Notice of Availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Coral Reef Conservation Program, 68146-68147 [2019-26825]

Download as PDF 68146 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 240 / Friday, December 13, 2019 / Notices in the fishery. Information obtained through this study informs fisheries managers, is utilized in management reviews, is communicated back to the end users, and is made available to the public. This data collection also complies with the aforementioned legal requirements, and greatly increases our knowledge of fishing communities. Affected Public: Individuals or Households; Business or other for-profit organizations. Frequency: Once every 5 years. Respondent’s Obligation: Voluntary. This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov or fax to (202) 395–5806. Sheleen Dumas, Department PRA Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Commerce Department. [FR Doc. 2019–26925 Filed 12–12–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Notice of Availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Coral Reef Conservation Program Office for Coastal Management (OCM), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC). ACTION: Notice of availability of a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement; Request for comments. AGENCY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office for Coastal Management has prepared a draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for its Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), which is managed by NOAA’s National Ocean Service in Silver Spring, MD, and implemented in coastal areas and marine waters of Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands, and jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:42 Dec 12, 2019 Jkt 250001 targeted international regions including the wider Caribbean, the Coral Triangle, the South Pacific, and Micronesia. Publication of this document begins the public comment period for the draft PEIS. DATES: Written comments on the draft PEIS will be accepted on or before January 27, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the CRCP’s draft PEIS by any of the following methods: • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/NOAANOS-201-0127. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Please direct written comments to Harriet Nash, Deputy Director, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, Office for Coastal Management, 1305 East-West Highway, N/OCM6, Room 10404, Silver Spring, MD 20910. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Liz Fairey, NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, liz.fairey@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NOAA has prepared a draft PEIS for coral reef conservation and restoration activities conducted by NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) throughout parts of the United States, including the South Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Remote Pacific Islands, and priority international areas (i.e., wider Caribbean, Coral Triangle, South Pacific, and Micronesia). The draft PEIS assesses the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of NOAA’s proposed action to continue funding and otherwise conducting coral reef conservation and restoration activities through the CRCP’s existing programmatic framework and related procedures. The CRCP is implemented consistently with the requirements of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (CRCA) and Executive Order 13089. Projects implemented or funded by NOAA vary in terms of their size, complexity, geographic location, and NOAA involvement, and often benefit diverse coral species, habitats, and ecosystem types. The CRCP conducts research and monitoring to gather data on the existence and condition of coral reef ecosystems to support conservation and restoration efforts. NOAA implements the CRCP across four of its line offices (i.e., National Ocean Service, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Marine Fisheries Service, and National Environmental PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Satellite, Data, and Information Service) and in coordination with other federal agencies, state and local agencies, private conservation organizations, and research and academic institutions. A significant amount of this support is administered through grants and cooperative agreements. CRCP activities are prioritized based on available funding and the responsiveness to the priorities in its strategic plan, including jurisdictional needs. The draft PEIS identifies and evaluates the general environmental impacts, issues, and concerns related to the comprehensive management and implementation of the CRCP, including potential mitigation. NOAA anticipates that some environmental effects will be caused by site-specific, project-level activities implementing the CRCP; therefore, the final PEIS will be used to support tiered, site-specific National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) reviews by narrowing the scope of environmental impacts and facilitating focused, project-level reviews. NOAA also intends for this draft PEIS to establish a tiered environmental decision-making framework that will support efficient compliance with other statutes protecting natural resources such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act to the extent they apply. Since the CRCP will use the Final PEIS to conduct tiered analyses, this document does not evaluate the environmental impacts of any project-level activities. The draft PEIS analyzes three program-level alternatives: • No Action Alternative: The No Action Alternative would involve continued operation of the CRCP based on minimizing the three primary threats to coral reefs (i.e., fishing impacts, landbased sources of pollution, and climate change) and supporting research and possible application of novel coral restoration and intervention techniques to respond rapidly to imminent threats, such as increased bleaching and disease, to corals and coral reef ecosystems. CRCP operations would include monitoring, research activities, watershed and coral reef restoration, reduction of physical impacts to coral reefs, outreach and education, and program support. The CRCP would continue to be implemented using available appropriations, across four NOAA line offices, using a mix of internal and external funding, across existing geographic areas, and in collaboration with similar partners. The CRCP would continue to conduct program activities with mandatory mitigation measures developed in E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 240 / Friday, December 13, 2019 / Notices compliance with applicable environmental laws such as the ESA. For the purposes of this draft PEIS, it is assumed that the activities would be conducted in the same manner as they currently are. • Alternative 1: This alternative would reflect the