Final Notice of a New Category of Special Use Permit Related to the Operation of Desalination Facilities Producing Potable Water for Consumption
On January 12, 2017, NOAA published a notice in the Federal Register proposing two new categories of special use permits (SUP) related to the operation of desalination facilities, and requesting public comment. NOAA hereby gives public notice that the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries will adopt a new SUP category pursuant to the requirements of Section 310 of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA). The SUP category is for the continued presence of a pipeline transporting seawater to or from a desalination facility. The second category previously proposed for the use of sediment to filter seawater for desalination is removed. This notice also includes background information on the use of desalination in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) and ONMS regulations applicable to activities that disturb submerged lands or discharge into sanctuaries, explains why a SUP is appropriate for this category of actions, explains why issuance of a new SUP category will not result in additional regulatory review, explains how the SUP category will facilitate and streamline the administration and management of desalination permits, as appropriate, and provides responses to public comments received. At this time, most proposed desalination activity in sanctuaries occurs in MBNMS, and the scientific studies used for environmental impact and comparative cost analyses were regionally based, so the SUP category only applies to MBNMS.
Deep Seabed Mining: Approval of Exploration License Extensions
NOAA is announcing the approval of two, five-year extensions of deep seabed hard mineral exploration licenses issued under the Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resource Act (DSHMRA). The decision to approve the extensions follows a determination that the Licensee has substantially complied with the licenses, their terms, conditions and restrictions, and the associated exploration plan, and a review of comments on the requested extensions. No at-sea exploration activities are authorized by these extensions without authorization and further environmental review by NOAA.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Casitas Pier Fender Pile Replacement
NMFS has received a request from Venoco, LLC (Venoco) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to fender pile replacement at Casitas Pier in Carpinteria, CA. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision.
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Essential Fish Habitat
NMFS announces the availability of a Final Environmental Assessment for Amendment 10 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This Final Amendment updates Atlantic HMS essential fish habitat (EFH) based on new scientific evidence or other relevant information and following the EFH delineation methodology established in Amendment 1 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic HMS FMP (Amendment 1); updates and considers new habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs) for Atlantic HMS based on new information, as warranted; minimizes to the extent practicable the adverse effects of fishing on EFH; and identifies other actions to encourage the conservation and enhancement of EFH. This action is necessary to comply with the EFH provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and the National Standard 2 requirement that conservation and management measures be based on the best scientific information available.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Alaska Groundfish and Halibut Seabird Working Group; Public Meeting
NMFS Alaska Groundfish and Halibut Seabird Working Group will meet to discuss emerging seabird mitigation technologies and additional seabird species that could warrant more attention as bycatch in fisheries off Alaska.
Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Golden Tilefish Fishery; 2018 and Projected 2019-2020 Specifications
NMFS proposes specifications for the 2018 commercial golden tilefish fishery and projected specifications for 2019 and 2020. The proposed action is intended to establish allowable harvest levels and other management measures to prevent overfishing while allowing optimum yield, consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan. It is also intended to inform the public of these proposed specifications for the 2018 fishing year and projected specifications for 2019-2020.