Migratory Bird Permits; Regulations for Managing Resident Canada Goose Populations; Agricultural Facilities in the Atlantic Flyway, 10621-10624 [2020-03034]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 37 / Tuesday, February 25, 2020 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 21 [Docket No. FWS–HQ–MB–2018–0080; FF09M21200–190–FXMB1231099BPP0] RIN 1018–BD74 Migratory Bird Permits; Regulations for Managing Resident Canada Goose Populations; Agricultural Facilities in the Atlantic Flyway Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), amend the depredation order that allows take of resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities by authorized personnel between May 1 and August 31. This period is too restrictive in portions of the Atlantic Flyway where specific crops are now being planted and depredated prior to May 1. This final rule allows take of resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities in the Atlantic Flyway States of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia between April 1 and August 31. DATES: This rule is effective March 26, 2020. ADDRESSES: Comments we received on the proposed rule, as well as the proposed rule itself, the related environmental assessment, and this final rule, are available at http:// www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS–HQ–MB–2018–0080. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ken Richkus, Chief, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041; (703) 358– 2376. SUMMARY: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Authority and Responsibility Migratory birds are protected under four bilateral migratory bird treaties that the United States entered into with Great Britain (for Canada in 1916, as amended in 1999), the United Mexican States (1936, as amended in 1972 and 1999), Japan (1972, as amended in 1974), and the Soviet Union (1978). Regulations allowing the take of migratory birds are authorized by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (Act; 16 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:34 Feb 24, 2020 Jkt 250001 U.S.C. 703–712), which implements the above-mentioned treaties. The Act provides that, subject to and to carry out the purposes of the treaties, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized and directed to determine when, to what extent, and by what means allowing hunting, killing, and other forms of taking of migratory birds, their nests, and eggs is compatible with the conventions. The Act requires the Secretary to implement a determination by adopting regulations permitting and governing those activities. Canada geese are federally protected by the Act because they are listed as migratory birds in all four treaties. Because all four treaties cover Canada geese, regulations must meet the requirements of the most restrictive of the four. For Canada geese, this is the treaty with Canada. All regulations concerning resident Canada geese are compatible with its terms, with particular reference to Articles II, V, and VII. Each treaty not only permits sport hunting, but also permits the take of migratory birds for other reasons, including scientific, educational, propagative, or other specific purposes consistent with the conservation principles of the various Conventions. More specifically, Article VII, Article II (paragraph 3), and Article V of ‘‘The Protocol Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada Amending the 1916 Convention between the United Kingdom and the United States of America for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada and the United States’’ provides specific limitations on allowing the take of migratory birds for reasons other than sport hunting. Article VII authorizes permitting the take, killing, etc., of migratory birds that, under extraordinary conditions, become seriously injurious to agricultural or other interests. Article V relates to the taking of nests and eggs, and Article II, paragraph 3, states that, in order to ensure the long-term conservation of migratory birds, migratory bird populations shall be managed in accord with listed conservation principles. The other treaties are less restrictive. The treaties with both Japan (Article III, paragraph 1, subparagraph (b)) and the Soviet Union (Article II, paragraph 1, subparagraph (d)) provide specific exceptions to migratory bird take prohibitions for the purpose of protecting persons and property. The treaty with Mexico requires, with regard to migratory game birds, only that there be a ‘‘closed season’’ on hunting and that hunting be limited to 4 months in each year. PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 10621 Regulations governing the issuance of permits to take, capture, kill, possess, and transport migratory birds are promulgated at title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 13, 21, and 22, and are issued by the Service. The Service annually promulgates regulations governing the take, possession, and transportation of migratory game birds under sport hunting seasons at 50 CFR part 20. Regulations regarding all other take of migratory birds (except for eagles) are published at 50 CFR part 21, and typically are not changed annually. Background In November 2005, the Service published a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on management of resident Canada geese that documented resident Canada goose population levels ‘‘that are increasingly coming into conflict with people and causing personal and public property damage’’ (see the FEIS’ notice of availability at 70 FR 69985; November 18, 2005). On August 10, 2006, we published in the Federal Register (71 FR 45964) a final rule establishing regulations at 50 CFR parts 20 and 21 authorizing