management of the CRCP to address and minimize the three primary threats but would not include research and possible application of restoration and intervention techniques targeting coral populations. The CRCP would continue to be implemented using available appropriations, across four NOAA line offices, using a mix of internal and external funding, across existing geographic areas, and using similar partners. The CRCP would continue to conduct program activities with mandatory mitigation measures developed in compliance with applicable environmental laws such as the ESA. • Alternative 2: This alternative would continue management of CRCP to address and minimize the three primary threats and support research and possible application of novel coral restoration and intervention techniques to respond rapidly to imminent threats (i.e., the No Action Alternative) plus implement discretionary mitigation measures. The fundamental difference between this alternative and the other alternatives is that Alternative 2 would identify and implement a suite of standard, discretionary conservation and mitigation measures that would supplement mandatory mitigation measures required by statutes. The fundamental distinction between Alternative 1 and the No Action Alternative is that the No Action Alternative would include research and potential application of novel restoration and intervention techniques as tools to respond to imminent threats to corals. The draft PEIS considers the environmental effects of a suite of these intervention strategies. Implementation could occur through a separate decisionmaking process. Alternative 1 would not implement restoration and intervention techniques targeting coral populations: It would instead focus resources solely on addressing the three primary threats that CRCP has prioritized over the last several years. Alternative 2 would be identical to the No Action Alternative except that it would call for implementation of not only mitigation measures imposed through statutory and regulatory compliance but also discretionary conservation and mitigation measures designed to further protect and conserve marine and other environmental resources. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:42 Dec 12, 2019 Jkt 250001 The purpose of this NOA is to invite affected federal, state, and local agencies, and interested persons to participate in the draft PEIS process and provide comments on the structure, contents, and analysis in the draft PEIS. The official public review and comment period ends on January 27, 2020. Please visit the CRCP web page for additional information regarding the program: https://coralreef.noaa.gov/. Authority: The preparation of the draft PEIS for the CRCP will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality’s Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), other applicable regulations, and NOAA’s policies and procedures for compliance with those regulations. Written comments must be received on or before January 27, 2020. Keelin Kuipers, Deputy Director, Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 2019–26825 Filed 12–12–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–08–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Technical Information Service [Docket No. 191122–0088] Opportunity To Enter Into a Joint Venture Partnership With the National Technical Information Service for Data Innovation Support National Technical Information Service, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) requests proposals from interested private-sector organizations to assist Federal agencies in the development and implementation of innovative ways to collect, connect, access, secure, analyze, disseminate and enable effective and efficient use of data to address unique and complex national data priorities. Specifically, NTIS is interested in partnering with organizations that have specialized skills and capabilities in applied data science areas, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and cybersecurity, to assist the Federal government in leveraging data as a strategic asset to achieve Federal agency mission outcomes. Organizations that are selected in accordance with the evaluation criteria and selection process set forth in this notice will be invited to enter into a joint venture partnership agreement with NTIS to be eligible to compete for Federal data service SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68147 opportunities identified by NTIS in cooperation with other Federal agencies. DATES: Proposals will be received and evaluated on an ongoing basis. Proposals will not be accepted after December 13, 2022. ADDRESSES: Submit proposals electronically, with the subject line ‘‘Opportunity to Enter into a Joint Venture Partnership with the National Technical Information Service for Data Innovation Support’’, by emailing both OpportunityAnnouncement@ntis.gov and Randy Caldwell at rcaldwell@ ntis.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Randy Caldwell at (703) 605–6321, or by email at rcaldwell@ntis.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction/Background for Potential Joint Venture Partners (JVPs) NTIS, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is seeking proposals from potential JVPs that can work with NTIS to assist Federal agencies to leverage innovative ways to collect, connect, access, secure, analyze, disseminate and enable effective and efficient use of data to address unique and complex national data priorities. Federal agencies are currently addressing national issues in such areas as fraud detection, improper payments, public services, health and safety, cybersecurity, technology transfer, supply chain optimization, and internal requirements to operate more effectively and efficiently. Addressing these mission-critical data issues requires new capabilities in machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and other advanced data science expertise. See OMB M–19–18 1 and Executive Order 13859.2 Federal agencies that need the data services of NTIS and its JVPs require holistic solutions that may require the application of multiple data and technological capabilities in new and innovative ways in order to support the agencies’ strategic plans and missioncritical priorities. Many of the challenges facing Federal agencies are at the intersection of data science and information technology (IT) modernization. Solutions often require related capabilities in emerging technologies, innovation, change management, and agile delivery methods. Mission areas that NTIS supports include, but are not limited to, fraud detection, public services, health 1 https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/ uploads/2019/06/M-19-18.pdf. 2 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/ 2019/02/14/2019-02544/maintaining-americanleadership-in-artificial-intelligence. E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1

