Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Report for the Southern Sea Otter in California, 4696-4699 [2020-01326]

Download as PDF 4696 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 17 / Monday, January 27, 2020 / Notices cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority We provide this notice under section 10 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Stephen P. Henry, Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, Ventura, California. [FR Doc. 2020–01288 Filed 1–24–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R8–ES–2019–N045; FF08EVEN00– FXES111608MSSO0] Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Report for the Southern Sea Otter in California Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have developed a draft revised marine mammal stock assessment report for the southern sea otter stock in the State of California. We now make the draft stock assessment report available for public review and comment. DATES: We will consider comments that are received or postmarked on or before April 27, 2020. ADDRESSES: Document availability: If you wish to review the draft revised stock assessment report for southern sea otter, you may obtain a copy from our website at http://www.fws.gov/ventura. Alternatively, you may contact the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003 (telephone: 805–644–1766). Comment submission: If you wish to comment on the draft stock assessment report, you may submit your comments in writing by any one of the following methods: • U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, at the above address; • Hand delivery: Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at the above address; • Fax: 805–644–3958; or • Email: fw8ssostock@fws.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lilian Carswell, at the above street address, by telephone (805–677–3325), or by email (Lilian_Carswell@fws.gov). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Jan 24, 2020 Jkt 250001 We announce the availability for review and comment of a draft revised marine mammal stock assessment report (SAR) for the southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) stock in the State of California. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), and its implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR part 18, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regulates the taking; import; and, under certain conditions, possession; transportation; purchasing; selling; and offering for sale, purchase, or export, of marine mammals. One of the MMPA’s goals is to ensure that stocks of marine mammals occurring in waters under U.S. jurisdiction do not experience a level of human-caused mortality and serious injury that is likely to cause the stock to be reduced below its optimum sustainable population level (OSP). OSP is defined under the MMPA as ‘‘the number of animals which will result in the maximum productivity of the population or the species, keeping in mind the carrying capacity of the habitat and the health of the ecosystem of which they form a constituent element’’ (16 U.S.C. 1362(9)). To help accomplish the goal of maintaining marine mammal stocks at their OSPs, section 117 of the MMPA requires the Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to prepare a SAR for each marine mammal stock that occurs in waters under U.S. jurisdiction. A SAR must be based on the best scientific information available; therefore, we prepare it in consultation with regional scientific review groups established under section 117(d) of the MMPA. Each SAR must include: 1. A description of the stock and its geographic range; 2. A minimum population estimate, current and maximum net productivity rate, and current population trend; 3. An estimate of the annual humancaused mortality and serious injury by source and, for a strategic stock, other factors that may be causing a decline or impeding recovery; 4. A description of commercial fishery interactions; 5. A categorization of the status of the stock; and 6. An estimate of the potential biological removal (PBR) level. The MMPA defines the PBR as ‘‘the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 or maintain its OSP’’ (16 U.S.C. 1362(20)). The PBR is the product of the minimum population estimate of the stock (Nmin); one-half the maximum theoretical or estimated net productivity rate of the stock at a small population size (Rmax); and a recovery factor (Fr) of between 0.1 and 1.0, which is intended to compensate for uncertainty and unknown estimation errors. This can be written as: PBR = (Nmin)(1⁄2 of the Rmax)(Fr) Section 117 of the MMPA also requires the Service and NMFS to review the SARs (a) at least annually for stocks that are specified as strategic stocks, (b) at least annually for stocks for which significant new information is available, and (c) at least once every 3 years for all other stocks. If our review of the status of a stock indicates that it has changed or may be more accurately determined, then the SAR must be revised accordingly. A strategic stock is defined in the MMPA as a marine mammal stock ‘‘(a) for which the level of direct humancaused mortality exceeds the PBR level; (b) which, based on the best available scientific information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) [the ‘‘ESA’’], within the foreseeable future; or (c) which is listed as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA, or is designated as depleted under [the MMPA].’’ 