State wildlife agencies, private landowners, and airports to conduct (or allow) indirect and/or direct population control management activities to reduce, manage, and control resident Canada goose populations in the continental United States and to reduce related damages. Those activities include a depredation order that allows take of resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities by authorized personnel between May 1 and August 31, at 50 CFR 21.51. However, the time periods set forth at 50 CFR 21.51(d)(4) for take of resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities are too restrictive in portions of the Atlantic Flyway where specific crops are now being planted and depredated prior to May 1. On June 25, 2019, we published in the Federal Register (84 FR 29835) a proposed rule to amend the depredation order at 50 CFR 21.51 to allow authorized personnel to take resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities in the Atlantic Flyway States of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia between April 1 and August 31, thereby enabling agricultural producers to protect crops planted in early spring from depredation by resident Canada geese. This final rule adopts the changes set forth in that proposed rule. E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 10622 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 37 / Tuesday, February 25, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Environmental Assessment We prepared an environmental assessment (EA) that is tiered to the 2005 FEIS, specifically to the actions pertaining to control of resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities that were proposed under Alternative E (Control and Depredation Order Management; pages II–12—II–13). Those actions were subsequently implemented through the depredation order at 50 CFR 21.51, under Alternative F (Integrated Damage Management and Population Control; pages II–13—II–15). The EA analyzed three alternative courses of action to address crop depredation by resident Canada geese in Atlantic Flyway States in April: (1) Maintain the current date restrictions on the take of geese as specified in regulations at 50 CFR 21.51(d)(4) (No action); (2) Expand the time period during which Canada geese may be taken under 50 CFR 21.51(d)(4) to April 1 through August 31, in the Atlantic Flyway States of Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia; and (3) Expand the time period during which Canada geese may be taken under 50 CFR 21.51(d)(4) to April 1 through August 31, in the Atlantic Flyway States of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia (Proposed action). The full EA can be found on our website at http://www.fws.gov/birds or at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–HQ–MB–2018–0080. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Review of Public Comments We accepted comments on our June 25, 2019, proposed rule (84 FR 29835) for 60 days, ending August 26, 2019. During the public comment period on the proposed rule, we received public comments from three private individuals. Service Response to Comments The Service has a responsibility to prevent serious injuries to agricultural 18:34 Feb 24, 2020 Jkt 250001 Required Determinations Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563) Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this rule is not significant. Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation’s regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements. Regulatory Flexibility Act Summary of Comments One individual expressed support for the proposed action in order to protect agricultural lands. Another commenter objected to killing Canada geese and urged the Service to only allow nonlethal control methods. The third commenter adamantly expressed opposition to the killing of any animals, and asked why proven nonlethal methods are not being used. VerDate Sep<11>2014 crops that are caused by resident Canada geese. We favor nonlethal control methods, but if those fail to resolve an identified conflict, we do allow lethal take. Direct control measures such as nest and egg destruction and lethal removal are usually employed to alleviate local conflicts; thus, whether to conduct such measures is a local decision. Therefore, this final rule does not make any changes in response to these comments to the actions we proposed on June 25, 2019 (84 FR 29835). Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996 (Pub. L. 104–121)), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions. However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Thus, for a regulatory flexibility analysis to be required, impacts must exceed a threshold for ‘‘significant impact’’ and a threshold for a ‘‘substantial number of small entities.’’ See 5 U.S.C. 605(b). The economic impacts of this rule will primarily affect agricultural producers, but the impacts will be beneficial to those entities because their crops will be afforded better protection. Data are not available to estimate the exact number of agricultural facilities that will benefit from this rule, but it is unlikely to be a substantial number at the Atlantic Flyway-wide scale. Therefore, we certify that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act This rule is not a major rule under SBREFA (5 U.S.C. 804(2)). It will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. This rule will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government agencies; or geographic regions. Finally, this rule will not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the abilities of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreignbased enterprises. Executive Order 13771—Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs This final rule is an Executive Order (E.O.) 