Notice of Availability of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Draft Management Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment, 67923-67925 [2021-25819]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 30, 2021 / Notices lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 participants to harvest or process the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery TAC, and most of that TAC was reallocated to the Bering Sea directed pollock fishery TAC. Since there was no fishery for the AIP Program in 2021, the fee percentage is zero. CDQ Standard Price and Fee Percentage The CDQ Program was implemented in 1992 to provide access to BSAI fishery resources to villages located in Western Alaska. Section 305(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act identifies 65 villages eligible to participate in the CDQ Program and the six CDQ groups to represent these villages. CDQ groups receive exclusive harvesting privileges of the TACs for a broad range of crab species, groundfish species, and halibut. NMFS implemented a CDQ cost recovery program for the BSAI crab fisheries in 2005 (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005) and published the cost recovery fee percentage for the 2020/2021 crab fishing year on July 7, 2021 (86 FR 35756). This notice provides the cost recovery fee percentage for the CDQ Program. Each CDQ group is subject to cost recovery fee requirements and the designated representative of each CDQ group is responsible for submitting payment for their CDQ group. Cost recovery requirements for the CDQ Program are at 50 CFR 679.33. For most CDQ groundfish species, NMFS annually summarizes volume and value information for landings of all fishery species subject to cost recovery in order to estimate a standard price for each fishery species. The volume and value information is obtained from the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report and the Pacific Cod Ex-Vessel Volume and Value Report. For CDQ halibut and fixed-gear sablefish, NMFS calculates the standard prices using information from the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Ex-Vessel Volume and Value Report, which collects information on both IFQ and CDQ volume and value. Using the fee percentage formula described above, the estimated percentage of direct program costs to fishery value for the 2021 calendar year is 0.83 percent for the CDQ Program. For 2021, NMFS applied the calculated CDQ fee percentage to all CDQ groundfish and halibut landings made between January 1 and December 31 to calculate the CDQ fee liability for each CDQ group. The 2021 fee payments must be submitted to NMFS on or before December 31, 2021. Payment must be made in accordance with the payment methods set forth in 50 CFR 679.33(a)(3)(iv). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:17 Nov 29, 2021 Jkt 256001 Dated: November 23, 2021. Ngagne Jafnar Gueye, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–25972 Filed 11–29–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Notice of Availability of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Draft Management Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability and public meetings for draft management plan and environmental assessment; request for comments. AGENCY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has prepared a draft management plan as part of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS or sanctuary) management plan review pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The draft management plan, which would update the 2010 sanctuary management plan, addresses current and emerging threats in SBNMS and reflects changes in new science and technologies, how people use the sanctuary, and community needs. The draft management plan supports continued protection of sanctuary resources through enforcement of existing sanctuary regulations, education and outreach strategies that promote ocean stewardship, and community engagement. Consistent with the information provided in the 2020 Notice of Intent, NOAA is not proposing modifications to the sanctuary regulations at this time, but may consider regulatory changes in the future. NOAA also prepared an environmental assessment, which evaluates the environmental impacts of implementing the draft management plan and ongoing field activities. NOAA is soliciting public comments on the draft updated management plan and environmental assessment at this time. DATES: Comments on the draft management plan and environmental assessment are due by January 21, 2022. NOAA will host virtual public meetings at the following dates and times: • Tuesday January 11, 2022, 6 p.m. Eastern Time SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 67923 • Wednesday January 12, 2022, 3 p.m. Eastern Time ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on draft management plan and environmental assessment document by any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and enter ‘‘NOAA–NOS–2020–0003’’ in the Search box. Click on the ‘‘Comment’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Mail: Send any hard copy public comments by mail to: Stellwagen Bank NMS, 175 Edward Foster Road, Scituate, MA, 02066, Attn: Management Plan Revision. Email: Send any comments by email to: sbnmsmanagementplan@noaa.gov. Public Meetings: Provide oral comments during virtual public meetings, as described under DATES. Webinar registration details and additional information about how to participate in these public scoping meetings is available at https:// stellwagen.noaa.gov/management/2020management-plan-review/. The meeting is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you would like to request reasonable accommodations to participate in a meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials in an alternate format), notify the contact person listed in this notice no later than ten working days prior to each meeting. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on https://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the commenter will be publicly accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alice Stratton, (781) 545–8026, sbnmsmanagementplan@noaa.gov, 175 Edward Foster Road, Scituate, MA 02066. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background on Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary SBNMS is one of the most biologically diverse and productive zones in the Gulf of Maine, and extends from Cape Ann to Cape Cod, encompassing 842 E:\FR\FM\30NON1.SGM 30NON1 67924 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 30, 2021 / Notices lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 square miles and ranging in depth from 65 to 600 feet. The underwater landscape of the sanctuary is a patchwork of banks, basins, and biological features. Within these landscapes are habitats including deepsea corals, sandy bottom, and shipwrecks. These habitats support over 575 species of invertebrates, fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals. This diversity of habitats and marine life is important to local and regional economies as it supports a variety of commercial, recreational, scientific, and educational activities. These activities bring income, jobs, and economic output to the 14 coastal communities adjacent to the sanctuary. II. Management Plan Review Section 304(e), 16 U.S.C 1434(e), requires periodic review of sanctuary management plans to ensure sanctuaryspecific management techniques and strategies: (1) Effectively address changing environmental conditions and threats to sanctuary resources and qualities; and (2) fulfill the purposes and policies of the NMSA. NOAA began its review of the SBNMS management plan in 2020 to examine current issues and threats to sanctuary resources and evaluate the extent to which the 2010 management plan met the sanctuary’s goals and objectives. The need for revisions to the 2010 management plan is based on the several emerging threats to marine resources within SBNMS. Prior to the development of this draft management plan, NOAA completed a condition report in 2020 that assessed the condition and trends of resources and activities in SBNMS and guided the development of this draft management plan. The condition report is available at https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/ condition/sbnms/ and concluded that human activities and climate change are impacting habitat, living resources, and maritime heritage resources in the sanctuary in various ways. NOAA conducted public scoping for the management plan review process from February 13, 2020 to April 10, 2020 and invited input from the public on the scope of revisions to the 2010 management plan (85 FR 8213). The scoping process yielded feedback that was largely aligned with the 2020 condition report findings. Comments focused on NOAA’s need to monitor and address potential emerging issues such as climate change and changes to water quality, to continue and expand protections for sanctuary resources, and to maintain core sanctuary research. Scoping comments also called for enhanced education and outreach efforts and increased capacity to VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:17 Nov 29, 2021 Jkt 256001 administer sanctuary programs. NOAA incorporated the issues identified during the public scoping process into this draft management plan. III. Action Plans This draft management plan contains 15 action plans which address priority issues for SBNMS. These action plans fall under four primary goals: ensure a thriving sanctuary, increase support for SBNMS, deepen our understanding of sanctuary resources, and ensure coordinated support for sanctuary infrastructure, staff, and field operations. Each action plan is summarized below (refer to the draft for complete text). • Marine Mammal Protection: The sanctuary serves as the primary habitat for 22 species of marine mammals. The goal of this plan is to expand our understanding of the vulnerability of marine mammals to anthropogenic activity and develop and implement mitigation activities. • Seabird Research: Coastal development, predation by humans and other animals, removal of prey through fisheries activity, and marine environment pollution threaten the many seabirds in the sanctuary. The goal of this plan is to understand the abundance, distribution, habitat use, bycatch, contaminant load, and foraging ecology of seabirds, and how SBNMS relates to the wider Gulf of Maine and Atlantic ecosystems. • Vessel Traffic: SBNMS sits at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, which experiences commercial vessel traffic traveling to and from the growing Port of Boston. Sanctuary staff work to mitigate the impacts of the large volume of vessel traffic through technology, reporting, and warnings. The goal of this plan is to monitor vessel traffic and mitigate negative effects on sanctuary resources. • Maritime Heritage and Cultural Landscapes: The sanctuary serves as an underwater museum to maritime history with numerous shipwrecks on the seafloor. The sanctuary’s efforts in maritime cultural landscapes help us understand the relationships between the people and the sea in the past and present through research and management. The goal of this plan is to understand the broader context of past and present uses of the sanctuary while assessing and protecting maritime heritage resources in the sanctuary. • Compatible Uses: Evolving commercial and recreational uses of the sanctuary impact key elements of the sanctuary’s landscape. The goal of this plan is to enhance transparency regarding how current and emerging PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 activities are assessed for compatibility while managing sanctuary resources. • Climate