National Estuarine Research Reserve System
Notice is hereby given that the Estuarine Reserves Division, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce approves the Wells, Maine National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan revision. The revised management plan outlines the administrative structure; the research, education, training, and stewardship goals of the reserve; and the plans for future land acquisition and facility development to support reserve operations. The Wells Reserve Management Plan revision will replace the plan approved in 2007. The Wells, Maine National Estuarine Research Reserve takes an integrated approach to management, linking research, education, training and stewardship functions to address high priority issues including the impact of climate change of coastal ecosystems and communities, development pressures, population growth, land-use change, habitat fragmentation, and water quality degradation. Since the last management plan, the reserve implemented its core programs and expanded its monitoring infrastructure to include capabilities for understanding climate impacts; enhanced its facilities, including new Visitor Center exhibits and interpretive trail signs; constructed an environmental chamber for year-round research; and furthered land conservation in the reserve's targeted watersheds. The revised management plan will serve as the guiding document for the 2,250 acre Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve for the next five years. The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan revision can be viewed at www.wellsreserve.org. Comments can be provided to Paul Dest, Reserve Director at email@example.com.
Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan for Guided Sport and Commercial Fisheries in Alaska
NMFS issues regulations to implement a catch sharing plan for the guided sport (charter) and commercial fisheries for Pacific halibut in waters of International Pacific Halibut Commission Regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska). This catch sharing plan replaces the Guideline Harvest Level program, defines an annual process for allocating halibut between the charter and commercial fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A, and establishes allocations for each fishery. The commercial fishery will continue to be managed under the Individual Fishing Quota system. To allow flexibility for individual commercial and charter fishery participants, the catch sharing plan also authorizes annual transfers of commercial halibut quota to charter halibut permit holders for harvest in the charter fishery. This action is necessary to achieve the halibut fishery management goals of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Operation of Offshore Oil and Gas Facilities in the U.S. Beaufort Sea
NMFS, upon application from BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (BP), is issuing regulations pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to operation of offshore oil and gas facilities in the U.S. Beaufort Sea, Alaska, for the period January 2014-January 2019. These regulations, which allow for the issuance of Letters of Authorization (LOAs) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the described activities and specified timeframes, prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, as well as requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.