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017) deregulatory action because it relieves a restriction in 50 CFR part 21. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.), we have determined the following: a. This rule will not ‘‘significantly or uniquely’’ affect small government activities. A small government agency plan is not required. b. This rule will not produce a Federal mandate on local or State government or private entities. Therefore, this action is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 37 / Tuesday, February 25, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Takings In accordance with E.O. 12630, this rule does not contain a provision for taking of private property, and will not have significant takings implications. A takings implication assessment is not required. Federalism This rule does not interfere with the States’ abilities to manage themselves or their funds. We do not expect any economic impacts to result from this revision to the regulations. This rule will not have sufficient Federalism effects to warrant preparation of a federalism summary impact statement under E.O. 13132. Civil Justice Reform In accordance with E.O. 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule will not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. Paperwork Reduction Act This rule does not contain new collections of information that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). OMB has approved the information collection requirements associated with the control and management of resident Canada geese at 50 CFR part 20 and 50 CFR part 21, and assigned OMB Control Number 1018– 0133 (expires June 30, 2022). An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. National Environmental Policy Act jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES We have analyzed this rule in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and U.S. Department of the Interior regulations at 43 CFR part 46. We have completed an environmental assessment of the amendment of the depredation order that allows take of resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities in Atlantic Flyway States from April 1 through August 31; that environmental assessment is included in the docket for this rule. We conclude that our action will have the impacts listed below under Environmental Consequences of the Action. The docket for this rule is available at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–HQ–MB–2018– 0080. Environmental Consequences of the Action The expected additional take of resident Canada geese will have minimal impact to the overall population status of resident Canada geese in any participating State and the Atlantic Flyway as a whole. Based on the current average annual take (in the listed States) of 2,233 Canada geese under 50 CFR 21.51, we expect an additional 558 Canada geese to be taken during the month of April in participating States. This is based on an assumed average of a similar number of geese taken each month. There is the potential for take of migrant Canada geese in more northern areas of the flyway. Assuming that 50 percent of the expected additional take in April are migrants, the take of migrant Canada geese under this alternative will be 279 geese. Population-level impacts to any individual population of migrant geese will be minimal. Socioeconomic. This action is expected to have a net positive impact on the socioeconomic environment by reducing crop depredation at localized agricultural sites. Individual agricultural producers in participating States will be afforded some additional relief from injurious Canada geese. Endangered and threatened species. The rule will not affect endangered or threatened species or critical habitats. Compliance With Endangered Species Act Requirements Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that ‘‘The Secretary [of the Interior] shall review other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of this Act’’ (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(1)). It further states that ‘‘[e]ach Federal agency shall, in consultation with and with the assistance of the Secretary, insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency * * * is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat’’ (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)). 10623 The rule will not affect endangered or threatened species or critical habitats. Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes In accordance with the President’s memorandum of April 29, 1994, ‘‘Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments’’ (59 FR 22951), E.O. 13175, and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated potential effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that there are no potential effects. This rule will not interfere with the tribes’ abilities to manage themselves or their funds or to regulate migratory bird activities on tribal lands. Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (E.O. 13211) E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This rule is not a significant regulatory action under E.O. 13211, and will not significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action. No Statement of Energy Effects is required. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 21 Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation, Wildlife. Regulation Promulgation For the reasons stated in the preamble, we hereby amend part 21, of subchapter B, chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below: PART 21—MIGRATORY BIRD PERMITS 1. The authority citation for part 21 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703–712. 