Change: The goal of this plan is to evaluate climate change impacts on sanctuary resources and incorporate changing conditions in management decisions. Various strategies and efforts for enhanced understanding of climate impacts and synergies will inform decisions on a wide range of sanctuary management, including resource protection, education, and operations. • Education and Outreach: A variety of education and outreach programs, tools, and techniques are employed to bring sanctuary information and research to the widest audiences. The goal of this plan is to increase public awareness and understanding of the sanctuary and encourage responsible use and stewardship of its resources. • Interagency/Intergovernmental Coordination: NOAA relies on partnerships with other Federal and State agencies as well as collaborations with non-profit, community, research/ academic, and many others, for effective management. The goal of this plan is to promote improved management through coordinated partnering with local, State, regional, Tribal, and Federal partners. • Sanctuary Advisory Council: The Sanctuary Advisory Council addresses specific management issues and public involvement by developing sound advice for the sanctuary. The goal of this plan is to facilitate an active and engaged community of Sanctuary Advisory Council members to advise the superintendent in carrying out the sanctuary’s mission. • Research and Monitoring: The sanctuary conducts a robust science program to provide vital information to support management needs. The goal of this plan is to support, promote, and coordinate scientific research, characterization, and long-term monitoring to enhance the understanding of the sanctuary environment and processes, and improve management decision-making for optimal resource management and protection. • Soundscape: The sanctuary has an extensive acoustics research program that provides opportunities for partnership and leadership in the development of regional, national, and international policies for managing noise impacts on marine life. The goal of this plan is to maintain the role of SBNMS as a sentinel site for passive acoustic monitoring in the Gulf of Maine, and as a testbed for applying these data to both long-term monitoring of ecosystems and the design of E:\FR\FM\30NON1.SGM 30NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 227 / Tuesday, November 30, 2021 / Notices lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with NOTICES1 methods to reduce impacts from human activities. • Water Quality Monitoring: The exceptional diversity of marine life in the sanctuary depends on good water quality. This action plan addresses the need to collaborate on water quality monitoring and research in the sanctuary to determine whether it can continue to maintain healthy resources. • Habitat: Habitat quality in the sanctuary over the last decade has shown changes from both direct interactions, like bottom-contact fishing, and indirect interactions, such as trophic and competitive shifts in population. The goal of this plan is to develop an improved understanding of the condition of major habitat types within the sanctuary to understand their productivity and biodiversity. • Ecosystem Services: Sanctuary resources support nearby coastal communities in a variety of ways, and it is important to better understand and quantify the economic and intrinsic values of the sanctuary to natural and human systems. The goal of this plan is to explore the dynamic connections between sanctuary resources and ecosystem services to better inform management decisions. • Administration and Infrastructure Capacity: This action plan addresses the necessary operational and administrative activities required for implementing an effective program, including staffing, infrastructure needs, and operational improvements. IV. National Environmental Policy Act Compliance As required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), NOAA has prepared an environmental assessment to evaluate the potential impacts on the human environment of implementing NOAA’s proposed action. The proposed action is to update NOAA’s management activities conducted within SBNMS that relate to research, monitoring, education, outreach, community engagement, and resource protection. The proposed management activities include revising the sanctuary management plan and implementing routine field activities and existing sanctuary regulations. No significant impacts to resources and the human environment are expected to result from this proposed action. Accordingly, under NEPA, an environmental assessment is the appropriate document to analyze the potential impacts of this action. Following the close of the public comment period and the satisfaction of consultation requirements under any applicable natural and cultural resource VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:17 Nov 29, 2021 Jkt 256001 statutes, NOAA will finalize its NEPA analysis and prepare a final NEPA document and decision document. V. Public Input Opportunity With this notice, NOAA is seeking public comment and input from individuals, organizations, and Federal agencies, State, Tribal, and local governments on the draft management plan and environmental assessment, which is available at https:// stellwagen.noaa.gov/management/2020management-plan-review/. Printed copies may be obtained by contacting the individual listed under the heading FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; 40 CFR 1500–1508 (NEPA Implementing Regulations); Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216–6A. John Armor, Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 2021–25819 Filed 11–29–21; 8:45 am] DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration Privacy, Equity, and Civil Rights Listening Sessions National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of open