mine Detection.  mines using
                                          towed or laser
                                          mine detection
                                          systems.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Civilian Port     Maritime          HF4, SAS2, E2,   Pearl Harbor, HI........           7
                        Defense--Homela   security          E4.             San Diego, CA...........          21
                        nd Security       personnel train
                        Anti-Terrorism/   to protect
                        Force             civilian ports
                        Protection        against enemy
                        Exercises.        efforts to
                                          interfere with
                                          access to those
                                          ports.
Explosive............  Marine Mammal     The Navy deploys  E7.............  HRC.....................          70
                        Systems.          trained                           SOCAL...................       1,225
                                          bottlenose
                                          dolphins
                                          (Tursiops
                                          truncatus) and
                                          California sea
                                          lions (Zalophus
                                          californianus)
                                          as part of the
                                          marine mammal
                                          mine-hunting
                                          and object-
                                          recovery system.
Acoustic.............  Mine              Ship crews        HF4, HF8, MF1K.  HRC.....................         210
                        Countermeasure    detect and                        SOCAL...................         664
                        Exercise--Ship    avoid mines
                        Sonar.            while
                                          navigating
                                          restricted
                                          areas or
                                          channels using
                                          active sonar.
Acoustic.............  Mine              Mine              HF4............  SOCAL...................       1,862
                        Countermeasure    countermeasure
                        Exercise--Surfa   ship crews
                        ce.               detect, locate,
                                          identify, and
                                          avoid mines
                                          while
                                          navigating
                                          restricted
                                          areas or
                                          channels, such
                                          as while
                                          entering or
                                          leaving port.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Mine              Ship, small       HF4, E4........  HRC.....................          42
                        Countermeasures   boat, and                         SOCAL...................       2,604
                        Mine              helicopter
                        Neutralization    crews locate
                        Remotely          and disable
                        Operated          mines using
                        Vehicle.          remotely
                                          operated
                                          underwater
                                          vehicles.
Explosive............  Mine              Personnel         E4, E5, E6, E7.  HRC (Puuloa)............         140
                        Neutralization    disable threat                    SOCAL (IB, TAR 2, TAR 3,       1,358
                        Explosive         mines using                        TAR 21, SWAT 3, SOAR).
                        Ordnance          explosive
                        Disposal.         charges.
Acoustic.............  Submarine Mine    Submarine crews   HF1............  HRC.....................         280
                        Exercise.         practice                          SOCAL...................          84
                                          detecting mines
                                          in a designated
                                          area.
Acoustic.............  Surface Ship      Ship crews        MF1K, HF8......  HRC.....................         287
                        Object            detect and                        SOCAL...................       1,134
                        Detection.        avoid mines
                                          while
                                          navigating
                                          restricted
                                          areas or
                                          channels using
                                          active sonar.
Explosive............  Underwater        Military          E10, E13.......  SOCAL (TAR 2, TAR 3)....         126
                        Demolitions       personnel use
                        Multiple          explosive
                        Charge--Mat       charges to
                        Weave and         destroy
                        Obstacle          barriers or
                        Loading.          obstacles to
                                          amphibious
                                          vehicle access
                                          to beach areas.
Explosive............  Underwater        Navy divers       E6, E7.........  HRC (Puuloa)............         203
                        Demolition        conduct various                   SOCAL (TAR 2)...........         700
                        Qualification     levels of
                        and               training and
                        Certification.    certification
                                          in placing
                                          underwater
                                          demolition
                                          charges.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Surface Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive............  Bombing Exercise  Fixed-wing        E12 \2\........  HRC.....................        1309
                        Air-to-Surface.   aircrews                          SOCAL...................        4480
                                          deliver bombs                     HSTT Transit Corridor...          35
                                          against surface
                                          targets.
Explosive............  Gunnery Exercise  Small boat crews  E1, E2.........  HRC.....................          70
                        Surface-to-       fire medium-                      SOCAL...................          98
                        Surface Boat      caliber guns at
                        Medium-Caliber.   surface targets.
Explosive............  Gunnery Exercise  Surface ship      E5.............  HRC.....................         210
                        Surface-to-       crews fire                        SOCAL...................       1,302
                        Surface Ship      large-caliber                     HSTT Transit Corridor...          91
                        Large-caliber.    guns at surface
                                          targets.
Explosive............  Gunnery Exercise  Surface ship      E1, E2.........  HRC.....................         350
                        Surface-to-       crews fire                        SOCAL...................       1,260
                        Surface Ship      medium-caliber                    HSTT Transit Corridor...         280
                        Medium-Caliber.   guns at surface
                                          targets.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Independent       Multiple ships,   E1, E3, E6, E10  SOCAL...................           7
                        Deployer          aircraft and
                        Certification     submarines
                        Exercise/         conduct
                        Tailored          integrated
                        Surface Warfare   multi-warfare
                        Training.         training with a
                                          surface warfare
                                          emphasis.
                                          Serves as a
                                          ready-to-deploy
                                          certification
                                          for individual
                                          surface ships
                                          tasked with
                                          surface warfare
                                          missions.
Explosive............  Integrated Live   Naval Forces      E1, E3, E6, E10  HRC (W188A).............           7
                        Fire Exercise.    defend against                    SOCAL (SOAR)............           7
                                          a swarm of
                                          surface threats
                                          (ships or small
                                          boats) with
                                          bombs,
                                          missiles,
                                          rockets, and
                                          small-, medium-
                                          and large-
                                          caliber guns.
Explosive............  Missile Exercise  Fixed-wing and    E6, E8, E10....  HRC.....................          70
                        Air-to-Surface.   helicopter                        SOCAL...................       1,498
                                          aircrews fire
                                          air-to-surface
                                          missiles at
                                          surface targets.
Explosive............  Missile Exercise  Helicopter        E3.............  HRC.....................       1,598
                        Air-to-Surface    aircrews fire                     SOCAL...................       1,722
                        Rocket.           both precision-
                                          guided and
                                          unguided
                                          rockets at
                                          surface targets.
Explosive............  Missile Exercise  Surface ship      E6, E10........  HRC (W188)..............         140
                        Surface-to-       crews defend                      SOCAL (W291)............          70
                        Surface.          against surface
                                          threats (ships
                                          or small boats)
                                          and engage them
                                          with missiles.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Sinking Exercise  Aircraft, ship,   TORP2, E5, E10,  HRC.....................          21
                                          and submarine     E12.            SOCAL...................           4
                                          crews
                                          deliberately
                                          sink a seaborne
                                          target, usually
                                          a
                                          decommissioned
                                          ship made
                                          environmentally
                                          safe for
                                          sinking
                                          according to
                                          U.S.
                                          Environmental
                                          Protection
                                          Agency
                                          standards, with
                                          a variety of
                                          munitions.

[[Page 48393]]

 
Pile driving.........  Elevated          A pier is         Impact hammer    SOCAL...................          14
                        Causeway System.  constructed off   or vibratory
                                          of the beach.     extractor.
                                          Piles are
                                          driven into the
                                          bottom with an
                                          impact hammer.
                                          Piles are
                                          removed from
                                          seabed via
                                          vibratory
                                          extractor. Only
                                          in-water
                                          impacts are
                                          analyzed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Other Training Exercises
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Kilo Dip........  Functional check  MF4............  HRC.....................         420
                                          of the dipping                    SOCAL...................      16,800
                                          sonar prior to
                                          conducting a
                                          full test or
                                          training event
                                          on the dipping
                                          sonar.
Acoustic.............  Submarine         Submarine crews   HF1, MF3.......  Pearl Harbor, HI........       1,540
                        Navigation        operate sonar                     San Diego Bay, CA.......         560
                        Exercise.         for navigation
                                          and object
                                          detection while
                                          transiting into
                                          and out of port
                                          during reduced
                                          visibility.
Acoustic.............  Submarine Sonar   Maintenance of    MF3............  HRC.....................       1,820
                        Maintenance and   submarine sonar                   Pearl Harbor, HI........       1,820
                        Systems Checks.   systems is                        SOCAL...................         651
                                          conducted                         San Diego Bay, CA.......         644
                                          pierside or at                    HSTT Transit Corridor...          70
                                          sea.
Acoustic.............  Submarine Under-  Submarine crews   HF1............  HRC.....................          84
                        Ice               train to                          SOCAL...................          42
                        Certification.    operate under
                                          ice. Ice
                                          conditions are
                                          simulated
                                          during training
                                          and
                                          certification
                                          events.
Acoustic.............  Surface Ship      Maintenance of    HF8, MF1.......  HRC.....................         525
                        Sonar             surface ship                      Pearl Harbor, HI........         560
                        Maintenance and   sonar systems                     SOCAL...................       1,750
                        Systems Checks.   is conducted                      San Diego, CA...........       1,750
                                          pierside or at                    HSTT Transit Corridor...          56
                                          sea.
Acoustic.............  Unmanned          Unmanned          FLS2, M3, SAS2.  HRC.....................         175
                        Underwater        underwater                        SOCAL...................          70
                        Vehicle           vehicle
                        Training--Certi   certification
                        fication and      involves
                        Development.      training with
                                          unmanned
                                          platforms to
                                          ensure
                                          submarine crew
                                          proficiency.
                                          Tactical
                                          development
                                          involves
                                          training with
                                          various
                                          payloads for
                                          multiple
                                          purposes to
                                          ensure that the
                                          systems can be
                                          employed
                                          effectively in
                                          an operational
                                          environment.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex, HSTT = Hawaii-Southern California
  Training and Testing, PMSR = Point Mugu Sea Range Overlap, TAR = Training Area and Range, SOAR = Southern
  California Anti-Submarine Warfare Range, IB = Imperial Beach Minefield.
\1\ Any non-antisubmarine warfare activity that could occur is captured in the individual activities.
\2\ For the Bombing Exercise Air-to-Surface, all activities were analyzed using E12 explosive bin, but smaller
  explosives are frequently used.

Proposed Testing Activities
    The number of proposed testing activities that could occur annually 
and the duration of those activities are identical to those presented 
in Tables 5 through 8 of the 2018 HSTT final rule, and are not repeated 
here. Similar to the 2017 Navy application, the Navy's proposed testing 
activities here are based on the level of testing activities 
anticipated to be conducted into the reasonably foreseeable future, 
with adjustments that account for changes in the types and tempo 
(increases or decreases) of testing activities to meet current and 
future military readiness requirements. The number of proposed testing 
activities that could occur for the seven-year period are presented in 
Tables 2 through 5.

Naval Air Systems Command

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

 Table 2--Proposed Naval Air Systems Command Testing Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in the HSTT Study
                                                      Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                        7-Year
  Stressor category      Activity name      Description       Source bin            Location           number of
                                                                                                        events
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Anti-Submarine Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    This event is     MF5, TORP1.....  HRC.....................         134
                        Warfare Torpedo   similar to the                    SOCAL...................         353
                        Test.             training event
                                          torpedo
                                          exercise. Test
                                          evaluates anti-
                                          submarine
                                          warfare systems
                                          onboard rotary-
                                          wing and fixed-
                                          wing aircraft
                                          and the ability
                                          to search for,
                                          detect,
                                          classify,
                                          localize,
                                          track, and
                                          attack a
                                          submarine or
                                          similar target.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Anti-Submarine    This event is     MF4, MF5, E3...  SOCAL...................         414
                        Warfare           similar to the
                        Tracking Test--   training event
                        Helicopter.       anti-submarine
                                          tracking
                                          exercise--helic
                                          opter. The test
                                          evaluates the
                                          sensors and
                                          systems used to
                                          detect and
                                          track
                                          submarines and
                                          to ensure that
                                          helicopter
                                          systems used to
                                          deploy the
                                          tracking
                                          systems perform
                                          to
                                          specifications.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Anti-Submarine    The test          ASW2, ASW5,      HRC.....................         399
                        Warfare           evaluates the     MF5, MF6, E1,   SOCAL...................         436
                        Tracking Test--   sensors and       E3.
                        Maritime Patrol   systems used by
                        Aircraft.         maritime patrol
                                          aircraft to
                                          detect and
                                          track
                                          submarines and
                                          to ensure that
                                          aircraft
                                          systems used to
                                          deploy the
                                          tracking
                                          systems perform
                                          to
                                          specifications
                                          and meet
                                          operational
                                          requirements.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Sonobuoy Lot      Sonobuoys are     ASW2, ASW5,      SOCAL...................       1,120
                        Acceptance Test.  deployed from     HF5, HF6, LF4,
                                          surface vessels   MF5, MF6, E1,
                                          and aircraft to   E3, E4.
                                          verify the
                                          integrity and
                                          performance of
                                          a lot or group
                                          of sonobuoys in
                                          advance of
                                          delivery to the
                                          fleet for
                                          operational use.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Mine Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Airborne Dipping  A mine-hunting    HF4............  SOCAL...................          24
                        Sonar             dipping sonar
                        Minehunting       system that is
                        Test.             deployed from a
                                          helicopter and
                                          uses high-
                                          frequency sonar
                                          for the
                                          detection and
                                          classification
                                          of bottom and
                                          moored mines.

[[Page 48394]]

 
Explosive............  Airborne Mine     A test of the     E4.............  SOCAL...................         117
                        Neutralization    airborne mine
                        System Test.      neutralization
                                          system that
                                          evaluates the
                                          system's
                                          ability to
                                          detect and
                                          destroy mines
                                          from an
                                          airborne mine
                                          countermeasures
                                          capable
                                          helicopter
                                          (e.g., MH-60).
                                          The airborne
                                          mine
                                          neutralization
                                          system uses up
                                          to four
                                          unmanned
                                          underwater
                                          vehicles
                                          equipped with
                                          high-frequency
                                          sonar, video
                                          cameras, and
                                          explosive and
                                          non-explosive
                                          neutralizers.
Acoustic.............  Airborne          A mine-hunting    HF6............  SOCAL...................          33
                        Sonobuoy          system made up
                        Minehunting       of sonobuoys
                        Test.             deployed from a
                                          helicopter. A
                                          field of
                                          sonobuoys,
                                          using high-
                                          frequency
                                          sonar, is used
                                          for detection
                                          and
                                          classification
                                          of bottom and
                                          moored mines.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Surface Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive............  Air-to-Surface    This event is     E9.............  HRC.....................          56
                        Bombing Test.     similar to the                    SOCAL...................          98
                                          training event
                                          bombing
                                          exercise air-to-
                                          surface. Fixed-
                                          wing aircraft
                                          test the
                                          delivery of
                                          bombs against
                                          surface
                                          maritime
                                          targets with
                                          the goal of
                                          evaluating the
                                          bomb, the bomb
                                          carry and
                                          delivery
                                          system, and any
                                          associated
                                          systems that
                                          may have been
                                          newly developed
                                          or enhanced.
Explosive............  Air-to-Surface    This event is     E1.............  HRC.....................          35
                        Gunnery Test.     similar to the                    SOCAL...................         330
                                          training event
                                          gunnery
                                          exercise air-to-
                                          surface. Fixed-
                                          wing and rotary-
                                          wing aircrews
                                          evaluate new or
                                          enhanced
                                          aircraft guns
                                          against surface
                                          maritime
                                          targets to test
                                          that the gun,
                                          gun ammunition,
                                          or associated
                                          systems meet
                                          required
                                          specifications
                                          or to train
                                          aircrew in the
                                          operation of a
                                          new or enhanced
                                          weapons system.
Explosive............  Air-to-Surface    This event is     E6, E9, E10....  HRC.....................         126
                        Missile Test.     similar to the                    SOCAL...................         384
                                          training event
                                          missile
                                          exercise air-to-
                                          surface. Test
                                          may involve
                                          both fixed-wing
                                          and rotary-wing
                                          aircraft
                                          launching
                                          missiles at
                                          surface
                                          maritime
                                          targets to
                                          evaluate the
                                          weapons system
                                          or as part of
                                          another systems
                                          integration
                                          test.
Explosive............  Rocket Test.....  Rocket tests are  E3.............  HRC.....................          14
                                          conducted to                      SOCAL...................         142
                                          evaluate the
                                          integration,
                                          accuracy,
                                          performance,
                                          and safe
                                          separation of
                                          guided and
                                          unguided 2.75-
                                          inch rockets
                                          fired from a
                                          hovering or
                                          forward flying
                                          helicopter or
                                          tilt rotor
                                          aircraft.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Other Testing Activities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Kilo Dip........  Functional check  MF4............  SOCAL...................          12
                                          of a helicopter
                                          deployed
                                          dipping sonar
                                          system (e.g.,
                                          AN/AQS-22)
                                          prior to
                                          conducting a
                                          testing or
                                          training event
                                          using the
                                          dipping sonar
                                          system.
Acoustic.............  Undersea Range    Post              MF9............  HRC.....................         129
                        System Test.      installation
                                          node survey and
                                          test and
                                          periodic
                                          testing of
                                          range node
                                          transmit
                                          functionality.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex.

Naval Sea Systems Command

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

 Table 3--Proposed Naval Sea Systems Command Testing Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in the HSTT Study
                                                      Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                        7-Year
  Stressor category      Activity name      Description       Source bin            Location           number of
                                                                                                        events
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Anti-Submarine Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Anti-Submarine    Ships and their   ASW1, ASW2,      HRC.....................         154
                        Warfare Mission   supporting        ASW3, ASW5,     SOCAL...................         161
                        Package Testing.  platforms         MF1, MF4, MF5,
                                          (e.g., rotary-    MF12, TORP1.
                                          wing aircraft
                                          and unmanned
                                          aerial systems)
                                          detect,
                                          localize, and
                                          prosecute
                                          submarines.
Acoustic.............  At-Sea Sonar      At-sea testing    ASW3, ASW4,      HRC.....................         109
                        Testing.          to ensure         HF1, LF4, LF5,  HRC-SOCAL...............           7
                                          systems are       M3, MF1, MF1K,  SOCAL...................         138
                                          fully             MF2, MF3, MF5,
                                          functional in     MF9, MF10,
                                          an open ocean     MF11.
                                          environment.
Acoustic.............  Countermeasure    Countermeasure    ASW3, ASW4,      HRC.....................          56
                        Testing.          testing           HF5, TORP1,     HRC-SOCAL...............          28
                                          involves the      TORP2.          SOCAL...................          77
                                          testing of                        HSTT Transit Corridor...          14
                                          systems that
                                          will detect,
                                          localize, and
                                          track incoming
                                          weapons,
                                          including
                                          marine vessel
                                          targets.
                                          Testing
                                          includes
                                          surface ship
                                          torpedo defense
                                          systems and
                                          marine vessel
                                          stopping
                                          payloads.
Acoustic.............  Pierside Sonar    Pierside testing  HF1, HF3, HF8,   Pearl Harbor, HI........          49
                        Testing.          to ensure         M3, MF1, MF3,   San Diego, CA...........          49
                                          systems are       MF9.
                                          fully
                                          functional in a
                                          controlled
                                          pierside
                                          environment
                                          prior to at-sea
                                          test activities.
Acoustic.............  Submarine Sonar   Pierside and at-  HF1, HF3, M3,    HRC.....................          28
                        Testing/          sea testing of    MF3.            Pearl Harbor, HI........         119
                        Maintenance.      submarine                         San Diego, CA...........         168
                                          systems occurs
                                          periodically
                                          following major
                                          maintenance
                                          periods and for
                                          routine
                                          maintenance.
Acoustic.............  Surface Ship      Pierside and at-  ASW3, MF1,       HRC.....................          21
                        Sonar Testing/    sea testing of    MF1K, MF9,      Pearl Harbor, HI........          21
                        Maintenance.      ship systems      MF10.           San Diego, CA...........          21
                                          occurs                            SOCAL...................          21
                                          periodically
                                          following major
                                          maintenance
                                          periods and for
                                          routine
                                          maintenance.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Torpedo           Air, surface, or  ASW3, HF1, HF5,  HRC (W188)..............          56
                        (Explosive)       submarine crews   HF6, MF1, MF3,  HRC (W188) SOCAL........          21
                        Testing.          employ            MF4, MF5, MF6,  SOCAL...................          56
                                          explosive and     TORP1, TORP2,
                                          non-explosive     E8, E11.
                                          torpedoes
                                          against
                                          artificial
                                          targets.

[[Page 48395]]

 
Acoustic.............  Torpedo (Non-     Air, surface, or  ASW3, ASW4,      HRC.....................          56
                        Explosive)        submarine crews   HF1, HF6, M3,   HRC SOCAL...............          63
                        Testing.          employ non-       MF1, MF3, MF4,  SOCAL...................          56
                                          explosive         MF5, MF6,
                                          torpedoes         TORP1, TORP2,
                                          against           TORP3.
                                          submarines or
                                          surface vessels.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Mine Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive, Acoustic..  Mine              Air, surface,     HF4, E4........  SOCAL...................          70
                        Countermeasure    and subsurface
                        and               vessels
                        Neutralization    neutralize
                        Testing.          threat mines
                                          and mine-like
                                          objects.
Explosive, Acoustic..  Mine              Vessels and       HF4, SAS2, E4..  HRC.....................         118
                        Countermeasure    associated                        SOCAL...................         406
                        Mission Package   aircraft
                        Testing.          conduct mine
                                          countermeasure
                                          operations.
Acoustic.............  Mine Detection    Air, surface,     HF1, HF8, MF1,   HRC.....................          14
                        and               and subsurface    MF5.            HRC SOCAL...............          10
                        Classification    vessels detect                    SOCAL...................          77
                        Testing.          and classify
                                          mines and mine-
                                          like objects.
                                          Vessels also
                                          assess their
                                          potential
                                          susceptibility
                                          to mines and
                                          mine-like
                                          objects.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Surface Warfare
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive............  Gun Testing--     Surface crews     E3.............  HRC.....................          49
                        Large-Caliber.    defend against                    HRC-SOCAL...............         504
                                          surface targets                   SOCAL...................          49
                                          with large-
                                          caliber guns.
Explosive............  Gun Testing--     Surface crews     E1.............  HRC.....................          28
                        Medium-Caliber.   defend against                    HRC-SOCAL...............         336
                                          surface targets                   SOCAL...................          28
                                          with medium-
                                          caliber guns.
Explosive............  Missile and       Missile and       E6.............  HRC.....................          91
                        Rocket Testing.   rocket testing                    HRC-SOCAL...............         168
                                          includes                          SOCAL...................         140
                                          various
                                          missiles or
                                          rockets fired
                                          from submarines
                                          and surface
                                          combatants.
                                          Testing of the
                                          launching
                                          system and ship
                                          defense is
                                          performed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Unmanned Systems
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Unmanned Surface  Testing involves  HF4, SAS2......  HRC.....................          21
                        Vehicle System    the production                    SOCAL...................          28
                        Testing.          or upgrade of
                                          unmanned
                                          surface
                                          vehicles. This
                                          may include
                                          tests of mine
                                          detection
                                          capabilities,
                                          evaluations of
                                          the basic
                                          functions of
                                          individual
                                          platforms, or
                                          complex events
                                          with multiple
                                          vehicles.
Acoustic.............  Unmanned          Testing involves  HF4, MF9.......  HRC.....................          21
                        Underwater        the production                    SOCAL...................       2,037
                        Vehicle Testing.  or upgrade of
                                          unmanned
                                          underwater
                                          vehicles. This
                                          may include
                                          tests of mine
                                          detection
                                          capabilities,
                                          evaluations of
                                          the basic
                                          functions of
                                          individual
                                          platforms, or
                                          complex events
                                          with multiple
                                          vehicles.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Vessel Evaluation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Submarine Sea     Submarine         HF1, M3, MF3,    HRC.....................           7
                        Trials-Weapons    weapons and       MF9, MF10,      SOCAL...................           7
                        System Testing.   sonar systems     TORP2.
                                          are tested at-
                                          sea to meet the
                                          integrated
                                          combat system
                                          certification
                                          requirements.
Explosive............  Surface Warfare   Tests the         E1, E5, E8.....  HRC.....................          63
                        Testing.          capabilities of                   HRC-SOCAL...............         441
                                          shipboard                         SOCAL...................         102
                                          sensors to
                                          detect, track,
                                          and engage
                                          surface
                                          targets.
                                          Testing may
                                          include ships
                                          defending
                                          against surface
                                          targets using
                                          explosive and
                                          non-explosive
                                          rounds, gun
                                          system
                                          structural test
                                          firing, and
                                          demonstration
                                          of the response
                                          to Call for
                                          Fire against
                                          land-based
                                          targets
                                          (simulated by
                                          sea-based
                                          locations).
Acoustic.............  Undersea Warfare  Ships             ASW4, HF4, HF8,  HRC.....................          49
                        Testing.          demonstrate       MF1, MF4, MF5,  HRC SOCAL...............          60
                                          capability of     MF6, TORP1,     SOCAL...................          69
                                          countermeasure    TORP2.
                                          systems and
                                          underwater
                                          surveillance,
                                          weapons
                                          engagement, and
                                          communications
                                          systems. This
                                          tests ships
                                          ability to
                                          detect, track,
                                          and engage
                                          undersea
                                          targets.
Acoustic.............  Vessel Signature  Surface ship,     ASW3...........  HRC.....................          28
                        Evaluation.       submarine and                     HRC SOCAL...............         252
                                          auxiliary                         SOCAL...................         168
                                          system
                                          signature
                                          assessments.
                                          This may
                                          include
                                          electronic,
                                          radar,
                                          acoustic,
                                          infrared and
                                          magnetic
                                          signatures.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Other Testing Activities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Insertion/        Testing of        M3, MF9........  HRC.....................           7
                        Extraction.       submersibles                      SOCAL...................           7
                                          capable of
                                          inserting and
                                          extracting
                                          personnel and
                                          payloads into
                                          denied areas
                                          from strategic
                                          distances.
Acoustic.............  Signature         Surface ship and  HF1, M3, MF9...  HRC.....................          14
                        Analysis          submarine                         SOCAL...................           7
                        Operations.       testing of
                                          electromagnetic
                                          , acoustic,
                                          optical, and
                                          radar signature
                                          measurements.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex, HSTT = Hawaii-Southern California
  Training and Testing, CA = California, HI = Hawaii.

Office of Naval Research

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

 Table 4--Proposed Office of Naval Research Testing Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in the HSTT Study
                                                      Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                        7-Year
  Stressor category      Activity name      Description       Source bin            Location           number of
                                                                                                        events
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Acoustic and Oceanographic Science and Technology
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explosive, Acoustic..  Acoustic and      Research using    AG, ASW2, BB4,   HRC.....................          14
                        Oceanographic     active            BB9, LF3, LF4,  SOCAL...................          28
                        Research.         transmissions     LF5, MF8, MF9,
                                          from sources      MF9, MF9, E3.
                                          deployed from
                                          ships and
                                          unmanned
                                          underwater
                                          vehicles.
                                          Research
                                          sources can be
                                          used as proxies
                                          for current and
                                          future Navy
                                          systems.

[[Page 48396]]

 
Acoustic.............  Long Range        Bottom mounted    LF4............  HRC.....................          21
                        Acoustic          acoustic source
                        Communications.   off of the
                                          Hawaiian Island
                                          of Kauai will
                                          transmit a
                                          variety of
                                          acoustic
                                          communications
                                          sequences.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex.

Naval Information Warfare Systems Command

    The proposed Naval Information Warfare Systems Command testing 
activities that could occur over the seven-year period within the HSTT 
Study Area are presented in Table 5.

Table 5--Proposed Naval Information Warfare Systems Command Testing Activities Analyzed for Seven-Year Period in
                                               the HSTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                        7-Year
  Stressor category      Activity name      Description       Source bin            Location           number of
                                                                                                        events
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acoustic.............  Anti-Terrorism/   Testing sensor    SD1............  San Diego, CA...........          98
                        Force             systems that                      SOCAL...................         112
                        Protection.       can detect
                                          threats to
                                          naval piers,
                                          ships, and
                                          shore
                                          infrastructure.
Acoustic.............  Communications..  Testing of        ASW2, ASW5,      HRC.....................           5
                                          underwater        HF6, LF4.       SOCAL...................          70
                                          communications
                                          and networks to
                                          extend the
                                          principles of
                                          FORCEnet below
                                          the ocean
                                          surface.
Acoustic.............  Energy and        Develop,          AG, HF2, HF7,    HRC.....................          87
                        Intelligence,     integrate, and    LF4, LF5, LF6,  SOCAL...................         357
                        Surveillance,     demonstrate       MF10.           HSTT Transit Corridor...          56
                        and               Intelligence,
                        Reconnaissance    Surveillance,
                        Sensor Systems.   and
                                          Reconnaissance
                                          systems and in-
                                          situ energy
                                          systems to
                                          support
                                          deployed
                                          systems.
Acoustic.............  Vehicle Testing.  Testing of        BB4, FLS2,       HRC.....................           8
                                          surface and       FLS3, HF6,      SOCAL...................       1,141
                                          subsurface        LF3, M3, MF9,   HSTT Transit Corridor...          14
                                          vehicles and      MF13, SAS1,
                                          sensor systems    SAS2, SAS3.
                                          that may
                                          involve
                                          Unmanned
                                          Underwater
                                          Vehicles,
                                          gliders, and
                                          Unmanned
                                          Surface
                                          Vehicles.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: HRC = Hawaii Range Complex, SOCAL = Southern California Range Complex, HSTT = Hawaii-Southern California
  Training and Testing, CA = California.

Summary of Acoustic and Explosive Sources Analyzed for Training and 
Testing

    Tables 6 through 9 show the acoustic and explosive source classes, 
bins, and numbers used, airgun sources and numbers used, and numbers of 
pile driving and removal activities associated with the Navy's proposed 
training and testing activities over a seven-year period in the HSTT 
Study Area that were analyzed in the 2019 Navy application and for this 
proposed rule. The annual numbers for acoustic source classes, 
explosive source bins, and airgun sources, as well as the annual pile 
driving and removal activities associated with Navy training and 
testing activities in the HSTT Study Area are identical to those 
presented in Tables 9 through 12 of the 2018 HSTT final rule, and are 
not repeated here. Consistent with the periodicity in the 2018 HSTT 
final rule, the Navy proposes the addition of two pile driving/
extraction activities for each of the two additional years.
    Table 6 describes the acoustic source classes (i.e., low-frequency 
(LF), mid-frequency (MF), and high-frequency (HF)) that could occur 
over seven years under the proposed training and testing activities. 
Acoustic source bin use in the proposed activities would vary annually. 
The seven-year totals for the proposed training and testing activities 
take into account that annual variability.

    Table 6--Acoustic Source Classes Analyzed and Number Used for Seven-Year Period for Training and Testing
                                        Activities in the HSTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Training         Testing
      Source class category          Bin            Description         Unit \1\ -------------------------------
                                                                                   7-year total    7-year total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low-Frequency (LF): Sources that        LF3  LF sources greater than           H               0           1,365
 produce signals less than 1 kHz.       LF4   200 dB.                          H               0           4,496
                                             LF sources equal to 180           C               0             140
                                              dB and up to 200 dB.
                                        LF5  LF sources less than 180          H              65          14,458
                                              dB.
                                        LF6  LF sources greater than           H             956             360
                                              200 dB with long pulse
                                              lengths.
Mid-Frequency (MF): Tactical and        MF1  Hull-mounted surface              H          38,489           8,692
 non-tactical sources that                    ship sonars (e.g., AN/
 produce signals between 1 and                SQS-53C and AN/SQS-61).
 10 kHz.
                                       MF1K  Kingfisher mode                   H             700              98
                                              associated with MF1
                                              sonars.
                                    MF2 \2\  Hull-mounted surface              H               0             378
                                              ship sonars (e.g., AN/
                                              SQS-56).
                                        MF3  Hull-mounted submarine            H          14,700           9,177
                                              sonars (e.g., AN/BQQ-
                                              10).
                                        MF4  Helicopter-deployed               H           2,719           2,502
                                              dipping sonars (e.g.,
                                              AN/AQS-22 and AN/AQS-
                                              13).
                                        MF5  Active acoustic                   C          40,128          38,233
                                              sonobuoys (e.g.,
                                              DICASS).

