Ellicott Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Cruz County, CA; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the Ellicott Slough National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). In the CCP, we describe how we will manage the Refuge for the next 15 years.
Marine Mammals; Incidental Take During Specified Activities
The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposes regulations that would authorize the nonlethal, incidental, unintentional take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walruses during year-round oil and gas industry (Industry) exploration, development, and production operations in the Beaufort Sea and adjacent northern coast of Alaska. Industry operations for the covered period are similar to, and include all activities covered by the previous 5-year Beaufort Sea incidental take regulations that were effective from August 2, 2006, through August 2, 2011. We propose a finding that the total expected takings of polar bears and Pacific walruses during oil and gas industry exploration, development, and production activities will have a negligible impact on these species and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of these species for subsistence use by Alaska Natives. We base this finding on the results of 17 years of data on the encounters and interactions between polar bears, Pacific walruses, and Industry; recent studies of potential effects of Industry on these species; oil spill risk assessments; potential and documented Industry impacts on these species; and current information regarding the natural history and status of polar bears and Pacific walruses. We are proposing that this rule be effective for 5 years from date of issuance.