meeting. AGENCY: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will convene three virtual Listening Sessions about issues and potential solutions at the intersection of privacy, equity, and civil rights. The sessions will help to provide the data for a report on the ways in which commercial data flows of personal information can lead to disparate impact and outcomes for marginalized or disadvantaged communities. DATES: The meetings will be held on December 14, 15, and 16, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. ADDRESSES: The meetings will be held virtually, with online slide share and dial-in information to be posted at https://www.ntia.gov/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Travis Hall, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of SUMMARY: Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4725, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482–3522; email: thall@ntia.gov. Please direct media inquiries to NTIA’s Office of Public Affairs: (202) 482–7002; email: press@ntia.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background and Authority: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is the President’s principal advisor on telecommunications and information policy issues.1 In this role, NTIA studies and develops policy advice about the impact of technology and the internet on privacy. This includes examining the extent to which technology implementations, business models, and related data processing are adequately addressed by the U.S.’s current privacy protection framework.2 Importantly, NTIA has long acknowledged that privacy is a matter of contextual data flow and use rather than simply being a question of publicity.3 Increasingly, 1 See 47 U.S.C. 902(b)(2)(D), (H). Blog, ‘‘NTIA Releases Comments on a Proposed Approach to Protecting Consumer Privacy’’ (Nov. 13, 2018), https://www.ntia.doc.gov/ press-release/2018/ntia-releases-commentsproposed-approach-protecting-consumer-privacy (commenters generally emphasized the need for changes to the U.S. privacy framework); see also, GAO, Consumer Privacy: Changes to Legal Framework Needed To Address Gaps (June 2019), https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-19-621t (same); Congressional Research Service, Data Protection Law: An Overview (March 25, 2019), https:// fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45631.pdf (‘‘Recent highprofile data breaches and other concerns about how third parties protect the privacy of individuals in the digital age have raised national concerns over legal protections of Americans’ electronic data.’’); Thorin Klosowski, The State of Consumer Privacy Laws In The US (And Why It Matters), Wirecutter (Sept. 6, 2021), https://www.nytimes.com/ wirecutter/blog/state-of-privacy-laws-in-us/ (describing consumer privacy laws in the United States and providing legal experts’ characterizations of their inadequacy); Press Release, ‘‘Wicker, Blackburn Introduce Federal Privacy Legislation’’ (July 28, 2021), https://www.commerce.senate.gov/ 2021/7/wicker-blackburn-introduce-federal-dataprivacy-legislation (‘‘the need for federal privacy legislation is imperative’’); Business Roundtable Letter to Senate Commerce Committee Urging Passage of a Federal Consumer Data Privacy Law (Oct. 4, 2021), https://www.businessroundtable.org/ business-roundtable-letter-to-senate-commercecommittee-urging-passage-of-a-federal-consumerdata-privacy-law. 3 See Internet Policy Task Force, Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy 18 (Dec. 16, 2010), https://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/ iptf_privacy_greenpaper_12162010.pdf; White House, Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy, (Feb. 23, 2012), 16; see also: Helen Nissenbaum, Privacy in Context, (Nov. 2009). NTIA considers problematic uses and problematic collection to both fall under the umbrella of a ‘‘privacy harm,’’ an idea that is well-established in the literature. (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/ 2 NTIA BILLING CODE 3510–NK–P PO 00000 67925 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\30NON1.SGM Continued 30NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 227 (Tuesday, November 30, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67923-67925]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-25819]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Notice of Availability of Stellwagen Bank National Marine 
Sanctuary Draft Management Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of 
Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability and public meetings for draft management 
plan and environmental assessment; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has 
prepared a draft management plan as part of the Stellwagen Bank 
National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS or sanctuary) management plan review 
pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The draft management 
plan, which would update the 2010 sanctuary management plan, addresses 
current and emerging threats in SBNMS and reflects changes in new 
science and technologies, how people use the sanctuary, and community 
needs. The draft management plan supports continued protection of 
sanctuary resources through enforcement of existing sanctuary 
regulations, education and outreach strategies that promote ocean 
stewardship, and community engagement. Consistent with the information 
provided in the 2020 Notice of Intent, NOAA is not proposing 
modifications to the sanctuary regulations at this time, but may 
consider regulatory changes in the future. NOAA also prepared an 
environmental assessment, which evaluates the environmental impacts of 
implementing the draft management plan and ongoing field activities. 
NOAA is soliciting public comments on the draft updated management plan 
and environmental assessment at this time.

