Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Auke Bay Ferry Terminal Modifications and Improvements Project in Juneau, Alaska, 68304-68305 [2020-23849]

Download as PDF 68304 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 209 / Wednesday, October 28, 2020 / Notices Authorization NMFS has issued two IHAs to the Navy for the potential harassment of small numbers of five marine mammal species incidental to Transit Protection Program Pier and Support Facilities Project at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor in Silverdale, Washington over two years, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring and reporting requirements are followed. Dated: October 23, 2020. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–23852 Filed 10–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XA568] Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Auke Bay Ferry Terminal Modifications and Improvements Project in Juneau, Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; issuance of incidental harassment authorization. AGENCY: NMFS has received a request from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) for the re-issuance of a previously issued incidental harassment authorization (IHA) with the only change being effective dates. The initial IHA authorized take of seven species of marine mammals, by Level A and Level B harassment, incidental to construction associated with the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal Modifications and Improvements Project in Juneau, Alaska. The project has been delayed and none of the work covered in the initial IHA has been conducted. The initial IHA was effective from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. ADOT&PF has requested re-issuance with new effective dates of November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021. The scope of the activities and anticipated effects remain the same, authorized take numbers are not changed, and the required mitigation, monitoring, and reporting remains the same as included in the initial IHA. NMFS is, therefore, issuing a second identical IHA to cover jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:29 Oct 27, 2020 Jkt 253001 the incidental take analyzed and authorized in the initial IHA. DATES: This authorization is effective from November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021. ADDRESSES: An electronic copy of the final 2019 IHA previously issued to ADOT&PF, ADOT&PF’s application, and the Federal Register notices proposing and issuing the initial IHA may be obtained by visiting https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/ incidental-take-authorization-alaskadepartment-transportation-auke-bayferry-terminal. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Fowler, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (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 authorization is provided to the public for review. An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined ‘‘negligible impact’’ in 50 CFR 216.103 as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival. The MMPA states that the term ‘‘take’’ means to harass, hunt, capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment). Summary of Request On October 23, 2019, NMFS published final notice of our issuance of an IHA authorizing take of marine mammals incidental to the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal Modifications and Improvements Project (84 FR 56767). The effective dates of that IHA were January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. On August 24, 2020, ADOT&PF informed NMFS that the project was delayed. None of the work identified in the initial IHA (e.g., pile driving and removal) has occurred. ADOT&PF submitted a request for a new identical IHA that would be effective from November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021, in order to conduct the construction work that was analyzed and authorized through the previously issued IHA. Therefore, re-issuance of the IHA is appropriate. Summary of Specified Activity and Anticipated Impacts The planned activities (including mitigation, monitoring, and reporting), authorized incidental take, and anticipated impacts on the affected stocks are the same as those analyzed and authorized through the previously issued IHA. ADOT&PF is planning to modify and improve the existing dolphin structures at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal. There are currently three Alaska Marine Highway System ferry berths in Auke Bay. The planned project will involve the East Stern Berth facility, which was originally constructed in 2003 to accommodate new fast vehicle ferries. The East Stern Berth must be renovated to accommodate two new Alaska-class ferries, which entered service in spring 2020. Four existing dolphins at the ferry terminal will be removed using a vibratory driver, and three breasting dolphins and two mooring dolphins will be installed using both vibratory and impact hammers. The location, timing, and nature of the activities, including the types of equipment planned for use, are identical to those described in the initial IHA. The mitigation and monitoring are also as prescribed in the initial IHA. Species that are expected to be taken by the planned activity include harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), Dall’s porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli), harbor E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 209 / Wednesday, October 28, 2020 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES seal (Phoca vitulina), Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), and killer whale (Orcinus orca). A description of the methods and inputs used to estimate take anticipated to occur and, ultimately, the take that was authorized is found in the previous documents referenced above. The data inputs and methods of estimating take are identical to those used in the initial IHA. NMFS has reviewed recent Stock Assessment Reports, information on relevant Unusual Mortality Events, and recent scientific literature, and determined that no new information affects our original analysis of impacts or take estimate under the initial IHA. We refer to the documents related to the previously issued IHA, which include the Federal Register notice of the issuance of the initial 2019 IHA for ADOT&PF’s construction work (84 FR 56767; October 23, 2019), ADOT&PF’s application, the Federal Register notice of the proposed IHA (84 FR 22453; May 17, 2019), and all associated references and documents. Determinations ADOT&PF will conduct activities as analyzed in the initial 2019 IHA. As described above, the number of authorized takes of the same species and stocks of marine mammals are identical to the numbers that were found to meet the negligible impact and small numbers standards and authorized under the initial IHA and no new information has emerged that would change those findings. The re-issued 2020 IHA includes identical required mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures as the initial IHA, and there is no new information suggesting that our analysis or findings should change. Based on the information contained here and in the referenced documents, NMFS has determined the following: (1) The required mitigation measures will effect 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 authorized takes represent small numbers of marine mammals relative to the affected stock abundances; and (4) ADOT&PF’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. National Environmental Policy Act To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:29 Oct 27, 2020 Jkt 253001 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216–6A, NMFS must review our proposed action with respect to environmental consequences on the human environment. Accordingly, NMFS has determined that the issuance of the IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review. This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in CE B4 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. Endangered Species Act (ESA) 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. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, NMFS consults internally, in this case with the Alaska Regional Office, whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species. The effects of this proposed federal action were adequately analyzed in NMFS’ Biological Opinion for the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal Modifications Project, dated October 3, 2019, which concluded that the take NMFS proposed to authorize through this IHA would not jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or destroy or adversely modify any designated critical habitat. Authorization NMFS has issued an IHA to ADOT&PF for in-water construction activities associated with the specified activity from November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021. All previously described mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements from the initial 2019 IHA are incorporated. Dated: October 23, 2020. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–23849 Filed 10–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68305 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Pacific Islands Region Vessel and Gear Identification Requirements National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 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 December 28, 2020. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments to Adrienne Thomas, NOAA PRA Officer, at Adrienne.thomas@noaa.gov. Please reference OMB Control Number 0648– 0360 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 Walter Ikehara, Fishery Information Specialist, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Islands Region, (808) 725–5175, walter.ikehara@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: I. Abstract This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) established the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), to develop fishery ecosystem plans (FEP) for fisheries in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and high seas of the Pacific Islands Region. These plans, when approved by the Secretary of Commerce, are implemented in Federal regulations by E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1

