Endangered and Threatened Species; Announcement of Workshop To Inform Recovery Planning for ESA Listed Rice's Whale (Balaenoptera Ricei), 54944-54945 [2021-21661]

Download as PDF 54944 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 190 / Tuesday, October 5, 2021 / Notices lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 through December 9, 2021, in order to conduct the construction work that was analyzed and for which take was authorized in the previously issued IHA. That IHA was issued on December 9, 2020. On September 20, 2021, Carnival notified NMFS that the project had remained delayed due to COVID–19 impacts, and requested that we re-issue an identical IHA, with effective dates from December 10, 2021 through December 9, 2022. None of the pile driving considered in the initial IHA has occurred. Therefore, reissuance 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. The purpose of Carnival’s project is to make improvements to its existing berthing facilities at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal in order to accommodate a new, larger class of cruise ships. Implementation of the project requires pile driving to install two high-capacity mooring dolphins, fenders, and a new passenger bridge system, and dredging at the existing berth and the immediate surrounding area. 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, monitoring, and reporting measures are also identical to those prescribed in the initial IHA. Species that are expected to be taken by the specified activity include shortbeaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis), bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) and harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). 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. Determinations Carnival will conduct activities as analyzed in the initial 2019 IHA. As VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:56 Oct 04, 2021 Jkt 256001 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 2021 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) Carnival’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. Because the only change to the IHA are effective dates, the CE on record for issuance of the initial IHA applies to this action. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, NMFS consults internally whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species. However, no incidental take of ESAlisted species is authorized 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. Authorization NMFS has issued an IHA to Carnival for in-water construction activities associated with the specified activity from December 10, 2021 through December 9, 2022. All previously described mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements from the initial 2019 IHA are incorporated. Dated: September 30, 2021. Kimberly Damon-Randall, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–21717 Filed 10–4–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XB487] Endangered and Threatened Species; Announcement of Workshop To Inform Recovery Planning for ESA Listed Rice’s Whale (Balaenoptera Ricei) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: We, NMFS, are convening a workshop to solicit information from experts to inform recovery planning for Rice’s whale (Balaenoptera ricei) under section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This workshop will be open to the public. DATES: Workshop dates and information: We will hold the recovery planning workshop for the Rice’s whale virtually over the course of 5 sessions in October and November 2021. • Monday, October 18, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT) • Monday, November 1, 12 p.m.–4 p.m. EDT • Wednesday, November 10, 12 p.m.–4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) • Tuesday, November 16, 12 p.m.–4 p.m. EST • Thursday, November 18, 12 p.m.–4 p.m. EST SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\05OCN1.SGM 05OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 190 / Tuesday, October 5, 2021 / Notices If you plan to attend the workshop as an interested member of the public, please register for each session that you would like to observe: • Session 1: ttps://bit.ly/RIWH-Wkshp1Oct18-RSVP • Session 2: https://bit.ly/RIWHWkshp2-Nov1-RSVP • Session 3: https://bit.ly/RIWHWkshp3-Nov10-RSVP • Session 4: https://bit.ly/RIWHWkshp4-Nov16-RSVP • Session 5: https://bit.ly/RIWHWkshp5-Nov18-RSVP FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barb Zoodsma, (727) 824–5312, NMFS Southeast Regional Office (SERO), Protected Resources Division, Barb.Zoodsma@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 ADDRESSES: Background On April 15, 2019, we published a final rule listing the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni; a subspecies of Bryde’s whales) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (84 FR 15446). In 2021, a published study in a peerreviewed journal (Rosel et al., 2021) provided evidence for and described the individuals referred to as the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whales as an entirely new species (not just subspecies) of baleen whale. The new species is described as the Rice’s whale (Balaenoptera ricei). Consequently, on August 23, 2021, we published a direct final rule to update the taxonomic classification, description, and common name of species included in the list of endangered species maintained at 50 CFR 224.101 to reflect the updated science (86 FR 47022). The direct final rule changes the common name of the listed entity from Bryde’s whale (Gulf of Mexico subspecies) to Rice’s whale, the scientific name from B. edeni (unnamed subspecies) to B. ricei, and the description of the listed entity from Bryde’s whales that breed and feed in the Gulf of Mexico to the entire species. The direct final rule and these changes will be effective on October 22, 2021. The direct final rule ensures that the list of endangered species reflects the best available scientific information. Although the changes to the enumeration of listed species are not yet effective, we are referring to the species using the updated scientific understanding. Therefore, this rule will refer to the individuals as Rice’s whale or B. ricei, as appropriate. The species’ status and legal protections under the ESA remain the same despite the forthcoming changes. The final listing rule (84 FR 15446; April 15, 2019) describes the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:56 Oct 04, 2021 Jkt 256001 background of the listing action for this species and provides a summary of our conclusions regarding its status. For additional background and information about this species, the reader is referred to the status review report, final listing rule, and our species web pages (available at https://www.fisheries. noaa.gov/species/rices-whale). NMFS is required by section 4(f) of the ESA to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation and survival of federally-listed species unless the Secretary finds that such a plan will not promote the conservation of the species. Recovery means that the status of a listed species has improved to the point at which the protections of the ESA are no longer necessary. The ESA specifies that recovery plans are to include (1) a description of site-specific management actions necessary to achieve the plan’s goal for the conservation and survival of the species; (2) objective, measurable criteria which, when met, would result in the species being removed from the list; and (3) estimates of the time and costs required to carry out the actions needed to achieve the plan’s conservation and survival goal and to achieve intermediate steps toward that goal. Under section 4(f) of the ESA, public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment also are provided during recovery plan development. This notice serves as a public notice and opportunity for public attendance in the recovery workshop. Once a recovery plan has been drafted, it will be announced in the Federal Register and available on our website for public review and comment before being finalized. Recovery Planning Workshop Announcement NMFS will hold a virtual workshop in five sessions to help inform our recovery planning for Rice’s whale. The first session will be held on Monday, October 18, 2021, and the last session will be held Thursday, November 18, 2021 (see DATES section). We invited experts and stakeholders in specific topic areas, including the species’ biology and ecology, threats to the species and the species’ habitat, the recovery planning process itself, and cetacean conservation and management. These experts and stakeholders will help us identify potential actions to address the threats to the species, identify gaps in knowledge and associated research needs, as well as begin developing recovery criteria for the species. Identified experts and stakeholders include representatives of Federal and State agencies, scientific PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 54945 experts, individuals from industry, and individuals from conservation partners and nongovernmental organizations. NMFS has contracted a facilitator to manage the workshop as well as note takers to document input received. We are seeking information; we will not be asking for consensus recommendations on how to recover the Rice’s whale species. A summary of the workshop will be prepared, noting the main points raised by the participants. This workshop will be open to the public, and a public comment period will be provided at the end of each session. If you plan to attend the workshop as an interested member of the public, please register via the website addresses listed in the ADDRESSES section, so we can ensure sufficient online connectivity for participants and interested parties during our logistics planning. Schedule of Workshops • Session 1: Workshop Series Kick-Off— October 18—Session 1 will focus on general background and orientation to Rice’s whale recovery process • Session 2: Entanglement, Prey, and Climate Change—November 1— Session 2 will focus on entanglement, prey, and climate change • Session 3: Marine Debris and Environmental Pollutants—November 10—Session 3 will focus on marine debris and environmental pollutants (oil spills, contaminants and disease) • Session 4: Anthropogenic Noise and Acoustic Habitat, Vessel Strikes, Marine Structures—November 16— Session 4 will focus on anthropogenic noise and acoustic habitat, vessel strikes, and marine structures (offshore renewable energy, sediment diversion and aquaculture) • Session 5: Recovery Criteria Discussion—November 18—Session 5 will focus on bringing workshop takeaways together and deeper dive into recovery criteria Workshops are accessible to persons with disabilities. Send requests for auxiliary aids at least five business days in advance of the start date of the session to Barb Zoodsma at Barb.Zoodsma@noaa.gov. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. Dated: September 30, 2021. Kimberly Damon-Randall, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–21661 Filed 10–4–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\05OCN1.SGM 05OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 190 (Tuesday, October 5, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54944-54945]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-21661]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[RTID 0648-XB487]