[[Page 48397]]

 
                                        MF6  Active underwater sound           C              63           8,202
                                              signal devices (e.g.,
                                              MK 84).
                                        MF8  Active sources (greater           H               0             490
                                              than 200 dB) not
                                              otherwise binned.
                                        MF9  Active sources (equal to          H               0          36,056
                                              180 dB and up to 200
                                              dB) not otherwise
                                              binned.
                                       MF10  Active sources (greater           H               0          13,104
                                              than 160 dB, but less
                                              than 180 dB) not
                                              otherwise binned.
                                       MF11  Hull-mounted surface              H           5,205             392
                                              ship sonars with an
                                              active duty cycle
                                              greater than 80%.
                                       MF12  Towed array surface ship          H           1,260           4,620
                                              sonars with an active
                                              duty cycle greater than
                                              80%.
                                       MF13  MF sonar source.........          H               0           2,100
High-Frequency (HF): Tactical           HF1  Hull-mounted submarine            H          12,550           5,403
 and non-tactical sources that    .........   sonars (e.g., AN/BQQ-    .........  ..............  ..............
 produce signals between 10 and         HF2   10).                             H               0             840
 100 kHz.                                    HF Marine Mammal
                                              Monitoring System.
                                        HF3  Other hull-mounted                H           1,919             769
                                              submarine sonars
                                              (classified).
                                        HF4  Mine detection,                   H          15,012         114,069
                                              classification, and
                                              neutralization sonar
                                              (e.g., AN/SQS-20).
                                        HF5  Active sources (greater           H               0           6,720
                                              than 200 dB) not                 C               0             280
                                              otherwise binned.
                                        HF6  Active sources (equal to          H               0           7,015
                                              180 dB and up to 200
                                              dB) not otherwise
                                              binned.
                                        HF7  Active sources (greater           H               0           9,660
                                              than 160 dB, but less
                                              than 180 dB) not
                                              otherwise binned.
                                        HF8  Hull-mounted surface              H             711           5,136
                                              ship sonars (e.g., AN/
                                              SQS-61).
Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW):          ASW1  MF systems operating              H           1,503           3,290
 Tactical sources (e.g., active        ASW2   above 200 dB.                    C           4,824          32,900
 sonobuoys and acoustic           .........  MF Multistatic Active     .........  ..............  ..............
 countermeasures systems) used         ASW3   Coherent sonobuoy                H          37,385          19,187
 during ASW training and testing              (e.g., AN/SSQ-125).
 activities.                                 MF towed active acoustic
                                              countermeasure systems
                                              (e.g., AN/SLQ-25).
                                       ASW4  MF expendable active              C           9,023          15,398
                                              acoustic device
                                              countermeasures (e.g..,
                                              MK 3).
                                   ASW5 \3\  MF sonobuoys with high            H           1,780           3,854
                                              duty cycles.
Torpedoes (TORP): Source classes      TORP1  Lightweight torpedo               C           1,605           6,454
 associated with the active       .........   (e.g., MK 46, MK 54, or  .........  ..............  ..............
 acoustic signals produced by         TORP2   Anti-Torpedo Torpedo).           C           3,515           2,756
 torpedoes.                           TORP3  Heavyweight torpedo               C               0             315
                                              (e.g., MK 48).
Forward Looking Sonar (FLS):           FLS2  HF sources with short             H             196           3,424
 Forward or upward looking        .........   pulse lengths, narrow    .........  ..............  ..............
 object avoidance sonars used     .........   beam widths, and         .........  ..............  ..............
 for ship navigation and safety.       FLS3   focused beam patterns.           H               0          18,480
                                             VHF sources with short
                                              pulse lengths, narrow
                                              beam widths, and
                                              focused beam patterns.
Acoustic Modems (M): Systems             M3  MF acoustic modems                H             274           3,623
 used to transmit data through                (greater than 190 dB).
 the water.
Swimmer Detection Sonars (SD):      SD1-SD2  HF and VHF sources with           H               0              70
 Systems used to detect divers                short pulse lengths,
 and submerged swimmers.                      used for the detection
                                              of swimmers and other
                                              objects for the purpose
                                              of port security.
Synthetic Aperture Sonars (SAS):       SAS1  MF SAS systems..........          H               0          13,720
 Sonars in which active acoustic       SAS2  HF SAS systems..........          H           6,297          60,088
 signals are post-processed to         SAS3  VHF SAS systems.........          H               0          32,200
 form high-resolution images of        SAS4  MF to HF broadband mine           H             294               0
 the seafloor.                                countermeasure sonar.
Broadband Sound Sources (BB):           BB4  LF to MF oceanographic            H               0           6,414
 Sonar systems with large               BB7   source.                          C               0             196
 frequency spectra, used for            BB9  LF oceanographic source.          H               0           3,360
 various purposes.                           MF optoacoustic source..
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ H = hours; C = count (e.g., number of individual pings or individual sonobuoys).
\2\ MF2/MF2K are sources on frigate class ships, which were decommissioned during Phase II.
\3\ Formerly ASW2 (H) in Phase II.
Notes: dB = decibel(s), kHz = kilohertz, VHF = very high frequency.


[[Page 48398]]

    Table 7 describes the number of air gun shots that could occur over 
seven years under the proposed training and testing activities.

          Table 7--Training and Testing Air Gun Sources Quantitatively Analyzed in the HSTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Training         Testing
            Source class category                   Bin            Unit \1\    ---------------------------------
                                                                                  7-year total     7-year total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Air Guns (AG): small underwater air guns....              AG                 C               0            5,908
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ C = count. One count (C) of AG is equivalent to 100 air gun firings.

    Table 8 summarizes the impact pile driving and vibratory pile 
removal activities that would occur during a 24-hour period. Annually, 
for impact pile driving, the Navy will drive 119 piles, two times a 
year for a total of 238 piles. Over the seven-year period of the rule, 
the Navy will drive a total of 1,666 piles by impact pile driving. 
Annually, for vibratory pile extraction, the Navy will extract 119 
piles, two times a year for a total of 238 piles. Over the seven-year 
period of the rule, the Navy will extract a total of 1,666 piles by 
vibratory pile extraction.

        Table 8--Summary of Pile Driving and Removal Activities per 24-Hour Period in the HSTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       Total
                                                                                                  estimated time
                             Method                                Piles per 24-   Time per pile   of noise per
                                                                    hour period      (minutes)    24-hour period
                                                                                                     (minutes)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pile Driving (Impact)...........................................               6              15              90
Pile Removal (Vibratory)........................................              12               6              72
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 9 describes the number of in-water explosives that could be 
used in any year under the proposed training and testing activities. 
Under the proposed activities bin use would vary annually, and the 
seven-year totals for the proposed training and testing activities take 
into account that annual variability.

     Table 9--Explosive Source Bins Analyzed and Number Used for Seven-Year Period for Training and Testing
                                      Activities Within the HSTT Study Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Modeled         Training         Testing
                         Net explosive     Example explosive       underwater    -------------------------------
         Bin             weight  (lb.)           source            detonation
                              \1\                                 depths (ft.)     7-year total    7-year total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E1...................  0.1-0.25........  Medium-caliber         0.3, 60.........          20,580          87,012
                                          projectiles.
E2...................  >0.25-0.5.......  Medium-caliber         0.3, 50.........          12,222               0
                                          projectiles.
E3...................  >0.5-2.5........  Large-caliber          0.3, 60.........          19,579          20,848
                                          projectiles.
E4...................  >2.5-5..........  Mine neutralization    10, 16, 33, 50,              266           4,372
                                          charge.                61, 65, 650.
E5...................  >5-10...........  5 in. projectiles....  0.3, 10, 50.....          33,310           9,800
E6...................  >10-20..........  Hellfire missile.....  0.3, 10, 50, 60.           4,056             230
E7...................  >20-60..........  Demo block/shaped      10, 50, 60......              91               0
                                          charge.
E8...................  >60-100.........  Lightweight torpedo..  0.3, 150........             241             399
E9...................  >100-250........  500 lb. bomb.........  0.3.............           2,950              28
E10..................  >250-500........  Harpoon missile......  0.3.............           1,543             210
E11..................  >500-650........  650 lb. mine.........  61, 150.........              69              84
E12..................  >650-1,000......  2,000 lb. bomb.......  0.3.............             114               0
E13..................  >1,000-1,740....  Multiple Mat Weave     NA \2\..........              63               0
                                          charges.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Net Explosive Weight refers to the amount of explosives; the actual weight of a munition may be larger due
  to other components.
\2\ Not modeled because charge is detonated in surf zone; not a single E13 charge, but multiple smaller charges
  detonated in quick succession.
Notes: in. = inch(es), lb. = pound(s), ft. = feet.

Vessel Movement

    Vessels used as part of the Planned Activities include ships, 
submarines, unmanned vessels, and boats ranging in size from small, 22 
ft (7 m) rigid hull inflatable boats to aircraft carriers with lengths 
up to 1,092 ft (333 m). The average speed of large Navy ships ranges 
between 10 and 15 knots and submarines generally operate at speeds in 
the range of 8-13 knots (kn), while a few specialized vessels can 
travel at faster speeds. Small craft (for purposes of this analysis, 
less than 18 m in length) have much more variable speeds (0-50+ kn, 
dependent on the activity), but generally range from 10 to 14 kn. From 
unpublished Navy data, average median speed for large Navy ships in the 
HSTT Study Area from 2011-2015 varied from 5-10 kn with variations by 
ship class and location (i.e., slower speeds close to the coast). While 
these speeds for large and small craft are representative of most 
events, some vessels need to temporarily operate outside of these 
parameters. A full description of Navy vessels that are used during 
training and testing activities can be found in the 2017 Navy

[[Page 48399]]

application and Chapter 2 (Description of Proposed Action and 
Alternatives) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS.
    The number of Navy vessels used in the HSTT Study Area varies based 
on military training and testing requirements, deployment schedules, 
annual budgets, and other dynamic factors. Most training and testing 
activities involve the use of vessels. These activities could be widely 
dispersed throughout the HSTT Study Area, but would typically be 
conducted near naval ports, piers, and range areas. Navy vessel traffic 
would be especially concentrated near San Diego, California and Pearl 
Harbor, Hawaii. There is no seasonal differentiation in Navy vessel use 
because of continual operational requirements from Combatant 
Commanders. The majority of large vessel traffic occurs between the 
installations and the OPAREAs. Support craft would be more concentrated 
in the coastal waters in the areas of naval installations, ports, and 
ranges. Activities involving vessel movements occur intermittently and 
are variable in duration, ranging from a few hours up to weeks.
    The Navy proposes no changes to the manner in which Navy vessels 
would be used during training and testing activities, the speeds at 
which they operate, the number of vessels that would be used during 
various activities, or the locations in which Navy vessel movement 
would be concentrated within the HSTT Study Area from those analyzed in 
the 2018 HSTT final rule. The only change related to the Navy's request 
regarding Navy vessel movement is the vessel use associated with the 
additional two years of Navy activities.

Standard Operating Procedures

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

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

    Marine mammal species and their associated stocks that have the 
potential to occur in the HSTT Study Area are presented in Table 10 
along with the best/minimum abundance estimate and associated 
coefficient of variation value. Consistent with the 2018 HSTT final 
rule, the Navy still anticipates the take of individuals from 38 marine 
mammal species by Level A harassment and Level B harassment incidental 
to training and testing activities from the use of sonar and other 
transducers, in-water detonations, air guns, and impact pile driving/
vibratory extraction activities. The Navy requested authorization for 
13 serious injuries or mortalities combined of two marine mammal stocks 
from explosives, and three takes of large whales by serious injury or 
mortality from vessel strikes over the seven-year period. Two marine 
mammal species, the Hawaiian monk seal and the Main Hawaiian Islands 
Insular Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of false killer whale, have 
critical habitat designated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 
the HSTT Study Area.
    We presented a detailed discussion of marine mammals and their 
occurrence in the HSTT Study Area, inclusive of important marine mammal 
habitat (e.g., ESA-designated critical habitat), biologically important 
areas (BIAs), national marine sanctuaries (NMSs), and unusual mortality 
events (UMEs) in the 2018 HSTT proposed rule and 2018 HSTT final rule; 
please see these rules and the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications for 
additional information. There have been no changes to important marine 
mammal habitat, BIAs, NMSs, or ESA designated critical habitat since 
the issuance of the 2018 HSTT final rule; therefore the information 
that supports our determinations here can be found in the 2018 HSTT 
proposed and final rules. NMFS has reviewed the most recent 2018 final 
Stock Assessment Reports (SARs); information on relevant UMEs; and 
other scientific literature, and determined that none of these nor any 
other new information changes our determination of which species or 
stocks have the potential to be affected by the Navy's activities or 
the pertinent information in the Description of Marine Mammals and 
Their Habitat in the Area of the Specified Activities section in the 
2018 HSTT proposed and final rules. Therefore the information presented 
in those sections of the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules remains 
current and valid.
    The species considered but not carried forward for analysis are two 
American Samoa stocks of spinner dolphins--(1) the Kure and Midway 
stock and (2) the Pearl and Hermes stock. There is no potential for 
overlap with any stressors from Navy activities and therefore there 
would be no incidental takes, in which case, these stocks are not 
considered further.

[[Page 48400]]



                                                                  Table 10--Marine Mammal Occurrence Within the HSTT Study Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                            Status                                                                            Stock  abundance
         Common name            Scientific name        Stock      ----------------------------------------------------------    Occurrence           Seasonal absence           (CV)/minimum
                                                                                MMPA                         ESA                                                                 population
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blue whale...................  Balaenoptera      Eastern North     Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Southern          ...........................  1,647 (0.07)/1,551.
                                musculus.         Pacific.                                                                    California.
                                                 Central North     Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Hawaii..........  Summer.....................  133 (1.09)/63.
                                                  Pacific.
Bryde's whale................  Balaenoptera      Eastern Tropical  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  unknown.
                                brydei/edeni.     Pacific.                                                                    California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  1,751 (0.29)/1,378.
Fin whale....................  Balaenoptera      CA/OR/WA........  Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Southern          ...........................  9,029 (0.12)/8,127.
                                physalus.                                                                                     California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Hawaii..........  Summer.....................  154 (1.05)/75.
Gray whale...................  Eschrichtius      Eastern North     .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  26,960 (0.05)/
                                robustus.         Pacific.                                                                    California.                                    25,849.
                                                 Western North     Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Southern          ...........................  290 (NA)/271.
                                                  Pacific.                                                                    California.
Humpback whale...............  Megaptera         CA/OR/WA........  Strategic, Depleted..........  Threatened/ Endangered     Southern          ...........................  2,900 (0.05)/2,784.
                                novaeangliae.                                                      \1\.                       California.
                                                 Central North     Strategic....................  .........................  Hawaii..........  Summer.....................  10,103 (0.30)/7,891.
                                                  Pacific.
Minke whale..................  Balaenoptera      CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  636 (0.72)/369.
                                acutorostrata.                                                                                California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  Summer.....................  unknown.
Sei whale....................  Balaenoptera      Eastern North     Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Southern          ...........................  519 (0.40)/374.
                                borealis.         Pacific.                                                                    California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Hawaii..........  Summer.....................  391 (0.90)/204.
Sperm whale..................  Physeter          CA/OR/WA........  Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Southern          ...........................  1,997 (0.57)/1,270.
                                macrocephalus.                                                                                California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Hawaii..........  ...........................  4,559 (0.33)/3,478.
Pygmy sperm whale............  Kogia breviceps.  CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          Winter and Fall............  4,111 (1.12)/1,924.
                                                                                                                              California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  unknown.
Dwarf sperm whale............  Kogia sima......  CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  unknown.
                                                                                                                              California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  unknown.
Baird's beaked whale.........  Berardius         CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  2,697 (0.60)/1,633.
                                bairdii.                                                                                      California.
Blainville's beaked whale....  Mesoplodon        Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  2,105 (1.13)/980.
                                densirostris.
Cuvier's beaked whale........  Ziphius           CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  3,274 (0.67)/2,059.
                                cavirostris.                                                                                  California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  723 0.69/428.
Longman's beaked whale.......  Indopacetus       Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  7,619 (0.66)/4,592.
                                pacificus.
Mesoplodon beaked whales.....  Mesoplodon spp..  CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  3,044 (0.54)/1,967.
                                                                                                                              California.
Common Bottlenose dolphin....  Tursiops          California        .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  453 (0.06)/346.
                                truncatus.        Coastal.                                                                    California.
                                                 CA/OR/WA          .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  1,924 (0.54)/1,255.
                                                  Offshore.                                                                   California.
                                                 Hawaii Pelagic..  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  21,815 (0.57)/
                                                                                                                                                                             13,957.
                                                 Kauai and Niihau  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  NA NA/97.
                                                 Oahu............  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  NA.
                                                 4-Islands.......  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  NA.
                                                 Hawaii Island...  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  NA NA/91.
False killer whale...........  Pseudorca         Main Hawaiian     Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Hawaii..........  ...........................  167 (0.14)/149.
                                crassidens.       Islands Insular.
                                                 Hawaii Pelagic..  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  1,540 (0.66)/928.
                                                 Northwestern      .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  617 (1.11)/290.
                                                  Hawaiian
                                                  Islands.
Fraser's dolphin.............  Lagenodelphis     Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  51,491 (0.66)/
                                hosei.                                                                                                                                       31,034.
Killer whale.................  Orcinus orca....  Eastern North     .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  300 (0.1)/276.
                                                  Pacific                                                                     California.
                                                  Offshore.
                                                 Eastern North     .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  243 unknown/243.
                                                  Pacific                                                                     California.
                                                  Transient/West
                                                  Coast
                                                  Transient\2\.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  146 (0.96)/74.
Long-beaked common dolphin...  Delphinus         California......  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  101,305 (0.49)/
                                capensis.                                                                                     California.                                    68,432.
Melon-headed whale...........  Peponocephala     Hawaiian Islands  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  8,666 (1.00)/4,299.
                                electra.
                                                 Kohala Resident.  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  447 (0.12)/404.
Northern right whale dolphin.  Lissodelphis      CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  26,556 (0.44)/
                                borealis.                                                                                     California.                                    18,608.
Pacific white-sided dolphin..  Lagenorhynchus    CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  26,814 (0.28)/
                                obliquidens.                                                                                  California.                                    21,195.
Pantropical spotted dolphin..  Stenella          Oahu............  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  unknown.
                                attenuata.
                                                 4-Islands.......  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  unknown.
                                                 Hawaii Island...  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  unknown.
                                                 Hawaii Pelagic..  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  55,795 (0.40)/
                                                                                                                                                                             40,338.
Pygmy killer whale...........  Feresa attenuata  Tropical........  .............................  .........................  Southern          Winter & Spring............  unknown.
                                                                                                                              California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  10,640 (0.53)/6,998.
Risso's dolphins.............  Grampus griseus.  CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  6,336 (0.32)/4,817.
                                                                                                                              California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  11,613 (0.43)/8,210.

[[Page 48401]]

 
Rough-toothed dolphin........  Steno             NSD\3\..........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  unknown.
                                bredanensis.                                                                                  California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  72,528 (0.39)/
                                                                                                                                                                             52,833.
Short-beaked common dolphin..  Delphinus         CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  969,861 (0.17)/
                                delphis.                                                                                      California.                                    839,325.
Short-finned pilot whale.....  Globicephala      CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  836 (0.79)/466.
                                macrorhynchus.                                                                                California.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  19,503 (0.49)/
                                                                                                                                                                             13,197.
Spinner dolphin..............  Stenella          Hawaii Pelagic..  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  unknown.
                                longirostris.
                                                 Hawaii Island...  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  665 (0.09)/617.
                                                 Oahu and 4-       .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  NA.
                                                  Islands.
                                                 Kauai and Niihau  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  NA.
                                                 Kure and Midway.  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  unknown.
                                                 Pearl and Hermes  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  unknown.
Striped dolphin..............  Stenella          CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  29,211 (0.20)/
                                coeruleoalba.                                                                                 California.                                    24,782.
                                                 Hawaii..........  .............................  .........................  Hawaii..........  ...........................  61,021 (0.38)/
                                                                                                                                                                             44,922.
Dall's porpoise..............  Phocoenoides      CA/OR/WA........  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  25,750 (0.45)/17,954
                                dalli.                                                                                        California.
Harbor seal..................  Phoca vitulina..  California......  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  30,968 (NA)/27,348.
                                                                                                                              California.
Hawaiian monk seal...........  Neomonachus       Hawaii..........  Strategic, Depleted..........  Endangered...............  Hawaii..........  ...........................  1,415 (0.03)/1,384.
                                schauinslandi.
Northern elephant seal.......  Mirounga          California......  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  179,000 (NA)/81,368.
                                angustirostris.                                                                               California.
California sea lion..........  Zalophus          U.S. Stock......  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  257,606 (NA)/
                                californianus.                                                                                California.                                    233,515.
Guadalupe fur seal...........  Arctocephalus     Mexico to         Strategic, Depleted..........  Threatened...............  Southern          ...........................  20,000 (NA)/15,830.
                                townsendi.        California.                                                                 California.
Northern fur seal............  Callorhinus       California......  .............................  .........................  Southern          ...........................  14,050 (NA)/7,524.
                                ursinus.                                                                                      California.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The two humpback whale Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) making up the California, Oregon, and Washington (CA/OR/WA) stock present in Southern California are the Mexico DPS, listed under
  the ESA as Threatened, and the Central America DPS, which is listed under the ESA as Endangered.
\2\ This stock is mentioned briefly in the Pacific Stock Assessment Report (Carretta et al., 2017) and referred to as the ``Eastern North Pacific Transient'' stock; however, the Alaska Stock
  Assessment Report contains assessments of all transient killer whale stocks in the Pacific and the Alaska Stock Assessment Report refers to this same stock as the ``West Coast Transient''
  stock (Muto et al., 2017).
\3\ NSD--No stock designation. Rough-toothed dolphin has a range known to include the waters off Southern California, but there is no recognized stock or data available for the U.S West Coast.


[[Page 48402]]

Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their 
Habitat

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

Unusual Mortality Events (UME)

    An UME is defined under Section 410(6) of the MMPA as a stranding 
that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal 
population; and demands immediate response. From 1991 to the present, 
there have been 17 formally recognized UMEs affecting marine mammals in 
California and Hawaii and involving species under NMFS' jurisdiction. 
Three UMEs that could be relevant to informing the current analysis are 
discussed below. Specifically, the California sea lion UME in 
California is still open, but will be closed soon. The Guadalupe fur 
seal UME in California and the gray whale UME along the west coast of 
North America are active and involve ongoing investigations.
California Sea Lion UME
    From January 2013 through September 2016, a greater than expected 
number of young malnourished California sea lions (Zalophus 
californianus) stranded along the coast of California. Sea lions 
stranding from an early age (6-8 months old) through two years of age 
(hereafter referred to as juveniles) were consistently underweight 
without other disease processes detected. Of the 8,122 stranded 
juveniles attributed to the UME, 93 percent stranded alive (n=7,587, 
with 3,418 of these released after rehabilitation) and 7 percent 
(n=531) stranded dead. Several factors are hypothesized to have 
impacted the ability of nursing females and young sea lions to acquire 
adequate nutrition for successful pup rearing and juvenile growth. In 
late 2012, decreased anchovy and sardine recruitment (CalCOFI data, 
July 2013) may have led to nutritionally stressed adult females. 
Biotoxins were present at various times throughout the UME, and while 
they were not detected in the stranded juvenile sea lions (whose 
stomachs were empty at the time of stranding), biotoxins may have 
impacted the adult females' ability to support their dependent pups by 
affecting their cognitive function (e.g. navigation, behavior towards 
their offspring). Therefore, the role of biotoxins in this UME, via its 
possible impact on adult females' ability to support their pups, is 
unclear. The proposed primary cause of the UME was malnutrition of sea 
lion pups and yearlings due to ecological factors. These factors 
included shifts in distribution, abundance and/or quality of sea lion 
prey items around the Channel Island rookeries during critical sea lion 
life history events (nursing by adult females, and transitioning from 
milk to prey by young sea lions). These prey shifts were most likely 
driven by unusual oceanographic conditions at the time due to the 
``Warm Water Blob'' and El Ni[ntilde]o. This investigation will soon be 
closed. Please refer to: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2013-2017-california-sea-lion-unusual-mortality-event-california for more information on this UME.
Guadalupe Fur Seal UME
    Increased strandings of Guadalupe fur seals began along the entire 
coast of California in January 2015 and were eight times higher than 
the historical average (approximately 10 seals/yr). Strandings have 
continued since 2015 and have remained well above average through 2017. 
Strandings have continued since 2015 and remained well above average 
through 2019. Numbers by year are as follows: 2015 (98), 2016 (76), 
2017 (61), 2018 (45), 2019 (104, as of June 28, 2019). The total number 
of Guadalupe fur seals from January 1, 2015, through June 28, 2019, in 
the UME is 438. Additionally, strandings of Guadalupe fur seals became 
elevated in the spring of 2019 in Washington and Oregon, subsequently 
strandings for seals in these two states have been added to the UME 
starting from January 1, 2019. The current total number of strandings 
for 2019 in Washington and Oregon is 55 seals as of June 28, 2019. 
Strandings are seasonal and generally peak in April through June of 
each year. The Guadalupe fur seal strandings have been mostly weaned 
pups and juveniles (1-2 years old) with both live and dead strandings 
occurring. Current findings from the majority of stranded animals 
include primary malnutrition with secondary bacterial and parasitic 
infections. This California portion of this UME is occurring in the 
same area as the 2013-2016 California sea lion UME. This investigation 
is ongoing. Please refer to: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2015-2019-guadalupe-fur-seal-unusual-mortality-event-california for more information on this UME.
Gray Whale UME
    Since January 1, 2019, elevated gray whale strandings have occurred 
along the west coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada. As of 
June 28, 2019, there have been a total of 170 strandings along the 
coasts of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with 84 of those strandings 
occurring along the U.S. coast. Partial necropsy examinations conducted 
on a subset of stranded whales have shown evidence of emaciation. As 
part of the UME investigation process, NOAA is assembling an 
independent team of scientists to coordinate with the Working Group on 
Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events to review the data collected, 
sample stranded whales, and determine the next steps for the 
investigation. Please refer to: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2019-gray-whale-unusual-mortality-event-along-west-coast for more information on this UME.

New Pertinent Science Since Publication of the 2018 HSTT Final Rule

    Southall et al. (2019a) evaluated Southall et al. (2007) and used 
updated scientific information to propose revised noise exposure 
criteria to predict onset of auditory effects in marine mammals (i.e., 
PTS and TTS onset). Southall et al. (2019a) note that the quantitative 
processes described and the resulting exposure criteria (i.e., 
thresholds and auditory weighting functions) are largely identical to 
those in Finneran (2016) and NMFS (2016 and 2018).

[[Page 48403]]

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

Estimated Take of Marine Mammals

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

[[Page 48404]]

Acoustic Thresholds

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

Navy's Acoustic Effects Model

    The Navy proposes no changes to the Acoustic Effects Model as 
described in the 2018 HSTT final rule and there is no new information 
that would affect the applicability or validity of the model. Please 
see the 2018 HSTT final and proposed rules and Appendix E of the 2018 
HSTT FEIS/OEIS for detailed information.

Range to Effects

    The Navy proposes no changes from the 2018 HSTT final rule to the 
type and nature of the specified activities to be conducted during the 
seven-year period analyzed in this proposed rule, including equipment 
and sources used and exercises conducted. There is also no new 
information that would affect the applicability or validity of the 
ranges to effects previously analyzed for these activities. Therefore 
the ranges to effects in this proposed rule are identical to those 
described and analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, including received 
sound levels that may cause onset of significant behavioral response 
and TTS and PTS in hearing for each source type or explosives that may 
cause non-auditory injury. Please see the Range to Effects section and 
Tables 24 through 40 of the 2018 HSTT final rule for detailed 
information.

Marine Mammal Density

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

Take Requests

    As in the 2018 HSTT final rule, in its 2019 application, the Navy 
determined that the three stressors below could result in the 
incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS has reviewed the Navy's data 
and analysis and determined that it is complete and accurate, and NMFS 
agrees that the following stressors have the potential to result in 
takes of marine mammals from the Navy's planned activities:
     Acoustics (sonar and other transducers; air guns; pile 
driving/extraction);
     Explosives (explosive shock wave and sound, assumed to 
encompass the risk due to fragmentation); and
     Physical Disturbance and Strike (vessel strike).
    NMFS reviewed and agrees with the Navy's conclusion that acoustic 
and explosive sources have the potential to result in incidental takes 
of marine mammals by harassment, serious injury, or mortality. NMFS 
carefully reviewed the Navy's analysis and conducted its own analysis 
of vessel strikes, determining that the likelihood of any particular 
species of large whale being struck is quite low. Nonetheless, NMFS 
agrees that vessel strikes have the potential to result in incidental 
take from serious injury or mortality for certain species of large 
whales and the Navy has specifically requested coverage for these 
species. Therefore, the likelihood of vessel strikes, and later the 
effects of the incidental take that is being proposed to be authorized, 
has been fully analyzed and is described below.
    Regarding the quantification of expected takes from acoustic and 
explosive sources (by Level A and Level B harassment, as well as 
mortality resulting from exposure to explosives), the number of takes 
are based directly on the level of activities (days, hours, counts, 
etc., of different activities and events) in a given year. In the 2018 
HSTT final rule, take estimates across the five-years were based on the 
Navy conducting three years of a representative level of activity and 
two years of maximum level of activity. Consistent with the pattern set 
forth in the 2017 Navy application, the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS, and the 
2018 HSTT final rule, the Navy proposes to add one additional 
representative year and one additional maximum year to determine the 
predicted take numbers in this rule. Specifically, as in the 2018 HSTT 
final rule, the Navy proposes to use the maximum annual level to 
calculate annual takes (which would remain identical to what was 
determined in the 2018 HSTT final rule), and the sum of all years (four 
representative and three maximum) to calculate the seven-year totals 
for this rule.
    The quantitative analysis process used for the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS 
and the 2017 and 2019 Navy applications to estimate potential exposures 
to marine mammals resulting from acoustic and explosive stressors is 
detailed in the technical report titled Quantifying Acoustic Impacts on 
Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles: Methods and Analytical Approach for 
Phase III Training and Testing (U.S. Department of the Navy, 2018). The 
Navy Acoustic Effects Model estimates acoustic and explosive effects 
without taking mitigation into account; therefore, the model 
overestimates predicted impacts on marine mammals within mitigation 
zones. To account for mitigation for marine species in the take 
estimates, the Navy conducts a quantitative

[[Page 48405]]

assessment of mitigation. The Navy conservatively quantifies the manner 
in which procedural mitigation is expected to reduce the risk for 
model-estimated PTS for exposures to sonars and for model-estimated 
mortality for exposures to explosives, based on species sightability, 
observation area, visibility, and the ability to exercise positive 
control over the sound source. Where the analysis indicates mitigation 
would effectively reduce risk, the model-estimated PTS are considered 
reduced to TTS and the model-estimated mortalities are considered 
reduced to injury. For a complete explanation of the process for 
assessing the effects of mitigation, see the 2017 Navy application and 
the Take Requests section of the 2018 HSTT final rule. The extent to 
which the mitigation areas reduce impacts on the affected species and 
stocks is addressed separately in the Preliminary Analysis and 
Negligible Impact Determination section.
    No changes have been made to the quantitative analysis process to 
estimate potential exposures to marine mammals resulting from acoustic 
and explosive stressors and calculate take estimates. In addition, 
there is no new information that would call into question the validity 
of the Navy's quantitative analysis process. Please see the documents 
described in the paragraph above, the 2018 HSTT proposed rule, and the 
2018 HSTT final rule for detailed descriptions of these analyses. In 
summary, we believe the Navy's methods, including the method for 
incorporating mitigation and avoidance, are the most appropriate 
methods for predicting PTS, TTS, and behavioral disruption. But even 
with the consideration of mitigation and avoidance, given some of the 
more conservative components of the methodology (e.g., the thresholds 
do not consider ear recovery between pulses), we would describe the 
application of these methods as identifying the maximum number of 
instances in which marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be 
taken through PTS, TTS, or behavioral disruption.
Summary of Requested Take From Training and Testing Activities
    Based on the methods discussed in the previous sections and the 
Navy's model and quantitative assessment of mitigation, the Navy 
provided its take estimate and request for authorization of takes 
incidental to the use of acoustic and explosive sources for training 
and testing activities both annually (based on the maximum number of 
activities that could occur per 12-month period) and over the seven-
year period covered by the 2019 Navy application. Annual takes (based 
on the maximum number of activities that could occur per 12-month 
period) from the use of acoustic and explosive sources are identical to 
those presented in Tables 41 and 42 and in the Explosives subsection of 
the Take Requests section of the 2018 HSTT final rule. The 2019 Navy 
application also includes the Navy's take estimate and request for 
vessel strikes due to vessel movement in the HSTT Study Area. NMFS has 
reviewed the Navy's data, methodology, and analysis and determined that 
it is complete and accurate. NMFS agrees that the estimates for 
incidental takes by harassment from all sources as well as the 
incidental takes by serious injury or mortality from explosives 
requested for authorization are the maximum number of instances in 
which marine mammals are reasonably expected to be taken. NMFS also 
agrees that the takes by serious injury or mortality as a result of 
vessel strikes could occur. Note that the total amount of estimated 
incidental take from acoustic and explosive sources over the total 
seven-year period covered by the 2019 Navy application is less than the 
annual total multiplied by seven because although the annual estimates 
are based on the maximum number of activities per year and therefore 
the maximum possible estimated takes, the seven-year total take 
estimates are based on the sum of three maximum years and four 
representative years. Not all activities occur every year. Some 
activities would occur multiple times within a year, and some 
activities would occur only a few times over the course of the seven-
year period. Using seven years of the maximum number of activities each 
year would vastly overestimate the amount of incidental take that would 
occur over the seven-year period where the Navy knows that it will not 
conduct the maximum number of activities each and every year for the 
seven years.
Estimated Harassment Take From Training Activities
    For training activities, Table 11 summarizes the Navy's take 
estimate and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A 
harassment and Level B harassment for the seven-year period covered by 
the 2019 Navy application that NMFS concurs is reasonably expected to 
occur by species or stock. For the estimated amount and type of Level A 
harassment and Level B harassment annually, see Table 41 in the 2018 
HSTT final rule. Note that take by Level B harassment includes both 
behavioral disruption and TTS. Navy Figures 6-12 through 6-50 in 
Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application illustrate the comparative 
amounts of TTS and behavioral disruption for each species annually, 
noting that if a modeled marine mammal was ``taken'' through exposure 
to both TTS and behavioral disruption in the model, it was recorded as 
a TTS.