16 U.S.C. 1362(19). Stock Assessment Report History for the Southern Sea Otter in California The southern sea otter SAR was last revised in 2017. Because the southern sea otter is listed as a threatened species under the ESA, the stock is considered strategic. Therefore, the Service reviews the stock assessment annually. In 2018, Service review concluded that revision was not warranted because the status of the stock had not changed, nor could it be more accurately determined. However, upon review in 2019, the Service determined that revision was warranted because the status of the stock may be subject to change. The range-wide population index (i.e., population level over a consecutive 3year period) reached the ESA threshold (i.e., exceeding 3,090 animals) for delisting consideration identified in the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2003). As a result, the Service will initiate an ESA status review to determine whether delisting of the southern sea otter is appropriate, which could result in a E:\FR\FM\27JAN1.SGM 27JAN1 4697 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 17 / Monday, January 27, 2020 / Notices change to the status of the stock under the MMPA. Summary of Draft Revised Stock Assessment Report for the Southern Sea Otter in California The following table summarizes some of the information contained in the draft revised southern sea otter SAR, which includes the stock’s Nmin, Rmax, Fr, PBR, annual estimated human-caused mortality and serious injury, and status. After consideration of any public comments we receive, the Service will revise and finalize the SAR, as appropriate. We will publish a notice of availability and summary of the final SAR, including responses to submitted comments. SUMMARY—DRAFT REVISED STOCK ASSESSMENT REPORT, SOUTHERN SEA OTTER IN CALIFORNIA Southern sea otter stock NMIN RMAX 2,986 0.06 0.1 9.24 San Nicolas Island ............... Summary .............................. 95 3,081 0.13 ............ 0.1 ............ 0.62 9 References In accordance with the MMPA, we include in this notice a list of the information sources and public reports upon which we based the SAR: Babcock, E.A., E.K. Pikitch, and C.G. Hudon. 2003. How much observer coverage is enough to adequately estimate bycatch? Pew Institute for Ocean Science and Oceana, 36 pp. Bacon, C.E. 1994. An ecotoxicological comparison of organic contaminants in sea otters among populations in California and Alaska. M.S. thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz. Bacon, C.E., W.M. Jarman, J.A. Estes, M. Simon, and R.J. Norstrom. 1999. Comparison of organochlorine contaminants among sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations in California and Alaska. Environ. Toxicology and Chemistry 18:452–458. Barlow, J. 1989. Estimating sample size required to monitor marine mammal mortality in California gillnet fisheries. Southwest Fisheries Science Center Administrative Report LJ–89–08, 8 pp. Bentall, G.B. 2005. Morphological and behavioral correlates of population status in the southern sea otter: A comparative study between central California and San Nicolas Island. Master’s Thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, unpublished. Burge, C.A., C.M. Eakin, C.S. Friedman, B. Froelich, P.K. Hershberger, E.E. Hofmann, L.E. Petes, K.C. Prager, E. Weil, B.L. Willis, SE Ford, and C.D. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Jan 24, 2020 Jkt 250001 Annual estimated human-caused mortality and serious injury PBR Mainland ............................... Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES FR Figures by specific source, where known, are provided in the SAR. Harvell. 2014. Climate change influences on marine infectious diseases: Implications for management and society. Annual Review of Marine Science 6:249–277. Bryant, H.C. 1915. Sea otters near Point Sur. California Department of Fish and Game Bulletin. 1:134–135. Cameron, G.A. and K.A. Forney. 2000. Preliminary estimates of cetacean mortality in California/Oregon gillnet fisheries for 1999. Paper SC/S2/O24 presented to the International Whaling Commission, 2000 (unpublished), 12 pp. Available from NMFS, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, P.O. Box 271, La Jolla, CA 92038. Carretta, J.V. 2001. Preliminary estimates of cetacean mortality in California gillnet fisheries for 2000. Paper SC/53/SM9 presented to the International Whaling Commission, 2001 (unpublished), 21 pp. Available from NMFS, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, P.O. Box 271, La Jolla, CA 92038. Chinn, S.M., M.A. Miller, M.T. Tinker, M.M. Staedler, F.I. Batac, E.M. Dodd, L.A. Henkel. 2016. The high cost of motherhood: End-lactation syndrome in southern sea otters. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 52:307–318. doi: 10.7589/2015– 06–158. Conrad, P.A., M.A. Miller, C. Kreuder, E.R. James, J. Mazet, H. Dabritz, D.A. Jessup, F. Gulland, M.E. Grigg. 2005. Transmission of toxoplasma: Clues from the study of sea otters as sentinels of Toxoplasma gondii flow into the marine environment. International Journal for Parasitology 35:1155–1168. Cronin, M.A., J. Bodkin, B. Bellachey, J.A. Estes, and J.C. Patton. 1996. Mitochondrial-DNA variation among subspecies and populations of sea otters (Enhydra lutris). Journal of Mammalogy 77:546–557. Dubey, J.P., N.L. Miller, and D.K. Frenkel. 1970. Toxoplasma gondii life cycle in cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 157:1767–1770. Estes, J.A. 1990. Growth and equilibrium in sea otter populations. J. Anim. Ecol. 59:385–401. Estes, J.A. and R.J. Jameson. 1988. A doublesurvey estimate for sighting probability PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Stock status Strategic. of sea otters in California. Journal of Wildlife Management 52:70–76. Estes, J.A., B.B. Hatfield, K. Ralls, and J. Ames. 2003. Causes of mortality in California sea otters during periods of population growth and decline. Marine Mammal Science 19:198–216. Forney, K.A., S.R. Benson, and G.A. Cameron. 