2. Amend § 21.51 by revising paragraph (d)(4) to read as follows: ■ § 21.51 Depredation order for resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities. * * * * * (d) * * * (4) Under this section, authorized agricultural producers and their employees and agents may: (i) Conduct management and control activities, involving the take of resident Canada geese, as follows: Where When In the Atlantic Flyway States of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Between April 1 and August 31. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:34 Feb 24, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 10624 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 37 / Tuesday, February 25, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Where When In the Mississippi and Central Flyway portions of these States: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Between May 1 and August 31. (ii) Destroy the nests and eggs of resident Canada geese at any time of year. * * * * * Dated: January 6, 2020. Rob Wallace, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. 2020–03034 Filed 2–24–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 121004518–3398–01; RTID 0648–XS023] Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; 2020 Recreational Accountability Measure and Closure for Gulf of Mexico Gray Triggerfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) for the gray triggerfish recreational sector in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) for the 2020 fishing year through this temporary rule. NMFS has projected that the 2020 recreational annual catch target (ACT) for Gulf gray triggerfish will be reached by May 2, 2020. Therefore, NMFS closes the recreational sector for Gulf gray triggerfish on May 2, 2020, and it will remain closed through the end of the fishing year on December 31, 2020. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf gray triggerfish resource. DATES: This temporary rule is effective from 12:01 a.m., local time, on May 2, 2020, until 12:01 a.m., local time, on January 1, 2021. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Luers, NMFS Southeast Regional jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:34 Feb 24, 2020 Jkt 250001 Office, telephone: 727–551–5719, email: Daniel.luers@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the Gulf reef fish fishery, which includes gray triggerfish, under the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) through regulations at 50 CFR part 622. All gray triggerfish weights discussed in this temporary rule are in round weight. The recreational annual catch limit (ACL) for Gulf gray triggerfish is 241,200 lb (109,406 kg), and the recreational ACT is 217,100 lb (98,475 kg) (50 CFR 622.41(b)(2)(iii)). As specified in 50 CFR 622.41(b)(2)(i), NMFS is required to close the recreational sector for gray triggerfish when the recreational ACT is reached or is projected to be reached by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined the 2020 recreational ACT for Gulf gray triggerfish will be reached by May 2, 2020. Accordingly, this temporary rule closes the recreational sector for Gulf gray triggerfish effective at 12:01 a.m., local time, on May 2, 2020, and it will remain closed through the end of the fishing year on December 31, 2020. During the recreational closure, the bag and possession limits for gray triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ are zero. The prohibition on possession of Gulf gray triggerfish also applies in Gulf state waters for any vessel issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish. Additionally, as specified in 50 CFR 622.34(f), there is a seasonal closure for Gulf gray triggerfish at the beginning of each fishing year from January 1 through the end of February. Therefore, after the closure implemented by this temporary rule becomes effective on May 2, 2020, the recreational harvest or PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 possession of Gulf gray triggerfish will be prohibited until March 1, 2021. Classification The Regional Administrator for the NMFS Southeast Region has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of Gulf gray triggerfish and is consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws. This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.41(b)(2)(i) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued without opportunity for prior notice and comment. This action responds to the best scientific information available. The Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries (AA) finds that the need to implement this action to close the recreational sector for gray triggerfish constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this temporary rule pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), because such procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary because the rule establishing the closure provisions was subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the closure. Such procedures are contrary to the public interest because of the need to implement this action to protect gray triggerfish and to provide advance notice to the recreational sector. Many for-hire operations book trips for clients in advance and need as much advance notice as NMFS is able to provide to adjust their business plans to account for the closure. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 19, 2020. Karyl K. Brewster-Geisz, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–03560 Filed 2–20–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 37 (Tuesday, February 25, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10621-10624]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-03034]



