Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Renewal of U.S. Navy Target and Missile Launch Activities on San Nicolas Island, 38863-38868 [2020-13860]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Notices Dated: June 17, 2020. Jeffrey I. Kessler, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Appendix I [RTID 0648–XA251] Scope of the Order Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The merchandise covered by the Order is aluminum foil having a thickness of 0.2 mm or less, in reels exceeding 25 pounds, regardless of width. Aluminum foil is made from an aluminum alloy that contains more than 92 percent aluminum. Aluminum foil may be made to ASTM specification ASTM B479, but can also be made to other specifications. Regardless of specification, however, all aluminum foil meeting the scope description is included in the scope. Excluded from the scope of this Order is aluminum foil that is backed with paper, paperboard, plastics, or similar backing materials on only one side of the aluminum foil, as well as etched capacitor foil and aluminum foil that is cut to shape. Where the nominal and actual measurements vary, a product is within the scope if application of either the nominal or actual measurement would place it within the scope based on the definitions set forth above. The products covered by the Order are currently classifiable under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings 7607.11.3000, 7607.11.6000, 7607.11.9030, 7607.11.9060, 7607.11.9090, and 7607.19.6000. Further, merchandise that falls within the scope of the Order may also be entered into the United States under HTSUS subheadings 7606.11.3060, 7606.11.6000, 7606.12.3045, 7606.12.3055, 7606.12.3090, 7606.12.6000, 7606.91.3090, 7606.91.6080, 7606.92.3090, and 7606.92.6080. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of the Order is dispositive. Appendix II jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Rescission of Administrative Review, in Part IV. Non-Selected Companies Under Review V. Scope of the Order VI. Diversification of China’s Economy VII. Subsidies Valuation VIII. Interest Rates, Discount Rates, and Input, Land, and Electricity Benchmarks IX. Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences X. Analysis of Programs XI. Disclosure and Public Comment XII. Recommendation [FR Doc. 2020–13971 Filed 6–26–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of a public meeting. AGENCY: The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council, Council) will hold an online meeting of its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Coastal Pelagic Species Subcommittee to review model specifications regarding the Pacific sardine rebuilding plan Rebuilder tool. This meeting is open to the public. DATES: The online meeting will be held Wednesday, July 15, 2020 through Thursday, July 16, 2020. The meeting will run 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time each day, or until business for the day has been completed. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held as an online meeting. Specific meeting information, including directions on how to join the meeting and system requirements will be provided in the meeting announcement on the Pacific Council’s website (see www.pcouncil.org). You may send an email to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt (kris.kleinschmidt@noaa.gov) or contact him at (503) 820–2412 for technical assistance. Council address: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220–1384. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kerry Griffin, Pacific Council; telephone: (503) 820–2409. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The estimated biomass of Pacific sardine fell below the minimum stock size threshold of 50,000 metric tons, based on the 2019 stock assessment. The Council and NMFS are required to develop a rebuilding plan, which is scheduled for Council adoption at its September 2020 meeting. The primary purpose of the July 15–16 SSC Subcommittee meeting is to provide review and advice on developing proposed rebuilding alternatives relative to the Pacific sardine rebuilding plan. Specific objectives will include: (1) Establishing a stock-recruitment relationship and associated uncertainty, (2) establishing Tmin, Tmax, and Bmsy, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 38863 (3) setting other model parameters, (4) application of the rebuilder for the Council’s rebuilding alternatives, and (5) reviewing model outputs for the development and analysis of alternatives. The meeting will also include discussion of 2021 stock assessments for coastal pelagic species. Other technical aspects of the sardine rebuilding plan may also be considered, as appropriate. Members of the Council’s Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team are responsible for developing the sardine rebuilding plan and are expected to be active participants in the meeting. Although non-emergency issues not contained in the meeting agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this document and any issues arising after publication of this document that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the intent to take final action to address the emergency. Special Accommodations Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Mr. Kris Kleinschmidt (kris.kleinschmidt@ noaa.gov; (503) 820–2412) at least 10 days prior to the meeting date. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: June 24, 2020. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–13964 Filed 6–26–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XA244] Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Renewal of U.S. Navy Target and Missile Launch Activities on San Nicolas Island National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; issuance of renewal incidental harassment authorization. AGENCY: In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 38864 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued a Renewal incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to U.S. Navy (Navy) to incidentally harass marine mammals incidental to target and missile launch activities on San Nicolas Island (SNI). DATES: This Renewal IHA is valid from June 19, 2020 through June 11, 2021. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bonnie DeJoseph, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. Electronic copies of the original application, Renewal request, and supporting documents (including NMFS Federal Register notices of the original proposed and final authorizations, and the previous IHA), as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The MMPA prohibits the ‘‘take’’ of marine mammals, with certain exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed incidental take authorization is provided to the public for review. Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other ‘‘means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact’’ on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to here as ‘‘mitigation measures’’). Monitoring and reporting of such takings are also required. The meaning of key terms such as ‘‘take,’’ ‘‘harassment,’’ and ‘‘negligible impact’’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 can be found in section 3 of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1362) and the agency’s regulations at 50 CFR 216.103. NMFS’ regulations implementing the MMPA at 50 CFR 216.107(e) indicate that IHAs may be renewed for additional periods of time not to exceed one year for each reauthorization. In the notice of proposed IHA for the initial authorization, NMFS described the circumstances under which we would consider issuing a Renewal for this activity, and requested public comment on a potential Renewal under those circumstances. Specifically, on a caseby-case basis, NMFS may issue a onetime one-year Renewal IHA following notice to the public providing an additional 15 days for public comments when (1) up to another year of identical or nearly identical, or nearly identical, activities as described in the Description of the Specified Activities and Anticipated Impacts section of this notice is planned or (2) the activities as described in the Description of the Specified Activities and Anticipated Impacts section of this notice would not be completed by the time the IHA expires and a Renewal would allow for completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section of the initial notice, provided all of the following conditions are met: • A request for renewal is received no later than 60 days prior to the needed Renewal IHA effective date (recognizing that the Renewal IHA expiration date cannot extend beyond one year from expiration of the initial IHA). • The request for renewal must include the following: (1) An explanation that the activities to be conducted under the requested Renewal IHA are identical to the activities analyzed under the initial IHA, are a subset of the activities, or include changes so minor (e.g., reduction in pile size) that the changes do not affect the previous analyses, mitigation and monitoring requirements, or take estimates (with the exception of reducing the type or amount of take). (2) A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized. Upon review of the request for Renewal, the status of the affected species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS determines that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, the mitigation and monitoring measures will remain the same and appropriate, PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and the findings in the initial IHA remain valid. An additional public comment period of 15 days (for a total of 45 days), with direct notice by email, phone, or postal service to commenters on the initial IHA, is provided to allow for any additional comments on the proposed Renewal. A description of the Renewal process may be found on our website at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/ marine-mammal-protection/incidentalharassment-authorization-renewals. The NDAA (Pub. L. 108–136) removed the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ limitations indicated above and amended the definition of ‘‘harassment’’ as it applies to a ‘‘military readiness activity.’’ The activity for which incidental take of marine mammals is being requested addressed here qualifies as a military readiness activity. History of Request On June 12, 2019, NMFS issued an IHA to the Navy to take marine mammals incidental to U.S. Navy Target and Missile Launch Activities on San Nicolas Island, California (84 FR 28462; June 19, 2019), effective from June 12, 2019 through June 11, 2020. On April 14, 2020, NMFS received an application for the Renewal of that initial IHA. As described in the application for Renewal IHA, the activities for which incidental take is requested are identical. As required, the applicant also provided a preliminary monitoring report (available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ action/incidental-take-authorization-usnavy-target-and-missile-launchactivities-san-nicolas-0) which confirms that the applicant has implemented the required mitigation and monitoring, and which also shows that no impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized have occurred as a result of the activities conducted. Description of the Specified Activities and Anticipated Impacts The Navy will continue a target and missile launch program from two launch sites on SNI. Missiles vary from tactical and developmental weapons to target missiles used to test defensive strategies and other weapons systems. Some launch events involve a single missile, while others involve the launch of multiple missiles in quick succession. The Navy plans to conduct a maximum of 40 missile launch events from SNI, but the total may be less than 40 depending on operational requirements. No more than 25 launches have occurred in any single year since 2001 (Table 1). E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Notices pinnipeds hauled out at sites on SNI. TABLE 1—THE TOTAL NUMBER OF LAUNCHES THAT HAVE OCCURRED Neither Navy nor NMFS expects serious injury or mortality to result from this SINCE 2001 AT SNI activity. Number of launches Detailed Description of the Activity A detailed description of the target August 2001 to October 2005 .. 69 and missile launch activities for which February 2006 to December take is authorized here may be found in 2009 ...................................... 11 the notices of the Proposed and Final January 2010 to December IHAs for the initial authorization. The 2014 ...................................... 36 location, timing, and nature of the December 2015 to November activities, including the types of 2018 ...................................... 30 June 2019 to March 2020 ........ 12 equipment planned for use, are identical to those described in the previous notices. This Renewal would be Launch timing will be determined by effective for a period of one year from operational, meteorological, and the date of issuance. logistical factors. Up to 10 of the 40 Description of Marine Mammals launches may occur at night; night launches are also dependent on A description of the marine mammals operational requirements and will only in the area of the activities for which be conducted when required by test take is authorized here, including objectives. These planned activities are information on abundance, status, identical to those in the Initial IHA and distribution, and hearing, may be found are described in detail in the Initial in the notices of the Proposed and Final Proposed IHA (84 FR 18809; May 2, IHAs for the initial authorization. NMFS 2019). has reviewed the monitoring data from Anticipated impacts, which would the initial IHA, recent draft Stock consist of Level B harassment of marine Assessment Reports, information on mammals, would also be identical to relevant Unusual Mortality Events, and those analyzed and authorized in the other scientific literature, and Initial IHA (84 FR 28462; June 19, 2019). determined that neither this nor any The Navy’s request is for take of other new information affects which California sea lions (Zalophus species or stocks have the potential to californianus), harbor seals (Phoca be affected or the pertinent information vitulina), and northern elephant seals in the Description of the Marine (Mirounga angustirostris) by Level B Mammals in the Area of Specified harassment only. All flights over SNI Activities section contained in the will be subsonic; therefore, there will be supporting documents for the initial no sonic booms that could affect IHA. Time period 38865 Potential Effects on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat A description of the potential effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat for the activities for the authorized take may be found in the Notices of the Proposed IHA for the initial authorization. NMFS has reviewed the monitoring data from the initial IHA, recent draft Stock Assessment Reports, information on relevant Unusual Mortality Events, and other scientific literature, and determined that neither this nor any other new information affects our initial analysis of impacts on marine mammals and their habitat. Estimated Take A detailed description of the methods and inputs used to estimate take for the specified activity are found in the notices of the Proposed and Final IHAs for the initial authorization. Specifically, the source levels, days of operation, and marine mammal occurrence data applicable to this authorization remain unchanged from the previously issued IHA. Further, the 2019 monitoring data received from the Navy suggests that the actual number of marine mammals taken during the Navy launches remained well under the number authorized in the initial IHA and in this Renewal IHA. The stocks taken, methods of take, and types of take remain unchanged from the previously issued IHA, as do the number of takes, which are indicated below in Table 2. TABLE 2—PROPOSED LEVEL B HARASSMENT TAKE FOR PINNIPEDS ON SNI Authorized Level B harassment Species California sea lion ............................................................................................................. Harbor seal ....................................................................................................................... Northern elephant seal ..................................................................................................... jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Description of Mitigation, Monitoring and Reporting Measures Mitigation The mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures included as requirements in this authorization are identical to those included in the Federal Register notice announcing the issuance of the initial IHA, and the discussion of the least practicable adverse impact included in that document remains accurate. The following measures are authorized for this renewal: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 Operation Restrictions Personnel must not enter pinniped haulouts. Personnel may be adjacent to pinniped haulouts prior to and following a launch for monitoring purposes. All aircraft and helicopter flight paths must maintain a minimum distance of 305 meters (m) from recognized seal haulouts and rookeries, to the maximum extent practicable. Missiles must not cross over pinniped haulouts at elevations less than 305 m (1,000 feet (ft)). If a species for which authorization has not been granted, or a species for PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11,000 480 40 Percent of stock abundance taken by Level B harassment (assuming each instance is different individual) 257,606 (4.27 percent). 30,968 (less than 2 percent). 