DATES: Comments on the draft management plan and environmental 
assessment are due by January 21, 2022. NOAA will host virtual public 
meetings at the following dates and times:

 Tuesday January 11, 2022, 6 p.m. Eastern Time
 Wednesday January 12, 2022, 3 p.m. Eastern Time

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on draft management plan and 
environmental assessment document by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and 
enter ``NOAA-NOS-2020-0003'' in the Search box. Click on the 
``Comment'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach 
your comments.
    Mail: Send any hard copy public comments by mail to: Stellwagen 
Bank NMS, 175 Edward Foster Road, Scituate, MA, 02066, Attn: Management 
Plan Revision.
    Email: Send any comments by email to: [email protected].
    Public Meetings: Provide oral comments during virtual public 
meetings, as described under DATES. Webinar registration details and 
additional information about how to participate in these public scoping 
meetings is available at https://stellwagen.noaa.gov/management/2020-management-plan-review/. The meeting is accessible to individuals with 
disabilities. If you would like to request reasonable accommodations to 
participate in a meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive 
listening device, or materials in an alternate format), notify the 
contact person listed in this notice no later than ten working days 
prior to each meeting.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
https://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (for example, name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the commenter will be publicly accessible. NOAA will accept 
anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to 
remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alice Stratton, (781) 545-8026, 
[email protected], 175 Edward Foster Road, Scituate, MA 
02066.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

