Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
A copy of the Navy's application may be obtained by visiting the internet at:
Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361
Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has
With respect to military readiness activities, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: “(i) Any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A Harassment]; or (ii) any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered [Level B Harassment].”
On April 13, 2012, NMFS received an application from the Navy requesting two letters of authorization (LOAs) for the take of 39 species of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities to be conducted in the HSTT Study Area over 5 years. The Navy is requesting a 5-year LOA for training activities and a 5-year LOA for testing activities, each proposed to be conducted from 2014 through 2019. The Study Area includes three existing range complexes: the Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complex, Hawaii Range Complex (HRC), and Silver Strand Training Complex (SSTC) (see page 2 of the Navy's application for a map). In addition, the Study Area includes Navy pierside locations and areas on the high seas where maintenance, training, or testing may occur. These activities are classified as military readiness activities. The Navy states that these activities may expose some of the marine mammals present within the Study Area to sound from active sonar, underwater detonations, and pile driving and removal. In addition, incidental takes of marine mammals may occur from ship strikes. The Navy is requesting authorization to take 39 marine mammal species by Level B harassment and 30 marine mammal species by serious injury or mortality.
In the application submitted to NMFS, the Navy requests authorization to take marine mammals incidental to conducting the following training and testing activities: amphibious warfare; anti-surface warfare; anti-submarine warfare; mine warfare; naval special warfare; Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) testing; Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) testing; Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) testing; and Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) testing. Detailed descriptions of these activities, including duration, location, and equipment involved, are provided in the Navy's application. The Navy has also prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzing the effects on the human environment of implementing their preferred alternative (among others).
Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and comments concerning the Navy's request (see