179,000 (less than 1 percent). which authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are met, the Navy must consult with NMFS before the next launch event. The Navy must review the launch procedure and monitoring methods, in cooperation with NMFS, if any incidents of injury or mortality of a pinniped are discovered during postlaunch surveys, or if surveys indicate possible effects to the distribution, size, or productivity of the affected pinniped populations as a result of the specified activities. If necessary, appropriate changes must be made through modification to this Authorization prior E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 38866 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Notices Video and Audio Monitoring (approximate numbers and sexes of each age class). Describe the launch event, including documenting the occurrence of a launch event, the type of target/missile launched, the timing of the event, and duration of audibility. Document movements of pinnipeds, including number and proportion moving, direction and distance moved, and pace of movement (slow or vigorous). In addition, the following variables concerning the circumstances of the observations must also be recorded from the videotape or from direct observations at the site: 1. Study location, 2. Local time, 3. Weather (including an estimate of wind strength and direction, and presence of precipitation), and 4. Tide state. Identify and document any change in behavior or movements of pinnipeds that occurs at the time of the launch event. Compare received levels of launch sound with pinniped responses, based on acoustic and behavioral data from up to three monitoring sites at different distances from the launch site and missile path during each launch; from the data accumulated across a series of launches, to attempt to establish the ‘‘dose-response’’ relationship for launch sounds under different launch conditions if possible. Ascertain periods or launch conditions when pinnipeds are most and least responsive to launch activities. Lastly, document take by harassment: (1) Pinnipeds that are exposed to launch sounds strong enough to cause a temporary threshold shift (TTS); or (2) Pinnipeds that leave the haulout site, or exhibit prolonged movement (greater than 10 m) or prolonged behavioral changes (such as pups separated from mothers) relative to their behavior immediately prior to the launch. Before each launch, Navy personnel must set up or activate up to three video cameras (either high-definition video cameras, or Forward-Looking Infrared Radiometer (FLIR) thermal imaging cameras for night launch events) such that they overlook the monitoring sites. Each camera will be set to record a focal group of pinnipeds within the haulout for the maximum recording time permitted by the camera capacity. Video and audio monitoring must be conducted by recording continuously from a minimum of two hours before the event to approximately one hour after the event in order to: Determine the composition of the focal subgroup of pinnipeds Acoustic Monitoring The Navy must use up to four autonomous audio recorders to make acoustical measurements. During each launch, these must be located as close as practicable to pinniped haulout monitoring sites and near the launch pad itself. The monitored pinniped haulout sites must typically include one site as close as possible to the missile’s planned flight path and one or two locations farther from the flight path within the area of potential impact with pinnipeds present. Autonomous Terrestrial Acoustic Recorders must be deployed at the recording locations on the launch day well before the launch time, and must be retrieved later the to conducting the next launch of the same vehicle. Timing Restrictions The Navy may not conduct more than 10 launch events at night. Launches must not occur during February through April, to the maximum extent practicable. Launches must be limited during January through February and June through July, to the maximum extent practicable. Monitoring Measures The Navy must obtain visual, video and audio, and acoustic data from up to three pinniped haulout monitoring sites during each launch event, to the maximum extent practicable. The holder of this IHA is required to abide by the following marine mammal and acoustic monitoring requirements: Visual Monitoring jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Marine mammal monitoring must be conducted by qualified, trained protected species observers. The following visual monitoring measures will be conducted during preparations for video and acoustic monitoring, as described in Video and Audio Monitoring section below: 1) Visual monitoring must be conducted before and after launches, including scanning the affected haulout beaches and counting the number and species of pinnipeds over a 15–30 minute period; 2) Prior to a launch event, Navy personnel must make observations of the monitored pinniped haulout and record the numbers and species of pinnipeds observed on field data sheets; and 3) After a launch event, Navy personnel must return to the monitored pinniped haulout and record the numbers and species of pinnipeds that remain on the haulout sites and any notable changes. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 same day. Acoustic measurements must be collected and reported consistent with section 13.2 of the Navy’s application. Reporting A draft report on all monitoring conducted under the IHA must be submitted within 90 calendar days of the completion of marine mammal and acoustic monitoring or 60 days prior to the issuance of any subsequent IHA or incidental take regulations for this project, whichever comes first. A final report must be prepared and submitted within 30 days following resolution of comments on the draft report from NMFS. This report must contain the informational elements described in Section 5 of the Authorization. Reporting Injured or Dead Marine Mammals In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this IHA, such as serious injury, or mortality, the Navy must immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the NMFS Office of Protected Resources (301–427–8401) and the West Coast Stranding Coordinator (562–980–3230). The report must include the following information: 1. Time and date of the incident; 2. Description of the incident; 3. Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, cloud cover, and visibility); 4. Description of all marine mammal observations and active sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident; 5. Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved; 6. Fate of the animal(s); and 7. Photographs or video footage of the animal(s). Activities must not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS will work with the Navy to determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The Navy may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS. In the event the Navy discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead observer determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a moderate state of decomposition), the Navy must immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report must E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES include the same information identified in 6(b)(i) of this IHA. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work with the Navy to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate. In the event that the Navy discovers an injured or dead large whale or other cetaceans, and the lead observer determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the specified activities (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), the Navy must report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. This Authorization may be modified, suspended or withdrawn if the holder fails to abide by the conditions prescribed herein, or if NMFS determines the authorized taking is having more than a negligible impact on the species or stock of affected marine mammals. Public Comments A notice of NMFS’ proposal to issue a Renewal IHA to the Navy was published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2020 (85 FR 33124). That notice either described, or referenced descriptions of, the Navy’s activity, the marine mammal species that may be affected by the activity, the anticipated effects on marine mammals and their habitat, proposed amount and manner of take, and proposed mitigation, monitoring and reporting measures. NMFS received a comment letter from one entity, the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). The comments and our responses are summarized below. Comment 1: The Commission recommended that NMFS refrain from issuing the Navy’s authorization renewal until after the public comment period closes on 16 June 2020 and all comments received are fully considered. Response: NMFS concurs and will not issue until the public comment period closes and all comments are considered fully. Comment 2: the Commission again recommends that NMFS refrain from issuing renewals for any authorization and instead use its abbreviated Federal Register notice process, which is similarly expeditious and fulfills NMFS’s intent to maximize efficiencies. The Commission has further recommended that, if NMFS continues to propose to issue renewals, that it (1) VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 stipulate that a renewal is a one-time opportunity (a) in all Federal Register notices requesting comments on the possibility of a renewal, (b) on its web page detailing the renewal process, and (c) in all draft and final authorizations that include a term and condition for a renewal and, (2) if NMFS declines to adopt this recommendation, explain fully its rationale for not doing so. Response: While NMFS has consistently expressed the intent to implement Renewals as one-time opportunities, as the Commission noted, NMFS recently concurred with the Commission’s recommendation to more explicitly describe this intent in all Federal Register notices and IHAs, and the website. However, NMFS does not agree with the Commission’s recommendation to refrain from issuing Renewals and, therefore, does not adopt the Commission’s recommendation. NMFS has addressed the Commission’s concerns in multiple FR notices (e.g., 84 FR 52464, October 2, 2019), but has also committed to provide a detailed explanation of its decision within 120 days, as required by section 202(d) of the MMPA. Comment 3: The Commission recommends that NMFS review applications and Federal Register notices more thoroughly prior to submitting them to the Federal Register for public