 Table 11--Seven-Year Total Species- and Stock-Specific Take Estimates Proposed for Authorization From Acoustic
                         and Explosive Sound Source Effects for All Training Activities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                           7-Year total
                    Species                                   Stock              -------------------------------
                                                                                      Level B         Level A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blue whale *..................................  Central North Pacific...........             205               0
                                                Eastern North Pacific...........           7,116               6
Bryde's whale [dagger]........................  Eastern Tropical Pacific........             167               0
                                                Hawaiian [dagger]...............             631               0
Fin whale *...................................  California, Oregon, & Washington           7,731               0
                                                Hawaiian........................             197               0
Humpback whale [dagger].......................  California, Oregon, & Washington           7,962               7
                                                 [dagger].
                                                Central North Pacific...........          34,437              12
Minke whale...................................  California, Oregon, & Washington           4,119               7
                                                Hawaiian........................          20,237               6
Sei whale *...................................  Eastern North Pacific...........             333               0
                                                Hawaiian........................             677               0
Gray whale [dagger]...........................  Eastern North Pacific...........          16,703              27
                                                Western North Pacific [dagger]..              19               0

[[Page 48406]]

 
Sperm whale *.................................  California, Oregon, & Washington           8,834               0
                                                Hawaiian........................          10,341               0
Dwarf sperm whale.............................  Hawaiian........................          84,232             215
Pygmy sperm whale.............................  Hawaiian........................          33,431              94
Kogia whales..................................  California, Oregon, & Washington          38,609             149
Baird's beaked whale..........................  California, Oregon, & Washington           8,524               0
Blainville's beaked whale.....................  Hawaiian........................          23,491               0
Cuvier's beaked whale.........................  California, Oregon, & Washington          47,178               0
                                                Hawaiian........................           7,898               0
Longman's beaked whale........................  Hawaiian........................          82,293               0
Mesoplodon spp (beaked whale guild)...........  California, Oregon, & Washington          25,404               0
Bottlenose dolphin............................  California Coastal..............           1,295               0
                                                California, Oregon, & Washington         201,619              13
                                                 Offshore.
                                                Hawaiian Pelagic................          13,080               0
                                                Kauai & Niihau..................             500               0
                                                Oahu............................          57,288              10
                                                4-Island........................           1,052               0
                                                Hawaii..........................             291               0
False killer whale [dagger]...................  Hawaii Pelagic..................           4,353               0
                                                Main Hawaiian Islands Insular              2,710               0
                                                 [dagger].
                                                Northwestern Hawaiian Islands...           1,585               0
Fraser's dolphin..............................  Hawaiian........................         177,198               4
Killer whale..................................  Eastern North Pacific Offshore..             460               0
                                                Eastern North Pacific Transient/             855               0
                                                 West Coast Transient.
                                                Hawaiian........................             513               0
Long-beaked common dolphin....................  California......................         784,965              99
Melon-headed whale............................  Hawaiian Islands................          14,137               0
                                                Kohala Resident.................           1,278               0
Northern right whale dolphin..................  California, Oregon, & Washington         357,001              57
Pacific white-sided dolphin...................  California, Oregon, & Washington         274,892              19
Pantropical spotted dolphin...................  Hawaii Island...................          17,739               0
                                                Hawaii Pelagic..................          42,318               0
                                                Oahu............................          28,860               0
                                                4-Island........................           1,816               0
Pygmy killer whale............................  Hawaiian........................          35,531               0
                                                Tropical........................           2,977               0
Risso's dolphin...............................  California, Oregon, & Washington         477,389              45
                                                Hawaiian........................          40,800               0
Rough-toothed dolphin.........................  Hawaiian........................          26,769               0
                                                NSD \1\.........................               0               0
Short-beaked common dolphin...................  California, Oregon, & Washington       5,875,431             307
Short-finned pilot whale......................  California, Oregon, & Washington           6,341               6
                                                Hawaiian........................          53,627               0
Spinner dolphin...............................  Hawaii Island...................             609               0
                                                Hawaii Pelagic..................          18,870               0
                                                Kauai & Niihau..................           1,961               0
                                                Oahu & 4-Island.................          10,424               8
Striped dolphin...............................  California, Oregon, & Washington         777,001               5
                                                Hawaiian........................          32,806               0
Dall's porpoise...............................  California, Oregon, & Washington         171,250             894
California sea lion...........................  U.S.............................         460,145             629
Guadalupe fur seal *..........................  Mexico..........................           3,342               0
Northern fur seal.............................  California......................          62,138               0
Harbor seal...................................  California......................          19,214              48
Hawaiian monk seal *..........................  Hawaiian........................             938               5
Northern elephant seal........................  California......................         241,277             490
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the HSTT Study Area.
[dagger] Only designated stocks are ESA-listed.
\1\ NSD: No stock designation.

Estimated Harassment Take From Testing Activities
    For testing activities, Table 12 summarizes the Navy's take 
estimate and request and the maximum amount and type of Level A 
harassment and Level B harassment for the seven-year period covered by 
the 2019 Navy application that NMFS concurs is reasonably expected to 
occur by species or stock. For the estimated amount and type of Level A 
harassment and Level B harassment annually, see Table 42 in the 2018 
HSTT final rule. Note that take by Level B harassment includes both 
behavioral disruption and TTS. Navy Figures 6-12 through 6-50 in 
Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application illustrate

[[Page 48407]]

the comparative amounts of TTS and behavioral disruption for each 
species annually, noting that if a modeled marine mammal was ``taken'' 
through exposure to both TTS and behavioral disruption in the model, it 
was recorded as a TTS.

  Table 12--Seven-Year Total Species and Stock-Specific Take Estimates Proposed for Authorization From Acoustic
                          and Explosive Sound Source Effects for All Testing Activities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                           7-Year total
                    Species                                   Stock              -------------------------------
                                                                                      Level B         Level A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blue whale *..................................  Central North Pacific...........              93               0
                                                Eastern North Pacific...........           5,679               0
Bryde's whale [dagger]........................  Eastern Tropical Pacific........              97               0
                                                Hawaiian [dagger]...............             278               0
Fin whale *...................................  California, Oregon, & Washington           6,662               7
                                                Hawaiian........................             108               0
Humpback whale [dagger].......................  California, Oregon, & Washington           4,961               0
                                                 [dagger].
                                                Central North Pacific...........          23,750              19
Minke whale...................................  California, Oregon, & Washington           1,855               0
                                                Hawaiian........................           9,822               7
Sei whale *...................................  Eastern North Pacific...........             178               0
                                                Hawaiian........................             329               0
Gray whale [dagger]...........................  Eastern North Pacific...........          13,077               9
                                                Western North Pacific [dagger]..              15               0
Sperm whale *.................................  California, Oregon, & Washington           7,409               0
                                                Hawaiian........................           5,269               0
Dwarf sperm whale.............................  Hawaiian........................          43,374             197
Pygmy sperm whale.............................  Hawaiian........................          17,396              83
Kogia whales..................................  California, Oregon, & Washington          20,766              94
Baird's beaked whale..........................  California, Oregon, & Washington           4,841               0
Blainville's beaked whale.....................  Hawaiian........................          11,455               0
Cuvier's beaked whale.........................  California, Oregon, & Washington          30,180              28
                                                Hawaiian........................           3,784               0
Longman's beaked whale........................  Hawaiian........................          41,965               0
Mesoplodon spp (beaked whale guild)...........  California, Oregon, & Washington          16,383              15
Bottlenose dolphin............................  California Coastal..............          11,158               0
                                                California, Oregon, & Washington         158,700               8
                                                 Offshore.
                                                Hawaiian Pelagic................           8,469               0
                                                Kauai & Niihau..................           3,091               0
                                                Oahu............................           3,230               0
                                                4-Island........................           1,129               0
                                                Hawaii..........................             260               0
False killer whale [dagger]...................  Hawaii Pelagic..................           2,287               0
                                                Main Hawaiian Islands Insular              1,256               0
                                                 [dagger].
                                                Northwestern Hawaiian Islands...             837               0
Fraser's dolphin..............................  Hawaiian........................          85,193               9
Killer whale..................................  Eastern North Pacific Offshore..             236               0
                                                Eastern North Pacific Transient/             438               0
                                                 West Coast Transient.
                                                Hawaiian........................             279               0
Long-beaked common dolphin....................  California......................         805,063              34
Melon-headed whale............................  Hawaiian Islands................           7,678               0
                                                Kohala Resident.................           1,119               0
Northern right whale dolphin..................  California, Oregon, & Washington         280,066              22
Pacific white-sided dolphin...................  California, Oregon, & Washington         213,380              14
Pantropical spotted dolphin...................  Hawaii Island...................           9,568               0
                                                Hawaii Pelagic..................          24,805               0
                                                Oahu............................           1,349               0
                                                4-Island........................           2,513               0
Pygmy killer whale............................  Hawaiian........................          18,347               0
                                                Tropical........................           1,928               0
Risso's dolphin...............................  California, Oregon, & Washington         339,334              24
                                                Hawaiian........................          19,027               0
Rough-toothed dolphin.........................  Hawaiian........................          14,851               0
                                                NSD \1\.........................               0               0
Short-beaked common dolphin...................  California, Oregon, & Washington       3,795,732             304
Short-finned pilot whale......................  California, Oregon, & Washington           6,253               0
                                                Hawaiian........................          29,269               0
Spinner dolphin...............................  Hawaii Island...................           1,394               0
                                                Hawaii Pelagic..................           9,534               0
                                                Kauai & Niihau..................           9,277               0
                                                Oahu & 4-Island.................           1,987               0
Striped dolphin...............................  California, Oregon, & Washington         371,328              20
                                                Hawaiian........................          16,270               0
Dall's porpoise...............................  California, Oregon, & Washington         115,353             478
California sea lion...........................  U.S.............................         334,332              36

[[Page 48408]]

 
Guadalupe fur seal *..........................  Mexico..........................           6,167               0
Northern fur seal.............................  California......................          36,921               7
Harbor seal...................................  California......................          15,898              12
Hawaiian monk seal *..........................  Hawaiian........................             372               0
Northern elephant seal........................  California......................         151,754             187
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* ESA-listed species (all stocks) within the HSTT Study Area.
[dagger] Only designated stocks are ESA-listed.
\1\ NSD: No stock designation.

Estimated Take From Vessel Strikes and Explosives by Serious Injury or 
Mortality

Vessel Strike

    Vessel strikes from commercial, recreational, and military vessels 
are known to affect large whales and have resulted in serious injury 
and occasional fatalities to cetaceans (Berman-Kowalewski et al., 2010; 
Calambokidis, 2012; Douglas et al., 2008; Laggner 2009; Lammers et al., 
2003). Records of collisions date back to the early 17th century, and 
the worldwide number of collisions appears to have increased steadily 
during recent decades (Laist et al., 2001; Ritter 2012).
    Numerous studies of interactions between surface vessels and marine 
mammals have demonstrated that free-ranging marine mammals often, but 
not always (e.g., McKenna et al., 2015), engage in avoidance behavior 
when surface vessels move toward them. It is not clear whether these 
responses are caused by the physical presence of a surface vessel, the 
underwater noise generated by the vessel, or an interaction between the 
two (Amaral and Carlson, 2005; Au and Green, 2000; Bain et al., 2006; 
Bauer 1986; Bejder et al., 1999; Bejder and Lusseau, 2008; Bejder et 
al., 2009; Bryant et al., 1984; Corkeron, 1995; Erbe, 2002; 
F[eacute]lix, 2001; Goodwin and Cotton, 2004; Lemon et al., 2006; 
Lusseau, 2003; Lusseau, 2006; Magalhaes et al., 2002; Nowacek et al., 
2001; Richter et al., 2003; Scheidat et al., 2004; Simmonds, 2005; 
Watkins, 1986; Williams et al., 2002; Wursig et al., 1998). Several 
authors suggest that the noise generated during motion is probably an 
important factor (Blane and Jaakson, 1994; Evans et al., 1992; Evans et 
al., 1994). Water disturbance may also be a factor. These studies 
suggest that the behavioral responses of marine mammals to surface 
vessels are similar to their behavioral responses to predators. 
Avoidance behavior is expected to be even stronger in the subset of 
instances during which the Navy is conducting training or testing 
activities using active sonar or explosives.
    The most vulnerable marine mammals are those that spend extended 
periods of time at the surface in order to restore oxygen levels within 
their tissues after deep dives (e.g., sperm whales). In addition, some 
baleen whales seem generally unresponsive to vessel sound, making them 
more susceptible to vessel collisions (Nowacek et al., 2004). These 
species are primarily large, slow moving whales.
    Some researchers have suggested the relative risk of a vessel 
strike can be assessed as a function of animal density and the 
magnitude of vessel traffic (e.g., Fonnesbeck et al., 2008; Vanderlaan 
et al., 2008). Differences among vessel types also influence the 
probability of a vessel strike. The ability of any ship to detect a 
marine mammal and avoid a collision depends on a variety of factors, 
including environmental conditions, ship design, size, speed, and 
ability and number of personnel observing, as well as the behavior of 
the animal. Vessel speed, size, and mass are all important factors in 
determining if injury or death of a marine mammal is likely due to a 
vessel strike. For large vessels, speed and angle of approach can 
influence the severity of a strike. For example, Vanderlaan and Taggart 
(2007) found that between vessel speeds of 8.6 and 15 knots, the 
probability that a vessel strike is lethal increases from 0.21 to 0.79. 
Large whales also do not have to be at the water's surface to be 
struck. Silber et al. (2010) found when a whale is below the surface 
(about one to two times the vessel draft), there is likely to be a 
pronounced propeller suction effect. This suction effect may draw the 
whale into the hull of the ship, increasing the probability of 
propeller strikes.
    There are some key differences between the operation of military 
and non-military vessels, which make the likelihood of a military 
vessel striking a whale lower than some other vessels (e.g., commercial 
merchant vessels). Key differences include:
     Many military ships have their bridges positioned closer 
to the bow, offering better visibility ahead of the ship (compared to a 
commercial merchant vessel).
     There are often aircraft associated with the training or 
testing activity (which can serve as Lookouts), which can more readily 
detect cetaceans in the vicinity of a vessel or ahead of a vessel's 
present course before crew on the vessel would be able to detect them.
     Military ships are generally more maneuverable than 
commercial merchant vessels, and if cetaceans are spotted in the path 
of the ship, could be capable of changing course more quickly.
     The crew size on military vessels is generally larger than 
merchant ships, allowing for stationing more trained Lookouts on the 
bridge. At all times when vessels are underway, trained Lookouts and 
bridge navigation teams are used to detect objects on the surface of 
the water ahead of the ship, including cetaceans. Additional Lookouts, 
beyond those already stationed on the bridge and on navigation teams, 
are positioned as Lookouts during some training events.
     When submerged, submarines are generally slow moving (to 
avoid detection) and therefore marine mammals at depth with a submarine 
are likely able to avoid collision with the submarine. When a submarine 
is transiting on the surface, there are Lookouts serving the same 
function as they do on surface ships.
    Vessel strike to marine mammals is not associated with any specific 
training or testing activity but is rather an extremely limited and 
sporadic, but possible, accidental result of Navy vessel movement 
within the HSTT Study Area or while in transit.
    There have been two recorded Navy vessel strikes of large whales in 
the HSTT Study Area from 2009 through 2018, the period in which the 
Navy

[[Page 48409]]

began implementing effective mitigation measures to reduce the 
likelihood of vessel strikes. Both strikes occured in 2009 and both 
were to fin whales. In order to account for the accidental nature of 
vessel strikes to large whales in general, and the potential risk from 
any vessel movement within the HSTT Study Area within the seven-year 
period in particular, the Navy requested incidental takes based on 
probabilities derived from a Poisson distribution using ship strike 
data between 2009-2018 in the HSTT Study Area (the time period from 
when current mitigations were instituted until the Navy conducted the 
analysis for the 2019 Navy application), as well as historical at-sea 
days in the HSTT Study Area from 2009-2018 and estimated potential at-
sea days for the period from 2018 to 2025 covered by the requested 
regulations. This distribution predicted the probabilities of a 
specific number of strikes (n=0, 1, 2, etc.) over the period from 2018 
to 2025. The analysis for the period of 2018 to 2023 is described in 
detail in Chapter 6 of the 2017 Navy application and has been updated 
for this seven-year proposed rulemaking.
    For the same reasons listed above, describing why a Navy vessel 
strike is comparatively unlikely, it is highly unlikely that a Navy 
vessel would strike a whale, dolphin, porpoise, or pinniped without 
detecting it and, accordingly, NMFS is confident that the Navy's 
reported strikes are accurate and appropriate for use in the analysis. 
Specifically, Navy ships have multiple Lookouts, including on the 
forward part of the ship that can visually detect a hit animal, in the 
unlikely event ship personnel do not feel the strike (which has 
occasionally occurred). Navy's strict internal procedures and 
mitigation requirements include reporting of any vessel strikes of 
marine mammals, and the Navy's discipline, extensive training (not only 
for detecting marine mammals, but for detecting and reporting any 
potential navigational obstruction), and strict chain of command give 
NMFS a high level of confidence that all strikes actually get reported.
    The Navy used those two fin whale strikes in their calculations to 
determine the number of strikes likely to result from their activities 
(although worldwide strike information, from all Navy activities and 
other sources, was used to inform the species that may be struck) and 
evaluated data beginning in 2009, as that was the start of the Navy's 
Marine Species Awareness Training and adoption of additional mitigation 
measures to address ship strike, which will remain in place along with 
additional mitigation measures during the seven years of this rule. The 
probability analysis concluded that there was a 22 percent chance that 
zero whales would be struck by Navy vessels over the seven-year period, 
and a 33, 25, 13, and 5 percent chance that one, two, three, or four 
whales, respectively, would be struck over the seven-year period (with 
a 78 percent chance that greater than one whale would be struck over 
the seven-year period). Therefore, the Navy estimates, and NMFS agrees, 
that there is some probability that the Navy could strike, and take by 
serious injury or mortality, up to three large whales incidental to 
training and testing activities within the HSTT Study Area over the 
course of the seven years.
    The probability of the Navy striking up to three large whales over 
the seven-year period (which is a 13 percent chance) as analyzed for 
this proposed rule using updated Navy vessel strike data and at-sea 
days is very close to the probability of the Navy striking up to three 
large whales over five years (which was a 10 percent chance). As the 
probability of striking three large whales does not differ 
significantly from the 2018 HSTT final rule, and the probability of 
striking four large whales over seven years remains very low to the 
point of being unlikely (less than 5 percent), the Navy has requested, 
and we are proposing, no change in the number of takes by serious 
injury or mortality due to vessel strikes.
    Small delphinids, porpoises, and pinnipeds are not expected to be 
struck by Navy vessels. In addition to the reasons listed above that 
make it unlikely that the Navy will hit a large whale (more 
maneuverable ships, larger crew, etc.), following are the additional 
reasons that vessel strike of dolphins, small whales, porpoises, and 
pinnipeds is considered very unlikely. Dating back more than 20 years 
and for as long as it has kept records, the Navy has no records of 
individuals of these groups being struck by a vessel as a result of 
Navy activities and, further, their smaller size and maneuverability 
make a strike unlikely. Also, NMFS has never received any reports from 
other authorized activities indicating that these species have been 
struck by vessels. Worldwide ship strike records show little evidence 
of strikes of these groups from the shipping sector and larger vessels 
and the majority of the Navy's activities involving faster-moving 
vessels (that could be considered more likely to hit a marine mammal) 
are located in offshore areas where smaller delphinid, porpoise, and 
pinniped densities are lower. Based on this information, NMFS concurs 
with the Navy's assessment and recognizes the potential for (and is 
proposing for authorization) incidental take by vessel strike of large 
whales only (i.e., no dolphins, small whales, porpoises, or pinnipeds) 
over the course of the seven-year regulations from training and testing 
activities as discussed below.
    As noted in the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules, in the 2017 
Navy application the Navy initially considered a weight of evidence 
approach that considered relative abundance, historical strike data 
over many years, and the overlap of Navy activities with the stock 
distribution in their request. NMFS and the Navy further discussed the 
available information and considered two factors in addition to those 
considered in the Navy's additional request: (1) The relative 
likelihood of hitting one stock versus another based on available 
strike data from all vessel types as denoted in the SARs and (2) 
whether the Navy has ever definitively struck an individual from a 
particular stock and, if so, how many times. For this seven-year rule, 
we have reconsidered these two factors and updated the analysis with 
the Navy's seven-year ship strike probability analysis and any new/
updated ship strike data from the SARs.
    To address number (1) above, NMFS compiled information from NMFS' 
SARs on detected annual rates of large whale serious injury or 
mortality from vessel collisions. The annual rates of large whale 
serious injury or mortality from vessel collisions from the SARs help 
inform the relative susceptibility of large whale species to vessel 
strike in SOCAL and Hawaii as recorded systematically over the last 
five years (the period used for the SARs). We summed the annual rates 
of serious injury or mortality from vessel collisions as reported in 
the SARs, then divided each species' annual rate by this sum to get the 
relative likelihood. To estimate the percent likelihood of striking a 
particular species of large whale, we multiplied the relative 
likelihood of striking each species by the total probability of 
striking a whale (i.e., 78 percent, as described by the Navy's 
probability analysis above). We also calculated the percent likelihood 
of striking a particular species of large whale twice by squaring the 
value estimated for the probability of striking a particular species of 
whale once (i.e., to calculate the probability of an event occurring 
twice, multiply the probability of the first event by the second). We 
note that these probabilities vary from year to year as the average 
annual mortality for a given five-year window in the SAR changes (and 
we

[[Page 48410]]

include the annual averages from 2017 and 2018 SARs in Table 13 to 
illustrate), however, over the years and through changing SARs, stocks 
tend to consistently maintain a relatively higher or relatively lower 
likelihood of being struck.
    The probabilities calculated as described above are then considered 
in combination with the information indicating the species that the 
Navy has definitively hit in the HSTT Study Area since 1991 (since they 
started tracking consistently), as well as the information originally 
considered by the Navy in their 2017 application, which includes 
relative abundance, total recorded strikes, and the overlay of all of 
this information with the Navy's action area. We note that for all of 
the mortal take of species specifically denoted in Table 13 below, 19 
percent of the individuals struck overall by any vessel type remained 
unidentified and 36 percent of those struck by the Navy (5 of 14 in the 
Pacific) remained unidentified. However, given the information on known 
stocks struck, the analysis below remains appropriate. We also note 
that Rockwood et al. (2017) modeled the likely vessel strike of blue 
whales, fin whales, and humpback whales on the U.S. West Coast 
(discussed in more detail in the Serious Injury or Mortality subsection 
of the Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination 
section), and those numbers help inform the relative likelihood that 
the Navy will hit those stocks.
    For each indicated stock, Table 13 includes the percent likelihood 
of hitting an individual whale once based on SAR data, total strikes 
from Navy vessels and from all other vessels, relative abundance, and 
modeled vessel strikes from Rockwood et al. (2017). The last column 
indicates the annual mortality proposed to be authorized: those stocks 
with one serious injury or mortality (M/SI) take proposed to be 
authorized over the seven-year period of the rule are shaded lightly, 
while those with two M/SI takes proposed to be authorized over the 
seven-year period of the rule are shaded more darkly.
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

[[Page 48411]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.000

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C
    Accordingly, stocks that have no record of ever having been struck 
by any vessel are considered unlikely to be struck by the Navy in the 
seven-year period of the rule. Stocks that have never been struck by 
the Navy, have rarely been struck by other vessels, and have a low 
percent likelihood based on the SAR calculation and a low relative 
abundance are also considered unlikely to be struck by the Navy during 
the seven-year rule. We note that while vessel strike records have not 
differentiated between Eastern North Pacific and Western North Pacific 
gray whales, given their small population size and the comparative 
rarity with which individuals from the Western North Pacific stock are 
detected off the U.S. West Coast, it is highly unlikely that they would 
be encountered, much less struck. This rules out all but six stocks.
    Three of the six stocks (CA/OR/WA stock of fin whale, Eastern North 
Pacific stock of gray whale, and Central North Pacific stock of 
humpback whale) are the only stocks to have been hit more than one time 
each by the Navy in the HSTT Study Area, have the three highest total 
strike records (21, 35, and 58 respectively), have three of the four 
highest percent likelihoods based on the SAR records, have three of the 
four significantly higher relative abundances, and have up to a 3.4 
percent likelihood of being struck twice based on NMFS' SAR calculation 
(not shown in Table 13, but proportional to percent likelihood of being 
struck once). Based on all of these factors, it is considered 
reasonably likely that these stocks could be struck twice during the 
seven-year rule.
    Based on the information summarized in Table 13, and the fact that 
there is the potential for up to three large whales to be struck, it is 
considered reasonably likely that one individual from the

[[Page 48412]]

remaining three stocks could be one of the three whales struck. Sperm 
whales have only been struck a total of two times by any vessel type in 
the whole HSTT Study Area, however, the Navy struck a sperm whale once 
in Hawaii prior to 2009 and the relative abundance of sperm whales in 
Hawaii is the highest of any of the stocks present. Therefore, we 
consider it reasonably likely that the Hawaii stock of sperm whales 
could be struck once during the seven-year rule. The total strikes of 
Eastern North Pacific blue whales, the percent likelihood of striking 
one based on the SAR calculation, and their relative abundance can all 
be considered moderate compared to other stocks, and the Navy has 
struck one in the past prior to 2009 (with the likelihood of striking 
two based on the SAR calculation being below one percent). Therefore, 
we consider it reasonably likely that the Navy could strike one 
individual over the course of the seven-year rule. The Navy has not hit 
a humpback whale in the HSTT Study Area and the relative abundance of 
the CA/OR/WA stock is very low. However, the Navy has struck a humpback 
whale in the Northwest and as a species, humpbacks have a moderate to 
high number of total strikes and percent likelihood of being struck. 
Although the likelihood of CA/OR/WA humpback whales being struck 
overall is moderate to high relative to other stocks, the distribution 
of the Mexico DPS versus the Central America DPS, as well as the 
distribution of overall vessel strikes inside versus outside of the 
SOCAL area (the majority are outside), supports the reasonable 
likelihood that the Navy could strike one individual humpback whale 
from the CA/OR/WA stock (not two), and that that individual would be 
highly likely to be from the Mexico DPS, as described below.
    Specifically, regarding the likelihood of striking a humpback whale 
from a particular DPS, as suggested in Wade et al. (2016), the 
probability of encountering (which is thereby applied to striking) 
humpback whales from each DPS in the CA/OR area is 89.6 percent and 
19.7 percent for the Mexico and Central America DPSs, respectively 
(note that these percentages reflect the upper limit of the 95 percent 
confidence interval to reduce the likelihood of underestimating take, 
and thereby do not total to 100). This suggests that the chance of 
striking a humpback whale from the Central America DPS is one tenth to 
one fifth of the overall chance of hitting a CA/OR/WA humpback whale in 
general in the SOCAL part of the HSTT Study Area, which in combination 
with the fact that no humpback whale has been struck in SOCAL makes it 
highly unlikely, and thereby no strikes of whales from the Central 
America DPS are anticipated or authorized. If a humpback whale were 
struck in SOCAL, it is likely it would be of the Mexico DPS. However, 
regarding the overall likelihood of striking a humpback whale at all 
and the likely number of times, we note that the majority of strikes of 
the CA/OR/WA humpback whale (i.e., the numbers reflected in Table 13) 
take place outside of SOCAL and, whereas the comparative DPS numbers 
cited above apply in the California and Oregon feeding area, in the 
Washington and Southern British Columbia feeding area, Wade et al. 
(2016) suggest that 52.9, 41.9, and 14.7 percent of humpback whales 
encountered will come from the Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America 
DPSs, respectively. This means that the numbers in Table 13 indicating 
the overall strikes of CA/OR/WA humpback whales and SAR calculations 
based on average annual mortality over the last five years are actually 
lower than indicated for the Mexico DPS, which would only be a subset 
of those mortalities. Last, the Rockwood et al. paper supports a 
relative likelihood of 1:1:2 for striking blue whales, humpback whales, 
and fin whales off the U.S. West Coast, which supports the proposed 
authorized take included in this rule, which is 1, 1, and 2, 
respectively over the seven-year period. For these reasons, one mortal 
take of CA/OR/WA humpback whales, which would be expected to be of the 
Mexico DPS, could reasonably likely occur and is proposed for 
authorization.
    Accordingly, the Navy has requested take by M/SI from vessel strike 
of up to two of any of the following species/stocks in the seven-year 
period: gray whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), fin whale (CA/OR/WA 
stock), humpback whale (Central North Pacific stock); and one of any of 
the following species/stocks in the seven-year period: Blue whale 
(Eastern North Pacific stock), humpback whale (CA/OR/WA stock, Mexico 
DPS), or sperm whale (Hawaii stock).
    As described above, the Navy analysis suggests, and NMFS analysis 
concurs, that vessel strikes to the stocks below are very unlikely to 
occur due to the stocks' relatively low occurrence in the HSTT Study 
Area, particularly in core HSTT training and testing subareas, and the 
fact that the stocks have not been struck by the Navy and are rarely, 
if ever, recorded struck by other vessels. Therefore the Navy is not 
requesting lethal take authorization, and NMFS is not proposing to 
authorize lethal take, for the following stocks: Bryde's whale (Eastern 
Tropical Pacific stock), Bryde's whale (Hawaii stock), humpback whale 
(CA/OR/WA stock, Central America DPS), minke whale (CA/OR/WA stock), 
minke whale (Hawaii stock), sei whale (Hawaii stock), sei whale 
(Eastern North Pacific stock), and sperm whale (CA/OR/WA stock).
    In conclusion, although it is generally unlikely that any whales 
will be struck in a year, based on the information and analysis above, 
NMFS anticipates that there is the potential of no more than three 
whales taken by M/SI over the seven-year period of the rule, and that 
those three whales may include no more than two of any of the following 
stocks: Gray whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), fin whale (CA/OR/WA 
stock), and humpback whale (Central North Pacific stock); and no more 
than one of any of the following stocks: Blue whale (Eastern North 
Pacific stock), humpback whale (CA/OR/WA, Mexico DPS), and sperm whale 
(Hawaii stock). Accordingly, NMFS has evaluated under the negligible 
impact standard the M/SI of 0.14 or 0.29 whales annually from each of 
these species or stocks (i.e., 1 or 2 takes, respectively, divided by 
seven years to get the annual number), along with the expected 
incidental takes by harassment.

Explosives

    The Navy's model and quantitative analysis process used for the 
2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS and in the Navy's 2017 and 2019 applications to 
estimate potential exposures of marine mammals to explosive stressors 
is detailed in the technical report titled Quantifying Acoustic Impacts 
on Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles: Methods and Analytical Approach for 
Phase III Training and Testing Report (U.S. Department of the Navy, 
2018). Specifically, over the course of a modelled maximum year of 
training and testing, the Navy's model and quantitative analysis 
process estimates M/SI of two short-beaked common dolphin and one 
California sea lion as a result of exposure to explosive training and 
testing activities (please see Section 6 of the 2017 Navy application 
where it is explained how maximum annual estimates are calculated). 
Over the five[hyphen]year period of the 2018 HSTT regulations, 
mortality of 6 short-beaked common dolphins and 4 California sea lions 
was estimated and authorized (10 marine mammals in total) as a result 
of exposure to explosive training and testing activities. In extending 
the same training and testing activities for an additional two years, 
over the seven[hyphen]year period of the proposed

[[Page 48413]]

regulations M/SI of 8 short-beaked common dolphins and 5 California sea 
lions (13 marine mammals in total) is estimated as a result of exposure 
to explosive training and testing activities. As explained in the 
aforementioned Analytical Approach technical report, expected impacts 
were calculated considering spatial and seasonal differences in model 
inputs, as well as the expected variation in the number of training and 
testing events from year to year, described as representative and 
maximum levels of activity. The summed impacts over any multi-year 
period, therefore, are the expected value for impacts over that time 
period rather than a multiple of a single maximum year's impacts. 
Therefore, calculating the seven-year total is not a matter of simply 
multiplying the annual estimate by seven, as the total amount of 
estimated mortalities over the seven years covered by the 2019 Navy 
application is less than the sum total of each year. As explained 
earlier, although the annual estimates are based on the maximum number 
of activities per year and therefore the maximum estimated takes, the 
seven-year total take estimates are based on the sum of three maximum 
years and four representative years. NMFS coordinated with the Navy in 
the development of their take estimates and concurs with the Navy's 
approach for estimating the number of animals from each species or 
stock that could be taken by M/SI from explosives.

