[MARMAM] Comments requested: Proposed Rule - to issue seven-year regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to govern the incidental take of marine mammals by the U.S. Navy’s in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area

Kate Goggin - NOAA Federal kate.goggin at noaa.gov
Fri Sep 13 09:27:08 PDT 2019


NOAA Fisheries is proposing to issue seven-year regulations under the
Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to govern the incidental take of marine
mammals by the U.S. Navy’s in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and
Testing (HSTT) Study Area. The regulations would be valid from the
publication date of the final rule (if issued) through December 20, 2025.



The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was recently amended to allow
for seven-year authorizations under the MMPA for military readiness
activities. The Navy’s activities qualify as military readiness activities
pursuant to the MMPA. This seven-year rule and subsequent Letters of
Authorization would replace the existing five-year rule published on
December 27, 2018 (83 FR 66846) and Letters of Authorization. NOAA
Fisheries’ proposed regulations and the subsequent Letters of Authorization
include identical required mitigation and monitoring measures that are
expected to reduce adverse impacts to marine mammals as those required
under the existing five-year final rule and Letters of Authorization.



The Navy’s activities are likely to result in the incidental take of marine
mammals by exposing them to sonar, in-water detonations, airguns, and pile
driving/removal activities. The proposed takes authorized by this action
are Level B harassment in the form of behavioral disturbance and temporary
threshold shift takes and Level A harassment in the form of permanent
threshold shift and other injury from exposure to explosives. A small
number of serious injury or mortality takes are also proposed for this
action from ship explosives and vessel strikes.



The HSTT Study Area includes existing range complexes and testing ranges
and additional areas located in the Pacific Ocean along southern California
and Hawaii. The HSTT Study Area includes three existing range complexes:
the Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complex, Hawaii Range Complex (HRC),
and the Silver Strand Training Complex (SSTC). Range complexes include
established operating areas (OPAREAs) and special use airspace. In
addition, the Study Area includes Navy pierside locations and areas on the
high seas where maintenance, training, or testing may occur.



The public is invited to comment on the proposed regulations here:
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/09/13/2019-18850/taking-and-importing-marine-mammals-taking-marine-mammals-incidental-to-the-us-navy-training-and




Please visit our HSTT webpage for more information
<https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/incidental-take-authorization-us-navy-hawaii-southern-california-training-and-testing-hstt>
about this action or https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/node/23111 for more
information on NOAA’s incidental take program under the MMPA.




Kate Goggin
HQ Office of Protected Resources
Lead Communications Specialist
(301) 427-8400 Main
(301) 427-8411 Direct
Kate.Goggin at noaa.gov
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