comment. Response: Renewal language was erroneously included in the draft IHA and NMFS appreciates the Commission’s comment noting it. NMFS will continue to review Federal Register notices as thoroughly as possible given available resources and required timelines. Comment 4: The Commission recommends that NMFS review their comments on the initial IHA. Response: NMFS reviewed the Commission’s comments on the initial IHA and the responses published in the Federal Register notice announcing the issuance of the final initial 2019 IHA (84 FR 28462; June 19, 2019) remain valid. National Environmental Policy Act To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216–6A, NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an IHA) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment. This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in Categorical Exclusion B4 (IHA with no anticipated serious injury or mortality) of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216–6A, which do PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 38867 not individually or cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has determined that the issuance of the Renewal IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review. Determinations The action of this Renewal IHA, target and missile launch activities, will be identical to the activities analyzed in the Initial IHA. Based on the analysis detailed in the notice of the Initial IHA authorization of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS found that the total marine mammal take from the activity will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species or stocks. NMFS has concluded that there is no new information suggesting that our analysis or findings should change from those reached for the initial IHA. Based on the information and analysis contained here and in the referenced documents, NMFS has determined the following: (1) The required mitigation measures will affect the least practicable impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat; (2) the authorized takes will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks; (3) the Navy’s activities will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on taking for subsistence purposes as no relevant subsistence uses of marine mammals are implicated by this action, and; (4) appropriate monitoring and reporting requirements are included. Endangered Species Act Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. No incidental take of ESA-listed species is proposed for authorization or expected to result from this activity. Therefore, NMFS has determined that formal consultation under section 7 of the ESA is not required for this action. E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 38868 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Notices Renewal NMFS has issued a Renewal IHA to the Navy for the take of marine mammals incidental to conducting target and missile launch activities on SNI, California from June 19, 2020 through June 11, 2021. Office of Program Management, National Technical Information Service, Department of Commerce, 5301 Shawnee Road, Alexandria, VA 22312, email: dramsey@ntis.gov or telephone: 703–605–6703. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: June 23, 2020. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. I. Abstract [FR Doc. 2020–13860 Filed 6–26–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Technical Information Service Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Extension of Currently Approved Information Collection; Comment Request; Limited Access Death Master File Systems Safeguards Attestation Forms National Technical Information Service, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of information collection, request for comment. AGENCY: The Department of Commerce, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed, and continuing information collections, which helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. The purpose of this notice is to allow for 60 days of public comment preceding submission of the collection to OMB. DATES: To ensure consideration, comments regarding this proposed information collection must be received on or before August 28, 2020. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments by mail to Daniel Ramsey, Supervisory Program Manager, Office of Program Management, National Technical Information Service, Department of Commerce or by email to dramsey@ ntis.gov or PRAcomments@doc.gov. Please reference OMB Control Number 0692–0016 in the subject line of your comments. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or specific questions related to collection activities should be directed to Daniel Ramsey, Supervisory Program Manager, jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 Title of Information Collection: (A) ‘‘Limited Access Death Master File (LADMF) Accredited Conformity Assessment Body Systems Safeguards Attestation Form’’ (ACAB Systems Safeguards Attestation Form) (B) ‘‘Limited Access Death Master File (LADMF) State or Local Government Auditor General (AG) or Inspector General (IG) Systems Safeguards Attestation Form’’ (AG or IG Systems Safeguards Attestation Form) This notice informs the public that the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is requesting approval for extension of the above information collection for use in connection with the final rule for the ‘‘Certification Program for Access to the Death Master File.’’ The final rule was promulgated under Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, Public Law 113–67 (Act) and published on June 1, 2016 (81 FR 34882). The rule became effective on November 28, 2016 (15 CFR part 1110). No changes are being proposed to the currently approved information collection. The Act prohibits the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) from disclosing DMF information during the three-year period following an individual’s death (Limited Access DMF), unless the person requesting the information has been certified to access the Limited Access DMF pursuant to certain criteria in a program that the Secretary establishes. The Secretary delegated the authority to carry out Section 203 to the Director of NTIS. To accommodate the requirements of the final rule, NTIS is using both the ACAB Systems Safeguards Attestation Form and the AG or IG Systems Safeguards Attestation Form. The ACAB Systems Safeguards Attestation Form requires an ‘‘Accredited Conformity Assessment Body’’ (ACAB), as defined in the final rule, to attest that a Person seeking certification or a Certified Person seeking renewal of certification has information security systems, facilities and procedures in place to protect the security of the Limited Access DMF, as required under Section 1110.102(a)(2) of the final rule. The ACAB Systems PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Safeguards Attestation Form collects information based on an assessment by the ACAB conducted within three years prior to the date of the Person or Certified Person’s submission of a completed certification statement under Section 1110.101(a) of the final rule. This collection includes specific requirements of the final rule, which the ACAB must certify are satisfied, and the provision of specific information by the ACAB, such as the date of the assessment and the auditing standard(s) used for the assessment. Section 1110.501(a)(2) of the final rule provides that a state or local government office of AG or IG and a Person or Certified Person that is a department or agency of the same state or local government, respectively, are not considered to be owned by a common ‘‘parent’’ entity under Section 1110.501(a)(1)(ii) for the purpose of determining independence, and attestation by the AG or IG is possible. The AG or IG Systems Safeguards Attestation Form is for the use of a state or local government AG or IG to attest on behalf of a state or local government department or agency Person or Certified Person. The AG or IG Systems Safeguards Attestation Form requires the state or local government AG or IG to attest that a Person seeking certification or a Certified Person seeking renewal of certification has information security systems, facilities and procedures in place to protect the security of the Limited Access DMF, as required under Section 1110.102(a)(2) of the final rule. The AG or IG Systems Safeguards Attestation Form collects information based on an assessment by the state or local government AG or IG conducted within three years prior to the date of the Person or Certified Person’s submission of a completed certification statement under Section 1110.101(a) of the final rule. This collection includes specific requirements of the final rule, which the state or local government AG or IG must certify are satisfied, and the provision of specific information by the state or local government AG or IG, such as the date of the assessment. II. Method of Collection The information will be collected by paper format, email, mail, and fax. III. Data OMB Control Number: 0692–0016. Form Number(s): NTIS FM100A and NTIS FM100B. Type of Review: Regular submission: extension of a current information collection. E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 125 (Monday, June 29, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38863-38868]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-13860]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[RTID 0648-XA244]


Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; 
Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Renewal of U.S. Navy Target and 
Missile Launch Activities on San Nicolas Island

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

ACTION: Notice; issuance of renewal incidental harassment 
authorization.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine

[[Page 38864]]

Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, notification is hereby given 
that NMFS has issued a Renewal incidental harassment authorization 
(IHA) to U.S. Navy (Navy) to incidentally harass marine mammals 
incidental to target and missile launch activities on San Nicolas 
Island (SNI).

DATES: This Renewal IHA is valid from June 19, 2020 through June 11, 
2021.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bonnie DeJoseph, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the original 
application, Renewal request, and supporting documents (including NMFS 
Federal Register notices of the original proposed and final 
authorizations, and the previous IHA), as well as a list of the 
references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/incidental-take-authorizations-under-marine-mammal-protection-act. In case of problems accessing these 
documents, please call the contact listed above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The MMPA prohibits the ``take'' of marine mammals, with certain 
exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 
et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to 
allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of 
small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a 
specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified 
geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations 
are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a 
proposed incidental take authorization is provided to the public for 
review.
    Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds 
that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stock(s) and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses 
(where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods 
of taking and other ``means of effecting the least practicable adverse 
impact'' on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying 
particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar 
significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for 
taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to here as ``mitigation 
measures''). Monitoring and reporting of such takings are also 
required. The meaning of key terms such as ``take,'' ``harassment,'' 
and ``negligible impact'' can be found in section 3 of the MMPA (16 
U.S.C. 1362) and the agency's regulations at 50 CFR 216.103.
    NMFS' regulations implementing the MMPA at 50 CFR 216.107(e) 
indicate that IHAs may be renewed for additional periods of time not to 
exceed one year for each reauthorization. In the notice of proposed IHA 
for the initial authorization, NMFS described the circumstances under 
which we would consider issuing a Renewal for this activity, and 
requested public comment on a potential Renewal under those 
circumstances. Specifically, on a case-by-case basis, NMFS may issue a 
one-time one-year Renewal IHA following notice to the public providing 
an additional 15 days for public comments when (1) up to another year 
of identical or nearly identical, or nearly identical, activities as 
described in the Description of the Specified Activities and 
Anticipated Impacts section of this notice is planned or (2) the 
activities as described in the Description of the Specified Activities 
and Anticipated Impacts section of this notice would not be completed 
by the time the IHA expires and a Renewal would allow for completion of 
the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section 
of the initial notice, provided all of the following conditions are 
met:
     A request for renewal is received no later than 60 days 
prior to the needed Renewal IHA effective date (recognizing that the 
Renewal IHA expiration date cannot extend beyond one year from 
expiration of the initial IHA).
     The request for renewal must include the following:
    (1) An explanation that the activities to be conducted under the 
requested Renewal IHA are identical to the activities analyzed under 
the initial IHA, are a subset of the activities, or include changes so 
minor (e.g., reduction in pile size) that the changes do not affect the 
previous analyses, mitigation and monitoring requirements, or take 
estimates (with the exception of reducing the type or amount of take).
    (2) A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the 
required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the 
monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not 
previously analyzed or authorized.
    Upon review of the request for Renewal, the status of the affected 
species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS determines 
that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, the 
mitigation and monitoring measures will remain the same and 
appropriate, and the findings in the initial IHA remain valid.
    An additional public comment period of 15 days (for a total of 45 
days), with direct notice by email, phone, or postal service to 
commenters on the initial IHA, is provided to allow for any additional 
comments on the proposed Renewal. A description of the Renewal process 
may be found on our website at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-harassment-authorization-renewals.
    The NDAA (Pub. L. 108-136) removed the ``small numbers'' and 
``specified geographical region'' limitations indicated above and 
amended the definition of ``harassment'' as it applies to a ``military 
readiness activity.'' The activity for which incidental take of marine 
mammals is being requested addressed here qualifies as a military 
readiness activity.

