Federal Register Opportunities
The Federal Register
The Federal Register is a daily publication by the United States Government, known as the newspaper of the federal government. It includes executive orders, public notices, proclamations, and proposed and final administrative regulations for federal agencies. It also provides opportunities for the public to comment on proposed rules before they are finalized. Public comments can be submitted in writing, orally at a hearing, or, in some cases, online via e-mail. Comment periods are typically between 30 and 90 days, though they do vary. Instructions on how, when, and where to submit comments for each proposed regulation are available in the Register and agencies are required to list the name and telephone number of a spokesperson to contact for more information. Agencies are also required to address significant issues introduced in comments and publicize changes made in response.
See below for upcoming meetings and current public comment opportunities on issues relevant to ecology.
Upcoming Public Meetings:
- BLM – Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council Meeting (November 16)
- BLM – Northwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council (December 6)
- BLM – Arizona Resources Advisory Council (December 11 & 12)
- BLM – Southwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council (January 11 & March 8)
- EPA – National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Meeting (November 28)
- EPA – Public Teleconference of the Chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) (November 29)
- EPA – Public Meeting of the Chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) (December 12)
- EPA – Information Session on the the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 (December 11 – Boston, January 15 – Atlanta)
- EPA – Meeting of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (December 6-7)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting (November 19)
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Fishery Management Council Ad Hoc Ecosystem Workgroup Meeting (November 28)
- NOAA NMFS – Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) Meeting (November 29)
- NOAA NMFS – Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Research Steering Committee Meeting (November 27)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Fishery Council Ecosystems Committee Meeting (November 27)
- NOAA NMFS – Caribbean Fishery Management Council Meeting (December 11 & 12)
- NOAA NMFS – Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop and Stock Assessment Review Committee Public Meeting (November 27-30)
- NOAA OAR – Public Meeting of the National Sea Grant Advisory Committee (December 10)
- NSF – Advisory Committee for Biological Sciences Meeting (November 16)
- NSF – Proposal Review Panel for International Science and Engineering—PIRE “Coastal Flood Risk Reduction Program: Integrated, multi-scale approaches for understanding how to reduce vulnerability to damaging events” (November 20)
- NSF – Meeting of the Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering (January 24-25)
- USFWS – Meetings of North American Wetlands Conservation Council and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Advisory Group (December 11 & 12)
Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:
- Army Corps of Engineers – Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Lake Ralph Hall Regional Water Supply Reservoir Project, Texas
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the direct, indirect and cumulative effects of the construction of the Lake Ralph Hall Regional Water Supply Reservoir Project in Fannin County, TX, proposed by the Upper Trinity Regional Water District. This action requires authorization from USACE under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for construction and operation of the proposed project. The proposed project is a regional water supply project intended to provide approximately 34,050 acre-feet per year of new water for 20 water providers, special districts, and municipalities in Denton County. Construction of the reservoir and support facilities would result in permanent direct impacts to waters of the U.S. of approximately 8 acres of wetlands and 384 acres of other waters including streams, impoundments, and ponds. The proposed project pipeline will cross 59 streams with 11,893 lineal feet of temporary impact as well as 0.4 acres of stock tanks. Comments are due November 21, 2018.
- Army Corps of Engineers – Notice of Availability for the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District announces the release of the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (DIFR-EIS) for the Tentatively Selected Plan of the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study, Texas. The DIFR-EIS documents the existing condition of environmental resources in and around areas considered for development, and potential impacts on those resources as a result of implementing the alternatives. Comments are due January 9, 2019.
- BLM – Notice of Proposed Withdrawal Extension and Opportunity for Public Meeting for the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
The Secretary of the Interior proposes to extend the duration of Public Land Order (PLO) No. 5683 for an additional 40-year term. PLO No. 5683 withdrew 37.50 acres of public land from settlement, sale, location, or entry under the general land laws, including the mining laws, but not from leasing under the mineral leasing laws and reserved under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior as part of the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This Notice gives an opportunity for the public to comment on the petition/application for the proposed withdrawal extension and to request a public meeting. Comments are due February 11, 2019.
- BOEM – Commercial Leasing for Wind Power Development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore California-Call for Information and Nominations
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) invites the submission of information and nominations for commercial wind leases that would allow a lessee to propose the construction of a wind energy project on the OCS offshore California, and to develop one or more projects, if approved, after further environmental review. This Call also requests comments and information regarding site conditions, resources, and multiple uses in close proximity to, or within, the Call Areas that would be relevant to BOEM’s review of the nominations or to any subsequent decision whether to offer all or part of the Call Areas for commercial wind leasing. Information is due January 29, 2019.
