Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Ferry Berth Improvements in Tongass Narrows, Alaska, 12117-12119 [2022-04450]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 42 / Thursday, March 3, 2022 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XB840] New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public meeting. AGENCY: The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Monkfish Committee via webinar to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate. SUMMARY: This webinar will be held on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at 9 a.m. Webinar registration URL information: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/ register/6464453692204784655. ADDRESSES: Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465–0492. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Agenda The Committee will discuss development of Framework Adjustment 13 to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan. They will also discuss 2023–25 fishery specifications as well as potential management measures (requiring 12-inch minimum mesh size for monkfish gillnets, requiring use of the Vessel Monitoring System across the federal fishery, measures to reduce discards in the Southern Fishery Management Area). They will discuss plans for the Plan Development Team and Advisory Panel to develop a fishery performance report. The Committee will also discuss recommendations for any updates for the 2022–26 NEFMC Research Priorities and Data Needs relative to monkfish. Other business will be discussed, if necessary. Although non-emergency issues not contained on the agenda may come before this Council for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Council action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice and any VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:23 Mar 02, 2022 Jkt 256001 issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the MagnusonStevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. The public also should be aware that the meeting will be recorded. Consistent with 16 U.S.C. 1852, a copy of the recording is available upon request. Special Accommodations This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, at (978) 465–0492, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. (Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) Dated: February 28, 2022. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2022–04507 Filed 3–2–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XB779] Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Ferry Berth Improvements in Tongass Narrows, 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 eight species of marine mammals, by Level A and Level B harassment, incidental to Ferry Berth Improvements at Tongass Narrows, near Ketchikan, AK. The project has been delayed and none of the work covered in the initial IHA has been conducted. The initial IHA was effective from March 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022. ADOT&PF has requested reissuance with new effective dates of March 1, 2022, through February 28, 2023. The scope of the activities and SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12117 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 March 1, 2022, through February 28, 2023. ADDRESSES: An electronic copy of the final 2020 IHA previously issued to ADOT&PF, ADOT&PF 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-ferry-berthimprovements. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Pauline, 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 E:\FR\FM\03MRN1.SGM 03MRN1 12118 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 42 / Thursday, March 3, 2022 / Notices 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). khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Summary of Request On January 7, 2020, NMFS published a final notice of our issuance of two consecutive IHAs authorizing take of marine mammals incidental to the Ferry Berth Improvements in Tongass Narrows, Alaska (85 FR 637). The effective dates of the first IHA were from March 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021 (Phase 1) while the effective dates of the second IHA were from from March 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022 (Phase 2). Due to various project delays and two minor changes in the activity, ADOT&PF requested a renewal of the Phase 1 IHA. NMFS issued renewal of the Phase 1 IHA on May 5, 2021 (86 FR 23938). On November 22, 2021, ADOT&PF informed NMFS that due to project delays none of the work identified in the initial Phase 2 IHA (e.g., pile installation and removal) had occurred. ADOT&PF submitted a request that we reissue an identical Phase 2 IHA that would be effective from March 1, 2022 through February 28, 2023, in order to conduct the construction work that was analyzed and authorized through the previously issued Phase 2 IHA. 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 Phase 2 IHA. The purpose of ADOT&PF’s construction project is to improve facilities that provide reliable access to Ketchikan International Airport and facilitate growth and development in the region. Some of the existing ferry facilities are aging and periodically outof-service for repairs or maintenance, and this project will provide redundant ferry berths to increase reliability. The location, timing, and nature of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:23 Mar 02, 2022 Jkt 256001 activities, including the types of equipment planned for use, are identical hose described in the initial Phase 2 IHA. The mitigation and monitoring are also as prescribed in the initial IHA. Take of a small number of eight species of marine mammals has been authorized by NMFS. Three of those species, harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii), harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), and Dall’s porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli) may be taken by Level A or Level B harassment while the remaining five species would be taken by Level B harassment only. These species include humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), killer whale (Orcinus orca), Pacific whitesided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), and Steller sea lion (Eschrichtius robustus). 