Listing Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Designating Critical Habitat; 12-month Determination on How to Proceed with a Petition to Revise Designated Critical Habitat for Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals
We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), announce our 12-month determination on how to proceed with a petition to revise the critical habitat designation for elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and staghorn (A. cervicornis) corals pursuant to section 4(b)(3)(D)(ii) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended. Elkhorn and staghorn corals are listed as threatened throughout their ranges and have designated critical habitat consisting of substrate of suitable quality and availability to support successful larval settlement and recruitment, and successful reattachment and recruitment of asexual fragments in water depths shallower than 30 meters in four areas in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The petition seeks to extend the northern boundary of designated critical habitat in the Florida area to the Lake Worth Inlet, which is approximately 15.5 miles (25 km) north of the current boundary at Boynton Beach Inlet, based on the discovery of staghorn corals north of the existing critical habitat boundary. We have evaluated the available scientific information and have decided, based on the adequacy of the existing, recent designation to meet the corals' conservation needs, the relatively low benefit the requested revision would provide, the protections afforded to the species from the recent ESA section 4(d) regulations, and our need to complete higher priority conservation activities for these and other coral species, to deny the petitioned action.
Intent to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council's Restoration Efforts
NOAA, as a member of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (Council), announces the intent of the Council to prepare a supplement to the existing environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Council's restoration efforts, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, (NEPA). This supplemental EIS (SEIS) is necessary to respond to significant new circumstances bearing on the Council's restoration efforts as assessed in the original EIS. Specifically, as the restoration funds remaining from the Exxon Valdez settlement diminish, the Council seeks a more discrete and efficient funding mechanism by which to direct the remaining funds. The SEIS would assess the environmental impacts of the Council's proposal to narrow and refine the scope of the Council's restoration efforts to five defined restoration categories: herring; lingering oil; long-term monitoring of marine conditions; harbor protection and marine restoration; and habitat acquisition and protection. Cooperating agencies are the Alaska Departments of Law, Environmental Conservation, and Fish and Game, and the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Notice of Intent To Conduct Restoration Planning (Pursuant to 15 CFR 990.44)-Discharge of Oil From the MIV CASCO BUSAN Into San Francisco Bay, November 7, 2007
On or about November 7, 2007, the privately owned cargo carrier MlV CASCO BUSAN struck a portion of the fendering system for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge's Delta Tower. This ruptured one or more of the vessel's fuel tanks, allowing a portion of the vessel's bunker oil to be discharged into the San Francisco Bay. The estimated discharge amounted to approximately 53,000 gallons of IFO 380, a heavy fuel oil used primarily to propel ships. This discharge affected natural resources in the area. All of the foregoing is referred to as the ``Incident.''