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[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 209 (Wednesday, October 28, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68304-68305]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-23849]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[RTID 0648-XA568]


Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; 
Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Auke Bay Ferry Terminal 
Modifications and Improvements Project in Juneau, Alaska

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

ACTION: Notice; issuance of incidental harassment authorization.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has received a request from the Alaska Department of 
Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) for the re-issuance of a 
previously issued incidental harassment authorization (IHA) with the 
only change being effective dates. The initial IHA authorized take of 
seven species of marine mammals, by Level A and Level B harassment, 
incidental to construction associated with the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal 
Modifications and Improvements Project in Juneau, Alaska. The project 
has been delayed and none of the work covered in the initial IHA has 
been conducted. The initial IHA was effective from January 1, 2020 
through December 31, 2020. ADOT&PF has requested re-issuance with new 
effective dates of November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021. The scope 
of the activities and anticipated effects remain the same, authorized 
take numbers are not changed, and the required mitigation, monitoring, 
and reporting remains the same as included in the initial IHA. NMFS is, 
therefore, issuing a second identical IHA to cover the incidental take 
analyzed and authorized in the initial IHA.

DATES: This authorization is effective from November 1, 2020 through 
October 31, 2021.

ADDRESSES: An electronic copy of the final 2019 IHA previously issued 
to ADOT&PF, ADOT&PF's application, and the Federal Register notices 
proposing and issuing the initial IHA may be obtained by visiting 
https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/incidental-take-authorization-alaska-department-transportation-auke-bay-ferry-terminal. In case of 
problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed 
below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
(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 authorization is provided to the 
public for review.
    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS 
finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where 
relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements 
pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings 
are set forth.
    NMFS has defined ``negligible impact'' in 50 CFR 216.103 as an 
impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably 
expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the 
species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival.
    The MMPA states that the term ``take'' means to harass, hunt, 
capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine 
mammal.
    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the 
MMPA defines ``harassment'' as any act of pursuit, torment, or 
annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or 
marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the 
potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild 
by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not 
limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering (Level B harassment).