    SBNMS is one of the most biologically diverse and productive zones 
in the Gulf of Maine, and extends from Cape Ann to Cape Cod, 
encompassing 842

[[Page 67924]]

square miles and ranging in depth from 65 to 600 feet. The underwater 
landscape of the sanctuary is a patchwork of banks, basins, and 
biological features. Within these landscapes are habitats including 
deep-sea corals, sandy bottom, and shipwrecks. These habitats support 
over 575 species of invertebrates, fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and 
marine mammals. This diversity of habitats and marine life is important 
to local and regional economies as it supports a variety of commercial, 
recreational, scientific, and educational activities. These activities 
bring income, jobs, and economic output to the 14 coastal communities 
adjacent to the sanctuary.

II. Management Plan Review

    Section 304(e), 16 U.S.C 1434(e), requires periodic review of 
sanctuary management plans to ensure sanctuary-specific management 
techniques and strategies: (1) Effectively address changing 
environmental conditions and threats to sanctuary resources and 
qualities; and (2) fulfill the purposes and policies of the NMSA. NOAA 
began its review of the SBNMS management plan in 2020 to examine 
current issues and threats to sanctuary resources and evaluate the 
extent to which the 2010 management plan met the sanctuary's goals and 
objectives. The need for revisions to the 2010 management plan is based 
on the several emerging threats to marine resources within SBNMS. Prior 
to the development of this draft management plan, NOAA completed a 
condition report in 2020 that assessed the condition and trends of 
resources and activities in SBNMS and guided the development of this 
draft management plan. The condition report is available at https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/condition/sbnms/ and concluded that human 
activities and climate change are impacting habitat, living resources, 
and maritime heritage resources in the sanctuary in various ways.
    NOAA conducted public scoping for the management plan review 
process from February 13, 2020 to April 10, 2020 and invited input from 
the public on the scope of revisions to the 2010 management plan (85 FR 
8213). The scoping process yielded feedback that was largely aligned 
with the 2020 condition report findings. Comments focused on NOAA's 
need to monitor and address potential emerging issues such as climate 
change and changes to water quality, to continue and expand protections 
for sanctuary resources, and to maintain core sanctuary research. 
Scoping comments also called for enhanced education and outreach 
efforts and increased capacity to administer sanctuary programs. NOAA 
incorporated the issues identified during the public scoping process 
into this draft management plan.

III. Action Plans

    This draft management plan contains 15 action plans which address 
priority issues for SBNMS. These action plans fall under four primary 
goals: ensure a thriving sanctuary, increase support for SBNMS, deepen 
our understanding of sanctuary resources, and ensure coordinated 
support for sanctuary infrastructure, staff, and field operations. Each 
action plan is summarized below (refer to the draft for complete text).
     Marine Mammal Protection: The sanctuary serves as the 
primary habitat for 22 species of marine mammals. The goal of this plan 
is to expand our understanding of the vulnerability of marine mammals 
to anthropogenic activity and develop and implement mitigation 
activities.
     Seabird Research: Coastal development, predation by humans 
and other animals, removal of prey through fisheries activity, and 
marine environment pollution threaten the many seabirds in the 
sanctuary. The goal of this plan is to understand the abundance, 
distribution, habitat use, bycatch, contaminant load, and foraging 
ecology of seabirds, and how SBNMS relates to the wider Gulf of Maine 
and Atlantic ecosystems.
     Vessel Traffic: SBNMS sits at the mouth of Massachusetts 
Bay, which experiences commercial vessel traffic traveling to and from 
the growing Port of Boston. Sanctuary staff work to mitigate the 
impacts of the large volume of vessel traffic through technology, 
reporting, and warnings. The goal of this plan is to monitor vessel 
traffic and mitigate negative effects on sanctuary resources.
     Maritime Heritage and Cultural Landscapes: The sanctuary 
serves as an underwater museum to maritime history with numerous 
shipwrecks on the seafloor. The sanctuary's efforts in maritime 
cultural landscapes help us understand the relationships between the 
people and the sea in the past and present through research and 
management. The goal of this plan is to understand the broader context 
of past and present uses of the sanctuary while assessing and 
protecting maritime heritage resources in the sanctuary.
     Compatible Uses: Evolving commercial and recreational uses 
of the sanctuary impact key elements of the sanctuary's landscape. The 
goal of this plan is to enhance transparency regarding how current and 
emerging activities are assessed for compatibility while managing 
sanctuary resources.
     Climate Change: The goal of this plan is to evaluate 
climate change impacts on sanctuary resources and incorporate changing 
conditions in management decisions. Various strategies and efforts for 
enhanced understanding of climate impacts and synergies will inform 
decisions on a wide range of sanctuary management, including resource 
protection, education, and operations.
     Education and Outreach: A variety of education and 
outreach programs, tools, and techniques are employed to bring 
sanctuary information and research to the widest audiences. The goal of 
this plan is to increase public awareness and understanding of the 
sanctuary and encourage responsible use and stewardship of its 
resources.
     Interagency/Intergovernmental Coordination: NOAA relies on 
partnerships with other Federal and State agencies as well as 
collaborations with non-profit, community, research/academic, and many 
others, for effective management. The goal of this plan is to promote 
improved management through coordinated partnering with local, State, 
regional, Tribal, and Federal partners.
     Sanctuary Advisory Council: The Sanctuary Advisory Council 
addresses specific management issues and public involvement by 
developing sound advice for the sanctuary. The goal of this plan is to 
facilitate an active and engaged community of Sanctuary Advisory 
Council members to advise the superintendent in carrying out the 
sanctuary's mission.
     Research and Monitoring: The sanctuary conducts a robust 
science program to provide vital information to support management 
needs. The goal of this plan is to support, promote, and coordinate 
scientific research, characterization, and long-term monitoring to 
enhance the understanding of the sanctuary environment and processes, 
and improve management decision-making for optimal resource management 
and protection.
     Soundscape: The sanctuary has an extensive acoustics 
research program that provides opportunities for partnership and 
leadership in the development of regional, national, and international 
policies for managing noise impacts on marine life. The goal of this 
plan is to maintain the role of SBNMS as a sentinel site for passive 
acoustic monitoring in the Gulf of Maine, and as a testbed for applying 
these data to both long-term monitoring of ecosystems and the design of