[[Page 10621]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 21

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2018-0080; FF09M21200-190-FXMB1231099BPP0]
RIN 1018-BD74


Migratory Bird Permits; Regulations for Managing Resident Canada 
Goose Populations; Agricultural Facilities in the Atlantic Flyway

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), amend the 
depredation order that allows take of resident Canada geese at 
agricultural facilities by authorized personnel between May 1 and 
August 31. This period is too restrictive in portions of the Atlantic 
Flyway where specific crops are now being planted and depredated prior 
to May 1. This final rule allows take of resident Canada geese at 
agricultural facilities in the Atlantic Flyway States of Connecticut, 
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New 
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode 
Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia between 
April 1 and August 31.

DATES: This rule is effective March 26, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Comments we received on the proposed rule, as well as the 
proposed rule itself, the related environmental assessment, and this 
final rule, are available at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. 
FWS-HQ-MB-2018-0080.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ken Richkus, Chief, Division of 
Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5275 
Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041; (703) 358-2376.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Authority and Responsibility

    Migratory birds are protected under four bilateral migratory bird 
treaties that the United States entered into with Great Britain (for 
Canada in 1916, as amended in 1999), the United Mexican States (1936, 
as amended in 1972 and 1999), Japan (1972, as amended in 1974), and the 
Soviet Union (1978). Regulations allowing the take of migratory birds 
are authorized by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (Act; 16 U.S.C. 703-
712), which implements the above-mentioned treaties. The Act provides 
that, subject to and to carry out the purposes of the treaties, the 
Secretary of the Interior is authorized and directed to determine when, 
to what extent, and by what means allowing hunting, killing, and other 
forms of taking of migratory birds, their nests, and eggs is compatible 
with the conventions. The Act requires the Secretary to implement a 
determination by adopting regulations permitting and governing those 
activities.
    Canada geese are federally protected by the Act because they are 
listed as migratory birds in all four treaties. Because all four 
treaties cover Canada geese, regulations must meet the requirements of 
the most restrictive of the four. For Canada geese, this is the treaty 
with Canada. All regulations concerning resident Canada geese are 
compatible with its terms, with particular reference to Articles II, V, 
and VII.
    Each treaty not only permits sport hunting, but also permits the 
take of migratory birds for other reasons, including scientific, 
educational, propagative, or other specific purposes consistent with 
the conservation principles of the various Conventions. More 
specifically, Article VII, Article II (paragraph 3), and Article V of 
``The Protocol Between the Government of the United States of America 
and the Government of Canada Amending the 1916 Convention between the 
United Kingdom and the United States of America for the Protection of 
Migratory Birds in Canada and the United States'' provides specific 
limitations on allowing the take of migratory birds for reasons other 
than sport hunting. Article VII authorizes permitting the take, 
killing, etc., of migratory birds that, under extraordinary conditions, 
become seriously injurious to agricultural or other interests. Article 
V relates to the taking of nests and eggs, and Article II, paragraph 3, 
states that, in order to ensure the long-term conservation of migratory 
birds, migratory bird populations shall be managed in accord with 
listed conservation principles.
    The other treaties are less restrictive. The treaties with both 
Japan (Article III, paragraph 1, subparagraph (b)) and the Soviet Union 
(Article II, paragraph 1, subparagraph (d)) provide specific exceptions 
to migratory bird take prohibitions for the purpose of protecting 
persons and property. The treaty with Mexico requires, with regard to 
migratory game birds, only that there be a ``closed season'' on hunting 
and that hunting be limited to 4 months in each year.
    Regulations governing the issuance of permits to take, capture, 
kill, possess, and transport migratory birds are promulgated at title 
50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 13, 21, and 22, and 
are issued by the Service. The Service annually promulgates regulations 
governing the take, possession, and transportation of migratory game 
birds under sport hunting seasons at 50 CFR part 20. Regulations 
regarding all other take of migratory birds (except for eagles) are 
published at 50 CFR part 21, and typically are not changed annually.

Background

    In November 2005, the Service published a final environmental 
impact statement (FEIS) on management of resident Canada geese that 
documented resident Canada goose population levels ``that are 
increasingly coming into conflict with people and causing personal and 
public property damage'' (see the FEIS' notice of availability at 70 FR 
69985; November 18, 2005).
    On August 10, 2006, we published in the Federal Register (71 FR 
45964) a final rule establishing regulations at 50 CFR parts 20 and 21 
authorizing State wildlife agencies, private landowners, and airports 
to conduct (or allow) indirect and/or direct population control 
management activities to reduce, manage, and control resident Canada 
goose populations in the continental United States and to reduce 
related damages. Those activities include a depredation order that 
allows take of resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities by 
authorized personnel between May 1 and August 31, at 50 CFR 21.51. 
However, the time periods set forth at 50 CFR 21.51(d)(4) for take of 
resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities are too restrictive in 
portions of the Atlantic Flyway where specific crops are now being 
planted and depredated prior to May 1.
    On June 25, 2019, we published in the Federal Register (84 FR 
29835) a proposed rule to amend the depredation order at 50 CFR 21.51 
to allow authorized personnel to take resident Canada geese at 
agricultural facilities in the Atlantic Flyway States of Connecticut, 
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New 
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode 
Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia between 
April 1 and August 31, thereby enabling agricultural producers to 
protect crops planted in early spring from depredation by resident 
Canada geese. This final rule adopts the changes set forth in that 
proposed rule.

