[MARMAM] 2018 Revised Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing

Amy SCHOLIK - NOAA Federal amy.scholik at noaa.gov
Wed Jun 20 07:25:24 PDT 2018

 NOAA Fisheries, per approval of the Secretary of Commerce, is releasing
the 2018 Revision to: Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of
Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing – Underwater Thresholds for
Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts (NOAA Technical
Memorandum NMFS-OPR-59) in relation to section 10 of the Presidential
Executive Order (EO) 13795, “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy
Strategy.” The Notice of Availability for the 2018 Revision to: Technical
Guidance is available here – (https://www.federalregister.g
-technical-guidance-for-assessing-effects-of-anthropogenic-sound-on-marine) and
will publish on Thursday, June 21. .

The Technical Guidance is a science-based document that compiles,
interprets, and synthesizes scientific literature to produce updated
acoustic thresholds for assessing the effects of underwater sound on marine
mammal hearing. It is intended for use by NOAA Fisheries’ managers and
other relevant user groups/stakeholders, when seeking to determine whether
and how their activities are expected to result in hearing impacts to
marine mammals via acoustic exposure. The Technical Guidance does not
represent the entirety of NOAA Fisheries’ comprehensive effects analysis
but rather serves as one tool to help evaluate a proposed action. We
recommend its use but note that user groups/stakeholders are not required
to use the Technical Guidance; other scientifically rigorous methods are

We completed a 45-day public comment period and hosted a Federal Agencies’
forum to gather feedback to inform our revision of the Technical Guidance
under section 10 of E.O. 13795. The comments received during the Technical
Guidance review affirmed that the Guidance is based on the best available
science while also providing suggestions to improve its implementation. No
commenter or federal agency suggested rescinding the document.

The acoustic thresholds for onset of permanent threshold shift (PTS) and
temporary threshold shifts (TTS) in marine mammal hearing for all sound
sources in the 2018 Revision (NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR-59) will
remain the same as the 2016 Technical Guidance. Nevertheless, this 2018
revision of the Technical Guidance (NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR-59)
addresses implementation and facilitates its use applicants, thereby
further advancing the policy in section 2 of E.O. 13795.

To accompany the revised Technical Guidance (NOAA Technical Memorandum
NMFS-OPR-59), NOAA Fisheries is issuing an updated User Spreadsheet tool
with additional capabilities for applicants and a new companion User Manual
for the Spreadsheet tool that provides detailed instructions, definitions,
and appropriate defaults to use when data are unavailable.

The 2018 Revision to the Technical Guidance (NOAA Technical Memorandum
NMFS-OPR-59), as well as the updated User Spreadsheet tool and the new
companion User Manual will be available in electronic form via the Internet
at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-pro

We will continue to improve this Technical Guidance using the best
available science and refine the User Manual based on your input. NOAA
Fisheries plans to submit the User Manual for the Spreadsheet tool for
public comment (anticipated later in 2018) to gain your input and inform
future versions of the User Manual. Additionally, NOAA Fisheries will
re-evaluate implementation of the 24-h accumulation period in the Technical
Guidance by convening a working group to investigate means for deriving
more realistic accumulation periods (anticipated later in 2018). NOAA
Fisheries will also convene a working group (anticipated later in 2018) to
explore the impacts of sound on baleen whale hearing and incorporate
recommendations from this working group in future updates to the Technical

Thank you for your interest in the Technical Guidance. For more
information, please contact Amy Scholik-Schlomer (amy.scholik at noaa.gov or
301 427-8449).

*Amy R. Scholik-Schlomer, Ph.D.*
Fishery Biologist (Protected Resources Acoustic Coordinator)
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service
Office of Protected Resources
Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division
1315 East-West Hwy.
SSMC3, Rm. 13605
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 427-8449
*Amy.Scholik at noaa.gov
<Amy.Scholik at noaa.gov>http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/
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