[[Page 67925]]

methods to reduce impacts from human activities.
     Water Quality Monitoring: The exceptional diversity of 
marine life in the sanctuary depends on good water quality. This action 
plan addresses the need to collaborate on water quality monitoring and 
research in the sanctuary to determine whether it can continue to 
maintain healthy resources.
     Habitat: Habitat quality in the sanctuary over the last 
decade has shown changes from both direct interactions, like bottom-
contact fishing, and indirect interactions, such as trophic and 
competitive shifts in population. The goal of this plan is to develop 
an improved understanding of the condition of major habitat types 
within the sanctuary to understand their productivity and biodiversity.
     Ecosystem Services: Sanctuary resources support nearby 
coastal communities in a variety of ways, and it is important to better 
understand and quantify the economic and intrinsic values of the 
sanctuary to natural and human systems. The goal of this plan is to 
explore the dynamic connections between sanctuary resources and 
ecosystem services to better inform management decisions.
     Administration and Infrastructure Capacity: This action 
plan addresses the necessary operational and administrative activities 
required for implementing an effective program, including staffing, 
infrastructure needs, and operational improvements.

IV. National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    As required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), NOAA has prepared an environmental assessment to 
evaluate the potential impacts on the human environment of implementing 
NOAA's proposed action. The proposed action is to update NOAA's 
management activities conducted within SBNMS that relate to research, 
monitoring, education, outreach, community engagement, and resource 
protection. The proposed management activities include revising the 
sanctuary management plan and implementing routine field activities and 
existing sanctuary regulations. No significant impacts to resources and 
the human environment are expected to result from this proposed action. 
Accordingly, under NEPA, an environmental assessment is the appropriate 
document to analyze the potential impacts of this action. Following the 
close of the public comment period and the satisfaction of consultation 
requirements under any applicable natural and cultural resource 
statutes, NOAA will finalize its NEPA analysis and prepare a final NEPA 
document and decision document.

V. Public Input Opportunity

    With this notice, NOAA is seeking public comment and input from 
individuals, organizations, and Federal agencies, State, Tribal, and 
local governments on the draft management plan and environmental 
assessment, which is available at https://stellwagen.noaa.gov/management/2020-management-plan-review/. Printed copies may be obtained 
by contacting the individual listed under the heading FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.; 40 CFR 
1500-1508 (NEPA Implementing Regulations); Companion Manual for NOAA 
Administrative Order 216-6A.

John Armor,
Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean 
Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
[FR Doc. 2021-25819 Filed 11-29-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P