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Notice

Public Meetings on Protective Regulations for Killer Whales in the Northwest Region Under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; notification of additional public meeting.

SUMMARY:

We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) are issuing this notice to advise the public that NMFS is adding an additional public meeting regarding proposed regulations under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act to prohibit vessels from approaching killer whales within 200 yards and from parking in the path of whales for vessels in inland waters of Washington State. The proposed regulations would also prohibit vessels from entering a conservation area during a defined season. The proposed rule was published July 29, 2009, and includes information on two public meetings. We are issuing this notice to announce a third public meeting in Anacortes, WA that has been added in response to requests for additional public meetings to allow for greater public participation.

DATES:

Three public meetings will be held as follows:

(1) September 24, 2009, 7-9 p.m., Pier One Main Warehouse, 100 Commercial Avenue, Anacortes, WA;

(2) September 30, 2009, 7-9 p.m., Seattle Aquarium, Pier 59, Seattle, WA; and

(3) October 5, 2009, 7-9 p.m., The Grange Hall, First Street, Friday Harbor, WA.

Written or electronic comments on the proposed rule and draft Environmental Assessment (EA) from all interested parties are encouraged and must be received no later than October 27, 2009. All comments and material received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be released to the public.

ADDRESSES:

Comments on the proposed rule, draft EA and any of the supporting documents can be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Email: orca.plan@noaa.gov.
  • Federal e-rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
  • Mail: Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, Northwest Regional Office, National Marine Fisheries Service, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.

The draft EA and other supporting documents are available on Regulations.gov and the NMFS Northwest Region Web site at http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/​.

You may submit information and comments concerning this Proposed Rule, the draft EA, or any of the supporting documents by any one of several methods identified above. We will consider all comments and information received during the comment period in preparing a final Start Printed Page 47780rule. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment- including your personal identifying information- may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lynne Barre, Northwest Regional Office, 206-526-4745; or Trevor Spradlin, Office of Protected Resources, 301-713-2322.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On July 29, 2009, NMFS proposed regulations under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act to prohibit vessels from approaching killer whales within 200 yards and from parking in the path of whales for vessels in inland waters of Washington State (74 FR 37674). The proposed regulations would also prohibit vessels from entering a conservation area during a defined season. Certain vessels would be exempt from the prohibitions. The purpose of the action is to protect killer whales from interference and noise associated with vessels. In the final rule announcing the endangered listing of Southern Resident killer whales NMFS identified disturbance and sound associated with vessels as a potential contributing factor in the recent decline of this population. The Recovery Plan for Southern Resident killer whales calls for evaluating current guidelines and assessing the need for regulations and/or protected areas. We developed the proposed rule after considering comments submitted in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (72 FR 13464; March 22, 2007) and preparing a draft environmental assessment (EA).

Reasonable Accommodation

Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate in the public meetings should contact Lynne Barre (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). To allow sufficient time to process requests, please call at least 5 business days prior to the relevant meeting(s).

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Dated: September 11, 2009.

James H. Lecky,

Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. E9-22414 Filed 9-16-09; 8:45 am]

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