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Notice

Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the South Basin Improvements Project at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notice; issuance of an incidental harassment authorization Renewal.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) Renewal to the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) to take marine mammals incidental to the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal Expansion Project in San Francisco, California.

DATES:

This IHA Renewal is valid from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jordan Carduner, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the original application, Renewal request, and supporting documents (including NMFS Federal Register notices of the original proposed and final authorizations, and the previous IHA), as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​permit/​incidental-take-authorizations-under-marine-mammal-protection-act. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The MMPA prohibits the “take” of marine mammals, with certain exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) 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 or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed incidental take authorization is provided to the public for review.

Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other “means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact” on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to here as “mitigation measures”). Monitoring and reporting of such takings are also required. The meaning of key terms such as “take,” “harassment,” and “negligible impact” can be found in section 3 of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1362) and the agency's regulations at 50 CFR 216.103.

NMFS' regulations implementing the MMPA at 50 CFR 216.107(e) indicate that IHAs may be renewed for additional periods of time not to exceed one year for each reauthorization. In the notice of proposed IHA for the initial authorization, NMFS described the circumstances under which we would consider issuing a Renewal for this activity, and requested public comment on a potential Renewal under those circumstances. Specifically, on a case-by-case basis, NMFS may issue a one-year IHA Renewal when (1) another year of identical or nearly identical activities as described in the Specified Activities section is planned or (2) the activities would not be completed by the time the IHA expires and a second IHA would allow for completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section of the initial IHA. All of the following conditions must be met in order to issue a Renewal:

  • A request for Renewal is received no later than 60 days prior to expiration of the current IHA;
  • The request for Renewal must include the following:

(1) An explanation that the activities to be conducted beyond the initial dates either are identical to the previously analyzed activities or include changes so minor (e.g., reduction in pile size) that the changes do not affect the previous analyses, take estimates, or mitigation and monitoring requirements; and

(2) A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized;

  • Upon review of the request for Renewal, the status of the affected species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS determines that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, the mitigation and monitoring measures remain the same and appropriate, and the initial findings remain valid.

An additional public comment period of 15 days (for a total of 45 days), with direct notice by email, phone, or postal service to commenters on the initial IHA, is provided to allow for any additional comments on the proposed Renewal. A description of the Renewal process may be found on our website at: www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​national/​marine-mammal-protection/​incidental-harassment-authorization-renewals.

History of Request

On May 31, 2018, NMFS issued an IHA to WETA to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving activities associated with the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal Expansion Project, South Basin Improvements Project in San Francisco, California, effective from June 1, 2018, through May 30, 2019 (83 FR 28826; June 21, 2018). On March 5, 2019, NMFS received an application for the Renewal of that IHA. As described in the application for Renewal, the activities authorized in the initial IHA would not be completed by the time that IHA expires and a second IHA would allow for completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section of the initial IHA. As required, the applicant also provided a preliminary monitoring report (available at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​action/​incidental-take-authorization-sf-bay-area-water-emergency-transportation-authority-ferry-0) which confirms that the applicant has implemented the required mitigation and monitoring, and which also shows that no impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized have occurred as a result of the activities conducted.

Description of the Specified Activities and Anticipated Impacts

WETA plans to continue to expand the berthing capacity at the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal, located at Start Printed Page 26406the San Francisco Ferry Building, to support existing and future planned water transit services operated on San Francisco Bay by WETA and WETA's emergency operations. The Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal Expansion Project includes the construction of three new water transit gates and overwater berthing facilities, in addition to supportive landside improvements, such as additional passenger waiting and queueing areas, circulation improvements, and other water transit-related amenities. The new gates and other improvements will be designed to accommodate future planned water transit services between Downtown San Francisco and Antioch, Berkeley, Martinez, Hercules, Redwood City, Richmond, and Treasure Island, as well as emergency operation needs. All piles will be driven during the authorized in-water work window of June 1 to November 30, 2019.

The specified activities described for this renewal are an identical subset of the activities covered by the initial 2018 IHA. NMFS previously published notices of proposed IHA (83 FR 18507; April 27, 2018) and issued IHA (83 FR 28826; June 21, 2018). These documents, as well as WETA's initial IHA application and the preliminary monitoring report for the previously issued IHA, are available at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​action/​incidental-take-authorization-sf-bay-area-water-emergency-transportation-authority-ferry-0.

Similarly, the anticipated impacts are identical to those described in the initial IHA. Specifically, we anticipate the take of seven marine mammal stocks (including three cetacean and four pinniped stocks), by Level B harassment only, incidental to noise as a result of pile driving associated with the planned activities. WETA was not able to complete the pile driving activities analyzed in the initial IHA by the date that IHA is set to expire and anticipates the need for additional piles driving to complete the project in 2019.