Proposed Mitigation Measures

    Under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the 
permissible methods of taking pursuant to the activity, and other means 
of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the species or 
stock(s) and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, 
mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the 
availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (``least 
practicable adverse impact''). NMFS does not have a regulatory 
definition for least practicable adverse impact. The 2004 NDAA amended 
the MMPA as it relates to military readiness activities and the 
incidental take authorization process such that a determination of 
``least practicable adverse impact'' shall include consideration of 
personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the 
effectiveness of the military readiness activity. For the full 
discussion of how NMFS interprets least practicable adverse impact, 
including how it relates to the negligible-impact standard, see the 
Mitigation Measures section in the 2018 HSTT final rule.
    Section 101(a)(5)(A)(i)(II) requires NMFS to issue, in conjunction 
with its authorization, binding--and enforceable--restrictions (in the 
form of regulations) setting forth how the activity must be conducted, 
thus ensuring the activity has the ``least practicable adverse impact'' 
on the affected species or stocks. In situations where mitigation is 
specifically needed to reach a negligible impact determination, section 
101(a)(5)(A)(i)(II) also provides a mechanism for ensuring compliance 
with the ``negligible impact'' requirement. Finally, the least 
practicable adverse impact standard also requires consideration of 
measures for marine mammal habitat, with particular attention to 
rookeries, mating grounds, and other areas of similar significance, and 
for subsistence impacts, whereas the negligible impact standard is 
concerned solely with conclusions about the impact of an activity on 
annual rates of recruitment and survival.\2\ In evaluating what 
mitigation measures are appropriate, NMFS considers the potential 
impacts of the Specified Activities, the availability of measures to 
minimize those potential impacts, and the practicability of 
implementing those measures, as we describe below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Outside of the military readiness context, mitigation may 
also be appropriate to ensure compliance with the ``small numbers'' 
language in MMPA sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Implementation of Least Practicable Adverse Impact Standard

    Our evaluation of potential mitigation measures includes 
consideration of two primary factors:
    (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, implementation of 
the potential measure(s) is expected to reduce adverse impacts to 
marine mammal species or stocks, their habitat, and their availability 
for subsistence uses (where relevant). This analysis considers such 
things as the nature of the potential adverse impact (such as 
likelihood, scope, and range), the likelihood that the measure will be 
effective if implemented, and the likelihood of successful 
implementation; and
    (2) The practicability of the measures for applicant 
implementation. Practicability of implementation may consider such 
things as cost, impact on activities, and, in the case of a military 
readiness activity, specifically considers personnel safety, 
practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the 
military readiness activity. 16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(A)(iii).
    While the language of the least practicable adverse impact standard 
calls for minimizing impacts to affected species or stocks, we 
recognize that the reduction of impacts to those species or stocks 
accrues through the application of mitigation measures that limit 
impacts to individual animals. Accordingly, NMFS' analysis focuses on 
measures that are designed to avoid or minimize impacts on individual 
marine mammals that are likely to increase the probability or severity 
of population-level effects.
    While direct evidence of impacts to species or stocks from a 
specified activity is rarely available, and additional study is still 
needed to understand how specific disturbance events affect the fitness 
of individuals of certain species, there have been improvements in 
understanding the process by which disturbance effects are translated 
to the population. With recent scientific advancements (both marine 
mammal energetic research and the development of energetic frameworks), 
the relative likelihood or degree of impacts on species or stocks may 
often be inferred given a detailed understanding of the activity, the 
environment, and the affected species or stocks--and the best available 
science has been used here. This same information is used in the 
development of mitigation measures and helps us understand how 
mitigation measures contribute to lessening effects (or the risk 
thereof) to species or stocks. We also acknowledge that there is always 
the potential that new information, or a new recommendation could 
become available in the future and necessitate reevaluation of 
mitigation measures (which may be addressed through adaptive 
management) to see if further reductions of population impacts are 
possible and practicable.
    In the evaluation of specific measures, the details of the 
specified activity will necessarily inform each of the two primary 
factors discussed above (expected reduction of impacts and 
practicability), and are carefully considered to determine the types of 
mitigation that are appropriate under the least practicable adverse 
impact standard. Analysis of how a potential mitigation measure may 
reduce adverse impacts on a marine mammal stock or species, 
consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and 
consideration of the impact on effectiveness of military readiness 
activities are not issues that can be meaningfully evaluated through a 
yes/no lens. The manner in which, and the degree to which, 
implementation of a measure is expected to reduce impacts, as well as 
its practicability in terms of these considerations, can vary widely.

[[Page 48414]]

For example, a time/area restriction could be of very high value for 
decreasing population-level impacts (e.g., avoiding disturbance of 
feeding females in an area of established biological importance) or it 
could be of lower value (e.g., decreased disturbance in an area of high 
productivity but of less firmly established biological importance). 
Regarding practicability, a measure might involve restrictions in an 
area or time that impede the Navy's ability to certify a strike group 
(higher impact on mission effectiveness), or it could mean delaying a 
small in-port training event by 30 minutes to avoid exposure of a 
marine mammal to injurious levels of sound (lower impact). A 
responsible evaluation of ``least practicable adverse impact'' will 
consider the factors along these realistic scales. Accordingly, the 
greater the likelihood that a measure will contribute to reducing the 
probability or severity of adverse impacts to the species or stock or 
its habitat, the greater the weight that measure is given when 
considered in combination with practicability to determine the 
appropriateness of the mitigation measure, and vice versa. In the 
evaluation of specific measures, the details of the specified activity 
will necessarily inform each of the two primary factors discussed above 
(expected reduction of impacts and practicability), and will be 
carefully considered to determine the types of mitigation that are 
appropriate under the least practicable adverse impact standard. For 
more detail on how we apply these factors, see the discussion in the 
Mitigation Measures section of the 2018 HSTT final rule.
    NMFS fully reviewed the Navy's specified activities and the 
mitigation measures for the 2018 HSTT rulemaking and determined that 
the mitigation measures would result in the least practicable adverse 
impact on marine mammals. There is no change in either the activities 
or the mitigation measures for this rule. See the 2019 Navy application 
and the 2018 HSTT final rule for detailed information on the Navy's 
mitigation measures. NMFS worked with the Navy in the development of 
the Navy's initially proposed measures, which were informed by years of 
implementation and monitoring. A complete discussion of the Navy's 
evaluation process used to develop, assess, and select mitigation 
measures, which was informed by input from NMFS, can be found in 
Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS. The process 
described in Chapter 5 (Mitigation) of the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS robustly 
supported NMFS' independent evaluation of whether the mitigation 
measures would meet the least practicable adverse impact standard. The 
Navy has implemented the mitigation measures under the 2018 HSTT 
regulations and would be required to continue implementation of the 
mitigation measures identified in this rule for the full seven years it 
covers to avoid or reduce potential impacts from acoustic, explosive, 
and physical disturbance and ship strike stressors.
    In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the 
mitigation measures in the 2018 HSTT final rule and there is no new 
information that affects NMFS' assessment of the applicability or 
effectiveness of those measures over the new seven-year period. See the 
2018 HSTT proposed rule and the 2018 HSTT final rule for our full 
assessment of these measures. In summary, the Navy has agreed to 
procedural mitigation measures that will reduce the probability and/or 
severity of impacts expected to result from acute exposure to acoustic 
sources or explosives, ship strike, and impacts to marine mammal 
habitat. Specifically, the Navy will use a combination of delayed 
starts, powerdowns, and shutdowns to minimize or avoid M/SI minimize 
the likelihood or severity of PTS or other injury, and reduce instances 
of TTS or more severe behavioral disruption caused by acoustic sources 
or explosives. The Navy will also implement multiple time/area 
restrictions (several of which were added in the 2018 HSTT final rule 
since the previous HSTT MMPA incidental take rule) that would reduce 
take of marine mammals in areas or at times where they are known to 
engage in important behaviors, such as feeding or calving, where the 
disruption of those behaviors would have a higher probability of 
resulting in impacts on reproduction or survival of individuals that 
could lead to population-level impacts. Summaries of the Navy's 
procedural mitigation measures and mitigation areas for the HSTT Study 
Area are provided in Tables 14 and 15.

               Table 14--Summary of Procedural Mitigation
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Mitigation zone sizes and other
       Stressor or activity                     requirements
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Environmental Awareness and          Afloat Environmental
 Education.                          Compliance Training program for
                                     applicable personnel.
Active Sonar......................  Depending on sonar source:
                                     1,000 yd power down, 500 yd
                                     power down, and 200 yd shut down.
                                     200 yd shut down.
Air Guns..........................   150 yd.
Pile Driving......................   100 yd.
Weapons Firing Noise..............   30 degrees on either side
                                     of the firing line out to 70 yd.
Explosive Sonobuoys...............   600 yd.
Explosive Torpedoes...............   2,100 yd.
Explosive Medium-Caliber and Large-  1,000 yd (large-caliber
 Caliber Projectiles.                projectiles).
                                     600 yd (medium-caliber
                                     projectiles during surface-to-
                                     surface activities).
                                     200 yd (medium-caliber
                                     projectiles during air-to-surface
                                     activities).
Explosive Missiles and Rockets....   2,000 yd (21-500 lb. net
                                     explosive weight).
                                     900 yd (0.6-20 lb. net
                                     explosive weight).
Explosive Bombs...................   2,500 yd.
Sinking Exercises.................   2.5 nmi.
Explosive Mine Countermeasure and    2,100 yd (6-650 lb net
 Neutralization Activities.          explosive weight).
                                     600 yd (0.1-5 lb net
                                     explosive weight).
Explosive Mine Neutralization        1,000 yd (21-60 lb net
 Activities Involving Navy Divers.   explosive weight for positive
                                     control charges and charges using
                                     time-delay fuses).
                                     500 yd (0.1-20 lb net
                                     explosive weight for positive
                                     control charges).
Underwater Demolition Multiple       700 yd.
 Charge--Mat Weave and Obstacle
 Loading.

[[Page 48415]]

 
Maritime Security Operations--Anti-  200 yd.
 Swimmer Grenades.
Vessel Movement...................   500 yd (whales).
                                     200 yd (other marine
                                     mammals).
Towed In-Water Devices............   250 yd (marine mammals).
Small-, Medium-, and Large-Caliber   200 yd.
 Non-Explosive Practice Munitions.
Non-Explosive Missiles and Rockets   900 yd.
Non-Explosive Bombs and Mine         1,000 yd.
 Shapes.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: lb: Pounds; nmi: Nautical miles; yd: Yards.


        Table 15--Summary of Mitigation Areas for Marine Mammals
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Summary of Mitigation Area Requirements
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hawaii Island Mitigation Area (year-round):
     Navy personnel must not conduct more than 300 hours of MF1
     surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or 20 hours of
     MF4 dipping sonar, or use explosives that could potentially result
     in takes of marine mammals during training and testing.\1\
4-Islands Region Mitigation Area (November 15-April 15 for active sonar;
 year-round for explosives):
     Navy personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted
     mid-frequency active sonar or explosives that could potentially
     result in takes of marine mammals during training and testing.\1\
Humpback Whale Special Reporting Areas (December 15-April 15):
     Navy personnel must report the total hours of surface ship
     hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar used in in the special
     reporting areas in its annual training and testing activity reports
     submitted to NMFS.
San Diego Arc, San Nicolas Island, and Santa Monica/Long Beach
 Mitigation Areas (June 1-October 31):
     Navy personnel must not conduct more than a total of 200
     hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar
     in the combined areas, excluding normal maintenance and systems
     checks, during training and testing.\1\
     Within the San Diego Arc Mitigation Area, Navy personnel
     must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take
     of marine mammals during large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing,
     and missile (including 2.75'' rockets) activities during training
     and testing.\1\
     Within the San Nicolas Island Mitigation Area, Navy
     personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in
     the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber
     gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75'' rockets)
     activities during training.\1\
     Within the Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Area, Navy
     personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in
     the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber
     gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75'' rockets)
     activities during training and testing.\1\
Santa Barbara Island Mitigation Area (year-round):
     Navy personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted
     mid-frequency active sonar during training and testing, or
     explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine
     mammals during medium-caliber or large-caliber gunnery, torpedo,
     bombing, and missile (including 2.75'' rockets) activities during
     training.\1\
Awareness Notification Message Areas (seasonal according to species):
     Navy personnel must issue awareness notification messages
     to alert ships and aircraft to the possible presence of humpback
     whales (November-April), blue whales (June-October), gray whales
     (November-March), or fin whales (November-May).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ If Naval units need to conduct more than the specified amount of
  training or testing, they will obtain permission from the appropriate
  designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity.
  The Navy will provide NMFS with advance notification and include the
  information in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.

Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated the Navy's proposed mitigation 
measures--many of which were developed with NMFS' input during the 
previous phases of Navy training and testing authorizations and none of 
which have changed since our evaluation during the 2018 HSTT 
rulemaking--and considered a broad range of other measures (i.e., the 
measures considered but eliminated in the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS, which 
reflect many of the comments that have arisen via NMFS or public input 
in past years) in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the 
means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the affected 
marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of 
potential measures included consideration of the following factors in 
relation to one another: the manner in which, and the degree to which, 
the successful implementation of the mitigation measures is expected to 
reduce the likelihood and/or magnitude of adverse impacts to marine 
mammal species and stocks and their habitat; the proven or likely 
efficacy of the measures; and the practicability of the measures for 
applicant implementation, including consideration of personnel safety, 
practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the 
military readiness activity. There is no new information that affects 
our analysis from the 2018 HSTT rulemaking, all of which remains 
applicable and valid for our assessment of the appropriateness of the 
mitigation measures during the seven-year period of this rule.
    Based on our evaluation of the Navy's proposed measures (which are 
being implemented under the 2018 HSTT regulations), as well as other 
measures considered by the Navy and NMFS, NMFS has preliminarily 
determined that the Navy's proposed mitigation measures (which are 
identical to those in the 2018 HSTT final rule) are appropriate means 
of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal 
species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to 
rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and 
considering specifically personnel safety, practicality of 
implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military 
readiness activity. Additionally, as described in more detail below, 
the 2018 HSTT final rule includes an adaptive management

[[Page 48416]]

provision, which the Navy proposes to extend, which ensures that 
mitigation is regularly assessed and provides a mechanism to improve 
the mitigation, based on the factors above, through modification as 
appropriate.
    The proposed rule comment period provides the public an opportunity 
to submit recommendations, views, and/or concerns regarding the Navy's 
activities and the proposed mitigation measures. While NMFS has 
preliminarily determined that the Navy's proposed mitigation measures 
would effect the least practicable adverse impact on the affected 
species or stocks and their habitat, NMFS will consider all public 
comments to help inform our final decision. Consequently, the proposed 
mitigation measures may be refined, modified, removed, or added to 
prior to the issuance of the final rule based on public comments 
received, and where appropriate, further analysis of any additional 
mitigation measures.

Proposed Monitoring

    Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA states that in order to authorize 
incidental take for an activity, NMFS must set forth requirements 
pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA 
implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(13) indicate that 
requests for incidental take authorizations must include the suggested 
means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will 
result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking 
or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be 
present.
    In its 2019 application, the Navy proposes no changes to the 
monitoring described in the 2018 HSTT final rule. They would continue 
implementation of the robust Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring 
Program and Strategic Planning Process described in the 2018 HSTT final 
rule. The Navy's monitoring strategy, currently required by the 2018 
HSTT regulations, is well-designed to work across Navy ranges to help 
better understand the impacts of the Navy's activities on marine 
mammals and their habitat by focusing on learning more about marine 
mammal occurrence in different areas and exposure to Navy stressors, 
marine mammal responses to different sound sources, and the 
consequences of those exposures and responses on marine mammal 
populations. Similarly, the proposed seven-year regulations would 
include identical adaptive management provisions and reporting 
requirements as the 2018 HSTT regulations. There is no new information 
that would indicate that the monitoring measures put in place under the 
2018 HSTT final rule would not remain applicable and appropriate for 
the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Monitoring section 
of the 2018 HSTT final rule for more details on the monitoring that 
would be required under this rule. In addition, please see the 2019 
Navy application, which references Chapter 13 of the 2017 Navy 
application for full details on the monitoring and reporting proposed 
by the Navy.

Adaptive Management

    The 2018 HSTT regulations governing the take of marine mammals 
incidental to Navy training and testing activities in the HSTT Study 
Area contain an adaptive management component. Our understanding of the 
effects of Navy training and testing activities (e.g., acoustic and 
explosive stressors) on marine mammals continues to evolve, which makes 
the inclusion of an adaptive management component both valuable and 
necessary within the context of seven-year regulations. The 2019 Navy 
application proposes no changes to the adaptive management component 
included in the 2018 HSTT final rule.
    The reporting requirements associated with this rule are designed 
to provide NMFS with monitoring data from the previous year to allow 
NMFS to consider whether any changes to existing mitigation and 
monitoring requirements are appropriate. The use of adaptive management 
allows NMFS to consider new information from different sources to 
determine (with input from the Navy regarding practicability) on an 
annual or biennial basis if mitigation or monitoring measures should be 
modified (including additions or deletions). Mitigation measures could 
be modified if new data suggests that such modifications would have a 
reasonable likelihood of more effectively accomplishing the goals of 
the mitigation and monitoring and if the measures are practicable. If 
the modifications to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures 
are substantial, NMFS will publish a notice of the planned LOA in the 
Federal Register and solicit public comment.
    The following are some of the possible sources of applicable data 
to be considered through the adaptive management process: (1) Results 
from monitoring and exercises reports, as required by MMPA 
authorizations; (2) compiled results of Navy funded R&D studies; (3) 
results from specific stranding investigations; (4) results from 
general marine mammal and sound research; and (5) any information which 
reveals that marine mammals may have been taken in a manner, extent, or 
number not authorized by these regulations or subsequent LOAs. The 
results from monitoring reports and other studies may be viewed at 
https://www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us.

Reporting

    In order to issue incidental take authorization for an activity, 
section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth 
requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. 
Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring 
that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring. Reports 
from individual monitoring events, results of analyses, publications, 
and periodic progress reports for specific monitoring projects will be 
posted to the Navy's Marine Species Monitoring web portal: http://www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us. The 2019 Navy application proposes 
no changes to the reporting requirements. Except as discussed below, 
reporting requirements would remain identical to those described in the 
2018 HSTT final rule, and there is no new information that would 
indicate that the reporting requirements put in place under the 2018 
HSTT final rule would not remain applicable and appropriate for the 
seven-year period of this proposed rule. See the Reporting section of 
the 2018 HSTT final rule for more details on the reporting that would 
be required under this rule.
    In addition, the 2018 HSTT proposed and final rules unintentionally 
failed to include the requirement for the Navy to submit a final 
activity ``close out'' report at the end of the regulatory period. That 
oversight is being corrected through this rulemaking. This 
comprehensive training and testing activity report would provide the 
annual totals for each sound source bin with a comparison to the annual 
allowance and the seven-year total for each sound source bin with a 
comparison to the seven-year allowance. Additionally, if there were any 
changes to the sound source allowance, this report would include a 
discussion of why the change was made and include analysis to support 
how the change did or did not result in a change in the 2018 HSTT FEIS/
OEIS and final rule determinations.

Preliminary Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination

    NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the 
specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not 
reasonably likely to, adversely affect the

[[Page 48417]]

species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the 
lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of 
takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact 
determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of 
marine mammals that might be taken through mortality, serious injury, 
and Level A or Level B harassment (as presented in Tables 11 and 12), 
NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any 
responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses 
(e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), as well as 
effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We 
also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by 
evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent 
with the 1989 preamble for NMFS' implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; 
September 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing 
anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their 
impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the 
regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where 
known, other ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, ambient noise 
levels, and specific consideration of take by Level A harassment or M/
SI previously authorized for other NMFS activities).
    In the Estimated Take of Marine Mammals sections of this proposed 
rule and the 2018 HSTT final rule (where the activities, species and 
stocks, potential effects, and mitigation measures are the same as for 
this rule), we identified the subset of potential effects that would be 
expected to rise to the level of takes both annually and over the 
seven-year period covered by this rule, and then identified the number 
of each of those mortality takes that we believe could occur or the 
maximum number of harassment takes that are reasonably expected to 
occur based on the methods described. The impact that any given take 
will have is dependent on many case-specific factors that need to be 
considered in the negligible impact analysis (e.g., the context of 
behavioral exposures such as duration or intensity of a disturbance, 
the health of impacted animals, the status of a species that incurs 
fitness-level impacts to individuals, etc.). For this proposed rule we 
evaluated the likely impacts of the enumerated maximum number of 
harassment takes that are proposed for authorization and reasonably 
expected to occur, in the context of the specific circumstances 
surrounding these predicted takes. We also assessed M/SI takes that 
have the potential to occur, as well as considering the traits and 
statuses of the affected species and stocks. Last, we collectively 
evaluated this information, as well as other more taxa-specific 
information and mitigation measure effectiveness, in group-specific 
assessments that support our negligible impact conclusions for each 
stock.
    The Navy proposes no changes to the nature or level of the 
specified activities or the boundaries of the HSTT Study Area, and 
therefore the training and testing activities (e.g., equipment and 
sources used, exercises conducted) are the same as those analyzed in 
the 2018 HSTT final rule. In addition, the mitigation, monitoring, and 
nearly all reporting measures are identical to those described and 
analyzed in the 2018 HSTT final rule. As described above, there is no 
new information since the publication of the 2018 HSTT final rule 
regarding the impacts of the specified activities on marine mammals, 
the status and distribution of any of the affected marine mammal 
species or stocks, or the effectiveness of the mitigation and 
monitoring measures that would change our analyses, except for one 
species. For that one species--gray whales--we have considered the 
effects of the new UME on the west coast of North America along with 
the effects of the Navy's activities in the negligible impact analysis.

Harassment

    As described in the Estimated Takes of Marine Mammals section, the 
annual number of takes proposed for authorization and reasonably 
expected to occur by Level A harassment and Level B harassment (based 
on the maximum number of activities per 12-month period) are identical 
to those presented in Tables 41 through 42 in the Take Requests section 
of the 2018 HSTT final rule. As such, the negligible impact analyses 
and determinations of the effects of the estimated Level A harassment 
and Level B harassment takes on annual rates of recruitment or survival 
for each species and stock are nearly identical to and substantively 
unchanged from those presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule. The primary 
difference is that the annual levels of take and the associated effects 
on reproduction or survival would occur for the seven-year period of 
the proposed rule instead of the five-year period of the 2018 HSTT 
final rule, which would make no difference in effects on annual rates 
of recruitment or survival. The other differences in the analyses 
include our consideration of the newly-declared gray whale UME and 
slightly modified explosive take estimates, neither of which, as 
described below, affect the results of the analyses or our 
determinations. For detailed discussion of the impacts that affected 
individuals may experience given the specific characteristics of the 
specified activities and required mitigation (e.g., from behavioral 
disruption, masking, and temporary or permanent threshold shift), along 
with the effects of the expected Level A harassment and Level B 
harassment take on reproduction and survival, see the applicable 
subsections in the Analysis and Negligible Impact Determination section 
of the 2018 HSTT final rule (83 FR 66977-67018).

Serious Injury or Mortality

    Based on the information and methods discussed in the Estimated 
Take of Marine Mammals section (which are identical to those used in 
the 2018 HSTT final rule), the number of potential mortalities due to 
ship strike proposed to be authorized over the seven year period of 
this rule is the same as those authorized in the 2018 HSTT final rule. 
As the potential mortalities are now spread over seven years rather 
than five, an annual average of 0.29 gray whales (Eastern North Pacific 
stock), fin whales (CA/OR/WA stock), and humpback whales (Central North 
Pacific stock) and an annual average of 0.14 blue whales (Eastern North 
Pacific stock), humpback whales (CA/OR/WA stock, Mexico DPS), and sperm 
whales (Hawaii stock) as described in Table 16 (i.e., one, or two, 
take(s) over seven years divided by seven to get the annual number) are 
expected to potentially occur and are proposed for authorization. As 
this annual number is less than that analyzed and authorized in the 
2018 HSTT final rule, which was an annual average of 0.4 whales or 0.2 
whales respectively for the same species and stocks, and with the 
exception of the new gray whale UME on the U.S. west coast no other 
relevant information about the status, abundance, or effects of M/SI on 
each species or stock has changed, the analysis of the effects of 
vessel strike mirrors that presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule.

[[Page 48418]]



                                                    Table 16--Summary Information Related to Mortalities Requested for Ship Strike, 2018-2025
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Annual
                                                  authorized                                                                         Residual
                                         Stock      take by     Total    Fisheries interactions    Vessel collisions (Y/              PBR-PBR                               Recent UME (Y/N);
           Species (stock)             abundance    serious   annual M/ (Y/N); annual rate of M/  N); annual rate of M/SI   PBR *      minus       Stock trend * \4\      number and year (since
                                       (Nbest) *   injury or  SI * \2\      SI from fisheries     from vessel collision *            annual M/                                    2007)
                                                   mortality                 interactions *                                           SI \3\
                                                      \1\
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fin whale (CA/OR/WA stock)..........       9,029        0.29    >=43.5  Y; >=0.5................  Y, 1.6.................       81        37.5  [uarr].................  N.
Gray whale (Eastern North Pacific         26,960        0.29       139  Y, 9.6..................  Y, 0.8.................      801         662  stable since 2003......  Y, 170, 2019.
 stock).
Humpback whale (CA/OR/WA stock,            2,900        0.14    >=40.2  Y; >=15.7...............  Y, 22..................     16.7       -23.5  [uarr].................  N.
 Mexico DPS).
Humpback whale (Central North             10,103        0.29        26  Y; 9.9..................  Y, 1.5.................       83          57  [uarr].................  N.
 Pacific stock) \5\.
Sperm whale (Hawaii stock)..........   4,559 \6\        0.14       0.7  Y, 0.7..................  N......................     13.9        13.2  ?......................  N.
Blue whale (Eastern North Pacific          1,647        0.14      >=19  >=0.96..................  Y, 18..................      2.3       -16.7  stable.................  Y; 3, 2007.
 Stock).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Presented in the 2018 final SARs.
\1\ This column represents the annual take by serious injury or mortality (M/SI) by vessel collision and was calculated by the number of mortalities for authorization divided by seven years
  (the length of the rule and LOAs).
\2\ This column represents the total number of incidents of M/SI that could potentially accrue to the specified species or stock. This number comes from the SAR, but deducts the takes accrued
  from either Navy strikes or NMFS' Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) takes in the SARs to ensure not double-counted against PBR. However, for these species, there were no takes from
  either other Navy activities or SWFSC in the SARs to deduct that would be considered double-counting.
\3\ This value represents the calculated PBR less the average annual estimate of ongoing anthropogenic mortalities (i.e., total annual human-caused M/SI, which is presented in the SARs).
\4\ See relevant SARs for more information regarding stock status and trends.
\5\ Some values for the Central North Pacific stock of humpback whales were unintentionally presented incorrectly in Table 69 of the 2018 HSTT final rule. The correct values are provided here.
  These transcription errors do not affect the analysis or conclusions in the 2018 HSTT final rule, as the correct values were used in the analysis presented in the Analysis and Negligible
  Impact Determination section.
\6\ The stock abundance for the Hawaii stock of sperm whales was unintentionally presented incorrectly as 5,559 in the 2018 HSTT final rule and has been corrected here. This transcription
  error does not affect the analysis or conclusions reached in the 2018 HSTT final rule.

    The Navy has also requested a small number of takes by M/SI from 
explosives. To calculate the annual average of mortalities for 
explosives in Table 17 we used the same method as described for vessel 
strikes. The annual average is the total number of takes over seven 
years divided by seven. Specifically, NMFS is proposing to authorize 
the following M/SI takes from explosives: 5 California sea lions and 8 
short-beaked common dolphins over the seven-year period (therefore 0.71 
mortalities annually for California sea lions and 1.14 mortalities 
annually for short-beaked common dolphin), as described in Table 17. As 
this annual number is less than that analyzed and authorized in the 
2018 HSTT final rule, which was an annual average of 0.8 California sea 
lions and 1.2 short-beaked common dolphins, and no other relevant 
information about the status, abundance, or effects of mortality on 
each species or stock has changed, the analysis of the effects of 
explosives mirrors that presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule.

                                                         Table 17--Summary Information Related to Mortalities From Explosives, 2018-2025
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Annual
                                                 authorized                                                                 SWFSC     Residual
                                        Stock      take by     Total   Fisheries  interactions                           authorized   PBR--PBR
          Species (stock)             abundance    serious   annual M/  (Y/N); annual rate  of           PBR *               take       minus       Stock trend * \5\      UME (Y/N); number and
                                      (Nbest) *   injury or  SI * \2\    M/SI from  fisheries                             (annual)    annual M/                                    year
                                                  mortality                 interactions *                                   \3\       SI and
                                                     \1\                                                                              SWFSC \4\
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
California sea lion (U.S. stock)...     257,606        0.71     319.4  Y;197..................  14,011.................        6.6       13,685  [uarr].................  Y; 2013.
Short-beaked common dolphin (CA/OR/     969,861        1.14      >=40  Y; >=40................  8,393..................        2.8      8,350.2  ?......................  N.
 WA stock).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Presented in the 2018 final SARs.
\1\ This column represents the annual take by serious injury or mortality (M/SI) during explosive detonations and was calculated by the number of mortalities planned for authorization divided
  by seven years (the length of the rule and LOAs).
\2\ This column represents the total number of incidents of M/SI that could potentially accrue to the specified species or stock. This number comes from the SAR, but deducts the takes accrued
  from either Navy activities or NMFS' SWFSC takes in the SARs to ensure not double-counted against PBR. In this case, for California sea lion 0.8 annual M/SI from the U.S. West Coast during
  scientific trawl and longline operations conducted by NMFS and 1.8 annual M/SI from marine mammal research related mortalities authorized by NMFS was deducted from total annual M/SI (322).
\3\ This column represents annual take authorized through NMFS' SWFSC rulemaking/LOAs (80 FR 58982).
\4\ This value represents the calculated PBR less the average annual estimate of ongoing anthropogenic mortalities (i.e., total annual human-caused M/SI column and the annual authorized take
  from the SWFSC column. In the case of California sea lion the M/SI column (319.4) and the annual authorized take from the SWFSC (6.6) were subtracted from the calculated PBR of 14,011. In
  the case of Short-beaked common dolphin the M/SI column (40) and the annual authorized take from the SWFSC (2.8) were subtracted from the calculated PBR of 8,393.
\5\ See relevant SARs for more information regarding stock status and trends.

    See the Serious Injury or Mortality subsection in the Analysis and 
Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 HSTT final rule (83 
FR 66985-66993) for detailed discussions of the impacts of M/SI, 
including a description of how the agency uses the PBR metric and other 
factors to inform our analysis, and an analysis of the impacts on each 
species and stock for which M/SI is proposed for authorization, 
including the relationship of potential mortality for each species to 
the insignificance threshold and residual PBR.
Stocks With M/SI Below the Insignificance Threshold
    As noted in the Serious Injury or Mortality subsection of the 
Negligible

[[Page 48419]]

Impact Analysis and Determination section in the 2018 HSTT final rule, 
for a species or stock with incidental M/SI less than 10 percent of 
residual PBR, we consider M/SI from the specified activities to 
represent an insignificant incremental increase in ongoing 
anthropogenic M/SI that alone (i.e., in the absence of any other take 
and barring any other unusual circumstances) will clearly not adversely 
affect annual rates of recruitment and survival. In this case, as shown 
in Tables 16 and 17, the following species or stocks have potential or 
estimated M/SI from ship strike and explosive takes, respectively, and 
proposed for authorization below their insignificance threshold: Fin 
whale (CA/OR/WA stock), gray whale (Eastern North Pacific stock), 
humpback whale (Central North Pacific stock), sperm whale (Hawaii 
stock), California sea lion (U.S stock), and short-beaked common 
dolphin (CA/OR/WA stock). While the proposed authorized M/SI of 
California sea lions (U.S. stock) and gray whales (Eastern North 
Pacific stock) are below the insignificance threshold, because of the 
recent UMEs, we further address how the proposed authorized M/SI and 
the UME inform the negligible impact determination immediately below. 
For the other four stocks with proposed authorized M/SI below the 
insignificance threshold, there are no other known factors, 
information, or unusual circumstances that indicate anticipated M/SI 
below the insignificance threshold could have adverse effects on annual 
rates of recruitment or survival and they are not discussed further. 
For the remaining two stocks with anticipated potential M/SI above the 
insignificance threshold, how that M/SI compares to residual PBR, as 
well as additional factors, as appropriate, are discussed below as 
well.

California Sea Lion (U.S. Stock)

    The estimated (and proposed for authorization) lethal take of 
California sea lions is well below the insignificance threshold (0.71 
as compared to a residual PBR of 13,686) and NMFS classifies the stock 
as ``increasing'' in the 2018 Final SARs. Nonetheless, we consider here 
how the 2013-present California Sea Lion UME informs our negligible 
impact determination. This UME was confined to pup and yearling sea 
lions and many were emaciated, dehydrated, and underweight. Although 
this UME has not been closed, NMFS staff confirmed that the mortality 
of pups and yearlings returned to normal in 2017 and 2018 and we plan 
to present it to the UME Working Group to discuss closure by the summer 
of 2019 (Deb Fauquier, pers. comm.). NMFS' findings to date indicate 
that a change in the availability of sea lion prey, especially anchovy 
and sardines, a high value food source for nursing mothers, was a 
likely contributor to the large number of strandings. Sardine spawning 
grounds shifted further offshore in 2012 and 2013, and while other prey 
were available (market squid and rockfish), these may not have provided 
adequate nutrition in the milk of sea lion mothers supporting pups, or 
for newly-weaned pups foraging on their own. Although the pups showed 
signs of some viruses and infections, findings indicate that this event 
was not caused by disease, but rather by the lack of high quality, 
close-by food sources for nursing mothers. Average mortalities from 
2013-2017 were 1,000-3,000 more annually than they were in the previous 
10 years. However, even if these unusual mortalities were still 
occurring (with current data suggesting they are not), combined with 
other annual human-caused mortalities, and viewed through the PBR lens 
(for human-caused mortalities), total human-caused mortality (inclusive 
of the potential for additional UME deaths) would still fall well below 
residual PBR. Further, the loss of pups and yearlings would not be 
expected to have as much of an effect on annual population rates as the 
death of adult females. In conclusion, because of the abundance, 
population trend, and residual PBR of this stock, as well as the fact 
that the increased mortality stopped two years ago and the UME is 
expected to be closed soon, this UME is not expected to have any 
impacts on individuals during the period of this proposed rule, nor is 
it thought to have had impacts on the population rate when it was 
occurring that would influence our evaluation of the effects of the 
mortality proposed for authorization on the stock.