2001. Central California gill net effort and bycatch of sensitive species, 1990–1998. Pages 141–160 in Seabird Bycatch: Trends, Roadblocks, and Solutions, E.F. Melvin and J.K. Parrish, eds. Proceedings of an International Symposium of the Pacific Seabird Group, University of Alaska Sea Grant, Fairbanks, Alaska, 212 pp. Gazeau, F., L.M. Parker, S. Comeau, J.-P. Gattuso, W.A. O’Connor, S. Martin, H.-O. Po¨rtner, and P.M. Ross. 2013. Impacts of ocean acidification on marine shelled molluscs. Marine Biology 160:2207– 2245. Gerber, L.R., M.T. Tinker, D.F. Doak, J.A. Estes, and D.A. Jessup. 2004. Mortality sensitivity in life-stage simulation analysis: A case study of southern sea otters. Ecological Applications 14:1554– 1565. Hatfield, B.B. and J.A. Estes. 2000. Preliminary results of an evaluation of the potential threat to sea otters posed by the nearshore finfish trap fishery. Unpublished, 6 pp. + appendices. Hatfield, B.B., J.L. Yee, M.C. Kenner, J.A. Tomoleoni, and M.T. Tinker. 2018. California sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) census results, spring 2018. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1097. 10 pp. https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1097. Hatfield, B.B., J.A. Ames, J.A. Estes, M.T. Tinker, A.B. Johnson, M.M. Staedler, and M.D. Harris. 2011. Sea otter mortality in fish and shellfish traps: Estimating potential impacts and exploring possible solutions. Endangered Species Research 13:219–229. Herrick, S.F. Jr. and D. Hanan. 1988. A review of California entangling net fisheries, 1981–1986. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Technical Memorandum. National Marine Fisheries Service. NOAA–TM– NMFS–SWFC–108, 39 pp. Jameson, R.J. 1989. Movements, home range, E:\FR\FM\27JAN1.SGM 27JAN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 4698 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 17 / Monday, January 27, 2020 / Notices and territories of male sea otters off central California. Marine Mammal Science 5:159–172. Jameson, R.J. and S. Jeffries. 1999. Results of the 1999 survey of the Washington sea otter population. Unpublished report, 5 pp. Jameson, R.J. and S. Jeffries. 2005. Results of the 2005 survey of the reintroduced Washington sea otter population. Unpublished report, 6 pp. Jessup D.A., M.A. Miller, M. Harris, B.B. Hatfield, and J.A. Estes. 2004. The 2003 southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) unusual mortality event: A preliminary report to NOAA and USFWS. Unpublished report, 38 pp. Johnson, C.K., M.T. Tinker, J.A. Estes, P.A. Conrad, M. Staedler, M.A. Miller, D.A. Jessup and J.A.K. Mazet. 2009. Prey choice and habitat use drive sea otter pathogen exposure in a resource-limited coastal system. PNAS 106:2242–2247. Kannan, K., E. Perrotta, and N.J. Thomas. 2006. Association between perfluorinated compounds and pathological conditions in southern sea otters. Environmental Science & Technology 40:4943–4948. Kannan, K., E. Perrotta, N.J. Thomas, and K.M. Aldous. 2007. A comparative analysis of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polychlorinated biphenyls in southern sea otters that died of infectious diseases and noninfectious causes. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 53:293– 302. Kannan K., K.S. Guruge, N.J. Thomas, S. Tanabe, J.P. Giesy. 1998. Butyltin residues in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) found dead along California coastal waters. Environmental Science and Technology 32:1169–1175. Kooyman, G.L. and D.P. Costa. 1979. Effects of oiling on temperature regulation in sea otters. Yearly progress report, Outer Continental Shelf Energy Assessment Program. Kreuder, C., M.A. Miller, D.A. Jessup, L.J. Lowenstein, M.D. Harris, J.A. Ames, T.E. Carpenter, P.A. Conrad, and J.A.K. Mazet. 2003. Patterns of mortality in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) from 1998–2001. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 39:495–509. Kreuder, C., M.A. Miller, L.J. Lowenstine, P.A. Conrad, T.E. Carpenter, D.A. Jessup, and J.A.K. Mazet. 2005. Evaluation of cardiac lesions and risk factors associated with myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis). American Journal of Veterinary Research 66:289–299. Kroeker, K.J., R.L. Kordas, R.N. Crim, and G.G. Singh. 2010. Meta-analysis reveals negative yet variable effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms. Ecology Letters 13:1419–1434. Kudela, R.M., J.Q. Lane, W.P. Cochlan. 2008. The potential role of anthropogenically derived nitrogen in the growth of harmful algae in California, USA. Harmful Algae 8:103–110. Kurihara, H. and Y. Shirayama. 2004. Effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on sea VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Jan 24, 2020 Jkt 250001 urchin early development. Marine Ecology Progress Series 274:161–169. Kurihara, H., T. Asai, S. Kato, and A. Ishimatsu. 2008. Effects of elevated pCO2 on early development in the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Aquatic Biology 4:225–233. Lafferty, K.D. and M.T. Tinker. 2014. Sea otters are recolonizing southern California in fits and starts. Ecosphere 5:50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/ES1300394.1. Laidre, K.L., R.J. Jameson, and D.P. DeMaster. 2001. An estimation of carrying capacity for sea otters along the California coast. Marine Mammal Science 17:294–309. Larson, S., R. Jameson, J. Bodkin, M. Staedler, and P. Bentzen. 2002. Microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA variation in remnant and translocated sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations. Journal of Mammalogy 83:893–906. Mayer, K.A., M.D. Dailey, and M.A. Miller. 