The following documents are referenced in this notice and include important supporting information, and may be found at the indicated location:

Detailed Description of the Activity

As described above, WETA was not able to complete the activities analyzed in the initial IHA by the date that IHA is set to expire (June 1, 2019). As such, the activities WETA plans to conduct in 2019 would be a continuation of the activities as described in the initial 2018 IHA and would be identical to the activities analyzed in the initial IHA (same location, equipment, methods, and seasonality). The initial IHA analyzed the potential impacts to marine mammals from the construction of new water transit gates and other improvements to the ferry terminal. The new water transit gates and other improvements are designed to accommodate future planned water transit services, including an increase in peak-period WETA vessel arrivals from 14 to approximately 30, and an expansion of WETA services to accommodate more weekday passengers.

Construction of the project improvements requires pile driving. Pile driving for the project includes impact or vibratory pile driving associated with construction of the berthing structures, the Embarcadero Plaza, and East Bayside Promenade. Pile driving would occur during daylight hours only and one hammer would be used at a time. Vibratory driving of 24-inch (in) and 30-in piles may take up to 15 minutes per pile while vibratory driving of 36-in piles may take up to 20 minutes per pile. Piles driven with an impact hammer would require an estimated 1,800 strikes per pile, regardless of pile size. Underwater sound resulting from pile driving could result in the harassment of marine mammals.

Much of the pile driving associated with the project was completed in 2017 and 2018 and was covered previous IHAs. All pile driving completed in 2017 and 2018 was vibratory; no impact pile driving was conducted. The numbers of each pile size that were planned to be driven during 2018 are shown in Table 1 of the 2018 IHA application (available at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​action/​incidental-take-authorization-sf-bay-area-water-emergency-transportation-authority-ferry-0). WETA planned to install 81 steel piles, ranging in diameter from 24- to 36- in in diameter, during 2018. However, as described above, WETA was not able to complete all pile driving in 2018 as planned and therefore plans to complete pile driving associated with the planned activities in 2019. WETA installed a total of 52 piles in 2018 over approximately 21 construction days, and anticipates a total of 29 additional piles would need to be installed in 2019 to complete the project. Thus, the total number of piles driven in 2018 and 2019 combined would not exceed the total number described and analyzed in the previously issued IHA (81 piles total). A minor change in design plans would result in the installation of five more 36-in piles and five less 24-in piles that originally planned to complete the work. The Renewal is effective for a period of one year from the date of issuance.

Description of Marine Mammals

A description of the marine mammals in the area of the activities for which take is authorized, including information on abundance, status, distribution, and hearing, may be found in the notice of proposed IHA (83 FR 18507; April 27, 2018) for the initial authorization. NMFS has reviewed the monitoring data from the initial IHA, recent draft Stock Assessment Reports, information on relevant Unusual Mortality Events, and other scientific literature, and determined that neither this nor any other new information affects which species or stocks have the potential to be affected or the pertinent information in the Description of the Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities contained in the supporting documents for the initial IHA.

Potential Effects on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

A description of the potential effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat for the activities for which take is authorized may be found in the notice of proposed IHA for the initial authorization (83 FR 18507; April 27, 2018). NMFS has reviewed the monitoring data from the initial IHA, recent draft Stock Assessment Reports, information on relevant Unusual Mortality Events, and other scientific literature, and Start Printed Page 26407determined that neither this nor any other new information affects our initial analysis of impacts on marine mammals and their habitat.

Estimated Take

A detailed description of the methods and inputs used to estimate take for the specified activity are found in the notice of proposed IHA (83 FR 18507; April 27, 2018) and issued IHA for the initial authorization (83 FR 28826; June 21, 2018). The pile driving equipment that may result in take, as well as the source levels, marine mammal stocks taken, marine mammal density data and the methods of take estimation applicable to this authorization remain unchanged from the previously issued IHA.

Authorized takes would primarily be by Level B harassment as exposure to acoustic sources (i.e., impact and vibratory pile driving) has the potential to result in disruption of behavioral patterns for individual marine mammals. There is also some potential for auditory injury (Level A harassment) to result, primarily for harbor seals and California sea lions due to larger predicted auditory injury zones.

As described above, WETA completed the installation of 52 piles in 2018 and plans to install 29 piles to complete the project in 2019. Piles would include 24-in, 30-in, and 36-in piles. The number of piles for each respective size planned for installation in 2019 are shown in Table 1.