Gray Whales (Eastern North Pacific Stock)

    Since January 2019, gray whale strandings along the west coast of 
North America have been significantly higher than the previous 18-year 
averages. Preliminary findings from necropsies have shown evidence of 
emaciation. The seasonal pattern of elevated strandings in the spring 
and summer months is similar to that of the previous gray whale UME in 
1999-2000. Current total monthly strandings are slightly higher than 
1999 and lower than 2000. If strandings continue to follow a similar 
pattern, we would anticipate a decrease in strandings in late summer 
and fall. However, combined with other annual human-caused mortalities, 
and viewed through the PBR lens (for human-caused mortalities), total 
human-caused mortality (inclusive of the potential for additional UME 
deaths) would still fall well below residual PBR and the insignificance 
threshold. Because of the abundance, population trend (increasing, 
despite the UME in 1999-2000), and residual PBR (662) of this stock, 
this UME is not expected to have impacts on the population rate that, 
in combination with the effects of mortality proposed for 
authorization, would affect annual rates of recruitment or survival.
Stocks With M/SI Above the Insignificance Threshold

Humpback Whale (CA/OR/WA Stock, Mexico DPS)

    For this stock, PBR is currently set at 16.7 and the total annual 
M/SI is estimated at greater than or equal to 40.2, yielding a residual 
PBR of -23.5. NMFS proposes to authorize one M/SI over the seven-year 
duration of the rule (which is 0.14 annually for the purposes of 
comparing to PBR and considering other effects on annual rates of 
recruitment and survival), which means that residual PBR is exceeded by 
23.64. In the 2018 HSTT final rule the PBR was incorrectly reported as 
33.4 and the total annual M/SI was incorrectly reported as greater than 
or equal to 40.76 (yielding a residual PBR of -7.36). These 
transcription errors do not affect the fundamental analysis or 
conclusion reached in the 2018 HSTT final rule, however, and we have 
corrected these values here using data from the 2018 Final SARs.
    In the commercial fisheries setting for ESA-listed marine mammals 
(which is similar to the non-fisheries incidental take setting, in that 
a negligible impact determination is required that is based on the 
assessment of take caused by the activity being analyzed) NMFS may find 
the impact of the authorized take from a specified activity to be 
negligible even if total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR, if the 
authorized mortality is less than 10 percent of PBR and management 
measures are being taken to address serious injuries and mortalities 
from the other activities causing mortality (i.e., other than the 
specified activities covered by the incidental take authorization in 
consideration). When those considerations are applied in the section 
101(a)(5)(A) context here, the proposed authorized lethal take (0.14 
annually) of humpback whales from the CA/OR/WA stock is significantly 
less than 10 percent of PBR (in fact less than

[[Page 48420]]

1 percent of 16.7) and there are management measures in place to 
address M/SI from activities other than those the Navy is conducting 
(as discussed below).
    Based on identical simulations as those conducted to identify 
Recovery Factors for PBR in Wade et al. (1998), but where values less 
than 0.1 were investigated (P. Wade, pers. comm.), we predict that 
where the mortality from a specified activity does not exceed Nmin * 1/
2 Rmax * 0.013, the contemplated mortality for the specific activity 
will not delay the time to recovery by more than 1 percent. For this 
stock of humpback whales, Nmin * 1/2 Rmax * 0.013 = 1.45 and the annual 
mortality proposed for authorization is 0.14 (i.e., less than 1.45), 
which means that the mortality proposed to be authorized in this rule 
for HSTT activities would not delay the time to recovery by more than 1 
percent.
    As described in the 2018 HSTT final rule, NMFS must also ensure 
that impacts by the applicant on the species or stock from other types 
of take (i.e., harassment) do not combine with the impacts from M/SI to 
adversely affect the species or stock via impacts on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival, which is discussed further below in the 
species- and stock-specific section.
    In June 2019, NMFS published 2018 final SARs in which PBR is 
reported as 16.7 with the predicted average annual mortality greater 
than or equal to 38.6 (including 22 estimated from vessel collisions 
and greater than 14.1 observed fisheries interactions). While the 
observed M/SI from vessel strikes remains low at 2.1, the 2018 draft 
and final SARs rely on a new method to estimate annual deaths by ship 
strike utilizing an encounter theory model that combined species 
distribution models of whale density, vessel traffic characteristics, 
and whale movement patterns obtained from satellite-tagged animals in 
the region to estimate encounters that would result in mortality 
(Rockwood et al., 2017). The model predicts 22 annual mortalities of 
humpback whales from this stock from vessel strikes. The authors 
(Rockwood et al., 2017) do not suggest that ship strike suddenly 
increased to 22. In fact, the model is not specific to a year, but 
rather offers a generalized prediction of ship strike off the U.S. West 
Coast. Therefore, if the Rockwood et al. (2017) model is an accurate 
representation of vessel strike, then similar levels of ship strike 
have been occurring in past years as well. Put another way, if the 
model is correct, for some number of years total human-caused mortality 
has been significantly underestimated, and PBR has been similarly 
exceeded by a notable amount, and yet the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback 
whales is considered stable nevertheless.
    The CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales experienced a steady increase 
from the 1990s through approximately 2008, and more recent estimates 
through 2014 indicate a leveling off of the population size. This stock 
is comprised of the feeding groups of three DPSs. Two DPSs associated 
with this stock are listed under the ESA as either endangered (Central 
America DPS) or threatened (Mexico DPS), while the third is not listed. 
The mortality authorized by this rule is for an individual from the 
Mexico DPS only. As described in the Final Rule Identifying 14 DPSs of 
the Humpback Whale and Revision of Species-Wide Listing (81 FR 62260, 
September 8, 2016), the Mexico DPS was initially proposed not to be 
listed as threatened or endangered, but the final decision was changed 
in consideration of a new abundance estimate using a new methodology 
that was more accurate (less bias from capture heterogeneity and lower 
coefficient of variation) and resulted in a lower abundance than was 
previously estimated. To be clear, the new abundance estimate did not 
indicate that the numbers had decreased, but rather, the more accurate 
new abundance estimate (3,264), derived from the same data but based on 
an integrated spatial multi-strata mark recapture model (Wade et al., 
2016) was simply notably lower than earlier estimates, which were 
6,000-7,000 from the SPLASH project (Calambokidis et al., 2008) or 
higher (Barlow et al., 20111). The updated abundance was still higher 
than 2,000, which is the Biological Review Team's (BRT) threshold 
between ``not likely to be at risk of extinction due to low abundance 
alone'' and ``increasing risk from factors associated with low 
abundance.'' Further, the BRT concluded that the DPS was unlikely to be 
declining because of the population growth throughout most of its 
feeding areas, in California/Oregon and the Gulf of Alaska, but they 
did not have evidence that the Mexico DPS was actually increasing in 
overall population size.
    As discussed earlier, we also take into consideration management 
measures in place to address M/SI caused by other activities. The 
California swordfish and thresher shark drift gillnet fishery is one of 
the primary causes of M/SI take from fisheries interactions for 
humpback whales on the West Coast. NMFS established the Pacific 
Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Team in 1996 and prepared an 
associated Plan (PCTRP) to reduce the risk of M/SI via fisheries 
interactions. In 1997, NMFS published final regulations formalizing the 
requirements of the PCTRP, including the use of pingers following 
several specific provisions and the employment of Skipper education 
workshops.
    Crab pot fisheries are also a significant source of mortality for 
humpback whales and, unfortunately, have increased mortalities over 
recent years. However, the 2018 SAR notes that a recent increase in 
disentanglement efforts has resulted in an increase in the fraction of 
cases that are reported as non-serious injuries as a result of 
successful disentanglement. More importantly, since 2015, NMFS has 
engaged in a multi-stakeholder process in California (including 
California State resource managers, fishermen, NGOs, and scientists) to 
identify and develop solutions and make recommendations to regulators 
and the fishing industry for reducing whale entanglements (see http://www.opc.ca.gov/whale-entanglement-working-group/), referred to as the 
Whale Entanglement Working Group. More recently, similar efforts to 
address the entanglement issue have also been initiated in Oregon and 
Washington. The Whale Entanglement Working Group has made significant 
progress since 2015 and is tackling the problem from multiple angles, 
including:
     Development of Fact Sheets and Best Practices for specific 
Fisheries issues (e.g., California Dungeness Crab Fishing BMPs and the 
2018-2019 Best Fishing Practices Guide);
     2018-2019 Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) to 
support the state of California in working collaboratively with experts 
(fishermen, researchers, NGOs, etc.) to identify and assess elevated 
levels of entanglement risk and determine the need for management 
options to reduce risk of entanglement; and
     Support of pilot studies to test new fisheries 
technologies to reduce take (e.g., Exploring Ropeless Fishing 
Technologies for the California Dungeness Crab Fishery).

The Working Group meets regularly, posts reports and annual 
recommendations, and makes all of their products and guidance documents 
readily accessible for the public. The March 2019 Working Group Report 
reports on the status of the fishery closure, progress and continued 
development of the RAMP (though there is a separate RAMP report), 
discussed the role of the Working Group (development of a new Charter) 
and indicated next steps.

[[Page 48421]]

    Importantly, in early 2019, as a result of a litigation settlement 
agreement, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) closed 
the Dungeness crab fishery three months early for the year, which is 
expected to reduce the number of likely entanglements. The agreement 
also limits the fishery duration over the next couple of years and has 
different triggers to reduce or close it further. Further, pursuant to 
the settlement, CDFW is required to apply for a Section 10 Incidental 
Take Permit under the ESA to address protected species interactions 
with fishing gear and crab fishing gear (pots), and they have agreed to 
do so by May 2020. Any request for such a permit must include a Habitat 
Conservation Plan that specifies, among other things, what steps the 
applicant will take to minimize and mitigate the impacts, and the 
funding that will be available to implement such steps.
    Regarding measures in place to reduce mortality from sources other 
than the Navy, the Channel Islands NMS staff coordinates, collects, and 
monitors whale sightings in and around the Whale Advisory Zone and the 
Channel Islands NMS region, which is within the area of highest strike 
mortality (90th percentile) for humpback whales on the U.S. West coast 
(Rockwood et al., 2017). The seasonally established Whale Advisory Zone 
spans from Point Arguello to Dana Point, including the Traffic 
Separation Schemes in the Santa Barbara Channel and San Pedro Channel. 
Vessels transiting the area from June through November are recommended 
to exercise caution and voluntarily reduce speed to 10 kn or less for 
blue, humpback, and fin whales. Channel Island NMS observers collect 
information from aerial surveys conducted by NOAA, the U.S. Coast 
Guard, California Department of Fish and Game, and Navy chartered 
aircraft. Information on seasonal presence, movement, and general 
distribution patterns of large whales is shared with mariners, NMFS' 
Office of Protected Resources, the U.S. Coast Guard, the California 
Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural 
History, the Marine Exchange of Southern California, and whale 
scientists. Real time and historical whale observation data collected 
from multiple sources can be viewed on the Point Blue Whale Database.
    In this case, 0.14 M/SI annually means the potential for one 
mortality in one of the seven years and zero mortalities in six of 
those seven years. Therefore, the Navy would not be contributing to the 
total human-caused mortality at all in six of the seven, or 85.7 
percent, of the years covered by this rule. That means that even if a 
humpback whale from the CA/OR/WA stock were to be struck, in six of the 
seven years there could be no effect on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival from Navy-caused M/SI. Additionally, as noted previously, the 
loss of a male would have far less, if any, of an effect on population 
rates and absent any information suggesting that one sex is more likely 
to be struck than another, we can reasonably assume that there is a 50 
percent chance that the single strike authorized by this rule would be 
a male, thereby further decreasing the likelihood of impacts on the 
population rate. In situations like this where potential M/SI is 
fractional, consideration must be given to the lessened impacts 
anticipated due to the absence of M/SI in six of the years and due to 
the fact that a single strike could be of a male. Lastly, we reiterate 
that PBR is a conservative metric and also not sufficiently precise to 
serve as an absolute predictor of population effects upon which 
mortality caps would appropriately be based. This is especially 
important given the minor difference between zero and one across the 
seven-year period covered by this rule, which is the smallest 
distinction possible when considering mortality. Wade et al. (1998), 
authors of the paper from which the current PBR equation is derived, 
note that ``Estimating incidental mortality in one year to be greater 
than the PBR calculated from a single abundance survey does not prove 
the mortality will lead to depletion; it identifies a population worthy 
of careful future monitoring and possibly indicates that mortality-
mitigation efforts should be initiated.''
    The information included here illustrates that this humpback whale 
stock is stable, the potential (and proposed) mortality is well below 
10 percent (0.8 percent) of PBR, and management actions are in place to 
minimize both fisheries interactions and ship strike from other vessel 
activity in one of the highest-risk areas for strikes. More 
specifically, although the total human-mortality exceeds PBR, the 
authorized mortality for the Navy's specified activities would 
incrementally contribute less than 1 percent of that and, further, 
given the fact that it would occur in only one of seven years and could 
be comprised of a male (far less impactful to the population), the 
potential impacts on population rates are even less. Based on the 
presence of the factors described above, including consideration of the 
fact that the proposed mortality of 0.14 would not delay the time to 
recovery by more than 1 percent, we do not expect the potential lethal 
take from Navy activities, alone, to adversely affect the CA/OR/WA 
stock of humpback whales through effects on annual rates of recruitment 
or survival. Nonetheless, the fact that total human-caused mortality 
exceeds PBR necessitates close attention to the remainder of the 
impacts (i.e., harassment) on the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales 
from the Navy's activities to ensure that the total proposed authorized 
takes would have a negligible impact on the species and stock. 
Therefore this information will be considered in combination with our 
assessment of the impacts of harassment takes later in the Group and 
Species-Specific Analyses section.

Blue Whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock)

    For blue whales (Eastern North Pacific stock), PBR is currently set 
at 2.3 and the total annual M/SI is estimated at greater than or equal 
to 19, yielding a residual PBR of -16.7. This is unchanged since the 
2018 HSTT final rule. NMFS proposes to authorize one M/SI for the Navy 
over the seven-year duration of the rule (indicated as 0.14 annually 
for the purposes of comparing to PBR and evaluating overall effects on 
annual rates of recruitment and survival), which means that residual 
PBR is exceeded by 16.84. However, as described previously, in the 
commercial fisheries setting for ESA-listed marine mammals (which is 
similar to the incidental take setting, in that the negligible impact 
determination is based on the assessment of take of the activity being 
analyzed) NMFS may find the impact of the proposed authorized take from 
a specified activity to be negligible even if total human-caused 
mortality exceeds PBR, if the proposed authorized mortality is less 
than 10 percent of PBR and management measures are being taken to 
address serious injuries and mortalities from the other activities 
causing mortality (i.e., other than the specified activities covered by 
the incidental take authorization in consideration). When those 
considerations are applied in the section 101(a)(5)(A) context, the 
authorized lethal take (0.14 annually) of blue whales from the Eastern 
North Pacific stock is less than 10 percent of PBR (which is 2.3) and 
there are management measures in place to address M/SI from activities 
other than those the Navy is conducting (as discussed below). Perhaps 
more importantly, the population is considered ``stable'' and, 
specifically, the available data suggests that the current number of 
ship strikes

[[Page 48422]]

is not likely to have an adverse impact on the population, despite the 
fact that it exceeds PBR, with the Navy's minimal additional mortality 
of one whale in the seven years not creating the likelihood of adverse 
impact. Immediately below, we explain the information that supports our 
finding that the Navy's proposed authorized M/SI is not expected to 
result in more than a negligible impact on this stock. As described 
previously, NMFS must also ensure that impacts by the applicant on the 
species or stock from other types of take (i.e., harassment) do not 
combine with the impacts from mortality to adversely affect the species 
or stock via impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival, which 
occurs further below in the stock-specific conclusion sections.
    As discussed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the 2018 draft SAR and 
the recently published 2018 final SAR rely on a new method to estimate 
annual deaths by ship strike utilizing an encounter theory model that 
combined species distribution models of whale density, vessel traffic 
characteristics, and whale movement patterns obtained from satellite-
tagged animals in the region to estimate encounters that would result 
in mortality (Rockwood et al., 2017). The model predicts 18 annual 
mortalities of blue whales from vessel strikes, which, with the 
additional M/SI of 0.96 from fisheries interactions, results in the 
current estimate of residual PBR being -16.7. Although NMFS' Permits 
and Conservation Division in the Office of Protected Resources has 
independently reviewed the new ship strike model and its results and 
agrees that it is appropriate for estimating blue whale mortality by 
ship strike on the U.S. West Coast, for analytical purposes we also 
note that if the historical method were used to predict vessel strike 
(i.e., using observed mortality by vessel strike, or 0.2, instead of 
18), then total human-caused mortality including the Navy's potential 
take would not exceed PBR. We further note that the authors (Rockwood 
et al., 2017) do not suggest that ship strike suddenly increased to 18 
recently. In fact, the model is not specific to a year, but rather 
offers a generalized prediction of ship strike off the U.S. West Coast. 
Therefore, if the Rockwood et al. (2017) model is an accurate 
representation of vessel strike, then similar levels of ship strike 
have been occurring in past years as well. Put another way, if the 
model is correct, for some number of years total-human-caused mortality 
has been significantly underestimated and PBR has been similarly 
exceeded by a notable amount, and yet the Eastern North Pacific stock 
of blue whales remains stable nevertheless.
    NMFS' 2018 final SAR states that the stock is ``stable'' and there 
is no indication of a population size increase in this blue whale 
population since the early 1990s. The lack of a species' or stock's 
population increase can have several causes, some of which are 
positive. The SAR further cites to Monnahan et al. (2015), which used a 
population dynamics model to estimate that the Eastern North Pacific 
blue whale population was at 97 percent of carrying capacity in 2013 
and to suggest that the observed lack of a population increase since 
the early 1990s was explained by density dependence, not impacts from 
ship strike. This would mean that this stock of blue whales shows signs 
of stability and is not increasing in population size because the 
population size is at or nearing carrying capacity for its available 
habitat. In fact, we note that this population has maintained this 
status throughout the years that the Navy has consistently tested and 
trained at similar levels (with similar vessel traffic) in areas that 
overlap with blue whale occurrence, which would be another indicator of 
population stability.
    Monnahan et al. (2015) modeled vessel numbers, ship strikes, and 
the population of the Eastern North Pacific blue whale population from 
1905 out to 2050 using a Bayesian framework to incorporate informative 
biological information and assign probability distributions to 
parameters and derived quantities of interest. The authors tested 
multiple scenarios with differing assumptions, incorporated 
uncertainty, and further tested the sensitivity of multiple variables. 
Their results indicated that there is no immediate threat (i.e., 
through 2050) to the population from any of the scenarios tested, which 
included models with 10 and 35 strike mortalities per year. Broadly, 
the authors concluded that, unlike other blue whale stocks, the Eastern 
North Pacific blue whales have recovered from 70 years of whaling and 
are in no immediate threat from ship strikes. They further noted that 
their conclusion conflicts with the depleted and strategic designation 
under the MMPA, as well as PBR specifically.
    As discussed, we also take into consideration management measures 
in place to address M/SI caused by other activities. The Channel 
Islands NMS staff coordinates, collects, and monitors whale sightings 
in and around the Whale Advisory Zone and the Channel Islands NMS 
region. Redfern et al. (2013) note that the most risky area for blue 
whales is the Santa Barbara Channel, where shipping lanes intersect 
with common feeding areas. The seasonally established Whale Advisory 
Zone spans from Point Arguello to Dana Point, including the Traffic 
Separation Schemes in the Santa Barbara Channel and San Pedro Channel. 
Vessels transiting the area from June through November are recommended 
to exercise caution and voluntarily reduce speed to 10 kn or less for 
blue, humpback, and fin whales. Channel Island NMS observers collect 
information from aerial surveys conducted by NOAA, the U.S. Coast 
Guard, California Department of Fish and Game, and U.S. Navy chartered 
aircraft. Information on seasonal presence, movement, and general 
distribution patterns of large whales is shared with mariners, NMFS 
Office of Protected Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, California Department 
of Fish and Game, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the 
Marine Exchange of Southern California, and whale scientists. Real time 
and historical whale observation data collected from multiple sources 
can be viewed on the Point Blue Whale Database.
    In this case, 0.14 M/SI means one mortality in one of the seven 
years and zero mortalities in six of those seven years. Therefore, the 
Navy would not be contributing to the total human-caused mortality at 
all in six of the seven, or 85.7 percent, of the years covered by this 
rule. That means that even if a blue whale were to be struck, in six of 
the seven years there could be no effect on annual rates of recruitment 
or survival from Navy-caused M/SI. Additionally, as with humpback 
whales discussed previously, the loss of a male would have far less, if 
any, effect on population rates and absent any information suggesting 
that one sex is more likely to be struck than another, we can 
reasonably assume that there is a 50 percent chance that the single 
strike authorized by this rule would be a male, thereby further 
decreasing the likelihood of impacts on the population rate. In 
situations like this where potential M/SI is fractional, consideration 
must be given to the lessened impacts anticipated due to the absence of 
M/SI in six of the seven years and the fact that the single strike 
could be a male. Lastly, as with the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales 
above, we reiterate that PBR is a conservative metric and also not 
sufficiently precise to serve as an absolute predictor of population 
effects upon which mortality caps would appropriately be based. This

[[Page 48423]]

is especially important given the minor difference between zero and one 
across the seven-year period covered by this rule, which is the 
smallest distinction possible when considering mortality. As noted 
above, Wade et al. (1998), authors of the paper from which the current 
PBR equation is derived, note that ``Estimating incidental mortality in 
one year to be greater than the PBR calculated from a single abundance 
survey does not prove the mortality will lead to depletion; it 
identifies a population worthy of careful future monitoring and 
possibly indicates that mortality-mitigation efforts should be 
initiated.'' The information included here indicates that this blue 
whale stock is stable, approaching carrying capacity, and has leveled 
off because of density-dependence, not human-caused mortality, in spite 
of what might be otherwise indicated from the calculated PBR. Further, 
potential (and proposed for authorization) M/SI is below 10 percent of 
PBR and management actions are in place to minimize ship strike from 
other vessel activity in one of the highest-risk areas for strikes. 
Based on the presence of the factors described above, we do not expect 
lethal take from Navy activities, alone, to adversely affect Eastern 
North Pacific blue whales through effects on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival. Nonetheless, the fact that total human-caused 
mortality exceeds PBR necessitates close attention to the remainder of 
the impacts (i.e., harassment) on the Eastern North Pacific stock of 
blue whales from the Navy's activities to ensure that the total 
authorized takes have a negligible impact on the species or stock. 
Therefore, this information will be considered in combination with our 
assessment of the impacts of proposed harassment takes in the Group and 
Species-Specific Analyses section that follows.

Group and Species-Specific Analyses

    In addition to broader analyses of the impacts of the Navy's 
activities on mysticetes, odontocetes, and pinnipeds, the 2018 HSTT 
final rule contained detailed analyses of the effects of the Navy's 
activities in the HSTT Study Area on each affected species and stock. 
All of that information and analyses remain applicable and valid for 
our analyses of the effects of the same Navy activities on the same 
species and stocks for the seven-year period of this proposed rule. See 
the Group and Species-Specific Analyses subsection in the Analysis and 
Negligible Impact Determination section of the 2018 HSTT final rule (83 
FR 66993-67018). In addition, no new information has been received 
since the publication of the 2018 HSTT final rule that significantly 
changes the analyses on the effects of the Navy's activities on each 
species and stock presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule (the potential 
impact of the new gray whale UME and the corrected numbers from the 
humpback whale SARs were discussed earlier in the rule).
    In the discussions below, the estimated Level B harassment takes 
represent instances of take, not the number of individuals taken (the 
much lower and less frequent Level A harassment takes are far more 
likely to be associated with separate individuals), and in many cases 
some individuals are expected to be taken more than one time, while in 
other cases a portion of individuals will not be taken at all. Below, 
we compare the total take numbers (including PTS, TTS, and behavioral 
disruption) for species or stocks to their associated abundance 
estimates to evaluate the magnitude of impacts across the species or 
stock and to individuals. Specifically, when an abundance percentage 
comparison is below 100, it means that that percentage or less of the 
individuals in the stock will be affected (i.e., some individuals will 
not be taken at all), that the average for those taken is one day per 
year, and that we would not expect any individuals to be taken more 
than a few times in a year. When it is more than 100 percent, it means 
there will definitely be some number of repeated takes of individuals. 
For example, if the percentage is 300, the average would be each 
individual is taken on three days in a year if all were taken, but it 
is more likely that some number of individuals will be taken more than 
three times and some number of individuals fewer times or not at all. 
While it is not possible to know the maximum number of days across 
which individuals of a stock might be taken, in acknowledgement of the 
fact that it is more than the average, for the purposes of this 
analysis, we assume a number approaching twice the average. For 
example, if the percentage of take compared to the abundance is 800, we 
estimate that some individuals might be taken as many as 16 times. 
Those comparisons are included in the sections below. For some stocks 
these numbers have been adjusted slightly (with these adjustments being 
in the single digits) so as to more consistently apply this approach, 
but these minor changes did not change the analysis or findings.
    To assist in understanding what this analysis means, we clarify a 
few issues related to estimated takes and the analysis here. An 
individual that incurs a PTS or TTS take may sometimes, for example, 
also be subject to behavioral disturbance at the same time. As 
described in the Harassment subsection of the Analysis and Negligible 
Impact Determination section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, the degree of 
PTS, and the degree and duration of TTS, expected to be incurred from 
the Navy's activities are not expected to impact marine mammals such 
that their reproduction or survival could be affected. Similarly, data 
do not suggest that a single instance in which an animal accrues PTS or 
TTS and is subject to behavioral disturbance would result in impacts to 
reproduction or survival. Alternately, we recognize that if an 
individual is subjected to behavioral disturbance repeatedly for a 
longer duration and on consecutive days, effects could accrue to the 
point that reproductive success is jeopardized (as discussed below in 
the stock-specific summaries). Accordingly, in analyzing the number of 
takes and the likelihood of repeated and sequential takes (which could 
result in reproductive impacts), we consider the total takes, not just 
the Level B harassment takes by behavioral disrupion, so that 
individuals potentially exposed to both threshold shift and behavioral 
disruption are appropriately considered. We note that the same 
reasoning applies with the potential addition of behavioral disruption 
to tissue damage from explosives, the difference being that we do 
already consider the likelihood of reproductive impacts whenever tissue 
damage occurs. Further, the number of Level A harassment takes by 
either PTS or tissue damage are so low compared to abundance numbers 
that it is considered highly unlikely that any individual would be 
taken at those levels more than once.
    Having considered all of the information and analyses previously 
presented in the 2018 HSTT final rule, including the Group and Species-
Specific Analyses discussions organized by the different groups and 
species, below we present tables showing instances of total take as a 
percentage of stock abundance for each group, updated with the new 
explosion and vessel strike calculations. We then summarize the 
information for each species or stock, considering the analysis from 
the 2018 HSTT final rule and any new analysis. The analyses below in 
some cases address species collectively if they occupy the same 
functional hearing group (i.e., low, mid, and high-frequency cetaceans 
and pinnipeds in water), share similar life history strategies, and/or 
are known to behaviorally respond similarly to

[[Page 48424]]

acoustic stressors. Because some of these groups or species share 
characteristics that inform the impact analysis similarly, it would be 
duplicative to repeat the same analysis for each species or stock. In 
addition, animals belonging to each stock within a species typically 
have the same hearing capabilities and behaviorally respond in the same 
manner as animals in other stocks within the species.
Mysticetes
    In Tables 18 and 19 below for mysticetes, we indicate the total 
annual mortality, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment, and a 
number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of 
abundance. Tables 18 and 19 have been updated from Tables 71 and 72 in 
the 2018 HSTT final rule as appropriate with the 2018 final SARs and 
updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional 
information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see 
the Mysticetes discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses 
section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to 
this proposed rule unless specifically noted.
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.001


[[Page 48425]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.002

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C
    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
preliminary determination that the Navy's activities would not 
adversely affect any species or stocks through effects on annual rates 
of recruitment or survival for any of the affected mysticete species 
and stocks.

Blue Whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock)

    The SAR identifies this stock as ``stable'' even though the larger 
species is listed as endangered under the ESA. We further note that 
this stock was originally listed under the ESA as a result of the 
impacts from commercial whaling, which is no longer affecting the 
species. NMFS proposes to authorize one mortality over the seven years 
covered by this rule, or 0.14 mortality annually. With the addition of 
this 0.14 annual mortality, residual PBR is exceeded, resulting in the 
total human-caused mortality exceeding PBR by 16.84. However, as 
described in more detail in the Serious Injury or Mortality section 
above, when total human-caused mortality exceeds PBR, we consider 
whether the incremental addition of a small amount of authorized 
mortality from the specified activity may still result in a negligible 
impact, in part by identifying whether it is less than 10 percent of 
PBR. In this case, the authorized mortality is well below 10 percent of 
PBR, management measures are in place to reduce mortality from other 
sources, and the incremental addition of a single mortality over the 
course of the seven-year Navy rule is not expected to, alone, lead to 
adverse impacts on the stock through effects on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival. In addition, even with the additional two 
years of activities under this rule, no additional M/SI is estimated 
for this stock, leading to a slight decrease (from 0.2 to 0.14 
annually) in annual mortality from the 2018 HSTT final rule.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is 253 and 121 percent, respectively (Table 19). 
Given the range of blue whales, this information suggests that only 
some portion of individuals in the stock are likely impacted, but that 
there will likely be some repeat exposure (maybe 5 or 6 days within a 
year) of some subset of individuals that spend extended time within the 
SOCAL Range. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B 
harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure 
is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) 
and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 
178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a 
severe response). Additionally,

[[Page 48426]]

the Navy implements time/area mitigation in SOCAL in the majority of 
the BIAs, which will reduce the severity of impacts to blue whales by 
reducing interference in feeding that could result in lost feeding 
opportunities or necessitate additional energy expenditure to find 
other good opportunities. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, we have 
explained in the 2018 HSTT final rule that they are expected to be low-
level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would 
be expected to interfere with blue whale communication or other 
important low-frequency cues--and that the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 
HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS 
for this stock is unlikely to have any effect on the reproduction or 
survival of that one individual, even if it were to be experienced by 
an animal that also experiences one or more Level B harassment takes by 
behavioral disruption.
    Altogether, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be 
impacted and any individual blue whale is likely to be disturbed at a 
low-moderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or twice 
and a subset potentially disturbed across five or six days, but 
minimized in biologically important areas. This low magnitude and 
severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on 
the reproduction or survival of any individuals and, therefore, when 
combined with the authorized mortality (which our earlier analysis 
indicated would not, alone, have more than a negligible impact on this 
stock of blue whales), the total take is not expected to adversely 
affect this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the 
Eastern North Pacific stock of blue whales.

Bryde's Whale (Eastern Tropical Pacific Stock)

    Little is known about this stock, or its status, and it is not 
listed under the ESA. No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated 
or proposed to be authorized. Regarding the magnitude of Level B 
harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of 
estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance is 3,154 
percent, however, the abundance upon which this percentage is based 
(1.3 whales from the Navy estimate, which is extrapolated from density 
estimates based on very few sightings) is clearly erroneous and the SAR 
does not include an abundance estimate because all of the survey data 
is outdated (Table 19). However, the abundance in the early 1980s was 
estimated as 22,000 to 24,000, a portion of the stock was estimated at 
13,000 in 1993, and the minimum number in the Gulf of California was 
estimated at 160 in 1990. Given this information and the fact that 41 
total takes of Bryde's whales were estimated, this information suggests 
that only a small portion of the individuals in the stock are likely 
impacted, and few, if any, are likely taken over more than one day. 
Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by 
behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be 
between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received 
sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of 
a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). 
Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, 
of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be 
expected to interfere with Bryde's whale communication or other 
important low-frequency cues. Any associated lost opportunities and 
capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or 
survival.
    Altogether, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be 
impacted and any individual Bryde's whale is likely to be disturbed at 
a low-moderate level, with few, if any, individuals exposed over more 
than one day in the year. This low magnitude and severity of harassment 
effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction 
or survival, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival. For 
these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of 
all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the 
authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Eastern 
Tropical Pacific stock of Bryde's whales.

Fin Whale (CA/OR/WA Stock)

    The SAR identifies this stock as ``increasing,'' even though the 
larger species is listed as endangered under the ESA. NMFS proposes to 
authorize two mortalities over the seven years covered by this rule, or 
0.29 mortality annually. The addition of this 0.29 annual mortality 
still leaves the total human-caused mortality well under residual PBR.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is 613 and 25 percent, respectively (Table 19). 
This information suggests that only some portion (less than 25 percent) 
of individuals in the stock are likely impacted, but that there is 
likely some repeat exposure (perhaps up to 12 days within a year) of 
some subset of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL 
complex. Some of these takes could occur on a few sequential days for 
some small number of individuals, for example, if they resulted from a 
multi-day exercise on a range while individuals were in the area for 
multiple days feeding. Regarding the severity of those individual Level 
B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any 
exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively 
short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a 
portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely 
to evoke a severe response). Additionally, while there are no BIAs for 
fin whales in the SOCAL range, the Navy implements time/area mitigation 
in SOCAL in blue whale BIAs, and fin whales are known to sometimes feed 
in some of the same areas, which means they could potentially accrue 
some benefits from the mitigation. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, 
they are expected to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in 
a frequency band that would be expected to interfere with fin whale 
communication or other important low-frequency cues--and that the 
associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that 
would impact reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as 
described in the 2018 HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A 
harassment take by PTS for this stock is unlikely to have any effects 
on the reproduction or survival of that one individual.
    Altogether, this population is increasing, only a small portion of 
the stock is anticipated to be impacted, and any individual fin whale 
is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the taken 
individuals likely exposed between one and twelve days, with a few 
individuals potentially taken on a few sequential days. This low 
magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result 
in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, nor are these 
harassment takes combined with the proposed authorized mortality 
expected to adversely affect

[[Page 48427]]

this stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. 
For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration 
of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the 
authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA 
stock of fin whales.