[[Page 10622]]

Environmental Assessment

    We prepared an environmental assessment (EA) that is tiered to the 
2005 FEIS, specifically to the actions pertaining to control of 
resident Canada geese at agricultural facilities that were proposed 
under Alternative E (Control and Depredation Order Management; pages 
II-12--II-13). Those actions were subsequently implemented through the 
depredation order at 50 CFR 21.51, under Alternative F (Integrated 
Damage Management and Population Control; pages II-13--II-15). The EA 
analyzed three alternative courses of action to address crop 
depredation by resident Canada geese in Atlantic Flyway States in 
April:
    (1) Maintain the current date restrictions on the take of geese as 
specified in regulations at 50 CFR 21.51(d)(4) (No action);
    (2) Expand the time period during which Canada geese may be taken 
under 50 CFR 21.51(d)(4) to April 1 through August 31, in the Atlantic 
Flyway States of Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia; and
    (3) Expand the time period during which Canada geese may be taken 
under 50 CFR 21.51(d)(4) to April 1 through August 31, in the Atlantic 
Flyway States of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, 
Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North 
Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, 
Virginia, and West Virginia (Proposed action).
    The full EA can be found on our website at http://www.fws.gov/birds 
or at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2018-0080.

Review of Public Comments

    We accepted comments on our June 25, 2019, proposed rule (84 FR 
29835) for 60 days, ending August 26, 2019. During the public comment 
period on the proposed rule, we received public comments from three 
private individuals.

Summary of Comments

    One individual expressed support for the proposed action in order 
to protect agricultural lands. Another commenter objected to killing 
Canada geese and urged the Service to only allow nonlethal control 
methods. The third commenter adamantly expressed opposition to the 
killing of any animals, and asked why proven nonlethal methods are not 
being used.

Service Response to Comments

    The Service has a responsibility to prevent serious injuries to 
agricultural crops that are caused by resident Canada geese. We favor 
nonlethal control methods, but if those fail to resolve an identified 
conflict, we do allow lethal take. Direct control measures such as nest 
and egg destruction and lethal removal are usually employed to 
alleviate local conflicts; thus, whether to conduct such measures is a 
local decision. Therefore, this final rule does not make any changes in 
response to these comments to the actions we proposed on June 25, 2019 
(84 FR 29835).

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 provides that the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined 
that this rule is not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We developed this rule in a manner consistent with 
these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121)), whenever an agency is required to 
publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must 
prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility 
analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small businesses, 
small organizations, and small government jurisdictions. However, no 
regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency 
certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal 
agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying 
that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Thus, for a regulatory 
flexibility analysis to be required, impacts must exceed a threshold 
for ``significant impact'' and a threshold for a ``substantial number 
of small entities.'' See 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
    The economic impacts of this rule will primarily affect 
agricultural producers, but the impacts will be beneficial to those 
entities because their crops will be afforded better protection. Data 
are not available to estimate the exact number of agricultural 
facilities that will benefit from this rule, but it is unlikely to be a 
substantial number at the Atlantic Flyway-wide scale. Therefore, we 
certify that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under SBREFA (5 U.S.C. 804(2)). It 
will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.
    This rule will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 
million or more. This rule will not cause a major increase in costs or 
prices for consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local 
government agencies; or geographic regions. Finally, this rule will not 
have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, 
investment, productivity, innovation, or the abilities of U.S.-based 
enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Executive Order 13771--Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory 
Costs

    This final rule is an Executive Order (E.O.) 13771 (82 FR 9339, 
February 3, 2017) deregulatory action because it relieves a restriction 
in 50 CFR part 21.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we have determined the following:
    a. This rule will not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect small 
government activities. A small government agency plan is not required.
    b. This rule will not produce a Federal mandate on local or State 
government or private entities. Therefore, this action is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

[[Page 10623]]

Takings

    In accordance with E.O. 12630, this rule does not contain a 
provision for taking of private property, and will not have significant 
takings implications. A takings implication assessment is not required.

