[MARMAM] Announcement of Public Hearings for Draft Programmatic EIS

Sarah.Wilkin Sarah.Wilkin at noaa.gov
Mon Mar 26 14:02:18 PDT 2007

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the availability 
of a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) on the 
activities of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program 

- the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network,
- the Marine Mammal Disentanglement Program,
- the Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event and Emergency Response Program,
- 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.

A copy of the DPEIS and associated information is available on our 
website, at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/eis.htm

The DPEIS addresses 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 DPEIS also 
addresses appropriate mitigation measures for activities conducted by 
the MMHSRP and our partner organizations.  As part of and concurrent 
with the FEIS, 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.  The MMHSRP has also applied for a scientific 
research permit to continue investigations into marine mammal health, 
and this DPEIS covers the activities that have been submitted as part of 
this permit application.

The DPEIS is available for public comments at this time.  As part of the 
public comment process, NMFS is hosting a series of public hearings.  
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 hearings and to 
provide input on the DPEIS.
Five scoping meetings will be held in April 2007 at the following 

1. Monday, April 2, 2007, San Francisco, CA - 1-4 P.M., Bay Conservation 
and Development Commission, 50 California St., Suite 2600, San 
Francisco, CA;
2. Tuesday, April 3, 2007, Seattle, WA - 3-5 P.M., NMFS Northwest 
Regional Office, Building 9, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA;
3. Friday, April 6, 2007, Silver Spring, MD - 1-4 P.M., Silver Spring 
Metro Center Building 3, Room 1311-B (Street Level), 1315 East-West 
Highway, Silver Spring, MD.
7. Monday, April 9, 2007, Boston, MA - 1-4 P.M., New England Aquarium 
Conference Center, Central Wharf, Boston, MA;
6. Tuesday, April 10, 2007, St. Petersburg, FL - 4-7 P.M., NMFS 
Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL.

Each public hearing will consist of an informational poster session, a 
formal presentation of the DPEIS, including the Preferred Alternatives, 
and a formal public comment period.  Each attendee is invited to give a 
statement of up to four minutes, which will be recorded verbatim by a 
court reporter.  These public comments will not be responded to during 
the meeting, although they will be incorporated into the Final EIS, 
which NMFS anticipates completing 2007.  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 April 30, 2007 in one of the following ways:

Email: mmhsrpeis.comments at noaa.gov; ATTN.: MMHSRP EIS

Fax: 301-427-2584; ATTN.: MMHSRP EIS

Mail to: Mr. David Cottingham
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 DPEIS and the Interim Policies and 
Practices documents, please visit our website at:

Thank you for your interest.

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