Humpback Whale (CA/OR/WA Stock)

    The SAR identifies this stock as stable (having shown a long-term 
increase from 1990 and then leveling off between 2008 and 2014) and the 
individuals in this stock are associated with three DPSs, one of which 
is not listed under the ESA (Hawaii), one of which is designated as 
threatened (Mexico), and one of which is designated as endangered 
(Central America) (individuals encountered in the SOCAL portion of the 
HSTT Study Area are likely to come from the latter two DPSs). NMFS 
proposes to authorize one mortality over the seven years covered by 
this rule, or 0.14 mortality annually (Mexico DPS only). With the 
addition of this 0.14 annual mortality, the total human-caused 
mortality exceeds PBR by 23.64. However, as described in more detail in 
the Serious Injury or Mortality section, when total human-caused 
mortality exceeds PBR, we consider whether the incremental addition of 
a small amount of authorized mortality from the specified activity may 
still result in a negligible impact, in part by identifying whether it 
is less than 10 percent of PBR, which is 16.7. In this case, the 
authorized mortality is well below 10 percent of PBR (less than one 
percent, in fact) and management measures are in place to reduce 
mortality from other sources. More importantly, as described above in 
the Serious Injury or Mortality section, the authorized mortality of 
0.14 will not delay the time to recovery by more than 1 percent. Given 
these factors, the incremental addition of a single mortality over the 
course of the seven-year Navy rule is not expected to, alone, lead to 
adverse impacts on the stock through effects on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is 808 and 69 percent, respectively (Table 19). 
Given the range of humpback whales, this information suggests that only 
some portion of individuals in the stock are likely impacted, but that 
there is likely some repeat exposure (perhaps up to 16 days within a 
year) of some subset of individuals that spend extended time within the 
SOCAL complex. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B 
harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure 
is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) 
and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 
178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a 
severe response). Some of these takes could occur on several sequential 
days for some small number of individuals, for example, if they 
resulted from a multi-day exercise on a range while individuals were in 
the area for multiple days feeding. However, in these amounts it would 
still not be expected to adversely impact reproduction or survival of 
any individuals.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-
level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would 
be expected to interfere with humpback whale communication or other 
important low-frequency cues--and that the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 
HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS 
for this stock is unlikely to have any effects on the reproduction or 
survival of that one individual.
    Altogether, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be 
impacted and any individual humpback whale is likely to be disturbed at 
a low-moderate level, with likely many animals exposed only once or 
twice and a subset potentially disturbed up to 16 days, but with no 
reason to think that more than a few of those days would be sequential. 
This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected 
to result in impacts on the reproduction or survival of any individuals 
and, therefore, when combined with the proposed authorized mortality 
(which our earlier analysis indicated would not, alone, have more than 
a negligible impact on this stock of humpback whales), the total take 
is not expected to adversely affect this stock through impacts on 
annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would 
have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales.

Minke Whale (CA/OR/WA Stock)

    The status of this stock is unknown and it is not listed under the 
ESA. No mortality from vessel strike or tissue damage from explosive 
exposure is anticipated or proposed for authorization for this species. 
Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral 
disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take compared 
to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated abundance 
and the SAR) is 568 and 146 percent, respectively (Table 19). Based on 
the behaviors of minke whales, which often occur along continental 
shelves and sometimes establish home ranges along the West Coast, this 
information suggests that only a portion of individuals in the stock 
are likely impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure 
(perhaps up to 11 days within a year) of some subset of individuals 
that spend extended time within the SOCAL complex. Some of these takes 
could occur on a few sequential days for some small number of 
individuals, for example, if they resulted from a multi-day exercise on 
a range while individuals were in the area for multiple days feeding. 
Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by 
behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be 
between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received 
sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of 
a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). 
Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, 
of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be 
expected to interfere with minke whale communication or other important 
low-frequency cues--and that the associated lost opportunities and 
capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or 
survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 HSTT final 
rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS for this 
stock is unlikely to have any effects on the reproduction or survival 
of that individual.
    Altogether, only a portion of the stock is anticipated to be 
impacted and any individual minke whale is likely to be disturbed at a 
low-moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between 
one and eleven days, with a few individuals potentially taken on a few 
sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects 
is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or 
survival, much less annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these 
reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of

[[Page 48428]]

the effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the authorized take 
proposed would have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of minke 
whales.

Sei Whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock)

    The status of this stock is unknown and it is listed under the ESA. 
No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed for 
authorization. Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS 
and behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of 
take compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-
estimated abundance and the SAR) is 2,633 and 15 percent, respectively 
(Table 19), however, the abundance upon which the Navy percentage is 
based (3 from the Navy estimate, which is extrapolated from density 
estimates based on very few sightings) is likely an underestimate of 
the number of individuals in the HSTT study Area, resulting in an 
overestimated percentage. Given this information and the large range of 
sei whales, and the fact that only 79 total Level B harassment takes of 
sei whales were estimated, it is likely that some very small number of 
sei whales would be taken repeatedly, potentially up to 15 days in a 
year (typically 2,633 percent would lead to the estimate of 52 days/
year, however, given that there are only 79 sei whale total takes, we 
used the conservative assumption that five individuals might be taken 
up to 15 times, with the few remaining takes distributed among other 
individuals). Regarding the severity of those individual Level B 
harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure 
is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) 
and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 
178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a 
severe response). Some of these takes could occur on a few sequential 
days for some small number of individuals, for example, if they 
resulted from a multi-day exercise on a range while individuals were in 
the area for multiple days feeding, however, in these amounts it would 
still not be expected to adversely impact reproduction or survival of 
any individuals. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected 
to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band 
that would be expected to interfere with sei whale communication or 
other important low-frequency cues--and that the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival.
    Altogether, only a small portion of the stock is anticipated to be 
impacted and any individual sei whale is likely to be disturbed at a 
low-moderate level, with only a few individuals exposed over one to 15 
days in a year, with no more than a few sequential days. This low 
magnitude and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result 
in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, much less annual 
rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would 
have a negligible impact on the Eastern North Pacific stock of sei 
whales.

Gray Whale (Eastern North Pacific Stock)

    The SAR identifies this stock as ``increasing'' and the species is 
not listed under the ESA. NMFS is proposing to authorize two 
mortalities over the seven years covered by this rule, or 0.29 
mortality annually. The addition of this 0.29 annual mortality still 
leaves the total human-caused mortality well under the insignificance 
threshold of residual PBR (663). On May 31, 2019, NMFS declared the 
unusual spike in strandings of gray whales along the west coast of 
North America since January 1, 2019 an UME. As of June 13, 2019, 155 
gray whales have stranded along the west coast of North America (in the 
U.S., Canada, and Mexico). Including these mortalities in the 
calculated residual PBR still leaves the addition of 0.29 annual 
mortality well under the insignificance threshold of residual PBR (508 
including known deaths due to the UME).
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is 2,424 and 17 percent, respectively (Table 
19). This information suggests that only some small portion of 
individuals in the stock are likely impacted (less than 17 percent), 
but that there is likely some level of repeat exposure of some subset 
of individuals that spend extended time within the SOCAL complex. 
Typically 2,424 percent would lead to the estimate of 48 days/year, 
however, given that a large number of gray whales are known to migrate 
through the SOCAL complex and the fact that there are 4,678 total 
takes, we believe that it is more likely that a larger number of 
individuals would be taken one to a few times, while a small number 
staying in an area to feed for several days may be taken on 5-10 days. 
Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by 
behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be 
between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received 
sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of 
a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). 
Some of these takes could occur on a couple of sequential days for some 
small number of individuals, however, in these amounts it would still 
not be expected to adversely impact reproduction or survival of any 
individuals.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-
level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would 
be expected to interfere with gray whale communication or other 
important low-frequency cues and that the associated lost opportunities 
and capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or 
survival. For these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while 
a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree 
of energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of 
opportunities or detection capabilities, at the expected scale the 7 
estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for gray whales would be 
unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities 
to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival 
of any individuals.
    Altogether, while we have considered the impacts of the gray whale 
UME, gray whales are not endangered or threatened under the ESA and the 
Eastern North Pacific stock is increasing. Only a small portion of the 
stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual gray whale is 
likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with likely many 
animals exposed only once or twice and a subset potentially disturbed 
across five to ten days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment 
effects is not expected to result in impacts to reproduction or 
survival for any individuals and nor are these harassment takes 
combined with the proposed authorized mortality of two whales over the 
seven year period expected to adversely affect this stock through 
impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, 
we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the 
effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the authorized take 
proposed would have a negligible impact on the Eastern North Pacific 
stock of gray whales.

[[Page 48429]]

Gray Whale (Western North Pacific Stock)

    The Western North Pacific stock of gray whales is reported as 
increasing in the 2018 final SAR, but is listed as endangered under the 
ESA. No mortality or Level A harassment is anticipated or proposed for 
authorization. This stock is expected to incur the very small number of 
6 Level B harassment takes (2 behavioral disruption and 4 TTS) to a 
stock with a SAR-estimated abundance of 290 (Table 19). These takes 
will likely accrue to different individuals, the behavioral 
disturbances will be of a low-moderate level, and the TTS instances 
will be at a low level and short duration. This low magnitude and 
severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on 
individual reproduction or survival, much less to adversely affect this 
stock through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For 
these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of 
all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the 
authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Western 
North Pacific stock of gray whales.

Humpback Whale (Central North Pacific Stock)

    The 2018 final SAR identifies this stock as ``increasing'' and the 
DPS is not listed under the ESA. No Level A harassment by tissue damage 
is proposed for authorization. NMFS proposes to authorize two 
mortalities over the seven years covered by this rule, or 0.29 
mortalities annually. The addition of this 0.29 annual mortality still 
leaves the total human-caused mortality well under the insignificance 
threshold for residual PBR.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of take 
compared to the abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and 
within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 180 and 161 percent (Table 18). 
This information and the complicated far-ranging nature of the stock 
structure suggests that some portion of the stock (but not all) are 
likely impacted, over one to several days per year, with little 
likelihood of take across sequential days. Regarding the severity of 
those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the 
duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours 
(i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 
172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, 
less likely to evoke a severe response). Additionally, as noted above, 
there are two mitigation areas implemented by the Navy that span a 
large area of the important humpback reproductive area (BIA) and 
minimize impacts by limiting the use of MF1 active sonar and 
explosives, thereby reducing both the number and severity of takes of 
humpback whales. Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected 
to be low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band 
that would be expected to interfere with humpback whale communication 
or other important low-frequency cues, and that the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and 
frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity 
may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean 
some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at the 
expected scale the 3 estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for 
humpback whales would be unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, 
or detection capabilities to a degree that would interfere with 
reproductive success or survival of any individuals.
    Altogether, this stock is increasing and the DPS is not listed as 
endangered or threatened under the ESA. Only a small portion of the 
stock is anticipated to be impacted and any individual humpback whale 
is likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, with the taken 
individuals likely exposed between one to several days per year, with 
little likelihood of take across sequential days. This low magnitude 
and severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts 
on individual reproduction or survival, nor are these harassment takes 
combined with the authorized mortality expected to adversely affect 
this stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. 
For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration 
of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the 
authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Central 
North Pacific stock of humpback whales.

Blue Whale (Central North Pacific Stock) and the Hawaii Stocks of 
Bryde's Whale, Fin Whale, Minke Whale, and Sei Whale

    The status of these stocks are not identified in the SARs. Blue 
whale (Central North Pacific stock) and the Hawaii stocks of fin whale 
and sei whale are listed as endangered under the ESA; the Hawaii stocks 
of minke whales and Bryde's whales are not listed under the ESA. No 
mortality or Level A harassment by tissue damage is anticipated or 
proposed for authorization for any of these stocks.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of take 
compared to the abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and 
within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 92-135 and 103-142 percent (Table 
18). This information suggests that some portion of the stocks (but not 
all) are likely impacted, over one to several days per year, with 
little likelihood of take across sequential days. Regarding the 
severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral 
disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between 
minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound 
levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 178 dB (i.e., of a 
moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a severe response). 
Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-level, 
of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be 
expected to interfere with mysticete communication or other important 
low-frequency cues--and that the associated lost opportunities and 
capabilities are not at a level that would impact reproduction or 
survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 HSTT final 
rule) the two estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for the Hawaii 
stock of minke whales are unlikely to have any effects on the 
reproduction or survival of any individuals.
    Altogether, only a portion of these stocks are anticipated to be 
impacted and any individuals of these stocks are likely to be disturbed 
at a low-moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed 
between one and several days, with little chance that any are taken 
across sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment 
effects is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction 
or survival, much less have impacts on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival. For these reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on 
these stocks.
Odontocetes

Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales

    In Tables 20 and 21 below for sperm whale, dwarf sperm whales, and 
pygmy sperm whales, we indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and 
Level B

[[Page 48430]]

harassment, and a number indicating the instances of total take as a 
percentage of abundance. Tables 20 and 21 are unchanged from Tables 73 
and 74 in the 2018 HSTT final rule, except for updated information on 
mortality for the Hawaii stock of sperm whales, as discussed above. For 
additional information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact 
analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Sperm Whales, 
Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales discussion in the Group and 
Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of 
which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless specifically 
noted.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.003

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.004

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

Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Sperm Whales (CA/OR/WA 
Stocks)

    The SAR identifies the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales as ``stable'' 
and the species is listed as endangered under the ESA. The status of 
the CA/OR/WA stocks of pygmy and dwarf sperm whales is unknown and 
neither are listed under the ESA. Neither mortality nor Level A 
harassment by tissue damage from exposure to explosives is expected or 
proposed for authorization for any of these three stocks.

[[Page 48431]]

    Due to their pelagic distribution, small size, and cryptic 
behavior, pygmy sperm whales and dwarf sperm whales are rarely sighted 
during at-sea surveys and are difficult to distinguish between when 
visually observed in the field. Many of the relatively few observations 
of Kogia spp. off the U.S. West Coast were not identified to species. 
All at-sea sightings of Kogia spp. have been identified as pygmy sperm 
whales or Kogia spp. Stranded dwarf sperm and pygmy sperm whales have 
been found on the U.S. West Coast, however dwarf sperm whale strandings 
are rare. NMFS SARs suggest that the majority of Kogia sighted off the 
U.S. West Coast were likely pygmy sperm whales. As such, the stock 
estimate in the NMFS SAR for pygmy sperm whales is the estimate derived 
for all Kogia spp. in the region (Barlow, 2016), and no separate 
abundance estimate can be determined for dwarf sperm whales, though 
some low number likely reside in the U.S. EEZ. Due to the lack of 
abundance estimate it is not possible to predict the take of dwarf 
sperm whales and take estimates are identified as Kogia spp. (including 
both pygmy and dwarf sperm whales). We assume only a small portion of 
those takes are likely to be dwarf sperm whales as the density and 
abundance in the U.S. EEZ is thought to be low.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is, respectively, 913 and 125 for sperm whales 
and 1,211 and 223 for Kogia spp., with a large proportion of these 
anticipated to be pygmy sperm whales due to the low abundance and 
density of dwarf sperm whales in the HSTT Study Area. (Table 21). Given 
the range of these stocks (which extends the entire length of the West 
Coast, as well as beyond the U.S. EEZ boundary), this information 
suggests that some portion of the individuals in these stocks will not 
be impacted, but that there is likely some repeat exposure (perhaps up 
to 24 days within a year for Kogia spp. and 18 days a year for sperm 
whales) of some small subset of individuals that spend extended time 
within the SOCAL Range. Additionally, while interrupted feeding bouts 
are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that 
there are often viable alternative habitat options in the relative 
vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment 
takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is 
expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and 
the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, to 
occasionally moderate, level and less likely to evoke a severe 
response). However, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of 
sequential days for some number on individuals.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-
level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would 
be expected to interfere with sperm whale communication or other 
important low-frequency cues, and that the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and 
frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity 
(PTS) may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or 
may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at 
the expected scale the estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for 
the dwarf and pygmy sperm whale stocks would be unlikely to impact 
behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that 
would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any 
individuals. Thus the 38 total Level A harassment takes by PTS for 
these two stocks would be unlikely to affect rates of recruitment and 
survival for the stocks.
    Altogether, most members of the stocks will likely be taken by 
Level B harassment (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over 
several days a year, and some smaller portion of the stocks are 
expected to be taken on a relatively moderate to high number of days 
(up to 18 or 24) across the year, some of which could be sequential 
days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a lower to 
sometimes moderate severity, the larger number of takes for a subset of 
individuals makes it more likely that a small number of individuals 
could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that 
impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding 
opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative 
feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. 
Energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population 
rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits 
beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to 
cause the death of an adult marine mammal. As discussed in the 2018 
HSTT final rule, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one 
year, which is the maximum predicted because the small number 
anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any individual 
would be impacted in this way twice in seven years very low) has far 
less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a small number 
of instances of foregone reproduction would not be expected to 
adversely affect these stocks through effects on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival. We also note that residual PBR is 19 for pygmy 
dwarf sperm whales and 1.6 for sperm whales. Both the abundance and PBR 
are unknown for dwarf sperm whales, however, we know that take of this 
stock is likely significantly lower in magnitude and severity (i.e., 
lower number of total takes and repeated takes any individual) than 
pygmy sperm whales. For these reasons, in consideration of all of the 
effects of the Navy's activities combined, we have preliminarily 
determined that the authorized take proposed would have a negligible 
impact on the CA/OR/WA stocks of sperm whales and pygmy and dwarf sperm 
whales.
Sperm Whale (Hawaii Stock)
    The SAR does not identify a trend for this stock and the species is 
listed as endangered under the ESA. No Level A harassment by PTS or 
tissue damage is expected or proposed authorization. NMFS proposes to 
authorize one mortality over the seven years covered by this rule, 
which is 0.14 mortalities annually. The addition of this 0.14 annual 
mortality still leaves the total human-caused mortality well under the 
insignificance threshold for residual PBR.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated instances of take 
compared to the abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and 
within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 151 and 147 percent (Table 20). 
This information and the sperm whale stock range suggest that likely 
only a smaller portion of the stock would be impacted, over one to 
several days per year, with little likelihood of take across sequential 
days. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B harassment 
takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure is 
expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and 
the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, to 
occasionally moderate, level and less likely to evoke a severe 
response). Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be 
low-level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that 
would be expected to interfere with sperm whale communication or other 
important low-frequency cues, and that

[[Page 48432]]

the associated lost opportunities and capabilities are not at a level 
that would impact reproduction or survival.
    Altogether, a relatively small portion of this stock is anticipated 
to be impacted and any individuals are likely to be disturbed at a low-
moderate level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one 
and several days, with little chance that any are taken across 
sequential days. This low magnitude and severity of harassment effects 
is not expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or 
survival, nor are these harassment takes combined with the single 
authorized mortality expected to adversely affect the stock through 
annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would 
have a negligible impact on the Hawaii stock of sperm whales.
Pygmy and Dwarf Sperm Whales (Hawaii Stocks)
    The SAR does not identify a trend for these stocks and the species 
are not listed under the ESA. No Level A harassment by tissue damage is 
anticipated or proposed for authorization. Regarding the magnitude of 
Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral disruption), the number of 
estimated instances of take compared to the abundance, both throughout 
the HSTT Study Area and within the U.S. EEZ, respectively, is 244-249 
and 235-240 percent (Table 20). This information and the pygmy and 
dwarf sperm whale stock ranges (at least throughout the U.S. EEZ around 
the entire Hawaiian Islands) suggest that likely a fair portion of each 
stock is not impacted, but that a subset of individuals may be taken 
over one to perhaps five days per year, with little likelihood of take 
across sequential days. Regarding the severity of those individual 
Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any 
exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively 
short) and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a 
lower, to occasionally moderate, level and less likely to evoke a 
severe response). Additionally, as discussed earlier, within the Hawaii 
Island Mitigation Area, explosives are not used and the use of MF1 and 
MF4 active sonar is limited, greatly reducing the severity of impacts 
within the small resident population BIA for dwarf sperm whales, which 
is entirely contained within this mitigation area.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-
level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would 
be expected to interfere with sperm whale communication or other 
important low-frequency cues--and that the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and 
frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity 
may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean 
some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, at the 
expected scale, estimated Level A harassment takes by PTS for dwarf and 
pygmy sperm whales would be unlikely to impact behaviors, 
opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would 
interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals, 
even if it were to be experienced by an animal that also experiences 
one or more instances of Level B harassment by behavioral disruption. 
Thus the 29 and 64 total Level A harassment takes by PTS for dwarf and 
pygmy sperm whales, respectively, would be unlikely to affect rates of 
recruitment and survival for these stocks.
    Altogether, a portion of these stocks are likely to be impacted and 
any individuals are likely to be disturbed at a low-moderate level, 
with the taken individuals likely exposed between one and five days, 
with little chance that any are taken across sequential days. This low 
magnitude and severity of Level A and Level B harassment effects is not 
expected to result in impacts on individual reproduction or survival, 
much less impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these 
reasons, we have preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of 
the effects of the Navy's activities combined, that the expected and 
authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the Hawaii 
stocks of pygmy and dwarf sperm whales.

Beaked Whales

    In Tables 22 and 23 below for beaked whales, we indicate the total 
annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number 
indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. 
Tables 22 and 23 are unchanged from Tables 75 and 76 in the 2018 HSTT 
final rule. For additional information and analysis supporting the 
negligible-impact analysis, see the Odontocetes discussion as well as 
the Beaked Whales discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses 
section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to 
this proposed rule unless specifically noted.

[[Page 48433]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.005

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.006

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect any 
species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this 
section.
Blainville's, Cuvier's, and Longman's Beaked Whales (Hawaii Stocks)
    The SAR does not identify a trend for these stocks and the species 
are not listed under the ESA. No mortality or Level A harassment are 
expected or proposed for authorization for any of these three stocks. 
Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and behavioral 
disruption), the number of estimated instances of take compared to the 
abundance, both throughout the HSTT Study Area and within the U.S. EEZ, 
respectively, is 521-545 and 514-539 percent (Table 22). This 
information and the stock ranges (at least of the small, resident 
Island associated stocks around Hawaii) suggest that likely a fair 
portion of the stocks (but not all) will be impacted, over one to 
perhaps eleven days per year, with little likelihood of much take 
across sequential days. Regarding the severity of those individual 
Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any 
exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively 
short) and the received sound levels largely below 160 dB, though with 
beaked whales, which are considered somewhat more sensitive, this could 
mean that some individuals will leave preferred habitat for a day or 
two (i.e., moderate level takes). However, while interrupted feeding 
bouts are a known response and

[[Page 48434]]

concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable 
alternative habitat options nearby. Additionally, as noted earlier, 
within the Hawaii Island mitigation area (which entirely contains the 
BIAs for Cuvier's and Blainville's beaked whales), explosives are not 
used and the use of MF1 and MF4 active sonar is limited, greatly 
reducing the severity of impacts within these two small resident 
populations.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-
level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would 
be expected to interfere with beaked whale communication or other 
important low-frequency cues, and that the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities are not at a level that would impact 
reproduction or survival.
    Altogether, a fair portion of these stocks are anticipated to be 
impacted and any individuals are likely to be disturbed at a moderate 
level, with the taken individuals likely exposed between one and eleven 
days, with little chance that individuals are taken across more than a 
few sequential days. This low, to occasionally moderate, magnitude and 
severity of harassment effects is not expected to result in impacts on 
individual reproduction or survival, much less have impacts on annual 
rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, we have 
preliminarily determined, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, that the authorized take proposed would 
have a negligible impact on the Hawaii stocks of beaked whales.
Baird's and Cuvier's Beaked Whales and Mesoplodon Species (all CA/OR/WA 
Stocks)
    The species are not listed under the ESA and their populations have 
been identified as ``stable,'' ``decreasing,'' and ``increasing,'' 
respectively. No mortality is expected or proposed for authorization 
for any of these three stocks and only two takes by Level A harassment 
(PTS) are proposed for authorization.
    No methods are available to distinguish between the six species of 
Mesoplodon beaked whale CA/OR/WA stocks (Blainville's beaked whale (M. 
densirostris), Perrin's beaked whale (M. perrini), Lesser beaked whale 
(M. peruvianus), Stejneger's beaked whale (M. stejnegeri), Gingko-
toothed beaked whale (M. gingkodens), and Hubbs' beaked whale (M. 
carlhubbsi)) when observed during at-sea surveys (Carretta et al., 
2018). Bycatch and stranding records from the region indicate that the 
Hubbs' beaked whale is most commonly encountered (Carretta et al., 
2008, Moore and Barlow, 2013). As indicated in the SAR, no species-
specific abundance estimates are available, the abundance estimate 
includes all CA/OR/WA Mesoplodon spp, and the six species are managed 
as one unit. Due to the lack of species-specific abundance estimates it 
is not possible to predict the take of individual species and take 
estimates are identified as Mesoplodon spp.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance for these stocks is 2,762, 2,212, and 6,960 
percent (measured against Navy-estimated abundance) and 76, 351, and 
203 percent (measured against the SAR) for Baird's beaked whales, 
Cuvier's beaked whales, and Mesoplodon spp., respectively (Table 23). 
Given the ranges of these stocks, this information suggests that some 
smaller portion of the individuals of these stocks will be taken, and 
that some subset of individuals within the stock will be taken 
repeatedly within the year (perhaps up to 20-25 days, and potentially 
more for Cuvier's)--potentially over a fair number of sequential days, 
especially where individuals spend extensive time in the SOCAL Range. 
Note that we predict lower days of repeated exposure for these stocks 
than their percentages might have suggested because of the number of 
overall takes--i.e., using the higher percentage would suggest that an 
unlikely portion of the takes are taken up by a small portion of the 
stock incurring a very large number of repeat takes, with little room 
for take resulting from few or moderate numbers of repeats, which is 
unlikely. While interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and 
concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable 
alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the 
severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral 
disruption, we have explained that the duration of any exposure is 
expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and 
the received sound levels largely below 160 dB, though with beaked 
whales, which are considered somewhat more sensitive, this could mean 
that some individuals will leave preferred habitat for a day or two 
(i.e., of a moderate level). In addition, as noted, some of these takes 
could occur on a fair number of sequential days for these stocks.
    The severity of TTS takes is expected to be low-level, of short 
duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to 
interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, 
or other important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact 
reproduction or survival. For similar reasons (as described in the 2018 
HSTT final rule) the single estimated Level A harassment take by PTS 
for this stock is unlikely to have any effects on the reproduction or 
survival of any individuals.
    Altogether, a portion of these stocks will likely be taken (at a 
moderate or sometimes low level) over several days a year, and some 
smaller portion of the stock is expected to be taken on a relatively 
moderate to high number of days across the year, some of which could be 
sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a 
moderate severity, the repeated takes over a potentially fair number of 
sequential days for some individuals makes it more likely that a small 
number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner 
and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from 
either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to 
find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego 
reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are generally 
meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes 
extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from 
these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal. As noted 
previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year, 
which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in 
any one year makes the probability that any individual would be 
impacted in this way twice in seven years very low) has far less of an 
impact on population rates than mortality and a small number of 
instances of foregone reproduction would not be expected to adversely 
affect these stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival, especially given the residual PBR of these three beaked whale 
stocks (16, 21, and 20, respectively).
    Further, Navy activities have been conducted in SOCAL for many 
years at similar levels and the SAR considers Mesoplodon spp. as 
increasing and Baird's beaked whales as stable. While NMFS' SAR 
indicates that Cuvier's beaked whales on the U.S. West Coast are 
declining based on a Bayesian trend analysis of NMFS' survey data 
collected from 1991 through 2014, results from passive acoustic 
monitoring and other research have estimated regional Cuvier's beaked 
whale densities that

[[Page 48435]]

were higher than indicated by NMFS' broad-scale visual surveys for the 
U.S. West Coast (Debich et al., 2015a; Debich et al., 2015b; Falcone 
and Schorr, 2012, 2014; Hildebrand et al., 2009; Moretti, 2016; 
[Scaron]irovi[cacute] et al., 2016; Smultea and Jefferson, 2014). 
Research also indicates higher than expected residency in the Navy's 
instrumented Southern California Anti-Submarine Warfare Range in 
particular (Falcone and Schorr, 2012) and photo identification studies 
in the SOCAL have identified approximately 100 individual Cuvier's 
beaked whale individuals with 40 percent having been seen in one or 
more prior years, with re-sightings up to seven years apart (Falcone 
and Schorr, 2014). The documented residency by many Cuvier's beaked 
whales over multiple years suggest that a stable population may exist 
in that small portion of the stock's overall range (Falcone et al., 
2009; Falcone and Schorr, 2014; Schorr et al., 2017).
    For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the 
Navy's activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the 
authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA 
stocks of Baird's and Cuvier's beaked whales, as well as all six 
species included within the Mesoplodon spp.

Small Whales and Dolphins

    In Tables 24 and 25 below for dolphins and small whales, we 
indicate the total annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, 
and a number indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of 
abundance. Tables 24 and 25 are updated from Tables 77 and 78 in the 
2018 HSTT final rule as appropriate with the 2018 final SARs and with 
updated information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional 
information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see 
the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Small Whales and Dolphins 
discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 
2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed 
rule unless specifically noted.

[[Page 48436]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.007


[[Page 48437]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.008

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect any 
species or stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this 
section.
Long-Beaked Common Dolphin (California Stock), Northern Right Whale 
Dolphin (CA/OR/WA Stock), and Short-Beaked Common Dolphin (CA/OR/WA 
Stock)
    None of these stocks is listed under the ESA and their stock 
statuses are considered ``increasing,'' ``unknown,'' and ``stable,'' 
respectively. Eight mortalities or serious injuries of short-beaked 
common dolphins are proposed for authorization over the seven-year 
rule, or 1.14 M/SI annually. The addition of this 1.14 annual mortality 
still leaves the total human-caused mortality well under the 
insignificance threshold for residual PBR. The three stocks are 
expected to accrue 2, 1, and 10 Level A harassment takes from tissue 
damage resulting from exposure to explosives, respectively. As 
described in detail in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the impacts of a Level 
A harassment take by tissue damage could range in impact from minor to 
something just less than M/SI that could seriously impact fitness. 
However, given the Navy's procedural mitigation, exposure at the closer 
to the source and more severe end of the spectrum is less likely and we 
cautiously assume some moderate impact for these takes that could lower 
the affected individual's fitness within the year such that a female 
(assuming a 50 percent chance of it being a female) might forego 
reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone reproduction 
has less of an impact on population rates than death (especially for 
only one year in seven, which is the maximum predicted because the 
small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any 
individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven five years very 
low), and 1 to 10 instances would not be expected to impact annual 
rates of recruitment or survival for these stocks.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is 2,411, 1,273, and 571 percent (respective to 
the stocks listed in the heading) and 244, 369, and 154 percent 
(respective to the stocks listed in the heading) (Table 25). Given the 
range of these stocks, this information suggests

[[Page 48438]]

that likely some portion (but not all or even the majority) of the 
individuals in the Northern right whale dolphin and short-beaked common 
dolphin stocks are likely impacted, while it is entirely possible that 
most or all of the range-limited long-beaked common dolphin is taken. 
All three stocks likely will experience some repeat Level B harassment 
exposure (perhaps up to 48, 25, or 11 days within a year, respective to 
the stocks listed in the heading) of some subset of individuals that 
spend extended time within the SOCAL range complex. While interrupted 
feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also 
know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the 
relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B 
harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure 
is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) 
and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB with a portion up to 
178 dB (i.e., of a moderate or lower level, less likely to evoke a 
severe response). However, some of these takes could occur on a fair 
number of sequential days for long-beaked common dolphins or northern 
right whale dolphins, or even some number of short-beaked common 
dolphins, given the high number of total takes (i.e., the probability 
that some number of individuals get taken on a higher number of 
sequential days is higher, because the total take number is relatively 
high, even though the percentage is not that high).
    The severity of TTS takes is expected to be low-level, of short 
duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to 
interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, 
or other important low-frequency cues, and the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact 
reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and 
frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing sensitivity 
may include some degree of energetic costs for compensating or may mean 
some small loss of opportunities or detection capabilities, as 
discussed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, it would be unlikely to impact 
behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that 
would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any 
individuals.
    Altogether and as described in more detail above, 1.14 annual 
lethal takes of short-beaked common dolphins are proposed for 
authorization, all three stocks may experience a very small number of 
takes by tissue damage or PTS (relative to the stock abundance and 
PBR), and a moderate to large portion of all three stocks will likely 
be taken (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a 
year, and some smaller portion of these stocks is expected to be taken 
on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the year, some 
of which could be sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are 
expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, the larger 
number of takes (in total and for certain individuals) makes it more 
likely (probabilistically) that a small number of individuals could be 
interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that impacts to 
the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding opportunities 
or expending considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) 
could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts 
to males are generally meaningless to population rates unless they 
cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would 
ever be likely to result from these activities to cause the death of an 
adult marine mammal. As noted previously, however, foregone 
reproduction (especially for only one year out of seven, which is the 
maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year 
makes the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way 
twice in seven years very low) has far less of an impact on population 
rates than mortality and a small number of instances of foregone 
reproduction (including in combination with that which might result 
from the small number of tissue damage takes) would not be expected to 
adversely affect the stocks through effects on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival, especially given the very high residual PBRs 
of these stocks (621, 175, and 8,353, respectively). For these reasons, 
in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities 
combined (mortality, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment), we 
have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would 
have a negligible impact on these three stocks of dolphins.
All Other SOCAL Dolphin Stocks (Except Long-Beaked Common Dolphin, 
Northern Right Whale Dolphin, and Short-Beaked Common Dolphin)
    None of these stocks is listed under the ESA and their stock 
statuses are considered ``unknown,'' except for the bottlenose dolphin 
(California coastal stock) and killer whale (Eastern North Pacific 
stock), which are considered ``stable.'' No M/SI or Level A harassment 
via tissue damage from exposure to explosives is expected or proposed 
for authorization for these stocks.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is from 440 to 2,675 percent and 36 to 2,881 
percent, respectively (Table 25). Given the range of these stocks 
(along the entire U.S. West Coast, or even beyond, with some also 
extending seaward of the HSTT Study Area boundaries), this information 
suggests that some portion (but not all or even the majority) of the 
individuals of any of these stocks will be taken, with the exception 
that most or all of the individuals of the more range-limited 
California coastal stock of bottlenose dolphin may be taken. It is also 
likely that some subset of individuals within most of these stocks will 
be taken repeatedly within the year (perhaps up to 10-15 days within a 
year), but with no more than several potentially sequential days, 
although the CA/OR/WA stocks of bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-
sided dolphins, and Risso's dolphins may include individuals that are 
taken repeatedly within the year over a higher number of days (up to 
57, 22, and 40 days, respectively) and potentially over a fair number 
of sequential days, especially where individuals spend extensive time 
in the SOCAL range complex. Note that though percentages are high for 
the Eastern North Pacific stock of killer whales and short-finned pilot 
whales, given the low overall number of takes, it is highly unlikely 
that any individuals would be taken across the number of days their 
percentages would suggest. While interrupted feeding bouts are a known 
response and concern for odontocetes, we also know that there are often 
viable alternative habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding 
the severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral 
disruption, we have explained that the duration of any exposure is 
expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and 
the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, or 
sometimes moderate level, less likely to evoke a severe response). 
However, as noted, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of 
sequential days for the three stocks listed earlier.
    The severity of TTS takes is expected to be low-level, of short 
duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that