Table 1—Number and Sizes of Piles Planned for Installation in 2019, and Estimated Duration of Pile Driving

Pile diameterNumber to be installedNumber of piles installed per dayEstimated construction duration (days)
24-in62.52
30-in833
36-in1528
Total29n/a13

Distances to the isopleths corresponding to the Level B harassment threshold for each pile size and type are shown in Table 2. Distances to the isopleths corresponding to the Level A harassment thresholds for the various marine mammal functional hearing groups, by pile size and type, are shown in Table 3. Descriptions of the modeling methods used to determine the distances shown in Tables 2 and 3 are described in detail in the notice of issued IHA (83 FR 28826; June 21, 2018) for the initial IHA. These methods have not changed from the initial IHA, and all values shown in Table 2 and 3 have not changed from the initial IHA. No impact driving has been conducted on the project thus far and vibratory driving will be the most likely method of installation during 2019 as well; however, the use of an impact hammer to install piles may be required in 2019 and the potential for impact driving is therefore included in the take analysis.

Table 2—Distances to Isopleths Corresponding to the Level B Harassment Threshold

Pile size and installation methodDistance to Level B harassment threshold (m)
24-in Vibratory651
24-in Impact341
30-in Vibratory450
30-in Impact341
36-in Vibratory940
36-in Impact541

Table 3—Distances to Isopleths Corresponding to Level A Harassment Thresholds

Pile size and installation methodDistance to Level A Harassment threshold (m)
Low-frequency cetaceansMid-frequency cetaceansHigh- frequency cetaceansPhocid pinnipedsOtariid pinnipeds
24-in Vibratory3.1<142<1
24-in Impact4181549822416
30-in Vibratory2<131<1
30-in Impact4181549822416
36-in Vibratory5<174<1
36-in Impact8012995442931

As the number of pile driving days that would occur in 2019 is less than the number of pile driving days analyzed in the previous IHA, the number of takes estimated to occur in 2019, and authorized, has changed from the number of takes authorized in the initial IHA. Take numbers authorized in the initial IHA are shown in Table 11 of the Start Printed Page 264082018 notice of issued IHA (83 FR 28826; June 21, 2018), available at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​action/​incidental-take-authorization-sf-bay-area-water-emergency-transportation-authority-ferry-0).

The number of takes authorized in this IHA, for each marine mammal stock, are shown in Table 4. Auditory injury (i.e., Level A harassment) is unlikely to occur for cetaceans, however, take by Level A harassment of harbor seals and California sea lions are authorized given their increased presence in the nearshore waters of the project site and the relatively large Level A harassment zones, especially for 36-in piles.

Table 4—Total Takes Authorized

SpeciesTakes by Level A harassmentTakes by Level B harassmentTotal takes authorized
Harbor seal2083103
Northern fur seal01010
California sea lion892100
Northern elephant seal01313
Gray whale044
Bottlenose dolphin03030
Harbor porpoise03232

Description of Mitigation, Monitoring and Reporting Measures

The mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures included as requirements in this authorization are identical to those included in the notice announcing the issuance of the initial IHA, and the discussion of the least practicable adverse impact included in that document remains accurate. The following measures are included in this renewal:

General Construction Measures

A Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan has been prepared to address the emergency cleanup of any hazardous material, and will be available onsite. The SPCC plan incorporates SPCC, hazardous waste, stormwater, and other emergency planning requirements. In addition, the project will comply with the Port's stormwater regulations. Fueling of land and marine-based equipment will be conducted in accordance with procedures outlined in the SPCC. Well-maintained equipment will be used to perform work, and except in the case of a failure or breakdown, equipment maintenance will be performed offsite. Equipment will be inspected daily by the operator for leaks or spills. If leaks or spills are encountered, the source of the leak will be identified, leaked material will be cleaned up, and the cleaning materials will be collected and properly disposed. Fresh cement or concrete will not be allowed to enter San Francisco Bay. All construction materials, wastes, debris, sediment, rubbish, trash, fencing, etc. will be removed from the site once project construction is complete, and transported to an authorized disposal area.

Pile Driving

Pre-activity monitoring will take place from 30 minutes prior to initiation of pile driving activity and post-activity monitoring will continue through 30 minutes post-completion of pile driving activity. Pile driving may commence at the end of the 30-minute pre-activity monitoring period, provided observers have determined that the shutdown zone (described below) is clear of marine mammals, which includes delaying start of pile driving activities if a marine mammal is sighted in the zone, as described below. A determination that the shutdown zone is clear must be made during a period of good visibility (i.e., the entire shutdown zone and surrounding waters must be visible to the naked eye).