Summary of Request

    On October 23, 2019, NMFS published final notice of our issuance of 
an IHA authorizing take of marine mammals incidental to the Auke Bay 
Ferry Terminal Modifications and Improvements Project (84 FR 56767). 
The effective dates of that IHA were January 1, 2020 through December 
31, 2020. On August 24, 2020, ADOT&PF informed NMFS that the project 
was delayed. None of the work identified in the initial IHA (e.g., pile 
driving and removal) has occurred. ADOT&PF submitted a request for a 
new identical IHA that would be effective from November 1, 2020 through 
October 31, 2021, in order to conduct the construction work that was 
analyzed and authorized through the previously issued IHA. Therefore, 
re-issuance of the IHA is appropriate.

Summary of Specified Activity and Anticipated Impacts

    The planned activities (including mitigation, monitoring, and 
reporting), authorized incidental take, and anticipated impacts on the 
affected stocks are the same as those analyzed and authorized through 
the previously issued IHA.
    ADOT&PF is planning to modify and improve the existing dolphin 
structures at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal. There are currently three 
Alaska Marine Highway System ferry berths in Auke Bay. The planned 
project will involve the East Stern Berth facility, which was 
originally constructed in 2003 to accommodate new fast vehicle ferries. 
The East Stern Berth must be renovated to accommodate two new Alaska-
class ferries, which entered service in spring 2020. Four existing 
dolphins at the ferry terminal will be removed using a vibratory 
driver, and three breasting dolphins and two mooring dolphins will be 
installed using both vibratory and impact hammers. The location, 
timing, and nature of the activities, including the types of equipment 
planned for use, are identical to those described in the initial IHA. 
The mitigation and monitoring are also as prescribed in the initial 
IHA.
    Species that are expected to be taken by the planned activity 
include harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), Dall's porpoise 
(Phocoenoides dalli), harbor

[[Page 68305]]

seal (Phoca vitulina), Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), humpback 
whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), minke whale (Balaenoptera 
acutorostrata), and killer whale (Orcinus orca). A description of the 
methods and inputs used to estimate take anticipated to occur and, 
ultimately, the take that was authorized is found in the previous 
documents referenced above. The data inputs and methods of estimating 
take are identical to those used in the initial IHA. NMFS has reviewed 
recent Stock Assessment Reports, information on relevant Unusual 
Mortality Events, and recent scientific literature, and determined that 
no new information affects our original analysis of impacts or take 
estimate under the initial IHA.
    We refer to the documents related to the previously issued IHA, 
which include the Federal Register notice of the issuance of the 
initial 2019 IHA for ADOT&PF's construction work (84 FR 56767; October 
23, 2019), ADOT&PF's application, the Federal Register notice of the 
proposed IHA (84 FR 22453; May 17, 2019), and all associated references 
and documents.

Determinations

    ADOT&PF will conduct activities as analyzed in the initial 2019 
IHA. As described above, the number of authorized takes of the same 
species and stocks of marine mammals are identical to the numbers that 
were found to meet the negligible impact and small numbers standards 
and authorized under the initial IHA and no new information has emerged 
that would change those findings. The re-issued 2020 IHA includes 
identical required mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures as 
the initial IHA, and there is no new information suggesting that our 
analysis or findings should change.
    Based on the information contained here and in the referenced 
documents, NMFS has determined the following: (1) The required 
mitigation measures will effect 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 authorized takes represent small numbers of marine 
mammals relative to the affected stock abundances; and (4) ADOT&PF'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.

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 with respect to environmental 
consequences on the human environment.
    Accordingly, NMFS has determined that the issuance of the IHA 
qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review. This 
action is consistent with categories of activities identified in CE B4 
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.

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    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. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, 
NMFS consults internally, in this case with the Alaska Regional Office, 
whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened 
species.
    The effects of this proposed federal action were adequately 
analyzed in NMFS' Biological Opinion for the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal 
Modifications Project, dated October 3, 2019, which concluded that the 
take NMFS proposed to authorize through this IHA would not jeopardize 
the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or 
destroy or adversely modify any designated critical habitat.

Authorization

    NMFS has issued an IHA to ADOT&PF for in-water construction 
activities associated with the specified activity from November 1, 2020 
through October 31, 2021. All previously described mitigation, 
monitoring, and reporting requirements from the initial 2019 IHA are 
incorporated.

    Dated: October 23, 2020.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-23849 Filed 10-27-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P