[[Page 48439]]

would be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific 
communication, echolocation, or other important low-frequency cues. For 
these same reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small 
permanent loss of hearing sensitivity may include some degree of 
energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of 
opportunities or detection capabilities, it would be unlikely to impact 
behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that 
would interfere with reproductive success or survival of any 
individuals.
    Altogether, a portion of all of these stocks will likely be taken 
(at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, and 
some smaller portion of CA/OR/WA stocks of bottlenose dolphins, Pacific 
white-sided dolphins, and Risso's dolphins, specifically, are expected 
to be taken on a relatively moderate to high number of days across the 
year, some of which could be sequential days. Though the majority of 
impacts are expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, 
the larger number of takes (in total and for certain individuals) for 
the CA/OR/WA stocks of bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-sided 
dolphins, and Risso's dolphins makes it more likely (probabilistically) 
that a small number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging 
in a manner and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of 
females (from either losing feeding opportunities or expending 
considerable energy to find alternative feeding options) could cause 
them to forego reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are 
generally meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and 
it takes extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to 
result from these activities to cause the death of an adult marine 
mammal. As noted previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially 
for only one year in seven, which is the maximum predicted because the 
small number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any 
individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven five years very 
low) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a 
small number of instances of foregone reproduction would not be 
expected to adversely affect the stocks through effects on annual rates 
of recruitment or survival, especially given the residual PBRs of the 
CA/OR/WA stocks of bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, 
and Risso's dolphins (9.4, 183, and 84, respectively). For these 
reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's 
activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the 
authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on these stocks 
of dolphins.
All HRC Dolphin Stocks
    With the exception of the Main Hawaiian Island stock of false 
killer whales (listed as endangered under the ESA, with the MMPA stock 
identified as ``decreasing''), none of these stocks are listed under 
the ESA and their stock statuses are considered ``unknown.'' No M/SI or 
Level A harassment via tissue damage from exposure to explosives is 
expected or proposed for authorization for these stocks.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is from 46 to 1,169 percent and 41 to 2,130 
percent, respectively (Table 24). Given the ranges of these stocks 
(many of them are small, resident, island-associated stocks), this 
information suggests that a fairly large portion of the individuals of 
many of these stocks will be taken, but that most individuals will only 
be impacted across a smaller to moderate number of days within the year 
(1-15), and with no more than several potentially sequential days, 
although two stocks (the Oahu stocks of bottlenose dolphin and 
pantropical spotted dolphin) have a slightly higher percentage, 
suggesting they could be taken up to 23 days within a year, with 
perhaps a few more of those days being sequential. We note that 
although the percentage is higher for the tropical stock of pygmy 
killer whale within the U.S. EEZ (2,130), given (1) the low overall 
number of takes (760) and (2) the fact that the small within-U.S. EEZ 
abundance is not a static set of individuals, but rather individuals 
moving in and out of the U.S. EEZ making it more appropriate to use the 
percentage comparison for the total takes versus total abundance--it is 
highly unlikely that any individuals would be taken across the number 
of days the within-U.S. EEZ percentage suggests (42). While interrupted 
feeding bouts are a known response and concern for odontocetes, we also 
know that there are often viable alternative habitat options in the 
relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of those individual Level B 
harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the duration of any exposure 
is expected to be between minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) 
and the received sound levels largely below 172 dB (i.e., of a lower, 
or sometimes moderate level, less likely to evoke a severe response). 
However, as noted, some of these takes could occur on a fair number of 
sequential days for the Oahu stocks of bottlenose dolphin and 
pantropical spotted dolphins.
    Regarding the severity of TTS takes, they are expected to be low-
level, of short duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would 
be expected to interfere significantly with conspecific communication, 
echolocation, or other important low-frequency cues. For these same 
reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of 
hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for 
compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection 
capabilities, they would be unlikely to impact behaviors, 
opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that would 
interfere with reproductive success or survival of any individuals, 
even if accrued to individuals that are also taken by behavioral 
harassment at the same time.
    Altogether, most of these stocks (all but the Oahu stocks of 
bottlenose dolphin and pantropical spotted dolphins) will likely be 
taken (at a low to occasionally moderate level) over several days a 
year, with some smaller portion of the stock potentially taken on a 
more moderate number of days across the year (perhaps up to 15 days for 
Fraser's dolphin, though others notably less), some of which could be 
across a few sequential days, which is not expected to affect the 
reproductive success or survival of individuals. For the Oahu stocks of 
bottlenose dolphin and pantropical spotted dolphins, some subset of 
individuals could be taken up to 23 days in a year, with some small 
number being taken across several sequential days, such that a small 
number of individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner 
and amount such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from 
either losing feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to 
find alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego 
reproduction for a year. Energetic impacts to males are generally 
meaningless to population rates unless they cause death, and it takes 
extreme energy deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from 
these activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal. As noted 
previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for one year, 
which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in 
any one year makes the probability that any individual would be 
impacted in this way twice in seven years very low) has far less of an 
impact

[[Page 48440]]

on population rates than mortality and a small number of instances of 
foregone reproduction would not be expected to adversely affect these 
two stocks through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. 
For these reasons, in consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's 
activities combined, we have preliminarily determined that the 
authorized take proposed would have a negligible impact on all of the 
stocks of dolphins found in the vicinity of the HRC.

Dall's Porpoise

    In Table 26 below for porpoises, we indicate the total annual 
mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number indicating the 
instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. Table 26 is 
unchanged from Table 79 in the 2018 HSTT final rule. For additional 
information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see 
the Odontocetes discussion as well as the Dall's Porpoise discussion in 
the Group and Species-Specific Analyses section of the 2018 HTT final 
rule, all of which remains applicable to this proposed rule unless 
specifically noted.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.009

    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect 
Dall's porpoises through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival.
    Dall's porpoise is not listed under the ESA and the stock status is 
considered ``unknown.'' No M/SI or Level A harassment via tissue damage 
from exposure to explosives is expected or proposed for authorization 
for this stock.
    Most Level B harassments to Dall's porpoise from hull-mounted sonar 
(MF1) in the HSTT Study Area would result from received levels between 
154 and 166 dB SPL (85 percent). While harbor porpoises have been 
observed to be especially sensitive to human activity, the same types 
of responses have not been observed in Dall's porpoises. Dall's 
porpoises are typically notably longer than, and weigh more than twice 
as much as, harbor porpoises, making them generally less likely to be 
preyed upon and likely differentiating their behavioral repertoire 
somewhat from harbor porpoises. Further, they are typically seen in 
large groups and feeding aggregations, or exhibiting bow-riding 
behaviors, which is very different from the group dynamics observed in 
the more typically solitary, cryptic harbor porpoises, which are not 
often seen bow-riding. For these reasons, Dall's porpoises are not 
treated as especially sensitive species (as compared to harbor 
porpoises which have a lower threshold for Level B harassment by 
behavioral disruption and more distant cutoff) but, rather, are 
analyzed similarly to other odontocetes. Therefore, the majority of 
Level B harassment takes are expected to be in the form of milder 
responses compared to higher level exposures. As discussed more fully 
in the 2018 HSTT final rule, we anticipate more severe effects from 
takes when animals are exposed to higher received levels.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), the number of estimated total instances of take 
compared to the abundance (measured against both the Navy-estimated 
abundance and the SAR) is 2,170 and 173 percent, respectively (Table 
26). Given the range of this stock (up the U.S. West Coast through 
Washington and sometimes beyond the U.S. EEZ), this information 
suggests that some smaller portion of the individuals of this stock 
will be taken, and that some subset of individuals within the stock 
will be taken repeatedly within the year (perhaps up to 42 days)--
potentially over a fair number of sequential days, especially where 
individuals spend extensive time in the SOCAL range complex. While 
interrupted feeding bouts are a known response and concern for 
odontocetes, we also know that there are often viable alternative 
habitat options in the relative vicinity. Regarding the severity of 
those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral disruption, the 
duration of any exposure is expected to be between minutes and hours 
(i.e., relatively short) and the received sound levels largely below 
172 dB (i.e., of a lower, or sometimes moderate level, less likely to 
evoke a severe response). However, as noted, some of these takes could 
occur on a fair number of sequential days for this stock.
    The severity of TTS takes is expected to be low-level, of short 
duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to 
interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, 
or other important low-frequency cues. Therefore, the associated lost 
opportunities and capabilities would not be expected to impact 
reproduction or survival. For these same reasons (low level and the 
likely frequency band), while a small permanent loss of hearing 
sensitivity may include some degree of

[[Page 48441]]

energetic costs for compensating or may mean some small loss of 
opportunities or detection capabilities, the estimated 209 Level A 
harassment takes by PTS for Dall's porpoise would be unlikely to impact 
behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities to a degree that 
would interfere with reproductive success or survival for most 
individuals. Because of the high number of PTS takes, however, we 
acknowledge that a few animals could potentially incur permanent 
hearing loss of a higher degree that could potentially interfere with 
their successful reproduction and growth. Given the status of the 
stock, even if this occurred, it would not adversely impact rates of 
recruitment or survival.
    Altogether, a portion of this stock will likely be taken (at a low 
to occasionally moderate level) over several days a year, and some 
smaller portion of the stock is expected to be taken on a relatively 
moderate to high number of days across the year, some of which could be 
sequential days. Though the majority of impacts are expected to be of a 
lower to sometimes moderate severity, the larger number of takes (in 
total and for certain individuals) for the Dall's porpoise makes it 
more likely (probabilistically) that a small number of individuals 
could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount such that 
impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing feeding 
opportunities or expending considerable energy to find alternative 
feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction for a year. 
Energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to population 
rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy deficits 
beyond what would ever be likely to result from these activities to 
cause the death of an adult marine mammal. Similarly, we acknowledge 
the potential for this to occur to a few individuals out of the 209 
total that might incur a higher degree of PTS. As noted previously, 
however, foregone reproduction (especially for only one year in seven, 
which is the maximum predicted because the small number anticipated in 
any one year makes the probability that any individual would be 
impacted in this way twice in seven five years very low) has far less 
of an impact on population rates than mortality. Further, the small 
number of instances of foregone reproduction that could potentially 
result from PTS and/or the few repeated, more severe Level B harassment 
takes by behavioral disruption would not be expected to adversely 
affect the stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival, especially given the status of the species (not endangered or 
threatened; minimum population of 25,170 just within the U.S. EEZ) and 
residual PBR of Dall's porpoise (171.4). For these reasons, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined, 
we have preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed 
would have a negligible impact on Dall's porpoise.

Pinnipeds

    In Tables 27 and 28 below for pinnipeds, we indicate the total 
annual mortality, Level A and Level B harassment, and a number 
indicating the instances of total take as a percentage of abundance. 
Tables 27 and 28 have been updated from Tables 80 and 81 in the 2018 
HSTT final rule, as appropriate, with the 2018 final SARs and updated 
information on mortality, as discussed above. For additional 
information and analysis supporting the negligible-impact analysis, see 
the Pinnipeds discussion in the Group and Species-Specific Analyses 
section of the 2018 HSTT final rule, all of which remains applicable to 
this proposed rule unless specifically noted.
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.010


[[Page 48442]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP13SE19.011

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C
    Below we compile and summarize the information that supports our 
determination that the Navy's activities would not adversely affect any 
pinnipeds through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival 
for any of the affected species or stocks addressed in this section.
    Five M/SI takes of California sea lions are proposed for 
authorization and when this mortality is combined with the other human-
caused mortality from other sources, it still falls well below the 
insignificance threshold for residual PBR (13, 685). A small number of 
Level A harassment takes by tissue damage are also proposed for 
authorization (9 and 2 for California sea lions and northern elephant 
seals, respectively), which, as discussed in the 2018 HSTT final rule, 
could range in impact from minor to something just less than M/SI that 
could seriously impact fitness. However, given the Navy's mitigation, 
exposure at the closer to the source and more severe end of the 
spectrum is less likely. Nevertheless, we cautiously assume some 
moderate impact on the individuals that experience these small numbers 
of take that could lower the individual's fitness within the year such 
that a female (assuming a 50 percent chance of it being a female) might 
forego reproduction for one year. As noted previously, foregone 
reproduction has less of an impact on population rates than death 
(especially for only one within seven years, which is the maximum 
predicted because the small number anticipated in any one year makes 
the probability that any individual would be impacted in this way twice 
in seven years very low) and these low numbers of instances (especially 
assuming the likelihood that only 50 percent of the takes would affect 
females) would not be expected to impact annual rates of recruitment or 
survival, especially given the population sizes of these species.
    Regarding the magnitude of Level B harassment takes (TTS and 
behavioral disruption), for Hawaiian monk seals and Guadalupe fur 
seals, the two species listed under the ESA, the estimated instances of 
takes as compared to the stock abundance does not exceed 124 percent, 
which suggests that some portion of these two stocks would be taken on 
one to a few days per year. For the remaining stocks, the number of 
estimated total instances of take compared to the abundance (measured 
against both the Navy-estimated abundance and the SAR) for these stocks 
is 1,484 to 2,896 percent and 18 to 40 percent, respectively (Table 
27). Given the ranges of these stocks (i.e., very large ranges, but 
with individuals often staying in the vicinity of haulouts), this 
information suggests that some very small portion of the individuals of 
these stocks will be taken, but that some subset of individuals within 
the stock will be taken repeatedly within the year (perhaps up to 58 
days)--potentially over a fair number of sequential days. Regarding the 
severity of those individual Level B harassment takes by behavioral 
disruption, the duration of any exposure is expected to be between 
minutes and hours (i.e., relatively short) and the received sound 
levels largely below 172 dB, which is considered a relatively low to 
occasionally moderate level for pinnipeds. However, as noted, some of 
these takes could occur on a fair number of sequential days for this 
stock.
    As described in the 2018 HSTT final rule, the Hawaii and 4-Islands 
mitigation areas protect (by not using explosives and limiting MFAS 
within) a significant portion of the designated critical habitat for 
Hawaiian monk seals in the Main Hawaiian Islands, including all of it 
around the islands of Hawaii and Lanai, most around Maui, and good 
portions around Molokai and Kaho'olawe. As discussed, this protection 
reduces the overall number of takes, and further reduces the severity 
of effects by minimizing impacts near pupping beaches and in important 
foraging habitat.
    The severity of TTS takes are expected to be low-level, of short 
duration, and mostly not in a frequency band that would be expected to 
interfere significantly with conspecific communication, echolocation, 
or other important low-frequency cues that

[[Page 48443]]

would affect the individual's reproduction or survival. For these same 
reasons (low level and frequency band), while a small permanent loss of 
hearing sensitivity may include some degree of energetic costs for 
compensating or may mean some small loss of opportunities or detection 
capabilities, the one to eight estimated Level A harassment takes by 
PTS for monk seals, northern fur seals, and harbor seals would be 
unlikely to impact behaviors, opportunities, or detection capabilities 
to a degree that would interfere with reproductive success or survival 
of any individuals. Because of the high number of PTS takes for 
California sea lions and northern elephant seals (87 and 97, 
respectively); however, we acknowledge that a few animals could 
potentially incur permanent hearing loss of a higher degree that could 
potentially interfere with their successful reproduction and growth. 
Given the status of the stocks, even if this occurred, it would not 
adversely impact rates of recruitment or survival (residual PBR of 
13,686 and 4,873, respectively).
    Altogether, an individual Hawaiian monk seal and Guadalupe fur seal 
would be taken no more than a few days in any year, with none of the 
expected take anticipated to affect individual reproduction or 
survival, let alone annual rates of recruitment and survival. With all 
other stocks, only a very small portion of the stock will be taken in 
any manner. Of those taken, some individuals will be taken by Level B 
harassment (at a moderate or sometimes low level) over several days a 
year, and some smaller portion of those taken will be on a relatively 
moderate to high number of days across the year (up to 58), a fair 
number of which would likely be sequential days. Though the majority of 
impacts are expected to be of a lower to sometimes moderate severity, 
the repeated takes over a potentially fair number of sequential days 
for some individuals makes it more likely that some number of 
individuals could be interrupted during foraging in a manner and amount 
such that impacts to the energy budgets of females (from either losing 
feeding opportunities or expending considerable energy to find 
alternative feeding options) could cause them to forego reproduction 
for a year (energetic impacts to males are generally meaningless to 
population rates unless they cause death, and it takes extreme energy 
deficits beyond what would ever be likely to result from these 
activities to cause the death of an adult marine mammal). As noted 
previously, however, foregone reproduction (especially for only one 
year within seven, which is the maximum predicted because the small 
number anticipated in any one year makes the probability that any 
individual would be impacted in this way twice in seven five years very 
low) has far less of an impact on population rates than mortality and a 
relatively small number of instances of foregone reproduction (as 
compared to the stock abundance and residual PBR) would not be expected 
to adversely affect the stock through effects on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival, especially given the status of these stocks. 
Accordingly, we do not anticipate the relatively small number of 
individual Northern fur seals or harbor seals that might be taken over 
repeated days within the year in a manner that results in one year of 
foregone reproduction to adversely affect the stocks through effects on 
rates of recruitment or survival, given the status of the stocks, which 
are respectively increasing and stable with abundances and residual 
PBRs of 14,050/30,968 and 449/1,598.
    For California sea lions, given the very high abundance and 
residual PBR (257,606 and 13,685, respectively), as well as the 
increasing status of the stock in the presence of similar levels of 
Navy activities over past years--the impacts of 0.71 annual 
mortalities, potential foregone reproduction for up to nine individuals 
in a year taken by tissue damage, and some relatively small number of 
individuals taken as a result of repeated behavioral harassment over a 
fair number of sequential days are not expected to adversely affect the 
stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. 
Similarly, for Northern elephant seals, given the very high abundance 
and residual PBR (179,000 and 4,873, respectively), as well as the 
increasing status of the stock in the presence of similar levels of 
Navy activities over past years, the impacts of potential foregone 
reproduction for up to two individuals in a year taken by tissue damage 
and some relatively small number of individuals taken as a result of 
repeated behavioral harassment over a fair number of sequential days 
are not expected to adversely affect the stock through effects on 
annual rates of recruitment or survival. For these reasons, in 
consideration of all of the effects of the Navy's activities combined 
(M/SI, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment), we have 
preliminarily determined that the authorized take proposed would have a 
negligible impact on all pinniped species and stocks.

Determination

    The 2018 HSTT final rule included a detailed discussion of all of 
the anticipated impacts on the affected species and stocks from serious 
injury or mortality, Level A harassment, and Level B harassment; 
impacts on habitat; and how the Navy's mitigation and monitoring 
measures reduce the number and/or severity of adverse effects. We have 
evaluated how these impacts and mitigation measures are expected to 
combine, annually, to affect individuals of each species and stock. 
Those effects were then evaluated in the context of whether they are 
reasonably likely to impact reproductive success or survivorship of 
individuals and then, if so, further analyzed to determine whether 
there would be effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival that 
would adversely affect the species or stock.
    As described above, the basis for the negligible impact 
determination is the assessment of effects on annual rates of 
recruitment and survival. Accordingly, the analysis included in the 
2018 HSTT final rule used annual activity levels, the best available 
science, and approved methods to predict the annual impacts to marine 
mammals, which were then analyzed in the context of whether each 
species or stock would incur more than a negligible impact based on 
anticipated adverse impacts to annual rates of recruitment or survival. 
As we have described above, none of the factors upon which the 
conclusions in the 2018 HSTT final rule were based have changed. 
Therefore, even though this proposed rule includes two additional 
years, because our findings are based on annual rates of recruitment 
and survival, and little has changed that would change our 2018 HSTT 
final rule annual analyses, it is appropriate to rely on those 
analyses, as well as the new information and analysis discussed above, 
for this proposed rule.
    Based on the applicable information and analysis from the 2018 HSTT 
final rule as updated with the information and analysis contained 
herein on the potential and likely effects of the specified activities 
on the affected marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into 
consideration the implementation of the monitoring and mitigation 
measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the incidental take from the 
specified activities will have a negligible impact on all affected 
marine mammal species and stocks.

[[Page 48444]]

Subsistence Harvest of Marine Mammals

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

ESA

    There are nine marine mammal species under NMFS jurisdiction that 
are listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA with confirmed or 
possible occurrence in the HSTT Study Area: Blue whale (Eastern and 
Central North Pacific stocks), fin whale (CA/OR/WA and Hawaii stocks), 
gray whale (Western North Pacific stock), humpback whale (Mexico and 
Central America DPSs), sei whale (Eastern North Pacific and Hawaii 
stocks), sperm whale (CA/OR/WA and Hawaii stocks), false killer whale 
(Main Hawaiian Islands Insular), Hawaiian monk seal (Hawaii stock), and 
Guadalupe fur seal (Mexico to California). There is also ESA-designated 
critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals and Main Hawaiian Islands 
Insular false killer whales. The Navy consulted with NMFS pursuant to 
section 7 of the ESA for HSTT activities. NMFS also consulted 
internally on the issuance of the 2018 HSTT regulations and LOAs under 
section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA. NMFS issued a Biological Opinion on 
December 10, 2018 concluding that the issuance of the 2018 HSTT final 
rule and subsequent LOAs are not likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of the threatened and endangered species under NMFS' 
jurisdiction and are not likely to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat in the HSTT Study Area. The Biological 
Opinion for this action is available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-military-readiness-activities. NMFS' Permits and Conservation Division 
is currently discussing the 2019 Navy application with NMFS' ESA 
Interagency Cooperation Division.

National Marine Sanctuaries Act

    Federal agency actions that are likely to injure national marine 
sanctuary resources are subject to consultation with the Office of 
National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) under section 304(d) of the National 
Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA). There are two national marine 
sanctuaries in the HSTT Study Area, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale 
National Marine Sanctuary and the Channel Islands National Marine 
Sanctuary. NMFS will work with NOAA's Office of National Marine 
Sanctuaries to fulfill our responsibilities under the NMSA as warranted 
and will complete any NMSA requirements prior to a determination on the 
issuance of the final rule and LOAs.

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 evaluate our proposed actions and alternatives with respect 
to potential impacts on the human environment. NMFS participated as a 
cooperating agency on the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS (published on October 26, 
2018, http://www.hstteis.com) which evaluated impacts from Navy 
training and testing activities in the HSTT Study Area for the 
reasonably foreseeable future (including through 2025). In accordance 
with 40 CFR 1506.3, NMFS independently reviewed and evaluated the 2018 
HSTT FEIS/OEIS and determined that it was adequate and sufficient to 
meet our responsibilities under NEPA for the issuance of the 2018 HSTT 
final rule and associated LOAs. NOAA therefore adopted the 2018 HSTT 
FEIS/OEIS. In accordance with 40 CFR 1502.9 and the information and 
analysis contained in this proposed rule, the Navy and NMFS as a 
cooperating agency have made a preliminary determination that this 
proposed rule and any subsequent LOAs would not result in impacts that 
were not fully considered in the 2018 HSTT FEIS/OEIS. As indicated in 
this proposed rule, the Navy has made no substantial changes to the 
activities nor are there significant new circumstances or information 
relevant to environmental concerns or their impacts. NMFS will make a 
final NEPA determination prior to a decision whether to issue a final 
rule.

Classification

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

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 218

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

     Dated: August 26, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

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

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

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

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

0
2. Revise subpart H to part 218 to read as follows:
Subpart H--Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy's Hawaii-
Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT)
Sec.
218.70 Specified activity and geographical region.
218.71 Effective dates.
218.72 Permissible methods of taking.
218.73 Prohibitions.
218.74 Mitigation requirements.

[[Page 48445]]

218.75 Requirements for monitoring and reporting.
218.76 Letters of Authorization.
218.77 Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization.
218.78 and 218.79 [Reserved]

Subpart H--Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy's Hawaii-
Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT)


Sec.  218.70   Specified activity and geographical region.

    (a) Regulations in this subpart apply only to the U.S. Navy for the 
taking of marine mammals that occurs in the area described in paragraph 
(b) of this section and that occurs incidental to the activities listed 
in paragraph (c) of this section.
    (b) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy under this subpart may 
be authorized in Letters of Authorization (LOAs) only if it occurs 
within the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study 
Area, which includes established operating and warning areas across the 
north-central Pacific Ocean, from the mean high tide line in Southern 
California west to Hawaii and the International Date Line. The Study 
Area includes the at-sea areas of three existing range complexes, the 
Hawaii Range Complex (HRC), the Southern California Range Complex 
(SOCAL), and the Silver Strand Training Complex, and overlaps a portion 
of the Point Mugu Sea Range (PMSR). Also included in the Study Area are 
Navy pierside locations in Hawaii and Southern California, Pearl 
Harbor, San Diego Bay, and the transit corridor on the high seas where 
sonar training and testing may occur.
    (c) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy is only authorized if 
it occurs incidental to the Navy conducting training and testing 
activities, including:
    (1) Training.
    (i) Amphibious warfare;
    (ii) Anti-submarine warfare;
    (iii) Electronic warfare;
    (iv) Expeditionary warfare;
    (v) Mine warfare;
    (vi) Surface warfare; and
    (vii) Pile driving.
    (2) Testing.
    (i) Naval Air Systems Command Testing Activities;
    (ii) Naval Sea System Command Testing Activities;
    (iii) Office of Naval Research Testing Activities; and
    (iv) Naval Information Warfare Systems Command.


Sec.  218.71  Effective dates.

    Regulations in this subpart are effective from [DATE OF PUBLICATION 
OF FINAL RULE IN THE Federal Register] through December 20, 2025.


Sec.  218.72  Permissible methods of taking.

    (a) Under LOAs issued pursuant to Sec. Sec.  216.106 of this 
chapter and 218.76, the Holder of the LOAs (hereinafter ``Navy'') may 
incidentally, but not intentionally, take marine mammals within the 
area described in Sec.  218.70(b) by Level A harassment and Level B 
harassment associated with the use of active sonar and other acoustic 
sources and explosives as well as serious injury or mortality 
associated with vessel strikes and explosives, provided the activity is 
in compliance with all terms, conditions, and requirements of these 
regulations in this subpart and the applicable LOAs.
    (b) The incidental take of marine mammals by the activities listed 
in Sec.  218.70(c) is limited to the following species:

                        Table 1 to Sec.   218.72
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Species                               Stock
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blue whale................................  Central North Pacific.
Blue whale................................  Eastern North Pacific.
Bryde's whale.............................  Eastern Tropical Pacific.
Bryde's whale.............................  Hawaii.
Fin whale.................................  CA/OR/WA.
Fin whale.................................  Hawaiian.
Humpback whale............................  CA/OR/WA.
Humpback whale............................  Central North Pacific.
Minke whale...............................  CA/OR/WA.
Minke whale...............................  Hawaii.
Sei whale.................................  Eastern North Pacific.
Sei whale.................................  Hawaii.
Gray whale................................  Eastern North Pacific.
Gray whale................................  Western North Pacific.
Sperm whale...............................  CA/OR/WA.
Sperm whale...............................  Hawaii.
Dwarf sperm whale.........................  Hawaii.
Pygmy sperm whale.........................  Hawaii.
Kogia whales..............................  CA/OR/WA.
Baird's beaked whale......................  CA/OR/WA.
Blainville's beaked whale.................  Hawaii.
Cuvier's beaked whale.....................  CA/OR/WA.
Cuvier's beaked whale.....................  Hawaii.
Longman's beaked whale....................  Hawaii.
Mesoplodon spp............................  CA/OR/WA.
Bottlenose dolphin........................  California Coastal.
Bottlenose dolphin........................  CA/OR/WA Offshore.
Bottlenose dolphin........................  Hawaii Pelagic.
Bottlenose dolphin........................  Kauai & Niihau.
Bottlenose dolphin........................  Oahu.
Bottlenose dolphin........................  4-Island.
Bottlenose dolphin........................  Hawaii.
False killer whale........................  Hawaii Pelagic.
False killer whale........................  Main Hawaiian Islands
                                             Insular.
False killer whale........................  Northwestern Hawaiian
                                             Islands.
Fraser's dolphin..........................  Hawaii.
Killer whale..............................  Eastern North Pacific (ENP)
                                             Offshore.
Killer whale..............................  ENP Transient/West Coast
                                             Transient.
Killer whale..............................  Hawaii.
Long-beaked common dolphin................  California.
Melon-headed whale........................  Hawaiian Islands.
Melon-headed whale........................  Kohala Resident.
Northern right whale dolphin..............  CA/OR/WA.
Pacific white-sided dolphin...............  CA/OR/WA.
Pantropical spotted dolphin...............  Hawaii Island.
Pantropical spotted dolphin...............  Hawaii Pelagic.
Pantropical spotted dolphin...............  Oahu.
Pantropical spotted dolphin...............  4-Island.
Pygmy killer whale........................  Hawaii.
Pygmy killer whale........................  Tropical.
Risso's dolphin...........................  CA/OR/WA.
Risso's dolphin...........................  Hawaii.
Rough-toothed dolphin.....................  Hawaii.
Short-beaked common dolphin...............  CA/OR/WA.
Short-finned pilot whale..................  CA/OR/WA.
Short-finned pilot whale..................  Hawaii.
Spinner dolphin...........................  Hawaii Island.
Spinner dolphin...........................  Hawaii Pelagic.
Spinner dolphin...........................  Kauai & Niihau.
Spinner dolphin...........................  Oahu & 4-Island.
Striped dolphin...........................  CA/OR/WA.
Striped dolphin...........................  Hawaii.
Dall's porpoise...........................  CA/OR/WA.
California sea lion.......................  U.S.
Guadalupe fur seal........................  Mexico.
Northern fur seal.........................  California.
Harbor seal...............................  California.
Hawaiian monk seal........................  Hawaii.
Northern elephant seal....................  California.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note to Table 1: CA/OR/WA = California/Oregon/Washington.

Sec.  218.73  Prohibitions.

    Notwithstanding incidental takings contemplated in Sec.  218.72(a) 
and authorized by LOAs issued under Sec. Sec.  216.106 of this chapter 
and 218.76, no person in connection with the activities listed in Sec.  
218.70(c) may:
    (a) Violate, or fail to comply with, the terms, conditions, and 
requirements of this subpart or an LOA issued under Sec. Sec.  216.106 
of this chapter and 218.76;
    (b) Take any marine mammal not specified in Sec.  218.72(b);
    (c) Take any marine mammal specified in Sec.  218.72(b) in any 
manner other than as specified in the LOAs; or
    (d) Take a marine mammal specified in Sec.  218.72(b) if NMFS 
determines such taking results in more than a negligible impact on the 
species or stocks of such marine mammal.


Sec.  218.74  Mitigation requirements.

    When conducting the activities identified in Sec.  218.70(c), the 
mitigation measures contained in any LOAs issued under Sec. Sec.  
216.106 of this chapter and 218.76 must be implemented. These 
mitigation measures include, but are not limited to:
    (a) Procedural mitigation. Procedural mitigation is mitigation that 
the Navy must implement whenever and wherever an applicable training or 
testing activity takes place within the HSTT Study Area for each 
applicable activity category or stressor category and includes acoustic 
stressors (i.e., active sonar, air guns, pile driving, weapons firing 
noise), explosive stressors (i.e., sonobuoys, torpedoes, medium-caliber 
and large-caliber projectiles, missiles and rockets, bombs, sinking 
exercises, mines, anti-swimmer grenades, and mat weave and obstacle 
loading), and physical disturbance and strike stressors (i.e., vessel 
movement; towed in-water devices; small-, medium-, and large-caliber 
non-explosive practice munitions; non-explosive missiles and rockets; 
and non-explosive bombs and mine shapes).