History of Request

    On June 12, 2019, NMFS issued an IHA to the Navy to take marine 
mammals incidental to U.S. Navy Target and Missile Launch Activities on 
San Nicolas Island, California (84 FR 28462; June 19, 2019), effective 
from June 12, 2019 through June 11, 2020. On April 14, 2020, NMFS 
received an application for the Renewal of that initial IHA. As 
described in the application for Renewal IHA, the activities for which 
incidental take is requested are identical. As required, the applicant 
also provided a preliminary monitoring report (available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/incidental-take-authorization-us-navy-target-and-missile-launch-activities-san-nicolas-0) which confirms that 
the applicant has implemented the required mitigation and monitoring, 
and which also shows that no impacts of a scale or nature not 
previously analyzed or authorized have occurred as a result of the 
activities conducted.

Description of the Specified Activities and Anticipated Impacts

    The Navy will continue a target and missile launch program from two 
launch sites on SNI. Missiles vary from tactical and developmental 
weapons to target missiles used to test defensive strategies and other 
weapons systems. Some launch events involve a single missile, while 
others involve the launch of multiple missiles in quick succession. The 
Navy plans to conduct a maximum of 40 missile launch events from SNI, 
but the total may be less than 40 depending on operational 
requirements. No more than 25 launches have occurred in any single year 
since 2001 (Table 1).

[[Page 38865]]



 Table 1--The Total Number of Launches That Have Occurred Since 2001 at
                                   SNI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Number of
                        Time period                            launches
------------------------------------------------------------------------
August 2001 to October 2005................................           69
February 2006 to December 2009.............................           11
January 2010 to December 2014..............................           36
December 2015 to November 2018.............................           30
June 2019 to March 2020....................................           12
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Launch timing will be determined by operational, meteorological, and 
logistical factors. Up to 10 of the 40 launches may occur at night; 
night launches are also dependent on operational requirements and will 
only be conducted when required by test objectives. These planned 
activities are identical to those in the Initial IHA and are described 
in detail in the Initial Proposed IHA (84 FR 18809; May 2, 2019).
    Anticipated impacts, which would consist of Level B harassment of 
marine mammals, would also be identical to those analyzed and 
authorized in the Initial IHA (84 FR 28462; June 19, 2019). The Navy's 
request is for take of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), 
harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), and northern elephant seals (Mirounga 
angustirostris) by Level B harassment only. All flights over SNI will 
be subsonic; therefore, there will be no sonic booms that could affect 
pinnipeds hauled out at sites on SNI. Neither Navy nor NMFS expects 
serious injury or mortality to result from this activity.

Detailed Description of the Activity

    A detailed description of the target and missile launch activities 
for which take is authorized here may be found in the notices of the 
Proposed and Final IHAs for the initial authorization. The location, 
timing, and nature of the activities, including the types of equipment 
planned for use, are identical to those described in the previous 
notices. This Renewal would be effective for a period of one year from 
the date of issuance.

Description of Marine Mammals

    A description of the marine mammals in the area of the activities 
for which take is authorized here, including information on abundance, 
status, distribution, and hearing, may be found in the notices of the 
Proposed and Final IHAs for the initial authorization. NMFS has 
reviewed the monitoring data from the initial IHA, recent draft Stock 
Assessment Reports, information on relevant Unusual Mortality Events, 
and other scientific literature, and determined that neither this nor 
any other new information affects which species or stocks have the 
potential to be affected or the pertinent information in the 
Description of the Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities 
section contained in the supporting documents for the initial IHA.

Potential Effects on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    A description of the potential effects of the specified activity on 
marine mammals and their habitat for the activities for the authorized 
take may be found in the Notices of the Proposed IHA for the initial 
authorization. NMFS has reviewed the monitoring data from the initial 
IHA, recent draft Stock Assessment Reports, information on relevant 
Unusual Mortality Events, and other scientific literature, and 
determined that neither this nor any other new information affects our 
initial analysis of impacts on marine mammals and their habitat.

Estimated Take

    A detailed description of the methods and inputs used to estimate 
take for the specified activity are found in the notices of the 
Proposed and Final IHAs for the initial authorization. Specifically, 
the source levels, days of operation, and marine mammal occurrence data 
applicable to this authorization remain unchanged from the previously 
issued IHA. Further, the 2019 monitoring data received from the Navy 
suggests that the actual number of marine mammals taken during the Navy 
launches remained well under the number authorized in the initial IHA 
and in this Renewal IHA. The stocks taken, methods of take, and types 
of take remain unchanged from the previously issued IHA, as do the 
number of takes, which are indicated below in Table 2.