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 Phase 2 IHA. NMFS has revieweded 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 Phase I and Phase 2 IHAs for ADOT&PF construction work (85 FR 673; January 7, 2020), ADOT&PF application, the Federal Register notice of the proposed IHAs (84 FR 34134; July 17, 2019), and all associated references and documents. Determinations ADOT&PF will conduct activities as analyzed in the initial Phase 2 2021– 2022 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 reissued 2022 IHA includes identical required mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures as the initial Phase 2 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 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 NMFS’ Alaska Regional Office, whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or threatened species. NMFS is authorizing take of the Central North Pacific stock of humpback whales, of which a portion belong to the Mexico DPS of humpback whales, which are listed under the ESA. The action agencies are the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the NMFS Office of Protected Resources Permits and Conservation Division. On February 6, 2019, NMFS completed consultation with ADOT&PF for Tongass Narrows Project and issued a Biological Opinion with the FHA as an E:\FR\FM\03MRN1.SGM 03MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 42 / Thursday, March 3, 2022 / Notices action agency. Reinitiation of formal consultation was required to add NMFS Permits and Conservation Division as an action agency and to analyze changes to the action that were not considered in the February 2019 opinion (PCTS# AKR–2018–9806/ECO# AKRO–2018– 01287). The original opinion considered the effects of only one project component being constructed at a time and did not analyze potential effects of concurrent pile driving which may cause effects to the listed species that were not considered in the original opinion; therefore, reinitiation of formal consultation was required. NMFS’ Alaska Region issued a revised Biological Opinion to NMFS’ Office of Protected Resources on December 19, 2019 which concluded that issuance of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 IHAs to ADOT&PF is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of Mexico DPS humpback whales. Authorization NMFS has issued an IHA to ADOT&PF for in-water construction activities associated with the specified activity from March 1, 2022, through February 28, 2023. All previously described mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements from the initial Phase 2 IHA are incorporated. Dated: February 25, 2022. Kimberly Damon-Randall, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2022–04450 Filed 3–2–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public meetings. AGENCY: The Caribbean Fishery Management Council’s (Council) District Advisory Panels (DAPs) will hold public virtual meetings to address the items contained in the tentative agenda included in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. DATES: The DAPs public virtual meetings will be held as follows: St. Thomas/St. John DAP, March 22, 2022; St. Croix DAP, March 23, 2022; and khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:23 Mar 02, 2022 Jkt 256001 DAP–STT/STJ Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86262 657165?pwd=aGQ4U25r ME92d1p1TWo4d3Y3RGFrdz09 Meeting ID: 862 6265 7165 Passcode: 901759 One tap mobile: +17879451488,,86262657165#,,,, *901759# Puerto Rico +17879667727,,86262657165#,,,, *901759# Puerto Rico Dial by your location: +1 787 945 1488 Puerto Rico +1 787 966 7727 Puerto Rico +1 939 945 0244 Puerto Rico Meeting ID: 862 6265 7165 Passcode: 901759 DAP–STX Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/845239 18830?pwd=ZWdleXVrN 2VzRW5MdVdJOStBZVRNQT09 Meeting ID: 845 2391 8830 Passcode: 507957 One tap mobile: +17879451488,,84523918830#,,,, *507957# Puerto Rico +17879667727,,84523918830#,,,, *507957# Puerto Rico Dial by your location: +1 787 945 1488 Puerto Rico +1 787 966 7727 Puerto Rico +1 939 945 0244 Puerto Rico Meeting ID: 845 2391 8830 Passcode: 507957 DAP–PR [RTID 0648–XB862] SUMMARY: Puerto Rico DAP, March 24, 2022. All meetings will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Atlantic Standard Time (AST). ADDRESSES: You may join the DAPs public virtual meetings (via Zoom) from a computer, tablet or smartphone by entering the following addresses: Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86222659918 ?pwd=UitRcnBJRXQyMUpWaE tISEZ6elVvQT09 Meeting ID: 862 2265 9918 Passcode: 623876 One tap mobile: +19399450244,,86222659918 #,,,,*623876# Puerto Rico +17879451488,,86222659918 #,,,,*623876# Puerto Rico Dial by your location: +1 939 945 0244 Puerto Rico +1 787 945 1488 Puerto Rico +1 787 966 7727 Puerto Rico Meeting ID: 862 2265 9918 Passcode: 623876 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Miguel Rolo´n, Executive Director, Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 270 Mun˜oz Rivera Avenue, Suite 401, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918–1903; telephone: (787) 398–3717. PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12119 The items included in the tentative agenda are: —Call to Order —Roll Call —Adoption of Agenda —Marine Protected Areas —Other Business All meetings will be discussing the same agenda items. Other than the starting date and time, the order of business may be adjusted as necessary to accommodate the completion of agenda items, at the discretion of the Chair. The meetings will begin on March 22, 2022 at 9 a.m. AST, and will end on March 24, 2022, at 4 p.m. AST. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Special Accommodations Simultaneous interpretation will be provided for the DAP–PR, on March 24, 2022. For simultaneous interpretation English-Spanish-English follow your Zoom screen instructions. You will be asked which language you prefer when you join the meeting. For any additional information on this public virtual meeting, please contact Diana Martino, Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 270 Mun˜oz Rivera Avenue, Suite 401, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918–1903; telephone: (787) 226–8849. (Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) Dated: February 28, 2022. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2022–04488 Filed 3–2–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XB856] North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of webconference. AGENCY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan (BS FEP) Team will be held on March 18, 2022, and on March 21, 2022. DATES: The meeting will be held on Friday, March 18, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on Monday, March 21, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Alaska Time. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be a webconference. Join online through the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\03MRN1.SGM 03MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 42 (Thursday, March 3, 2022)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12117-12119]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-04450]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[RTID 0648-XB779]


Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; 
Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Ferry Berth Improvements in Tongass 
Narrows, Alaska

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

ACTION: Notice; issuance of incidental harassment authorization.

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

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 
eight species of marine mammals, by Level A and Level B harassment, 
incidental to Ferry Berth Improvements at Tongass Narrows, near 
Ketchikan, AK. The project has been delayed and none of the work 
covered in the initial IHA has been conducted. The initial IHA was 
effective from March 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022. ADOT&PF has 
requested re-issuance with new effective dates of March 1, 2022, 
through February 28, 2023. 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 March 1, 2022, through 
February 28, 2023.

ADDRESSES: An electronic copy of the final 2020 IHA previously issued 
to ADOT&PF, ADOT&PF 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-ferry-berth-improvements. In case of 
problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed 
below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Pauline, 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

[[Page 12118]]

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 January 7, 2020, NMFS published a final notice of our issuance 
of two consecutive IHAs authorizing take of marine mammals incidental 
to the Ferry Berth Improvements in Tongass Narrows, Alaska (85 FR 637). 
The effective dates of the first IHA were from March 1, 2020 through 
February 28, 2021 (Phase 1) while the effective dates of the second IHA 
were from from March 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022 (Phase 2). Due 
to various project delays and two minor changes in the activity, 
ADOT&PF requested a renewal of the Phase 1 IHA. NMFS issued renewal of 
the Phase 1 IHA on May 5, 2021 (86 FR 23938). On November 22, 2021, 
ADOT&PF informed NMFS that due to project delays none of the work 
identified in the initial Phase 2 IHA (e.g., pile installation and 
removal) had occurred. ADOT&PF submitted a request that we reissue an 
identical Phase 2 IHA that would be effective from March 1, 2022 
through February 28, 2023, in order to conduct the construction work 
that was analyzed and authorized through the previously issued Phase 2 
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 Phase 2 IHA.
    The purpose of ADOT&PF's construction project is to improve 
facilities that provide reliable access to Ketchikan International 
Airport and facilitate growth and development in the region. Some of 
the existing ferry facilities are aging and periodically out-of-service 
for repairs or maintenance, and this project will provide redundant 
ferry berths to increase reliability. The location, timing, and nature 
of the activities, including the types of equipment planned for use, 
are identical hose described in the initial Phase 2 IHA. The mitigation 
and monitoring are also as prescribed in the initial IHA.
    Take of a small number of eight species of marine mammals has been 
authorized by NMFS. Three of those species, harbor seal (Phoca vitulina 
richardii), harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), and Dall's porpoise 
(Phocoenoides dalli) may be taken by Level A or Level B harassment 
while the remaining five species would be taken by Level B harassment 
only. These species include humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), 
minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), killer whale (Orcinus orca), 
Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), and Steller 
sea lion (Eschrichtius robustus). 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 Phase 2 IHA. NMFS has revieweded 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 Phase 
I and Phase 2 IHAs for ADOT&PF construction work (85 FR 673; January 7, 
2020), ADOT&PF application, the Federal Register notice of the proposed 
IHAs (84 FR 34134; July 17, 2019), and all associated references and 
documents.

Determinations

    ADOT&PF will conduct activities as analyzed in the initial Phase 2 
2021-2022 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 2022 IHA 
includes identical required mitigation, monitoring, and reporting 
measures as the initial Phase 2 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 NMFS' Alaska Regional 
Office, whenever we propose to authorize take for endangered or 
threatened species.
    NMFS is authorizing take of the Central North Pacific stock of 
humpback whales, of which a portion belong to the Mexico DPS of 
humpback whales, which are listed under the ESA.
    The action agencies are the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) 
and the NMFS Office of Protected Resources Permits and Conservation 
Division. On February 6, 2019, NMFS completed consultation with ADOT&PF 
for Tongass Narrows Project and issued a Biological Opinion with the 
FHA as an

[[Page 12119]]

action agency. Reinitiation of formal consultation was required to add 
NMFS Permits and Conservation Division as an action agency and to 
analyze changes to the action that were not considered in the February 
2019 opinion (PCTS# AKR-2018-9806/ECO# AKRO-2018-01287). The original 
opinion considered the effects of only one project component being 
constructed at a time and did not analyze potential effects of 
concurrent pile driving which may cause effects to the listed species 
that were not considered in the original opinion; therefore, 
reinitiation of formal consultation was required.
    NMFS' Alaska Region issued a revised Biological Opinion to NMFS' 
Office of Protected Resources on December 19, 2019 which concluded that 
issuance of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 IHAs to ADOT&PF is not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of Mexico DPS humpback whales.

Authorization

    NMFS has issued an IHA to ADOT&PF for in-water construction 
activities associated with the specified activity from March 1, 2022, 
through February 28, 2023. All previously described mitigation, 
monitoring, and reporting requirements from the initial Phase 2 IHA are 
incorporated.

    Dated: February 25, 2022.
Kimberly Damon-Randall,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-04450 Filed 3-2-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P