If a marine mammal approaches or enters the shutdown zone during activities or pre-activity monitoring, all pile driving activities at that location must be halted or delayed, respectively. If pile driving is halted or delayed due to the presence of a marine mammal, the activity may not resume or commence until either the animal has voluntarily left and been visually confirmed beyond the shutdown zone and 15 or 30 minutes (for pinnipeds/small cetaceans or large cetaceans, respectively) have passed without re-detection of the animal. Pile driving activities include the time to install or remove a single pile or series of piles, as long as the time elapsed between uses of the pile driving equipment is no more than thirty minutes.

For all pile driving activities, a minimum of one protected species observed (PSO) will be required, stationed at the active pile driving rig or at the best vantage point(s) practicable to monitor the shutdown zones for marine mammals and implement shutdown or delay procedures when applicable through communication with the equipment operator. Two PSOs will be required on days when impact pile driving occurs.

Monitoring of pile driving will be conducted by qualified PSOs (see below) who will have no other assigned tasks during monitoring periods. WETA will adhere to the following conditions when selecting observers:

  • Independent PSOs will be used (i.e., not construction personnel);
  • PSOs must have prior experience working as a marine mammal observer during construction activities; and
  • WETA will submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS.

WETA will ensure that observers have the following additional qualifications:

  • Ability to conduct field observations and collect data according to assigned protocols;
  • Experience or training in the field identification of marine mammals, including the identification of behaviors;
  • Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the construction operation to provide for personal safety during observations;
  • Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of observations including but not limited to the number and species of marine mammals observed; dates and times when in-water construction activities were conducted; dates, times, and reason for implementation of mitigation (or why mitigation was not implemented when required); and marine mammal behavior; and
  • Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals observed in the area as necessary.

To prevent Level A take of cetaceans, elephant seals, and Northern fur seals, Start Printed Page 26409shutdown zones equivalent to the Level A harassment zones will be established. If the Level A harassment zone is less than 10 m, a minimum 10 m shutdown zone will be enforced. WETA will implement shutdown zones as follows:

Table 5—Pile Driving Shutdown Zones

Pile size and installation methodShutdown zone (m)
Low-frequency cetaceansMid-frequency cetaceansHigh- frequency cetaceansOtariid pinnipedsPhocid pinnipeds
24-in Vibratory1010101010.
24-in Impact420155001630 for harbor seals, 224 for all other species.
30-in Vibratory1010101010.
30-in Impact420155001630 for harbor seals, 224 for all other species.
36-in Vibratory1010101010.
36-in Impact800309553030 for harbor seals, 430 for all other species.

If a species for which authorization has not been granted, or a species for which authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are met, is observed approaching or within the Level B harassment zones, pile driving and removal activities must cease immediately using delay and shutdown procedures. Similarly, if a species for which take by Level A harassment has not been authorized, or a species for which authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are met, is observed approaching or within the Level A harassment zones, pile driving and removal activities must cease immediately. Activities must not resume until the animal has been confirmed to have left the area or 15 or 30 minutes (pinniped/small cetacean or large cetacean, respectively) has elapsed.

Piles driven with an impact hammer will employ a “soft start” technique to give fish and marine mammals an opportunity to move out of the area before full-powered impact pile driving begins. This soft start will include an initial set of three strikes from the impact hammer at reduced energy, followed by a 30 second waiting period, then two subsequent three-strike sets. Soft start will be required at the beginning of each day's impact pile driving work and at any time following a cessation of impact pile driving of 30 minutes or longer.

Impact hammers will be cushioned using a 12-in thick wood cushion block. WETA will also employ a bubble curtain during impact pile driving. WETA will implement the following performance standards:

  • The bubble curtain must distribute air bubbles around 100 percent of the piling perimeter for the full depth of the water column;
  • The lowest bubble ring shall be in contact with the mudline for the full circumference of the ring, and the weights attached to the bottom ring shall ensure 100 percent mudline contact. No parts of the ring or other objects shall prevent full mudline contact; and
  • WETA will require that construction contractors train personnel in the proper balancing of air flow to the bubblers, and shall require that construction contractors submit an inspection/performance report for approval by WETA within 72 hours following the performance test. Corrections to the attenuation device to meet the performance standards shall occur prior to impact driving.