                         Table 2--Proposed Level B Harassment Take for Pinnipeds on SNI
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Authorized
                Species                     Level B      Percent of stock abundance taken by Level B harassment
                                          harassment        (assuming each instance is different individual)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
California sea lion...................          11,000  257,606 (4.27 percent).
Harbor seal...........................             480  30,968 (less than 2 percent).
Northern elephant seal................              40  179,000 (less than 1 percent).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Description of Mitigation, Monitoring and Reporting Measures

    The mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures included as 
requirements in this authorization are identical to those included in 
the Federal Register notice announcing the issuance of the initial IHA, 
and the discussion of the least practicable adverse impact included in 
that document remains accurate. The following measures are authorized 
for this renewal:

Mitigation

Operation Restrictions

    Personnel must not enter pinniped haulouts. Personnel may be 
adjacent to pinniped haulouts prior to and following a launch for 
monitoring purposes. All aircraft and helicopter flight paths must 
maintain a minimum distance of 305 meters (m) from recognized seal 
haulouts and rookeries, to the maximum extent practicable. Missiles 
must not cross over pinniped haulouts at elevations less than 305 m 
(1,000 feet (ft)).
    If a species for which authorization has not been granted, or a 
species for which authorization has been granted but the authorized 
takes are met, the Navy must consult with NMFS before the next launch 
event.
    The Navy must review the launch procedure and monitoring methods, 
in cooperation with NMFS, if any incidents of injury or mortality of a 
pinniped are discovered during post-launch surveys, or if surveys 
indicate possible effects to the distribution, size, or productivity of 
the affected pinniped populations as a result of the specified 
activities. If necessary, appropriate changes must be made through 
modification to this Authorization prior

[[Page 38866]]

to conducting the next launch of the same vehicle.

Timing Restrictions

    The Navy may not conduct more than 10 launch events at night. 
Launches must not occur during February through April, to the maximum 
extent practicable. Launches must be limited during January through 
February and June through July, to the maximum extent practicable.
Monitoring Measures
    The Navy must obtain visual, video and audio, and acoustic data 
from up to three pinniped haulout monitoring sites during each launch 
event, to the maximum extent practicable. The holder of this IHA is 
required to abide by the following marine mammal and acoustic 
monitoring requirements:

Visual Monitoring

    Marine mammal monitoring must be conducted by qualified, trained 
protected species observers. The following visual monitoring measures 
will be conducted during preparations for video and acoustic 
monitoring, as described in Video and Audio Monitoring section below: 
1) Visual monitoring must be conducted before and after launches, 
including scanning the affected haulout beaches and counting the number 
and species of pinnipeds over a 15-30 minute period; 2) Prior to a 
launch event, Navy personnel must make observations of the monitored 
pinniped haulout and record the numbers and species of pinnipeds 
observed on field data sheets; and 3) After a launch event, Navy 
personnel must return to the monitored pinniped haulout and record the 
numbers and species of pinnipeds that remain on the haulout sites and 
any notable changes.

Video and Audio Monitoring

    Before each launch, Navy personnel must set up or activate up to 
three video cameras (either high-definition video cameras, or Forward-
Looking Infrared Radiometer (FLIR) thermal imaging cameras for night 
launch events) such that they overlook the monitoring sites. Each 
camera will be set to record a focal group of pinnipeds within the 
haulout for the maximum recording time permitted by the camera 
capacity. Video and audio monitoring must be conducted by recording 
continuously from a minimum of two hours before the event to 
approximately one hour after the event in order to:
    Determine the composition of the focal subgroup of pinnipeds 
(approximate numbers and sexes of each age class).
    Describe the launch event, including documenting the occurrence of 
a launch event, the type of target/missile launched, the timing of the 
event, and duration of audibility.
    Document movements of pinnipeds, including number and proportion 
moving, direction and distance moved, and pace of movement (slow or 
vigorous). In addition, the following variables concerning the 
circumstances of the observations must also be recorded from the 
videotape or from direct observations at the site:
    1. Study location,
    2. Local time,
    3. Weather (including an estimate of wind strength and direction, 
and presence of precipitation), and
    4. Tide state.
    Identify and document any change in behavior or movements of 
pinnipeds that occurs at the time of the launch event.
    Compare received levels of launch sound with pinniped responses, 
based on acoustic and behavioral data from up to three monitoring sites 
at different distances from the launch site and missile path during 
each launch; from the data accumulated across a series of launches, to 
attempt to establish the ``dose-response'' relationship for launch 
sounds under different launch conditions if possible.
    Ascertain periods or launch conditions when pinnipeds are most and 
least responsive to launch activities. Lastly, document take by 
harassment: (1) Pinnipeds that are exposed to launch sounds strong 
enough to cause a temporary threshold shift (TTS); or (2) Pinnipeds 
that leave the haulout site, or exhibit prolonged movement (greater 
than 10 m) or prolonged behavioral changes (such as pups separated from 
mothers) relative to their behavior immediately prior to the launch.

Acoustic Monitoring

    The Navy must use up to four autonomous audio recorders to make 
acoustical measurements. During each launch, these must be located as 
close as practicable to pinniped haulout monitoring sites and near the 
launch pad itself. The monitored pinniped haulout sites must typically 
include one site as close as possible to the missile's planned flight 
path and one or two locations farther from the flight path within the 
area of potential impact with pinnipeds present. Autonomous Terrestrial 
Acoustic Recorders must be deployed at the recording locations on the 
launch day well before the launch time, and must be retrieved later the 
same day. Acoustic measurements must be collected and reported 
consistent with section 13.2 of the Navy's application.
Reporting
    A draft report on all monitoring conducted under the IHA must be 
submitted within 90 calendar days of the completion of marine mammal 
and acoustic monitoring or 60 days prior to the issuance of any 
subsequent IHA or incidental take regulations for this project, 
whichever comes first. A final report must be prepared and submitted 
within 30 days following resolution of comments on the draft report 
from NMFS. This report must contain the informational elements 
described in Section 5 of the Authorization.