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[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 240 (Friday, December 13, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68146-68147]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-26825]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Notice of Availability of a Draft Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement for the Coral Reef Conservation Program

AGENCY: Office for Coastal Management (OCM), National Ocean Service 
(NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 
Department of Commerce (DOC).

ACTION: Notice of availability of a draft Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement; Request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 
Office for Coastal Management has prepared a draft programmatic 
environmental impact statement (PEIS) in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for its Coral Reef Conservation 
Program (CRCP), which is managed by NOAA's National Ocean Service in 
Silver Spring, MD, and implemented in coastal areas and marine waters 
of Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, 
Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, 
the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands, and targeted international regions 
including the wider Caribbean, the Coral Triangle, the South Pacific, 
and Micronesia. Publication of this document begins the public comment 
period for the draft PEIS.

DATES: Written comments on the draft PEIS will be accepted on or before 
January 27, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the CRCP's draft PEIS by any of 
the following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/NOAA-NOS-201-0127. Click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Please direct written comments to Harriet Nash, 
Deputy Director, NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, Office for 
Coastal Management, 1305 East-West Highway, N/OCM6, Room 10404, Silver 
Spring, MD 20910.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Liz Fairey, NMFS Office of Habitat 
Conservation, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, 1315 East-West 
Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  NOAA has prepared a draft PEIS for coral 
reef conservation and restoration activities conducted by NOAA's Coral 
Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) throughout parts of the United States, 
including the South Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Remote Pacific 
Islands, and priority international areas (i.e., wider Caribbean, Coral 
Triangle, South Pacific, and Micronesia). The draft PEIS assesses the 
direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of NOAA's 
proposed action to continue funding and otherwise conducting coral reef 
conservation and restoration activities through the CRCP's existing 
programmatic framework and related procedures. The CRCP is implemented 
consistently with the requirements of the Coral Reef Conservation Act 
of 2000 (CRCA) and Executive Order 13089. Projects implemented or 
funded by NOAA vary in terms of their size, complexity, geographic 
location, and NOAA involvement, and often benefit diverse coral 
species, habitats, and ecosystem types. The CRCP conducts research and 
monitoring to gather data on the existence and condition of coral reef 
ecosystems to support conservation and restoration efforts. NOAA 
implements the CRCP across four of its line offices (i.e., National 
Ocean Service, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National 
Marine Fisheries Service, and National Environmental Satellite, Data, 
and Information Service) and in coordination with other federal 
agencies, state and local agencies, private conservation organizations, 
and research and academic institutions. A significant amount of this 
support is administered through grants and cooperative agreements. CRCP 
activities are prioritized based on available funding and the 
responsiveness to the priorities in its strategic plan, including 
jurisdictional needs. The draft PEIS identifies and evaluates the 
general environmental impacts, issues, and concerns related to the 
comprehensive management and implementation of the CRCP, including 
potential mitigation. NOAA anticipates that some environmental effects 
will be caused by site-specific, project-level activities implementing 
the CRCP; therefore, the final PEIS will be used to support tiered, 
site-specific National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) reviews 
by narrowing the scope of environmental impacts and facilitating 
focused, project-level reviews. NOAA also intends for this draft PEIS 
to establish a tiered environmental decision-making framework that will 
support efficient compliance with other statutes protecting natural 
resources such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal 
Protection Act to the extent they apply. Since the CRCP will use the 
Final PEIS to conduct tiered analyses, this document does not evaluate 
the environmental impacts of any project-level activities. The draft 
PEIS analyzes three program-level alternatives:
     No Action Alternative: The No Action Alternative would 
involve continued operation of the CRCP based on minimizing the three 
primary threats to coral reefs (i.e., fishing impacts, land-based 
sources of pollution, and climate change) and supporting research and 
possible application of novel coral restoration and intervention 
techniques to respond rapidly to imminent threats, such as increased 
bleaching and disease, to corals and coral reef ecosystems. CRCP 
operations would include monitoring, research activities, watershed and 
coral reef restoration, reduction of physical impacts to coral reefs, 
outreach and education, and program support. The CRCP would continue to 
be implemented using available appropriations, across four NOAA line 
offices, using a mix of internal and external funding, across existing 
geographic areas, and in collaboration with similar partners. The CRCP 
would continue to conduct program activities with mandatory mitigation 
measures developed in