Based on our evaluation of the applicant's proposed measures, NMFS has determined that the mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

Public Comments

A notice of NMFS' proposal to issue a Renewal to WETA was published in the Federal Register on May 9, 2019 (84 FR 20336). That notice either described, or referenced descriptions of, WETA's activity, the marine mammal species that may be affected by the activity, the anticipated effects on marine mammals and their habitat, proposed amount and manner of take, and proposed mitigation, monitoring and reporting measures. NMFS received a comment letter from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). The comments and our responses are summarized below.

Comment: The Commission questioned whether the public notice provisions for IHA Renewals fully satisfy the public notice and comment provision in the MMPA and discussed the potential burden on reviewers of reviewing key documents and developing comments quickly. Therefore, the Commission recommended that NMFS use the IHA Renewal process sparingly and selectively for activities expected to have the lowest levels of impacts to marine mammals and that require less complex analysis.

Response: NMFS has taken a number of steps to ensure the public has adequate notice, time, and information to be able to comment effectively on IHA Renewals within the limitations of processing IHA applications efficiently. The Federal Register notice for the initial proposed IHA (83 FR 18507; April 27, 2018) previously identified the conditions under which a one-year Renewal IHA might be appropriate. This information is presented in the Request for Public Comments section of the initial proposed IHA and thus encourages submission of comments on the potential of a one-year renewal as well as the initial IHA during the 30-day comment period. In addition, when we receive an application for a Renewal IHA, we publish a notice of the proposed IHA Renewal in the Federal Register and provide an additional 15 days for public comment, for a total of 45 days of public comment. We will also directly contact all commenters on the initial IHA by email, phone, or, if the commenter did not provide email or phone information, by postal service to provide them the opportunity to submit any additional comments on the proposed Renewal IHA.

NMFS also strives to ensure the public has access to key information needed to submit comments on a proposed IHA, whether an initial IHA or a Renewal IHA. The agency's website includes information for all projects under consideration, including the application, references, and other supporting documents. Each Federal Register notice also includes contact information in the event a commenter has questions or cannot find the information they seek.Start Printed Page 26410

Regarding the Commission's comment that Renewal IHAs should be limited to certain types of projects, NMFS has explained on its website and in individual Federal Register notices that Renewal IHAs are appropriate where the continuing activities are identical, nearly identical, or a subset of the activities for which the initial 30-day comment period applied. Where the commenter has likely already reviewed and commented on the initial proposed IHA for these activities, the abbreviated additional comment period is sufficient for consideration of the results of the preliminary monitoring report and new information (if any) from the past year.

National Environmental Policy Act

To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6A, NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an incidental harassment authorization) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment. This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in Categorical Exclusion B4 (incidental harassment authorizations with no anticipated serious injury or mortality) of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216-6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has determined that the issuance of the IHA Renewal qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review.

Determinations

WETA's planned activity is identical to the activity analyzed in our previously issued notices of proposed IHA and issued IHA (with the exception of the number of piles planned for installation, which is less than the number analyzed in those documents). We concluded that the initial IHA would have a negligible impact on all marine mammal stocks and species and that the taking would be small relative to population sizes. The marine mammal information, potential effects, and the mitigation and monitoring measures remain the same as those analyzed in the previously issued notices of proposed IHA and issued IHA, therefore the extensive analysis, as well as the associated findings, included in the prior documents remain applicable.

The only differences between the initial IHA and this Renewal is that the number of piles planned for installation, and the numbers of marine mammal takes expected to occur incidental to the planned activities, are lower than the numbers analyzed and authorized in the previously issued IHA. As both the number of piles planned for installation and the number of takes expected to occur, and authorized, are lower than in the initial IHA, we have concluded that the effects of the IHA Renewal are the same or less than those that were analyzed in the notices of the initial proposed IHA and issued IHA.

NMFS has concluded that there is no new information suggesting that our analysis or findings should change from those reached for the initial IHA. Based on the information and analysis contained here and in the referenced documents, NMFS has determined the following: (1) The required mitigation measures will effect the least practicable impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat; (2) the authorized takes will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks; (3) the authorized takes represent small numbers of marine mammals relative to the affected stock abundances; (4) WETA's activities will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on taking for subsistence purposes as no relevant subsistence uses of marine mammals are implicated by this action, and; (5) appropriate monitoring and reporting requirements are included.

Endangered Species Act

Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. No incidental take of ESA-listed species is authorized or expected to result from WETA's planned activity. Therefore, NMFS has determined that formal consultation under section 7 of the ESA is not required for this action.

Renewal

NMFS has issued an IHA Renewal to WETA for conducting ferry terminal expansion activities at the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal, provided the previously described mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated.

Start Signature

Dated: June 3, 2019.

Donna S. Wieting,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-11851 Filed 6-5-19; 8:45 am]

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