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A copy of SDOT'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 defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “* * *an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”
Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].
On September 17, 2012, NMFS received a complete application from SDOT requesting authorization for the take of nine marine mammal species incidental to replacement of the Elliott Bay Seawall in Seattle, Washington over the course of 5 years, which would necessitate the promulgation of 5-year regulations. The purpose of the proposed project is to reduce the risks of coastal storm and seismic damage and to protect public safety, critical infrastructure, and associated economic activities in the area. Additionally, the project would improve the degraded ecosystem functions and processes of the Elliott Bay nearshore around the existing seawall. Noise produced during pile installation and removal activities has the potential to take marine mammals. SDOT requests authorization to take nine marine mammal species by Level B harassment only: Pacific harbor seal (
In the application submitted to NMFS, SDOT requests authorization to take marine mammals incidental to replacement of the Elliott Bay Seawall. Construction activities, namely vibratory and impact pile installation and removal, would occur in two phases. Phase 1 involves construction of the Central Seawall and Phase 2 involves construction of the North Seawall. The entire project is expected to take 7 years, but SDOT's request covers the first 5 years. Section 2 of SDOT's application describes the activities in detail, as well as the location and construction schedule.
Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and comments concerning SDOT's request (see