Marine Mammals; Incidental Take During Specified Activities; Proposed Incidental Harassment Authorizations for Northern Sea Otters in Southeast Alaska
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received two requests, one from the City and Borough of Sitka (CBS) and one from Duck Point Development II, LLC (DPD), for authorization to take small numbers of the southeast Alaska stock of northern sea otters incidental to pile driving in Sitka Sound and Port Frederick, Alaska, between April 1, 2019, and September 30, 2019. However, due to the time needed to process the request, we evaluated the estimated take of northern sea otters during project activities between July 22, 2019, and December 31, 2019. We estimate there may be up to 12 nonlethal, incidental takes by harassment of 4 northern sea otters for the CBS project, and up to 1,380 nonlethal, incidental takes by harassment of 220 northern sea otters for the DPD project. In accordance with provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, we request comments on our proposed authorizations, which, if finalized, will be for take by Level B harassment only. We anticipate no take by injury or death and include none in these proposed authorizations.