[[Page 68147]]

compliance with applicable environmental laws such as the ESA. For the 
purposes of this draft PEIS, it is assumed that the activities would be 
conducted in the same manner as they currently are.
     Alternative 1: This alternative would reflect the 
management of the CRCP to address and minimize the three primary 
threats but would not include research and possible application of 
restoration and intervention techniques targeting coral populations. 
The CRCP would continue to be implemented using available 
appropriations, across four NOAA line offices, using a mix of internal 
and external funding, across existing geographic areas, and using 
similar partners. The CRCP would continue to conduct program activities 
with mandatory mitigation measures developed in compliance with 
applicable environmental laws such as the ESA.
     Alternative 2: This alternative would continue management 
of CRCP to address and minimize the three primary threats and support 
research and possible application of novel coral restoration and 
intervention techniques to respond rapidly to imminent threats (i.e., 
the No Action Alternative) plus implement discretionary mitigation 
measures. The fundamental difference between this alternative and the 
other alternatives is that Alternative 2 would identify and implement a 
suite of standard, discretionary conservation and mitigation measures 
that would supplement mandatory mitigation measures required by 
statutes.
    The fundamental distinction between Alternative 1 and the No Action 
Alternative is that the No Action Alternative would include research 
and potential application of novel restoration and intervention 
techniques as tools to respond to imminent threats to corals. The draft 
PEIS considers the environmental effects of a suite of these 
intervention strategies. Implementation could occur through a separate 
decision-making process. Alternative 1 would not implement restoration 
and intervention techniques targeting coral populations: It would 
instead focus resources solely on addressing the three primary threats 
that CRCP has prioritized over the last several years. Alternative 2 
would be identical to the No Action Alternative except that it would 
call for implementation of not only mitigation measures imposed through 
statutory and regulatory compliance but also discretionary conservation 
and mitigation measures designed to further protect and conserve marine 
and other environmental resources.
    The purpose of this NOA is to invite affected federal, state, and 
local agencies, and interested persons to participate in the draft PEIS 
process and provide comments on the structure, contents, and analysis 
in the draft PEIS. The official public review and comment period ends 
on January 27, 2020. Please visit the CRCP web page for additional 
information regarding the program: https://coralreef.noaa.gov/.

    Authority:  The preparation of the draft PEIS for the CRCP will 
be conducted in accordance with the requirements of NEPA, the 
Council on Environmental Quality's Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-
1508), other applicable regulations, and NOAA's policies and 
procedures for compliance with those regulations. Written comments 
must be received on or before January 27, 2020.

Keelin Kuipers,
Deputy Director, Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
[FR Doc. 2019-26825 Filed 12-12-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-08-P