[[Page 48446]]

    (1) Environmental awareness and education. Appropriate Navy 
personnel (including civilian personnel) involved in mitigation and 
training or testing activity reporting under the specified activities 
will complete one or more modules of the U.S Navy Afloat Environmental 
Compliance Training Series, as identified in their career path training 
plan. Modules include: Introduction to the U.S. Navy Afloat 
Environmental Compliance Training Series, Marine Species Awareness 
Training; U.S. Navy Protective Measures Assessment Protocol; and U.S. 
Navy Sonar Positional Reporting System and Marine Mammal Incident 
Reporting.
    (2) Active sonar. Active sonar includes low-frequency active sonar, 
mid-frequency active sonar, and high-frequency active sonar. For 
vessel-based activities, mitigation applies only to sources that are 
positively controlled and deployed from manned surface vessels (e.g., 
sonar sources towed from manned surface platforms). For aircraft-based 
activities, mitigation applies only to sources that are positively 
controlled and deployed from manned aircraft that do not operate at 
high altitudes (e.g., rotary-wing aircraft). Mitigation does not apply 
to active sonar sources deployed from unmanned aircraft or aircraft 
operating at high altitudes (e.g., maritime patrol aircraft).
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform--(A) Hull-mounted 
sources. One Lookout for platforms with space or manning restrictions 
while underway (at the forward part of a small boat or ship) and 
platforms using active sonar while moored or at anchor (including 
pierside); and two Lookouts for platforms without space or manning 
restrictions while underway (at the forward part of the ship).
    (B) Sources that are not hull-mounted sources. One Lookout on the 
ship or aircraft conducting the activity.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. During the activity, at 
1,000 yards (yd) Navy personnel must power down 6 decibels (dB), at 500 
yd Navy personnel must power down an additional 4 dB (for a total of 10 
dB), and at 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for low-frequency 
active sonar >=200 dB and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar; or 
at 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for low-frequency active sonar 
<200 dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull-mounted, 
and high-frequency active sonar.
    (A) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on 
station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating 
vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must 
relocate or delay the start of active sonar transmission until the 
mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must also observe the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of active sonar 
transmission.
    (B) During the activity for low-frequency active sonar at or above 
200 dB and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar, Navy personnel must 
observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and power down active 
sonar transmission by 6 dB if marine mammals are observed within 1,000 
yd of the sonar source; power down by an additional 4 dB (for a total 
of 10 dB total) if marine mammals are observed within 500 yd of the 
sonar source; and cease transmission if marine mammals are observed 
within 200 yd of the sonar source.
    (C) During the activity for low-frequency active sonar below 200 
dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull mounted, and 
high-frequency active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals and cease active sonar transmission if marine 
mammals are observed within 200 yd of the sonar source.
    (D) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing or powering up active sonar transmission) until 
one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed 
exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the 
mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and 
movement relative to the sonar source; the mitigation zone has been 
clear from any additional sightings for 10 minutes (min) for aircraft-
deployed sonar sources or 30 min for vessel-deployed sonar sources; for 
mobile activities, the active sonar source has transited a distance 
equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of 
the last sighting; or for activities using hull-mounted sonar where a 
dolphin(s) is observed in the mitigation zone, the Lookout concludes 
that the dolphin(s) are deliberately closing in on the ship to ride the 
ship's bow wave, and are therefore out of the main transmission axis of 
the sonar (and there are no other marine mammal sightings within the 
mitigation zone).
    (ii) [RESERVED]
    (3) Air guns--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One 
Lookout positioned on a ship or pierside.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 150 yd around the air gun.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy 
personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel must also observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of air gun use.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease air gun use.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing air gun use) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the air 
gun; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings 
for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the air gun has transited a 
distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the 
location of the last sighting.
    (4) Pile driving. Pile driving and pile extraction sound during 
Elevated Causeway System training.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned on the shore, the elevated causeway, or a small boat.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 100 yd around the pile 
driver.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (for 30 min), Navy 
personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if 
floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must delay the start 
until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe 
the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must delay the start of pile driving or vibratory pile 
extraction.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel

[[Page 48447]]

must cease impact pile driving or vibratory pile extraction.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. The Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing pile driving or pile extraction) until one of the 
following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the 
mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation 
zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement 
relative to the pile driving location; or the mitigation zone has been 
clear from any additional sightings for 30 min.
    (5) Weapons firing noise. Weapons firing noise associated with 
large-caliber gunnery activities.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned on the ship conducting the firing. Depending on the 
activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one provided for under 
``Explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles'' or under 
``Small-, medium-, and large-caliber non-explosive practice munitions'' 
in paragraphs (a)(8)(i) and (a)(18)(i) of this section.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. Thirty degrees on either 
side of the firing line out to 70 yd from the muzzle of the weapon 
being fired.
    (A) Prior to the start of the activity, Navy personnel must observe 
the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is 
observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of weapons 
firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must also 
observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of weapons 
firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease weapons firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing weapons firing) until one of the following 
conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation 
zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on 
a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
firing ship; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the firing ship has 
transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size 
beyond the location of the last sighting.
    (6) Explosive sonobuoys--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft or on small 
boat. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy 
personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable 
biological resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 600 yd around an explosive 
sonobuoy.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during 
deployment of a sonobuoy field, which typically lasts 20-30 min), Navy 
personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if 
floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay 
the start of sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations until the 
mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic 
monitoring for marine mammals and use information from detections to 
assist visual observations. Navy personnel also must visually observe 
the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of sonobuoy or source/
receiver pair detonations.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
sonobuoy; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel 
constraints (e.g., helicopter), or 30 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station), when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained 
by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy 
personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (7) Explosive torpedoes--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. One Lookout positioned in an aircraft. If additional 
platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned 
in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support 
observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while 
performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,100 yd around the intended 
impact location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during 
deployment of the target), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation and jellyfish aggregations; if floating 
vegetation or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must 
relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for 
marine mammals and use the information from detections to assist visual 
observations. Navy personnel also must visually observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must relocate or delay the start of firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish 
aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; or the mitigation zone

[[Page 48448]]

has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the 
activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when 
the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station), Navy personnel must when practical (e.g., when platforms 
are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on 
commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (8) Explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles. Gunnery 
activities using explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber 
projectiles. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be on the vessel or aircraft conducting the activity. For activities 
using explosive large-caliber projectiles, depending on the activity, 
the Lookout could be the same as the one described in ``Weapons firing 
noise'' in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section. If additional platforms 
are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those 
assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the 
mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing 
their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 200 yd around the 
intended impact location for air-to-surface activities using explosive 
medium-caliber projectiles.
    (B) 600 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-
surface activities using explosive medium-caliber projectiles.
    (C) 1,000 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-
surface activities using explosive large-caliber projectiles.
    (D) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on 
station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating 
vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must 
relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of firing.
    (E) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
firing.
    (F) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any 
additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for 
vessel-based firing; or for activities using mobile targets, the 
intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that 
of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.
    (G) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms 
are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on 
commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (9) Explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed explosive 
missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface 
target.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned in an aircraft. If additional platforms are participating 
in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., 
safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation 
zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular 
duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 900 yd around the 
intended impact location for missiles or rockets with 0.6-20 lb net 
explosive weight.
    (B) 2,000 yd around the intended impact location for missiles with 
21-500 lb net explosive weight.
    (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-
over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the 
mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is 
observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing 
until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe 
the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing.
    (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
firing.
    (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from 
any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft 
that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.
    (F) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms 
are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on 
commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets will assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (10) Explosive bombs--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft conducting the 
activity. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, 
Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable 
biological resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,500 yd around the intended 
target.

[[Page 48449]]

    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving 
on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for 
floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel 
must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment until the 
mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment.
    (B) During the activity (e.g., during target approach), Navy 
personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if 
marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing bomb deployment) until one of the following 
conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation 
zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on 
a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended target; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 10 min; or for activities using mobile targets, the 
intended target has transited a distance equal to double that of the 
mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms 
are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on 
commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where 
detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting 
procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., 
providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (11) Sinking exercises--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation 
platform. Two Lookouts (one must be positioned in an aircraft and one 
must be positioned on a vessel). If additional platforms are 
participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those 
assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the 
mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing 
their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2.5 nautical miles (nmi) 
around the target ship hulk.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (90 min prior to the 
first firing), Navy personnel must conduct aerial observations of the 
mitigation zone for floating vegetation and jellyfish aggregations; if 
floating vegetation or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy 
personnel must delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel also must conduct aerial observations of the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must delay the start of firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must conduct passive 
acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use the information from 
detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel must visually 
observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals from the vessel; if 
marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. 
Immediately after any planned or unplanned breaks in weapons firing of 
longer than two hours, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone 
for marine mammals from the aircraft and vessel; if marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must delay recommencement of firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the target 
ship hulk; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional 
sightings for 30 min.
    (D) After completion of the activity (for two hours after sinking 
the vessel or until sunset, whichever comes first), Navy personnel must 
observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations 
occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy 
personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If 
additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing 
range clearance), these Navy assets will assist in the visual 
observation of the area where detonations occurred.
    (12) Explosive mine countermeasure and neutralization activities--
(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) One Lookout must 
be positioned on a vessel or in an aircraft when implementing the 
smaller mitigation zone.
    (B) Two Lookouts (one must be positioned in an aircraft and one 
must be on a small boat) when implementing the larger mitigation zone.
    (C) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy 
personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable 
biological resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 600 yd around the 
detonation site for activities using 0.1-5 lb net explosive weight.
    (B) 2,100 yd around the detonation site for activities using 6-650 
lb net explosive weight (including high explosive target mines).
    (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station; typically, 10 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity 
involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained), Navy 
personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if 
floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay 
the start of detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy 
personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if 
marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the 
start of detonations.
    (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, and individual 
foraging seabirds; if marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, or 
individual foraging seabirds are observed, Navy personnel must cease 
detonations.
    (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity or a sighting of seabird 
concentrations or individual foraging seabirds during the activity. 
Navy personnel must allow a sighted animal to leave the mitigation zone 
prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or 
during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the 
following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the 
mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation 
zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement 
relative to detonation site; or

[[Page 48450]]

the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 
min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 
30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel 
constrained.
    (F) After completion of the activity (typically 10 min when the 
activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when 
the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel 
constrained), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the 
vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine 
mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident 
reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this 
activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must 
assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations 
occurred.
    (13) Explosive mine neutralization activities involving Navy 
divers--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) Two 
Lookouts (two small boats with one Lookout each, or one Lookout must be 
on a small boat and one must be in a rotary-wing aircraft) when 
implementing the smaller mitigation zone.
    (B) Four Lookouts (two small boats with two Lookouts each), and a 
pilot or member of an aircrew must serve as an additional Lookout if 
aircraft are used during the activity, when implementing the larger 
mitigation zone.
    (C) All divers placing the charges on mines will support the 
Lookouts while performing their regular duties and will report 
applicable sightings to their supporting small boat or Range Safety 
Officer.
    (D) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy 
personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, 
evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable 
biological resources while performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around the 
detonation site during activities under positive control using 0.1-20 
lb net explosive weight.
    (B) 1,000 yd around the detonation site during all activities using 
time-delay fuses (0.1-29 lb net explosive weight) and during activities 
under positive control using 21-60 lb net explosive weight charges.
    (C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station for activities under positive control; 30 min 
for activities using time-delay firing devices), Navy personnel must 
observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating 
vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start 
of detonations or fuse initiation until the mitigation zone is clear. 
Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of detonations or fuse initiation.
    (D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, and individual 
foraging seabirds (in the water and not on shore); if marine mammals, 
concentrations of seabirds, or individual foraging seabirds are 
observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations or fuse initiation. To 
the maximum extent practicable depending on mission requirements, 
safety, and environmental conditions, Navy personnel must position 
boats near the mid-point of the mitigation zone radius (but outside of 
the detonation plume and human safety zone), must position themselves 
on opposite sides of the detonation location (when two boats are used), 
and must travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location 
with one Lookout observing inward toward the detonation site and the 
other observing outward toward the perimeter of the mitigation zone. If 
used, Navy aircraft must travel in a circular pattern around the 
detonation location to the maximum extent practicable. Navy personnel 
must not set time-delay firing devices (0.1-29 lb. net explosive 
weight) to exceed 10 min.
    (E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity or a sighting of seabird 
concentrations or individual foraging seabirds during the activity. 
Navy personnel must allow a sighted animal to leave the mitigation zone 
prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or 
during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the 
following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the 
mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation 
zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement 
relative to the detonation site; or the mitigation zone has been clear 
from any additional sightings for 10 min during activities under 
positive control with aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min 
during activities under positive control with aircraft that are not 
typically fuel constrained and during activities using time-delay 
firing devices.
    (F) After completion of an activity (for 30 min), the Navy must 
observe for marine mammals for 30 min. Navy personnel must observe for 
marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any 
injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow 
established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are 
supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy 
assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where 
detonations occurred.
    (14) Maritime security operations--anti-swimmer grenades--(i) 
Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be 
positioned on the small boat conducting the activity. If additional 
platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned 
in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support 
observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while 
performing their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended 
detonation location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when 
maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy 
personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations until the 
mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease detonations.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended detonation location; the mitigation zone has been clear from 
any additional sightings for 30 min; or the intended detonation 
location has transited a distance equal to double that of the 
mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.
    (D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering 
off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms 
are not constrained by fuel restrictions or

[[Page 48451]]

mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in 
the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead 
marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established 
incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting 
this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets will 
assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations 
occurred.
    (15) Underwater demolition multiple charge--mat weave and obstacle 
loading exercises--(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. Two 
Lookouts (one must be positioned on a small boat and one must be 
positioned on shore from an elevated platform). If additional platforms 
are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those 
assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the 
mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing 
their regular duties.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 700 yd around the intended 
detonation location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity, or 30 min prior to 
the first detonation, the Lookout positioned on a small boat must 
observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation and marine mammals; 
if floating vegetation or marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must delay the start of detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. 
For 10 min prior to the first detonation, the Lookout positioned on 
shore must use binoculars to observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the 
start of detonations.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease detonations.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions 
has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
detonation location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any 
additional sightings for 10 min (as determined by the Navy shore 
observer).
    (D) After completion of the activity (for 30 min), the Lookout 
positioned on a small boat must observe for marine mammals in the 
vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine 
mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident 
reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this 
activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must 
assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations 
occurred.
    (16) Vessel movement. The mitigation will not be applied if: The 
vessel's safety is threatened; the vessel is restricted in its ability 
to maneuver (e.g., during launching and recovery of aircraft or landing 
craft, during towing activities, when mooring); the vessel is operated 
autonomously; or when impracticable based on mission requirements 
(e.g., during Amphibious Assault--Battalion Landing exercise).
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be on the vessel that is underway.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around whales.
    (B) 200 yd around all other marine mammals (except bow-riding 
dolphins and pinnipeds hauled out on man-made navigational structures, 
port structures, and vessels).
    (iii) During the activity. When underway Navy personnel must 
observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are 
observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance.
    (iv) Incident reporting procedures. If a marine mammal vessel 
strike occurs, Navy personnel must follow the established incident 
reporting procedures.
    (17) Towed in-water devices. Mitigation applies to devices that are 
towed from a manned surface platform or manned aircraft. The mitigation 
will not be applied if the safety of the towing platform or in-water 
device is threatened.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned on a manned towing platform.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 250 yd around marine 
mammals.
    (iii) During the activity. During the activity (i.e., when towing 
an in-water device), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone 
for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must 
maneuver to maintain distance.
    (18) Small-, medium-, and large-caliber non-explosive practice 
munitions. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned on the platform conducting the activity. Depending on the 
activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one described for 
``Weapons firing noise'' in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended 
impact location.
    (A) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on 
station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating 
vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must 
relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is 
clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine 
mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate 
or delay the start of firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any 
additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for 
vessel-based firing; or for activities using a mobile target, the 
intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that 
of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.
    (19) Non-explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed non-
explosive missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using 
a surface target.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned in an aircraft.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 900 yd around the intended 
impact location.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-
over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the 
mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is 
observed, Navy personnel must relocate

[[Page 48452]]

or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy 
personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if 
marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the 
start of firing.
    (B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation 
zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel 
must cease firing.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting prior to or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has 
been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the 
animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a 
determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the 
intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from 
any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft 
that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves 
aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.
    (20) Non-explosive bombs and mine shapes. Non-explosive bombs and 
non-explosive mine shapes during mine laying activities.
    (i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must 
be positioned in an aircraft.
    (ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 1,000 yd around the intended 
target.
    (A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving 
on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for 
floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel 
must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment or mine laying 
until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe 
the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment or 
mine laying.
    (B) During the activity (e.g., during approach of the target or 
intended minefield location), Navy personnel must observe the 
mitigation zone for marine mammals and, if marine mammals are observed, 
Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment or mine laying.
    (C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal 
sighting prior to or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a 
sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial 
start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity 
(by not recommencing bomb deployment or mine laying) until one of the 
following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the 
mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation 
zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement 
relative to the intended target or minefield location; the mitigation 
zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min; or for 
activities using mobile targets, the intended target has transited a 
distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the 
location of the last sighting.
    (b) Mitigation areas. In addition to procedural mitigation, Navy 
personnel must implement mitigation measures within mitigation areas to 
avoid or reduce potential impacts on marine mammals.
    (1) Mitigation areas for marine mammals in the Hawaii Range Complex 
for sonar, explosives, and vessel strikes--(i) Mitigation area 
requirements--(A) Hawaii Island Mitigation Area (year-round). (1) 
Except as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A)(2) of this section, Navy 
personnel must not conduct more than 300 hours of MF1 surface ship 
hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or 20 hours of MF4 dipping 
sonar annually, or use explosives that could potentially result in 
takes of marine mammals during training and testing.
    (2) Should national security require conduct of more than 300 hours 
of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or 20 hours 
of MF4 dipping sonar, or use of explosives that could potentially 
result in the take of marine mammals during training or testing, Naval 
units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command 
authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must 
provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information 
(e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports 
submitted to NMFS.
    (B) 4-Islands Region Mitigation Area (November 15-April 15 for 
active sonar; year-round for explosives). (1) Except as provided in 
paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not use 
MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or explosives 
that could potentially result in takes of marine mammals during 
training and testing.
    (2) Should national security require use of MF1 surface ship hull-
mounted mid-frequency active sonar or explosives that could potentially 
result in the take of marine mammals during training or testing, Naval 
units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command 
authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must 
provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information 
(e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports 
submitted to NMFS.
    (C) Humpback Whale Special Reporting Areas (December 15-April 15). 
Navy personnel must report the total hours of surface ship hull-mounted 
mid-frequency active sonar used in the special reporting areas in its 
annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (D) Humpback Whale Awareness Notification Message Area (November-
April). (1) Navy personnel must issue a seasonal awareness notification 
message to alert ships and aircraft operating in the area to the 
possible presence of concentrations of large whales, including humpback 
whales.
    (2) To maintain safety of navigation and to avoid interactions with 
large whales during transits, Navy personnel must instruct vessels to 
remain vigilant to the presence of large whale species (including 
humpback whales).
    (3) Platforms must use the information from the awareness 
notification message to assist their visual observation of applicable 
mitigation zones during training and testing activities and to aid in 
the implementation of procedural mitigation.
(ii) [Reserved]
    (2) Mitigation areas for marine mammals in the Southern California 
portion of the study area for sonar, explosives, and vessel strikes--
(i) Mitigation area requirements--(A) San Diego Arc, San Nicolas 
Island, and Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Areas (June 1-October 
31). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(2) of this 
section, Navy personnel must not conduct more than a total of 200 hours 
of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar in the 
combined areas, excluding normal maintenance and systems checks, during 
training and testing.
    (2) Should national security require conduct of more than 200 hours 
of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar in the 
combined areas during training and testing (excluding normal 
maintenance and systems checks), Naval units must obtain permission 
from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement 
of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with

[[Page 48453]]

advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours) in 
its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (3) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(4) of this 
section, within the San Diego Arc Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must 
not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine 
mammals during large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile 
(including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training and testing.
    (4) Should national security require use of explosives that could 
potentially result in the take of marine mammals during large-caliber 
gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) 
activities during training or testing within the San Diego Arc 
Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission from the 
appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the 
activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification 
and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in its annual 
activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (5) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(6) of this 
section, within the San Nicolas Island Mitigation Area, Navy personnel 
must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of 
marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, 
bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during 
training.
    (6) Should national security require use of explosives that could 
potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, 
large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-
inch rockets) activities during training in the San Nicolas Island 
Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission from the 
appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the 
activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification 
and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in its annual 
activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (7) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(8) of this 
section, within the Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Area, Navy 
personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the 
take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, 
torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities 
during training and testing.
    (8) Should national security require use of explosives that could 
potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, 
large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-
inch rockets) activities during training or testing in the Santa 
Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission 
from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement 
of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance 
notification and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in 
its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.
    (B) Santa Barbara Island Mitigation Area (year-round). (1) Except 
as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B)(2) of this section, Navy 
personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency 
active sonar during training or testing, or explosives that could 
potentially result in the take of marine mammals during medium-caliber 
or large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 
2.75-inch rockets) activities during training.
    (2) Should national security require use of MF1 surface ship hull-
mounted mid-frequency active sonar during training or testing, or 
explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals 
during medium-caliber or large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and 
missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training, Naval 
units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command 
authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must 
provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information 
(e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports 
submitted to NMFS.
    (C) Blue Whale (June-October), Gray Whale (November-March), and Fin 
Whale (November-May) Awareness Notification Message Areas. (1) Navy 
personnel must issue a seasonal awareness notification message to alert 
ships and aircraft operating in the area to the possible presence of 
concentrations of large whales, including blue whales, gray whales, and 
fin whales.
    (2) To maintain safety of navigation and to avoid interactions with 
large whales during transits, Navy personnel must instruct vessels to 
remain vigilant to the presence of large whale species.
    (3) Platforms must use the information from the awareness 
notification messages to assist their visual observation of applicable 
mitigation zones during training and testing activities and to aid in 
the implementation of procedural mitigation.
    (ii) [Reserved]


Sec.  218.75   Requirements for monitoring and reporting.

    (a) Unauthorized take. Navy personnel must notify NMFS immediately 
(or as soon as operational security considerations allow) if the 
specified activity identified in Sec.  218.70 is thought to have 
resulted in the mortality or serious injury of any marine mammals, or 
in any Level A harassment or Level B harassment take of marine mammals 
not identified in this subpart.
    (b) Monitoring and reporting under the LOAs. The Navy must conduct 
all monitoring and reporting required under the LOAs, including abiding 
by the HSTT Study Area monitoring program. Details on program goals, 
objectives, project selection process, and current projects are 
available at www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us.
    (c) Notification of injured, live stranded, or dead marine mammals. 
The Navy must consult the Notification and Reporting Plan, which sets 
out notification, reporting, and other requirements when dead, injured, 
or live stranded marine mammals are detected. The Notification and 
Reporting Plan is available at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities.
    (d) Annual HSTT Study Area marine species monitoring report. The 
Navy must submit an annual report of the HSTT Study Area monitoring 
describing the implementation and results from the previous calendar 
year. Data collection methods must be standardized across range 
complexes and study areas to allow for comparison in different 
geographic locations. The report must be submitted to the Director, 
Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, either within three months after 
the end of the calendar year, or within three months after the 
conclusion of the monitoring year, to be determined by the Adaptive 
Management process. This report will describe progress of knowledge 
made with respect to intermediate scientific objectives within the HSTT 
Study Area associated with the Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring 
Program (ICMP). Similar study questions must be treated together so 
that progress on each topic can be summarized across all Navy ranges. 
The report need not include analyses and content that does not provide 
direct assessment of cumulative progress on the monitoring plan study 
questions. As an alternative, the Navy may submit a multi-Range Complex 
annual Monitoring Plan report to fulfill this requirement. Such a 
report will describe progress of knowledge made with respect to 
monitoring study

[[Page 48454]]

questions across multiple Navy ranges associated with the ICMP. Similar 
study questions must be treated together so that progress on each topic 
can be summarized across multiple Navy ranges. The report need not 
include analyses and content that does not provide direct assessment of 
cumulative progress on the monitoring study question. This will 
continue to allow the Navy to provide a cohesive monitoring report 
covering multiple ranges (as per ICMP goals), rather than entirely 
separate reports for the HSTT, Gulf of Alaska, Mariana Islands, and 
Northwest Study Areas.
    (e) Annual HSTT Study Area training exercise report and testing 
activity report. Each year, the Navy must submit two preliminary 
reports (Quick Look Report) detailing the status of authorized sound 
sources within 21 days after the anniversary of the date of issuance of 
each LOA to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS. Each 
year, the Navy must submit detailed reports to the Director, Office of 
Protected Resources, NMFS, within 3 months after the one-year 
anniversary of the date of issuance of the LOA. The HSTT annual 
Training Exercise Report and Testing Activity Report can be 
consolidated with other exercise reports from other range complexes in 
the Pacific Ocean for a single Pacific Exercise Report, if desired. The 
annual reports must contain information on major training exercises 
(MTEs), Sinking Exercise (SINKEX) events, and a summary of all sound 
sources used, including within specific mitigation reporting areas as 
described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section. The analysis in the 
detailed reports must be based on the accumulation of data from the 
current year's report and data collected from previous reports. The 
detailed reports must contain information identified in paragraphs 
(e)(1) through (7) of this section.
    (1) MTEs. This section of the report must contain the following 
information for MTEs conducted in the HSTT Study Area.
    (i) Exercise Information (for each MTE).
    (A) Exercise designator.
    (B) Date that exercise began and ended.
    (C) Location.
    (D) Number and types of active sonar sources used in the exercise.
    (E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise.
    (F) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms 
participating in exercise.
    (G) Total hours of all active sonar source operation.
    (H) Total hours of each active sonar source bin.
    (I) Wave height (high, low, and average) during exercise.
    (ii) Individual marine mammal sighting information for each 
sighting in each exercise where mitigation was implemented:
    (A) Date/Time/Location of sighting.
    (B) Species (if not possible, indication of whale/dolphin/
pinniped).
    (C) Number of individuals.
    (D) Initial Detection Sensor (e.g., sonar, Lookout).
    (E) Indication of specific type of platform observation was made 
from (including, for example, what type of surface vessel or testing 
platform).
    (F) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine 
mammal.
    (G) Sea state.
    (H) Visibility.
    (I) Sound source in use at the time of sighting.
    (J) Indication of whether animal was less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 
yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd from 
sonar source.
    (K) Whether operation of sonar sensor was delayed, or sonar was 
powered or shut down, and how long the delay.
    (L) If source in use was hull-mounted, true bearing of animal from 
the vessel, true direction of vessel's travel, and estimation of 
animal's motion relative to vessel (opening, closing, parallel).
    (M) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to 
categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as 
animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on 
surface and not swimming, etc.) and if any calves were present.
    (iii) An evaluation (based on data gathered during all of the MTEs) 
of the effectiveness of mitigation measures designed to minimize the 
received level to which marine mammals may be exposed. This evaluation 
must identify the specific observations that support any conclusions 
the Navy reaches about the effectiveness of the mitigation.
    (2) SINKEXs. This section of the report must include the following 
information for each SINKEX completed that year.
    (i) Exercise information (gathered for each SINKEX).
    (A) Location.
    (B) Date and time exercise began and ended.
    (C) Total hours of observation by Lookouts before, during, and 
after exercise.
    (D) Total number and types of explosive source bins detonated.
    (E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise.
    (F) Total hours of passive acoustic search time.
    (G) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms, 
participating in exercise.
    (H) Wave height in feet (high, low, and average) during exercise.
    (I) Narrative description of sensors and platforms utilized for 
marine mammal detection and timeline illustrating how marine mammal 
detection was conducted.
    (ii) Individual marine mammal observation (by Navy Lookouts) 
information for each sighting where mitigation was implemented.
    (A) Date/Time/Location of sighting.
    (B) Species (if not possible, indicate whale, dolphin, or 
pinniped).
    (C) Number of individuals.
    (D) Initial detection sensor (e.g., sonar or Lookout).
    (E) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine 
mammal.
    (F) Sea state.
    (G) Visibility.
    (H) Whether sighting was before, during, or after detonations/
exercise, and how many minutes before or after.
    (I) Distance of marine mammal from actual detonations (or target 
spot if not yet detonated): Less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 yd, 500 to 
1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd.
    (J) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to 
categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as 
animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on 
surface and not swimming etc.), including speed and direction and if 
any calves were present.
    (K) The report must indicate whether explosive detonations were 
delayed, ceased, modified, or not modified due to marine mammal 
presence and for how long.
    (L) If observation occurred while explosives were detonating in the 
water, indicate munition type in use at time of marine mammal 
detection.
    (3) Summary of sources used. This section of the report must 
include the following information summarized from the authorized sound 
sources used in all training and testing events:
    (i) Total annual hours or quantity (per the LOA) of each bin of 
sonar or other acoustic sources (e.g., pile driving and air gun 
activities); and
    (ii) Total annual expended/detonated ordinance (missiles, bombs, 
sonobuoys, etc.) for each explosive bin.
    (4) Humpback Whale Special Reporting Area (December 15-April 15). 
The Navy must report the total hours of operation of surface ship hull-
mounted

[[Page 48455]]

mid-frequency active sonar used in the special reporting area.
    (5) HSTT Study Area Mitigation Areas. The Navy must report any use 
that occurred as specifically described in these areas. Information 
included in the classified annual reports may be used to inform future 
adaptive management of activities within the HSTT Study Area.
    (6) Geographic information presentation. The reports must present 
an annual (and seasonal, where practical) depiction of training and 
testing bin usage (as well as pile driving activities) geographically 
across the HSTT Study Area.
    (7) Sonar exercise notification. The Navy must submit to NMFS 
(contact as specified in the LOA) an electronic report within fifteen 
calendar days after the completion of any MTE indicating:
    (i) Location of the exercise;
    (ii) Beginning and end dates of the exercise; and
    (iii) Type of exercise.
    (f) Seven-year close-out comprehensive training and testing 
activity report. This report must be included as part of the 2025 
annual training and testing report. This report must provide the annual 
totals for each sound source bin with a comparison to the annual 
allowance and the seven-year total for each sound source bin with a 
comparison to the seven-year allowance. Additionally, if there were any 
changes to the sound source allowance, this report must include a 
discussion of why the change was made and include the analysis to 
support how the change did or did not result in a change in the 2018 
HSTT FEIS/OEIS and final rule determinations. The draft report must be 
submitted within three months after the expiration of this subpart to 
the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS. NMFS must submit 
comments on the draft close-out report, if any, within three months of 
receipt. The report will be considered final after the Navy has 
addressed NMFS' comments, or 3 months after the submittal of the draft 
if NMFS does not provide comments.


Sec.  218.76  Letters of Authorization.

    (a) To incidentally take marine mammals pursuant to the regulations 
in this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain LOAs in accordance 
with Sec.  216.106 of this chapter.
    (b) LOAs, unless suspended or revoked, may be effective for a 
period of time not to exceed December 20, 2025.
    (c) If an LOA expires prior to December 20, 2025, the Navy may 
apply for and obtain a renewal of the LOA.
    (d) In the event of projected changes to the activity or to 
mitigation, monitoring, or reporting (excluding changes made pursuant 
to the adaptive management provision of Sec.  218.77(c)(1)) required by 
an LOA issued under this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain a 
modification of the LOA as described in Sec.  218.77.
    (e) Each LOA must set forth:
    (1) Permissible methods of incidental taking;
    (2) Geographic areas for incidental taking;
    (3) Means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact (i.e., 
mitigation) on the species or stocks of marine mammals and their 
habitat; and
    (4) Requirements for monitoring and reporting.
    (f) Issuance of the LOA(s) must be based on a determination that 
the level of taking is consistent with the findings made for the total 
taking allowable under the regulations in this subpart.
    (g) Notice of issuance or denial of the LOA(s) must be published in 
the Federal Register within 30 days of a determination.


Sec.  218.77  Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization.

    (a) An LOA issued under Sec. Sec.  216.106 of this chapter and 
218.76 for the activity identified in Sec.  218.70(c) may be renewed or 
modified upon request by the applicant, provided that:
    (1) The planned specified activity and mitigation, monitoring, and 
reporting measures, as well as the anticipated impacts, are the same as 
those described and analyzed for the regulations in this subpart 
(excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision 
in paragraph (c)(1) of this section); and
    (2) NMFS determines that the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting 
measures required by the previous LOA(s) were implemented.
    (b) For LOA modification or renewal requests by the applicant that 
include changes to the activity or to the mitigation, monitoring, or 
reporting measures (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive 
management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section) that do not 
change the findings made for the regulations or result in no more than 
a minor change in the total estimated number of takes (or distribution 
by species or stock or years), NMFS may publish a notice of planned LOA 
in the Federal Register, including the associated analysis of the 
change, and solicit public comment before issuing the LOA.
    (c) An LOA issued under Sec. Sec.  216.106 of this chapter and 
218.76 may be modified by NMFS under the following circumstances:
    (1) Adaptive management. After consulting with the Navy regarding 
the practicability of the modifications, NMFS may modify (including 
adding or removing measures) the existing mitigation, monitoring, or 
reporting measures if doing so creates a reasonable likelihood of more 
effectively accomplishing the goals of the mitigation and monitoring.
    (i) Possible sources of data that could contribute to the decision 
to modify the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures in an LOA 
include:
    (A) Results from the Navy's monitoring from the previous year(s);
    (B) Results from other marine mammal and/or sound research or 
studies; or
    (C) Any information that reveals marine mammals may have been taken 
in a manner, extent, or number not authorized by the regulations in 
this subpart or subsequent LOAs.
    (ii) If, through adaptive management, the modifications to the 
mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures are substantial, NMFS 
will publish a notice of planned LOA in the Federal Register and 
solicit public comment.
    (2) Emergencies. If NMFS determines that an emergency exists that 
poses a significant risk to the well-being of the species or stocks of 
marine mammals specified in LOAs issued pursuant to Sec. Sec.  216.106 
of this chapter and 218.76, an LOA may be modified without prior notice 
or opportunity for public comment. Notice would be published in the 
Federal Register within thirty days of the action.


Sec.  Sec.  218.78-218.79  [Reserved]

[FR Doc. 2019-18850 Filed 9-12-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P