2003. Helminth parasites of the southern sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis in central California: Abundance, distribution, and pathology. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 53:77–88. Miller, M.A., M.E. Grigg, C. Kreuder, E.R. James, A.C. Melli, P.R. Crosbie, D.A. Jessup, J.C. Boothroyd, D. Brownstein, and P.A. Conrad. 2004. An unusual genotype of Toxoplasma gondii is common in California sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and is a cause of mortality. International Journal for Parasitology 34:275–284. Miller, M.A., I.A. Gardner, C. Kreuder, D.M. Paradies, K.R. Worcester, D.A. Jessup, E. Dodd, M.D. Harris, J.A. Ames, A.E. Packham, and P.A. Conrad. 2002. Coastal freshwater runoff is a risk factor for Toxoplasma gondii infection of southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis). International Journal for Parasitology 32:997–1006. Miller, M.A., W.A. Miller, P.A. Conrad, E.R. James, A.C. Melli, C.M. Leutenegger, H.A. Dabritz, A.E. Packham, D. Paradies, M. Harris, J. Ames, D.A. Jessup, K. Worcester, M.E. Grigg. 2008. Type X Toxoplasma gondii in a wild mussel and terrestrial carnivores from coastal California: New linkages between terrestrial mammals, runoff and toxoplasmosis of sea otters. International Journal for Parasitology 38:1319–1328. Miller, M.A., R.M. Kudela, A. Mekebri, D. Crane, S.C. Oates, M.T. Tinker, M. Staedler, W.A. Miller, S. Toy-Choutka, C. Domink, D. Hardin, G. Langlois, M. Murray, K. Ward and D.A. Jessup. 2010. Evidence for a novel marine harmful algal bloom: Cyanotoxin (Microcystin) transfer from land to sea otters. PLoS ONE 5:e12576. Monson, D.H., J.A. Estes, J.L. Bodkin, and D.B. Siniff. 2000. Life history plasticity and population regulation in sea otters. Oikos 90:457–468. Mos, L. 2001. Domoic acid: A fascinating marine toxin. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 9:79–85. Nakata, H., K. Kannan, L. Jing, N. Thomas, S. Tanabe, and J.P. Giesy. 1998. PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Accumulation pattern of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) found stranded along coastal California, USA. Environmental Pollution 103:45–53. Ralls, K., T.C. Eagle, and D.B. Siniff. 1996. Movement and spatial use patterns of California sea otters. Canadian Journal of Zoology 74:1841–1849. Sanchez, M.S. 1992. Differentiation and variability of mitochondrial DNA in three sea otter, Enhydra lutris, populations. M.S. Thesis, University of California Santa Cruz. Siniff, D.B., T.D. Williams, A.M. Johnson, and D.L. Garshelis. 1982. Experiments on the response of sea otters, Enhydra lutris, to oil contamination. Biological Conservation 2: 261–272. Stumpp, M., J. Wren, F. Melzner, M.C. Thorndyke, and S.T. Dupont. 2011. CO2 induced seawater acidification impacts on sea urchin larval development I: Elevated metabolic rates decrease scope for growth and induce developmental delay. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 160:331–340. Taylor, B.L., M. Scott, J. Heyning, and J. Barlow. 2003. Suggested guidelines for recovery factors for endangered marine mammals. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA–TM–NMFS–SWFSC–354. Tinker, M.T. 2014. Models and sea otter conservation. Pp. 257–300 in Larson, S., G. VanBlaricom and J. Bodkin, eds., Sea Otter Conservation. New York: Elsevier. Tinker, M.T., and B.B. Hatfield. 2016. California sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) census results, spring 2016. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1018. 10 pp. http:// dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds1018. Tinker, M.T., G. Bentall, and J.A. Estes. 2008a. Food limitation leads to behavioral diversification and dietary specialization in sea otters. PNAS 105:560–565. Tinker, M.T., D.F. Doak, and J.A. Estes. 2008b. Using demography and movement behavior to predict range expansion of the southern sea otter. Ecological Applications 18:1781–1794. Tinker, M.T., B.B. Hatfield, M.D. Harris, and J.A. Ames. 2016. Dramatic increase in sea otter mortality from white sharks in California. Marine Mammal Science 32:309–326. Tinker, M.T., J.A. Estes, K. Ralls, T.M. Williams, D. Jessup, and D.P. Costa. 2006a. Population Dynamics and Biology of the California Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) at the Southern End of its Range. MMS OCS Study 2006–07. Coastal Research Center, Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, California. MMS Cooperative Agreement Number 14–35–0001–31063. Tinker, M.T., D.F. Doak, J.A. Estes, B.B. Hatfield, M.M. Staedler, and J. Bodkin. 2006b. Incorporating diverse data and realistic complexity into demographic estimation procedures for sea otters. Ecological Applications 16:2293–2312. Tinker, M.T., D. Jessup, M. Staedler, M. Murray, M. Miller, T. Burgess, E. Bowen, K. Miles, J. Tomoleoni, N. Thometz, L. Tarjan, E. Golson, F. Batac, E. Dodd, E. E:\FR\FM\27JAN1.SGM 27JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 17 / Monday, January 27, 2020 / Notices Berberich, J. Kunz, G. Bentall, T. Nicholson, S. Newsome, H. MacCormick, A. Melli, A. Johnson, L. Henkel, C. Kreuder-Johnson, and P. Conrad. 2013. Sea otter population biology at Big Sur and Monterey California: Investigating the consequences of resource abundance and anthropogenic stressors for sea otter recovery. Draft Final Report to California Coastal Conservancy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. University of California, Santa Cruz, 243 pp. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2003. Final Revised Recovery Plan for the Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis). Portland, Oregon, xi + 165 pp. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2015. Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. Ventura, California. 42 pp. Valentine, K., D.A. Duffield, L.E. Patrick, D.R. Hatch, V.L. Butler, R.L. Hall, and N. Lehman. 2008. Ancient DNA reveals genotypic relationships among Oregon populations of the sea otter (Enhydra lutris). Conservation Genetics 9:933–938. Vezie, C., J. Rapala, J. Vaitomaa, J. Seitsonen, and K. Sivonen. 2002. Effect of nitrogen and phosphorus on growth of toxic and nontoxic Microcystis strains and on intracellular microcystin concentrations. Microbial Ecology 43:443–454. Walther, G.-R, E. Post, P. Convey, A. Menzel, C. Parmesank, T.J.C. Beebee, J.-M. Fromentin, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, and F. Bairlein. 2002. Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416:389– 395. Wendell, F.E., R.A. Hardy, and J.A. Ames. 1986. An assessment of the accidental take of sea otters, Enhydra lutris, in gill and trammel nets. California Department of Fish and Game, Mar. Res. Tech. Rep. No. 54, 31 pp. Wilson, D.E., M.A. Bogan, R.L. Brownell, Jr., A.M. Burdin, and M.K. Maminov. 1991. Geographic variation in sea otters, Enhydra lutris. Journal of Mammalogy 72:22–36. Authority The authority for this action is the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et al.) Dated: January 8, 2020. Aurelia Skipwith, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2020–01326 Filed 1–24–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES [LLORB07000.L17110000.AL0000. LXSSH1060000.20X.HAG 20–0028] Notice of Subcommittee Meeting for the Steens Mountain Advisory Council, Oregon AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:54 Jan 24, 2020 Jkt 250001 ACTION: Notice of public meeting. In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Steens Mountain Advisory Council (SMAC) Recreation and Visitor Use Subcommittee will meet as indicated below. SUMMARY: The Recreation and Visitor Use Subcommittee of the SMAC will hold a public meeting on Thursday, February 13, 2020, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. and on Friday, February 14, 2020, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bend, Oregon. ADDRESSES: The Hilton Garden Inn is located at 425 SW Bluff Drive, Bend, Oregon 97702. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tara Thissell, Public Affairs Specialist, 28910 Highway 20 West, Hines, Oregon 97738; telephone: 541–573–4519; email: tthissell@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact Ms. Thissell during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The SMAC was established on August 14, 2001, pursuant to the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act of 2000 (Steens Act) (Pub. L. 106– 399). The SMAC provides representative advice to the BLM regarding new and unique approaches to management of the land within the bounds of the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area (CMPA), recommends cooperative programs and incentives for landscape management that meet human needs, and advises the BLM on maintenance and improvement of the ecological and economic integrity of the area. The SMAC’s Recreation and Visitor Use Subcommittee was established in 2019 and serves to research, discuss, and evaluate any recreation and visitor use issue in the Steens Mountain CMPA. Issues could relate to parking, hiking, motorized or non-motorized use, signage, interpretation, private to public land access by way of an easement or other agreement, or purchase or exchange of public and private land for improved recreation opportunities and contiguous landscape. The DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4699 Subcommittee reviews all aspects of any recreation or visitor use issue, formulates suggestions for remedy, and proposes those solutions to the entire SMAC for further discussion and possible recommendation to the BLM. The February 13 agenda includes an update from the Designated Federal Official, review of 2019 recreation statistics for the Steens Mountain area, discussion on the SMAC’s definition of ‘‘reasonable access’’ and constituent feedback, and a discussion on recreation and visitor access at Home Creek Canyon. The February 14 agenda includes a presentation on Redband trout populations and recreational fishing in the Steens Mountain area, information sharing regarding designated Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas, review of sections of the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act of 2000 referencing economics, and an opportunity for subcommittee members to share information from their constituents and present research members have done between meetings. Any other matters that may reasonably come before the subcommittee may also be included. Public comment periods are available on Thursday, February 13, at 3:30 p.m., and on Friday, February 14, at 11:15 a.m. Unless otherwise approved by the subcommittee chair, the public comment period will last no longer than 30 minutes. Each speaker may address the subcommittee for a maximum of 5 minutes. Sessions may end early if all business items are accomplished ahead of schedule or maybe extended if discussions warrant more time. All meetings are open to the public in their entirety. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, please be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority: 43 CFR 1784.4–2. Jeff Rose, District Manager. [FR Doc. 2020–01291 Filed 1–24–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–33–P E:\FR\FM\27JAN1.SGM 27JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 17 (Monday, January 27, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4696-4699]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-01326]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2019-N045; FF08EVEN00-FXES111608MSSO0]


Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Report for the 
Southern Sea Otter in California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, 
as amended, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have developed a 
draft revised marine mammal stock assessment report for the southern 
sea otter stock in the State of California. We now make the draft stock 
assessment report available for public review and comment.

DATES: We will consider comments that are received or postmarked on or 
before April 27, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Document availability: If you wish to review the draft 
revised stock assessment report for southern sea otter, you may obtain 
a copy from our website at http://www.fws.gov/ventura. Alternatively, 
you may contact the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola 
Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003 (telephone: 805-644-1766).
    Comment submission: If you wish to comment on the draft stock 
assessment report, you may submit your comments in writing by any one 
of the following methods:
     U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, at the above address;
     Hand delivery: Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at the 
above address;
     Fax: 805-644-3958; or
     Email: [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lilian Carswell, at the above street 
address, by telephone (805-677-3325), or by email 
([email protected]). Persons who use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce the availability for review and 
comment of a draft revised marine mammal stock assessment report (SAR) 
for the southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) stock in the State 
of California.

Background

    Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 
16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), and its implementing regulations in the Code 
of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR part 18, the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service) regulates the taking; import; and, under 
certain conditions, possession; transportation; purchasing; selling; 
and offering for sale, purchase, or export, of marine mammals. One of 
the MMPA's goals is to ensure that stocks of marine mammals occurring 
in waters under U.S. jurisdiction do not experience a level of human-
caused mortality and serious injury that is likely to cause the stock 
to be reduced below its optimum sustainable population level (OSP). OSP 
is defined under the MMPA as ``the number of animals which will result 
in the maximum productivity of the population or the species, keeping 
in mind the carrying capacity of the habitat and the health of the 
ecosystem of which they form a constituent element'' (16 U.S.C. 
1362(9)).
    To help accomplish the goal of maintaining marine mammal stocks at 
their OSPs, section 117 of the MMPA requires the Service and the 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to prepare a SAR for each 
marine mammal stock that occurs in waters under U.S. jurisdiction. A 
SAR must be based on the best scientific information available; 
therefore, we prepare it in consultation with regional scientific 
review groups established under section 117(d) of the MMPA. Each SAR 
must include:
    1. A description of the stock and its geographic range;
    2. A minimum population estimate, current and maximum net 
productivity rate, and current population trend;
    3. An estimate of the annual human-caused mortality and serious 
injury by source and, for a strategic stock, other factors that may be 
causing a decline or impeding recovery;
    4. A description of commercial fishery interactions;
    5. A categorization of the status of the stock; and
    6. An estimate of the potential biological removal (PBR) level.
    The MMPA defines the PBR as ``the maximum number of animals, not 
including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal 
stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its OSP'' (16 
U.S.C. 1362(20)). The PBR is the product of the minimum population 
estimate of the stock (Nmin); one-half the maximum 
theoretical or estimated net productivity rate of the stock at a small 
population size (Rmax); and a recovery factor 
(Fr) of between 0.1 and 1.0, which is intended to compensate 
for uncertainty and unknown estimation errors. This can be written as:

PBR = (Nmin)(\1/2\ of the Rmax)(Fr)

    Section 117 of the MMPA also requires the Service and NMFS to 
review the SARs (a) at least annually for stocks that are specified as 
strategic stocks, (b) at least annually for stocks for which 
significant new information is available, and (c) at least once every 3 
years for all other stocks. If our review of the status of a stock 
indicates that it has changed or may be more accurately determined, 
then the SAR must be revised accordingly.
    A strategic stock is defined in the MMPA as a marine mammal stock 
``(a) for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the 
PBR level; (b) which, based on the best available scientific 
information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened 
species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) [the ``ESA''], within the foreseeable future; or (c) 
which is listed as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA, or 
is designated as depleted under [the MMPA].'' 16 U.S.C. 1362(19).

Stock Assessment Report History for the Southern Sea Otter in 
California

    The southern sea otter SAR was last revised in 2017. Because the 
southern sea otter is listed as a threatened species under the ESA, the 
stock is considered strategic. Therefore, the Service reviews the stock 
assessment annually. In 2018, Service review concluded that revision 
was not warranted because the status of the stock had not changed, nor 
could it be more accurately determined. However, upon review in 2019, 
the Service determined that revision was warranted because the status 
of the stock may be subject to change. The range-wide population index 
(i.e., population level over a consecutive 3-year period) reached the 
ESA threshold (i.e., exceeding 3,090 animals) for delisting 
consideration identified in the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Plan (U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service 2003). As a result, the Service will initiate 
an ESA status review to determine whether delisting of the southern sea 
otter is appropriate, which could result in a

[[Page 4697]]

change to the status of the stock under the MMPA.

Summary of Draft Revised Stock Assessment Report for the Southern Sea 
Otter in California

    The following table summarizes some of the information contained in 
the draft revised southern sea otter SAR, which includes the stock's 
Nmin, Rmax, Fr, PBR, annual estimated 
human-caused mortality and serious injury, and status. After 
consideration of any public comments we receive, the Service will 
revise and finalize the SAR, as appropriate. We will publish a notice 
of availability and summary of the final SAR, including responses to 
submitted comments.

                Summary--Draft Revised Stock Assessment Report, Southern Sea Otter in California
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Annual estimated human-
    Southern sea otter stock       NMIN      RMAX       FR      PBR     caused  mortality and     Stock status
                                                                           serious injury
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mainland.......................     2,986      0.06      0.1     9.24  Figures by specific     Strategic.
                                                                        source, where known,
                                                                        are provided in the
                                                                        SAR.
San Nicolas Island.............        95      0.13      0.1     0.62
Summary........................     3,081  ........  .......        9
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

References

    In accordance with the MMPA, we include in this notice a list of 
the information sources and public reports upon which we based the SAR:

