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Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Elliott Bay Seawall Project in Seattle, Washington

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


Notice of issuance of a Letter of Authorization.


In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that a Letter of Authorization (LOA) has been issued to the City of Seattle's Department of Transportation (SDOT) for the take of nine species of marine mammals incidental to pile driving activities associated with the Elliott Bay Seawall Project (EBSP).


Effective from October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2014.


The LOA and supporting documentation are available for review on the Internet at:​pr/​permits/​incidental.htm#applications. Documents cited in this notice may also be viewed, by appointment, during regular business hours at the Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3225, by telephoning the contact listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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Michelle Magliocca, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 301-427-8401.

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Sections 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) directs the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued. Under the MMPA, the term “take” means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill marine mammals.

Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the identified 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 in the regulations. 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.”

Regulations governing the taking of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), California sea lions, Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), harbor porpoise, Dall's porpoise, southern resident and transient killer whales, gray whales, and humpback whales, by harassment, incidental to pile driving activities in Elliott Bay, were issued on October 21, 2013 (78 FR 63396, October 24, 2013), and remain in effect until October 21, 2018. For detailed information on this action, please refer to that document. The regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental take of marine mammals during pile driving activities associated with the Elliott Bay Seawall.

Pursuant to those regulations, NMFS issued an LOA, effective from October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2014, which authorizes the incidental take of the nine marine mammal species listed above that may result from construction associated with the Elliott Bay Seawall project. Take of marine mammals will be minimized through implementation of the following mitigation measures: (1) Limited impact pile driving; (2) containment of impact pile driving; (3) additional sound attenuation measures; (4) ramp-up of pile-related activities; (5) marine mammal exclusion zones; and (6) shutdown and delay procedures. Start Printed Page 69073SDOT will also conduct visual monitoring and underwater acoustic monitoring for mitigation and research purposes.

Reports will be submitted to NMFS at the time of request for a renewal of the LOA, and a final comprehensive report, which will summarize all previous reports and assess cumulative impacts, will be submitted before the rule expires. This LOA will be renewed based on review of the annual monitoring report and provided that NMFS makes the required findings.

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Dated: November 12, 2013.

Helen M. Golde,

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

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[FR Doc. 2013-27465 Filed 11-15-13; 8:45 am]