[MARMAM] Announcement of Public Scoping for Programmatic EIS

Sarah Wilkin Sarah.Wilkin at noaa.gov
Wed Jan 18 06:15:45 PST 2006

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is preparing an
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the activities of the Marine
Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP).  The MMHSRP
- the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network,
- the Marine Mammal Disentanglement Program,
- the Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event and Emergency Response
- the Marine Mammal Biomonitoring and Research Program,
- the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program,
- the National Marine Mammal Tissue and Serum Bank, and
- the MMHSRP Information Management Program.

More information regarding the EIS is available on our website:

The EIS will address the information needs for the conservation of
marine mammals; the types and levels of stranding response and
rehabilitation activities, including level of effort; and the cumulative
impacts of MMHSRP activities on marine mammals and the environment. The
EIS will also address appropriate mitigation measures and potential
cumulative impacts of the MMHSRP.  As part of and concurrent with the
EIS, the MMHSRP is proposing to issue national standards for marine
mammal stranding and  disentanglement response, including marine mammal
rehabilitation and release of rehabilitated animals, in a document
titled "Policies and Best Practices for Marine Mammal Stranding
Response, Rehabilitation and Release."  Interim versions of the chapters
of this document are available for your review and comment on the
website listed above.

As an initial step in the EIS process, NMFS is hosting a series of
public scoping meetings.  NMFS invites the public, including  stranding
network participants, Stranding Agreement (LOA) holders, marine mammal
researchers and scientists, elected officials, regulatory agencies,
environmental groups, and other interested individuals, to attend the
scoping meetings and to provide input on the range of actions,
alternatives, and impacts that should be considered in the EIS.

Eight scoping meetings will be held in January and February 2006 at the
following locations and dates:

1. Tuesday, January 24, 2006, 7-10 P.M., Santa Barbara Museum of Natural
History, 2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA;
2. Wednesday, January 25, 2006, 2-5 P.M., Bay Conservation and
Development Commission, 50 California St., Suite 2600, San Francisco,
3. Friday, January 27, 2006, 3-6 P.M., Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
National Marine Sanctuary O'ahu Office, 6600 Kalaniana'ole Highway,
Honolulu, HI;
4. Monday, January 30, 2006, 2-5 P.M., NMFS Northwest Regional Office,
Building 9, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA;
5. Wednesday, February 1, 2006; 2-5 P.M., U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK;
6. Tuesday, February 7, 2006; 5-8 P.M., NMFS Southeast Regional Office,
263 13th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL;
7. Monday, February 13, 2006; 5-8 P.M., New England Aquarium Conference
Center, Central Wharf, Boston, MA;
8. Friday, February 17, 2006; 2-5 P.M, Silver Spring Metro Center
Building 4, Science Center, 1301 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD.

Each scoping meeting will consist of an informational poster session, a
formal presentation of the EIS, and a formal public comment period. Each
attendee is invited to give a statement of up to four minutes. These
public comments will not be responded to during the meeting, although
they will be incorporated into the EIS.  However, if there is interest,
there may be an informal (off the record) question and answer session
following the formal comment period.

In addition to the scoping meetings, comments may be submitted in
writing through February 28, 2006 in one of the following ways:

Email: mmhsrpeis.comments at noaa.gov

Fax: 301-427-2584

Mail to: Mr. P. Michael Payne
Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Division (F/PR2)
Office of Protected Resources
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway, Room 13635
Silver Spring, MD 20910

For additional information about the EIS and the Interim Policies and
Practices documents, please visit our website at:
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/eis.htm or one of the following
information repositories (information will be available approximately
one week prior to the public scoping meetings):

1. Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara,
CA 93101;
2. San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA
3. Hawaii State Library, 478 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813;
4. Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104;
5. Z.J. Loussac Public Library, 3600 Denali Street, Anchorage, AK 99503;

6. St. Petersburg Public Library, 3745 9th Avenue North, St. Petersburg,
FL 33713;
7. Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116;
8. NOAA Central Library, 1315 East-West Highway, 2nd Floor, SSMC3,
Silver Spring, MD 20910.

These meetings are accessible to people with disabilities.  If you need
to request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids, or if
you have additional questions, please contact myself
(sarah.wilkin at noaa.gov) or Sarah Howlett (sarah.howlett at noaa.gov) at
least five days before the scheduled meeting date.
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