Endangered and Threatened Species; Announcement of Workshop To 
Inform Recovery Planning for ESA Listed Rice's Whale (Balaenoptera 
Ricei)

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

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: We, NMFS, are convening a workshop to solicit information from 
experts to inform recovery planning for Rice's whale (Balaenoptera 
ricei) under section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This 
workshop will be open to the public.

DATES: Workshop dates and information: We will hold the recovery 
planning workshop for the Rice's whale virtually over the course of 5 
sessions in October and November 2021.

 Monday, October 18, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings 
Time (EDT)
 Monday, November 1, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. EDT
 Wednesday, November 10, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time 
(EST)
 Tuesday, November 16, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. EST
 Thursday, November 18, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. EST

[[Page 54945]]


ADDRESSES: If you plan to attend the workshop as an interested member 
of the public, please register for each session that you would like to 
observe:

 Session 1: ttps://bit.ly/RIWH-Wkshp1-Oct18-RSVP
 Session 2: https://bit.ly/RIWH-Wkshp2-Nov1-RSVP
 Session 3: https://bit.ly/RIWH-Wkshp3-Nov10-RSVP
 Session 4: https://bit.ly/RIWH-Wkshp4-Nov16-RSVP
 Session 5: https://bit.ly/RIWH-Wkshp5-Nov18-RSVP