Reporting Injured or Dead Marine Mammals

    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly 
causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this IHA, 
such as serious injury, or mortality, the Navy must immediately cease 
the specified activities and report the incident to the NMFS Office of 
Protected Resources (301-427-8401) and the West Coast Stranding 
Coordinator (562-980-3230). The report must include the following 
information:
    1. Time and date of the incident;
    2. Description of the incident;
    3. Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, cloud 
cover, and visibility);
    4. Description of all marine mammal observations and active sound 
source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;
    5. Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;
    6. Fate of the animal(s); and
    7. Photographs or video footage of the animal(s).
    Activities must not resume until NMFS is able to review the 
circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS will work with the Navy to 
determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of 
further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The Navy may not 
resume their activities until notified by NMFS.
    In the event the Navy discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, 
and the lead observer determines that the cause of the injury or death 
is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a 
moderate state of decomposition), the Navy must immediately report the 
incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast 
Region Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report must

[[Page 38867]]

include the same information identified in 6(b)(i) of this IHA. 
Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the 
incident. NMFS will work with the Navy to determine whether additional 
mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate.
    In the event that the Navy discovers an injured or dead large whale 
or other cetaceans, and the lead observer determines that the injury or 
death is not associated with or related to the specified activities 
(e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced 
decomposition, or scavenger damage), the Navy must report the incident 
to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Region 
Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery.
    This Authorization may be modified, suspended or withdrawn if the 
holder fails to abide by the conditions prescribed herein, or if NMFS 
determines the authorized taking is having more than a negligible 
impact on the species or stock of affected marine mammals.

Public Comments

    A notice of NMFS' proposal to issue a Renewal IHA to the Navy was 
published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2020 (85 FR 33124). That 
notice either described, or referenced descriptions of, the Navy's 
activity, the marine mammal species that may be affected by the 
activity, the anticipated effects on marine mammals and their habitat, 
proposed amount and manner of take, and proposed mitigation, monitoring 
and reporting measures. NMFS received a comment letter from one entity, 
the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). The comments and our 
responses are summarized below.
    Comment 1: The Commission recommended that NMFS refrain from 
issuing the Navy's authorization renewal until after the public comment 
period closes on 16 June 2020 and all comments received are fully 
considered.
    Response: NMFS concurs and will not issue until the public comment 
period closes and all comments are considered fully.
    Comment 2: the Commission again recommends that NMFS refrain from 
issuing renewals for any authorization and instead use its abbreviated 
Federal Register notice process, which is similarly expeditious and 
fulfills NMFS's intent to maximize efficiencies. The Commission has 
further recommended that, if NMFS continues to propose to issue 
renewals, that it (1) stipulate that a renewal is a one-time 
opportunity (a) in all Federal Register notices requesting comments on 
the possibility of a renewal, (b) on its web page detailing the renewal 
process, and (c) in all draft and final authorizations that include a 
term and condition for a renewal and, (2) if NMFS declines to adopt 
this recommendation, explain fully its rationale for not doing so.
    Response: While NMFS has consistently expressed the intent to 
implement Renewals as one-time opportunities, as the Commission noted, 
NMFS recently concurred with the Commission's recommendation to more 
explicitly describe this intent in all Federal Register notices and 
IHAs, and the website. However, NMFS does not agree with the 
Commission's recommendation to refrain from issuing Renewals and, 
therefore, does not adopt the Commission's recommendation. NMFS has 
addressed the Commission's concerns in multiple FR notices (e.g., 84 FR 
52464, October 2, 2019), but has also committed to provide a detailed 
explanation of its decision within 120 days, as required by section 
202(d) of the MMPA.
    Comment 3: The Commission recommends that NMFS review applications 
and Federal Register notices more thoroughly prior to submitting them 
to the Federal Register for public comment.
    Response: Renewal language was erroneously included in the draft 
IHA and NMFS appreciates the Commission's comment noting it. NMFS will 
continue to review Federal Register notices as thoroughly as possible 
given available resources and required timelines.
    Comment 4: The Commission recommends that NMFS review their 
comments on the initial IHA.
    Response: NMFS reviewed the Commission's comments on the initial 
IHA and the responses published in the Federal Register notice 
announcing the issuance of the final initial 2019 IHA (84 FR 28462; 
June 19, 2019) remain valid.

National Environmental Policy Act

    To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 
42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6A, 
NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an IHA) 
with respect to potential impacts on the human environment.
    This action is consistent with categories of activities identified 
in Categorical Exclusion B4 (IHA with no anticipated serious injury or 
mortality) of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216-
6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the potential for 
significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for 
which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would 
preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has determined 
that the issuance of the Renewal IHA qualifies to be categorically 
excluded from further NEPA review.

Determinations

    The action of this Renewal IHA, target and missile launch 
activities, will be identical to the activities analyzed in the Initial 
IHA. Based on the analysis detailed in the notice of the Initial IHA 
authorization of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine 
mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the 
implementation of the monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS found 
that the total marine mammal take from the activity will have a 
negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species or stocks.
    NMFS has concluded that there is no new information suggesting that 
our analysis or findings should change from those reached for the 
initial IHA. Based on the information and analysis contained here and 
in the referenced documents, NMFS has determined the following: (1) The 
required mitigation measures will affect the least practicable impact 
on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat; (2) the 
authorized takes will have a negligible impact on the affected marine 
mammal species or stocks; (3) the Navy's activities will not have an 
unmitigable adverse impact on taking for subsistence purposes as no 
relevant subsistence uses of marine mammals are implicated by this 
action, and; (4) appropriate monitoring and reporting requirements are 
included.

Endangered Species Act

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any 
action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated 
critical habitat. No incidental take of ESA-listed species is proposed 
for authorization or expected to result from this activity. Therefore, 
NMFS has determined that formal consultation under section 7 of the ESA 
is not required for this action.

[[Page 38868]]

Renewal

    NMFS has issued a Renewal IHA to the Navy for the take of marine 
mammals incidental to conducting target and missile launch activities 
on SNI, California from June 19, 2020 through June 11, 2021.

    Dated: June 23, 2020.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-13860 Filed 6-26-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P