Fish and Wildlife Service December 8, 2020 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Marine Mammals; Incidental Take During Specified Activities; Proposed Incidental Harassment Authorization for Polar Bears in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Document Number: 2020-26747
Type: Notice
Date: 2020-12-08
Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received a request under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 from the Kaktovik I[ntilde]upiat Corporation (KIC), for authorization to take by harassment small numbers of polar bears incidental to seismic survey and associated activities scheduled to occur between January 21, 2021, and September 30, 2021. KIC has requested this authorization for incidental take of polar bears that may result from three-dimensional (3D) seismic surveys in the Marsh Creek East Program Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The project will consist of activities such as over-flights for aerial infrared surveys in January 2021 and February 2021 to look for maternal polar bear dens; staging and mobilization of vehicles and equipment; small crew surveys for hazards, ice integrity, and snow depth assessment; seismic surveys via a sled camp with rubber-tracked vibrator trucks; camp setup and mobilization; aerial activities for crew and supply transport; digital elevation modeling for river-crossing slope analysis; and cleanup activities during the summer of 2021. We estimate that this project may result in the nonlethal incidental take of up to three polar bears. This proposed authorization, if finalized, will be for take of three polar bears by Level B harassment only. No take by injury or death to polar bears is likely and therefore such take is not included in this proposed authorization.