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barb Zoodsma, (727) 824-5312, NMFS 
Southeast Regional Office (SERO), Protected Resources Division, 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On April 15, 2019, we published a final rule listing the Gulf of 
Mexico Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni; a subspecies of Bryde's 
whales) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (84 FR 
15446). In 2021, a published study in a peer-reviewed journal (Rosel et 
al., 2021) provided evidence for and described the individuals referred 
to as the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whales as an entirely new species (not 
just subspecies) of baleen whale. The new species is described as the 
Rice's whale (Balaenoptera ricei). Consequently, on August 23, 2021, we 
published a direct final rule to update the taxonomic classification, 
description, and common name of species included in the list of 
endangered species maintained at 50 CFR 224.101 to reflect the updated 
science (86 FR 47022). The direct final rule changes the common name of 
the listed entity from Bryde's whale (Gulf of Mexico subspecies) to 
Rice's whale, the scientific name from B. edeni (unnamed subspecies) to 
B. ricei, and the description of the listed entity from Bryde's whales 
that breed and feed in the Gulf of Mexico to the entire species. The 
direct final rule and these changes will be effective on October 22, 
2021. The direct final rule ensures that the list of endangered species 
reflects the best available scientific information. Although the 
changes to the enumeration of listed species are not yet effective, we 
are referring to the species using the updated scientific 
understanding. Therefore, this rule will refer to the individuals as 
Rice's whale or B. ricei, as appropriate. The species' status and legal 
protections under the ESA remain the same despite the forthcoming 
changes.
    The final listing rule (84 FR 15446; April 15, 2019) describes the 
background of the listing action for this species and provides a 
summary of our conclusions regarding its status. For additional 
background and information about this species, the reader is referred 
to the status review report, final listing rule, and our species web 
pages (available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/rices-whale).
    NMFS is required by section 4(f) of the ESA to develop and 
implement recovery plans for the conservation and survival of 
federally-listed species unless the Secretary finds that such a plan 
will not promote the conservation of the species. Recovery means that 
the status of a listed species has improved to the point at which the 
protections of the ESA are no longer necessary. The ESA specifies that 
recovery plans are to include (1) a description of site-specific 
management actions necessary to achieve the plan's goal for the 
conservation and survival of the species; (2) objective, measurable 
criteria which, when met, would result in the species being removed 
from the list; and (3) estimates of the time and costs required to 
carry out the actions needed to achieve the plan's conservation and 
survival goal and to achieve intermediate steps toward that goal. Under 
section 4(f) of the ESA, public notice and an opportunity for public 
review and comment also are provided during recovery plan development.
    This notice serves as a public notice and opportunity for public 
attendance in the recovery workshop. Once a recovery plan has been 
drafted, it will be announced in the Federal Register and available on 
our website for public review and comment before being finalized.

Recovery Planning Workshop Announcement

    NMFS will hold a virtual workshop in five sessions to help inform 
our recovery planning for Rice's whale. The first session will be held 
on Monday, October 18, 2021, and the last session will be held 
Thursday, November 18, 2021 (see DATES section). We invited experts and 
stakeholders in specific topic areas, including the species' biology 
and ecology, threats to the species and the species' habitat, the 
recovery planning process itself, and cetacean conservation and 
management. These experts and stakeholders will help us identify 
potential actions to address the threats to the species, identify gaps 
in knowledge and associated research needs, as well as begin developing 
recovery criteria for the species. Identified experts and stakeholders 
include representatives of Federal and State agencies, scientific 
experts, individuals from industry, and individuals from conservation 
partners and nongovernmental organizations.
    NMFS has contracted a facilitator to manage the workshop as well as 
note takers to document input received. We are seeking information; we 
will not be asking for consensus recommendations on how to recover the 
Rice's whale species. A summary of the workshop will be prepared, 
noting the main points raised by the participants.
    This workshop will be open to the public, and a public comment 
period will be provided at the end of each session. If you plan to 
attend the workshop as an interested member of the public, please 
register via the website addresses listed in the ADDRESSES section, so 
we can ensure sufficient online connectivity for participants and 
interested parties during our logistics planning.

Schedule of Workshops

 Session 1: Workshop Series Kick-Off--October 18--Session 1 
will focus on general background and orientation to Rice's whale 
recovery process
 Session 2: Entanglement, Prey, and Climate Change--November 
1--Session 2 will focus on entanglement, prey, and climate change
 Session 3: Marine Debris and Environmental Pollutants--
November 10--Session 3 will focus on marine debris and environmental 
pollutants (oil spills, contaminants and disease)
 Session 4: Anthropogenic Noise and Acoustic Habitat, Vessel 
Strikes, Marine Structures--November 16--Session 4 will focus on 
anthropogenic noise and acoustic habitat, vessel strikes, and marine 
structures (offshore renewable energy, sediment diversion and 
aquaculture)
 Session 5: Recovery Criteria Discussion--November 18--Session 
5 will focus on bringing workshop takeaways together and deeper dive 
into recovery criteria

    Workshops are accessible to persons with disabilities. Send 
requests for auxiliary aids at least five business days in advance of 
the start date of the session to Barb Zoodsma at [email protected].
    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: September 30, 2021.
Kimberly Damon-Randall,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-21661 Filed 10-4-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P