Federalism

    This rule does not interfere with the States' abilities to manage 
themselves or their funds. We do not expect any economic impacts to 
result from this revision to the regulations. This rule will not have 
sufficient Federalism effects to warrant preparation of a federalism 
summary impact statement under E.O. 13132.

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with E.O. 12988, the Office of the Solicitor has 
determined that the rule will not unduly burden the judicial system and 
meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not contain new collections of information that 
require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). OMB has 
approved the information collection requirements associated with the 
control and management of resident Canada geese at 50 CFR part 20 and 
50 CFR part 21, and assigned OMB Control Number 1018-0133 (expires June 
30, 2022). An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not 
required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have analyzed this rule in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and U.S. 
Department of the Interior regulations at 43 CFR part 46. We have 
completed an environmental assessment of the amendment of the 
depredation order that allows take of resident Canada geese at 
agricultural facilities in Atlantic Flyway States from April 1 through 
August 31; that environmental assessment is included in the docket for 
this rule. We conclude that our action will have the impacts listed 
below under Environmental Consequences of the Action. The docket for 
this rule is available at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. 
FWS-HQ-MB-2018-0080.

Environmental Consequences of the Action

    The expected additional take of resident Canada geese will have 
minimal impact to the overall population status of resident Canada 
geese in any participating State and the Atlantic Flyway as a whole. 
Based on the current average annual take (in the listed States) of 
2,233 Canada geese under 50 CFR 21.51, we expect an additional 558 
Canada geese to be taken during the month of April in participating 
States. This is based on an assumed average of a similar number of 
geese taken each month. There is the potential for take of migrant 
Canada geese in more northern areas of the flyway. Assuming that 50 
percent of the expected additional take in April are migrants, the take 
of migrant Canada geese under this alternative will be 279 geese. 
Population-level impacts to any individual population of migrant geese 
will be minimal.
    Socioeconomic. This action is expected to have a net positive 
impact on the socioeconomic environment by reducing crop depredation at 
localized agricultural sites. Individual agricultural producers in 
participating States will be afforded some additional relief from 
injurious Canada geese.
    Endangered and threatened species. The rule will not affect 
endangered or threatened species or critical habitats.

Compliance With Endangered Species Act Requirements

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 
16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that ``The Secretary [of the 
Interior] shall review other programs administered by him and utilize 
such programs in furtherance of the purposes of this Act'' (16 U.S.C. 
1536(a)(1)). It further states that ``[e]ach Federal agency shall, in 
consultation with and with the assistance of the Secretary, insure that 
any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency * * * is 
not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered 
species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of [critical] habitat'' (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)). The rule 
will not affect endangered or threatened species or critical habitats.

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), E.O. 13175, and 512 DM 2, we have 
evaluated potential effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and 
have determined that there are no potential effects. This rule will not 
interfere with the tribes' abilities to manage themselves or their 
funds or to regulate migratory bird activities on tribal lands.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (E.O. 13211)

    E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy 
Effects when undertaking certain actions. This rule is not a 
significant regulatory action under E.O. 13211, and will not 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, 
this action is not a significant energy action. No Statement of Energy 
Effects is required.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 21

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, we hereby amend part 21, of 
subchapter B, chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 
as set forth below:

PART 21--MIGRATORY BIRD PERMITS

0
1. The authority citation for part 21 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703-712.


0
2. Amend Sec.  21.51 by revising paragraph (d)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  21.51  Depredation order for resident Canada geese at 
agricultural facilities.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (4) Under this section, authorized agricultural producers and their 
employees and agents may:
    (i) Conduct management and control activities, involving the take 
of resident Canada geese, as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Where                                When
------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the Atlantic Flyway States of Connecticut,     Between April 1 and
 Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland,      August 31.
 Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New
 York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode
 Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and
 West Virginia.

[[Page 10624]]

 
In the Mississippi and Central Flyway portions    Between May 1 and
 of these States: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado,     August 31.
 Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky,
 Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi,
 Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North
 Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota,
 Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (ii) Destroy the nests and eggs of resident Canada geese at any 
time of year.
* * * * *

    Dated: January 6, 2020.
Rob Wallace,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2020-03034 Filed 2-24-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P