Babcock, E.A., E.K. Pikitch, and C.G. Hudon. 2003. How much observer 
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Bacon, C.E., W.M. Jarman, J.A. Estes, M. Simon, and R.J. Norstrom. 
1999. Comparison of organochlorine contaminants among sea otter 
(Enhydra lutris) populations in California and Alaska. Environ. 
Toxicology and Chemistry 18:452-458.
Barlow, J. 1989. Estimating sample size required to monitor marine 
mammal mortality in California gillnet fisheries. Southwest 
Fisheries Science Center Administrative Report LJ-89-08, 8 pp.
Bentall, G.B. 2005. Morphological and behavioral correlates of 
population status in the southern sea otter: A comparative study 
between central California and San Nicolas Island. Master's Thesis, 
University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, unpublished.
Burge, C.A., C.M. Eakin, C.S. Friedman, B. Froelich, P.K. 
Hershberger, E.E. Hofmann, L.E. Petes, K.C. Prager, E. Weil, B.L. 
Willis, SE Ford, and C.D. Harvell. 2014. Climate change influences 
on marine infectious diseases: Implications for management and 
society. Annual Review of Marine Science 6:249-277.
Bryant, H.C. 1915. Sea otters near Point Sur. California Department 
of Fish and Game Bulletin. 1:134-135.
Cameron, G.A. and K.A. Forney. 2000. Preliminary estimates of 
cetacean mortality in California/Oregon gillnet fisheries for 1999. 
Paper SC/S2/O24 presented to the International Whaling Commission, 
2000 (unpublished), 12 pp. Available from NMFS, Southwest Fisheries 
Science Center, P.O. Box 271, La Jolla, CA 92038.
Carretta, J.V. 2001. Preliminary estimates of cetacean mortality in 
California gillnet fisheries for 2000. Paper SC/53/SM9 presented to 
the International Whaling Commission, 2001 (unpublished), 21 pp. 
Available from NMFS, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, P.O. Box 
271, La Jolla, CA 92038.
Chinn, S.M., M.A. Miller, M.T. Tinker, M.M. Staedler, F.I. Batac, 
E.M. Dodd, L.A. Henkel. 2016. The high cost of motherhood: End-
lactation syndrome in southern sea otters. Journal of Wildlife 
Diseases 52:307-318. doi: 10.7589/2015-06-158.
Conrad, P.A., M.A. Miller, C. Kreuder, E.R. James, J. Mazet, H. 
Dabritz, D.A. Jessup, F. Gulland, M.E. Grigg. 2005. Transmission of 
toxoplasma: Clues from the study of sea otters as sentinels of 
Toxoplasma gondii flow into the marine environment. International 
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1996. Mitochondrial-DNA variation among subspecies and populations 
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sighting probability of sea otters in California. Journal of 
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mortality in California sea otters during periods of population 
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acidification on marine shelled molluscs. Marine Biology 160:2207-
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2004. Mortality sensitivity in life-stage simulation analysis: A 
case study of southern sea otters. Ecological Applications 14:1554-
1565.
Hatfield, B.B. and J.A. Estes. 2000. Preliminary results of an 
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nearshore finfish trap fishery. Unpublished, 6 pp. + appendices.
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results, spring 2018. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1097. 10 
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Hatfield, B.B., J.A. Ames, J.A. Estes, M.T. Tinker, A.B. Johnson, 
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and shellfish traps: Estimating potential impacts and exploring 
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Jameson, R.J. 1989. Movements, home range,

[[Page 4698]]

and territories of male sea otters off central California. Marine 
Mammal Science 5:159-172.
Jameson, R.J. and S. Jeffries. 1999. Results of the 1999 survey of 
the Washington sea otter population. Unpublished report, 5 pp.
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the reintroduced Washington sea otter population. Unpublished 
report, 6 pp.
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2004. The 2003 southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) unusual 
mortality event: A preliminary report to NOAA and USFWS. Unpublished 
report, 38 pp.
Johnson, C.K., M.T. Tinker, J.A. Estes, P.A. Conrad, M. Staedler, 
M.A. Miller, D.A. Jessup and J.A.K. Mazet. 2009. Prey choice and 
habitat use drive sea otter pathogen exposure in a resource-limited 
coastal system. PNAS 106:2242-2247.
Kannan, K., E. Perrotta, and N.J. Thomas. 2006. Association between 
perfluorinated compounds and pathological conditions in southern sea 
otters. Environmental Science & Technology 40:4943-4948.
Kannan, K., E. Perrotta, N.J. Thomas, and K.M. Aldous. 2007. A 
comparative analysis of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and 
polychlorinated biphenyls in southern sea otters that died of 
infectious diseases and noninfectious causes. Archives of 
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Patterns of mortality in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) 
from 1998-2001. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 39:495-509.
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Carpenter, D.A. Jessup, and J.A.K. Mazet. 2005. Evaluation of 
cardiac lesions and risk factors associated with myocarditis and 
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anthropogenically derived nitrogen in the growth of harmful algae in 
California, USA. Harmful Algae 8:103-110.
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atmospheric CO2 on sea urchin early development. Marine 
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southern California in fits and starts. Ecosphere 5:50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/ES13-00394.1.
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and translocated sea otter (Enhydra lutris) populations. Journal of 
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of the southern sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis in central 
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California sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) and is a cause of 
mortality. International Journal for Parasitology 34:275-284.
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Authority

    The authority for this action is the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et al.)

    Dated: January 8, 2020.
Aurelia Skipwith,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-01326 Filed 1-24-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P