- BOEM – Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Deepwater Wind South Fork, LLC’s Proposed Wind Energy Facility Offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Consistent with the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is announcing its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the review of a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted by Deepwater Wind South Fork, LLC (DWSF) that would allow it to construct and operate up to 15 turbines, an electric service platform offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts and an export cable to East Hampton, New York. This Notice of Intent serves to announce the EIS scoping process for the DWSF COP. Detailed information about the proposed wind energy facility, including the COP, can be found on BOEM’s website at: https://www.boem.gov/South-Fork/. Comments are due November 19, 2018.
- Bureau of Reclamation – National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Procedures for the Bureau of Reclamation
This notice announces the intent to revise the Bureau of Reclamation procedures for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act in the Departmental Manual at 516 DM 14. The proposed revisions are to establish a new Categorical Exclusion (CE) for the transfer of title of certain projects and facilities from Reclamation to a qualifying non-Federal project entity. The new CE would allow for more efficient review of appropriate title transfer actions. This notice is also an invitation to comment on Reclamation’s proposed new CE, comments are due November 16, 2018.
- EPA – Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel Meeting and request for nominations of Ad Hoc Expert Members
There will be a 4-day, in-person meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel December 4-7, 2018 to consider and review the Evaluation of a Proposed Approach to Refine the Inhalation Risk Assessment for Point of Contact Toxicity: A Case Study Using a New Approach Methodology. In addition, EPA is requesting nominations of prospective candidates for service as ad hoc members of FIFRA SAP for this meeting. Nominations due November 16, 2018.
- EPA – Environmental Protection Agency Acquisition Regulation; Scientific Integrity
The EPA is issuing a proposed rule to address scientific integrity requirements in the creation of a contract clause for inclusion in solicitations and contracts when the contractor may be required to perform, communicate, or supervise scientific activities or use scientific information to perform advisory and assistance services. This clause will complement the EPA scientific integrity policy to ensure all scientific work developed and used by the Government is accomplished with scientific integrity. Comments due November 26, 2018.
- EPA – Release of Draft Integrated Review Plan for the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards
The Environmental Protection Agency is making available for public review the draft Integrated Review Plan for the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This document contains the draft plans and the anticipated schedule for the current review of the air quality criteria and national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for photochemical oxidants including ozone (O3). The primary and secondary O3 NAAQS are set to protect the public health and the public welfare from O3 in ambient air. Comments must be received on or before December 3, 2018.
- EPA – Integrated Science Assessment for Particulate Matter
The EPA is announcing a public comment period for the draft document titled, “Integrated Science Assessment for Particulate Matter”. The draft document was prepared by the National Center for Environmental Assessment within EPA’s Office of Research and Development as part of the review of the primary (health-based) and secondary (welfare-based) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter. The welfare-based effects evaluated consist of non-ecological effects, specifically visibility impairment, climate effects, and effects on materials. The Integrated Science Assessment (ISA), in conjunction with additional technical and policy assessments, provides the scientific basis for EPA’s decisions on the adequacy of the current NAAQS and the appropriateness of possible alternative standards. EPA is currently developing a separate ISA to support the secondary NAAQS review for ecological effects for oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur, and particulate matter. The EPA is seeking comments and review on this document. Comments are due December 11, 2018.
- EPA – Technical Issues-Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products
The EPA is proposing to amend the regulations promulgated in a final rule that published in the Federal Register on December 12, 2016, concerning formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products. EPA is publishing these proposed amendments to address certain technical issues and to further align the final rule requirements with the California Air Resources Board Airborne Toxic Control Measures Phase II program. Addressing these technical issues would add clarity for regulated entities. These revisions to the existing rule would also streamline compliance programs and help to ensure continued smooth transitions for supply chains to comply with the requirements associated with regulated composite wood products. Comments are due by December 12th 2018.
- FERC – Texas LNG Brownsville, LLC; Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Texas LNG Project
The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Texas LNG Project, proposed by Texas LNG Brownsville, LLC (Texas LNG). Texas LNG requests authorization to site, construct, modify, and operate liquefied natural gas export facilities on the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County, Texas. The draft EIS assesses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the Texas LNG Project in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are due on or before 5:00pm Eastern Time on December 17, 2018.
- Interior Department – Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Public Advisory Committee; Call for Nominations
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council is soliciting nominations for the Public Advisory Committee. The Public Advisory Committee advises the Trustee Council on decisions related to the planning, evaluation, funds allocation, and conduct of injury assessment and restoration activities related to the T/V Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989. Public Advisory Committee members will be selected and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to serve a 2-year term. Nominations are due by December 17, 2018.
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – Records Schedules; Availability and Request for Comments
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) publishes notice at least once monthly of certain Federal agency requests for records disposition authority (records schedules). Once approved by NARA, records schedules provide mandatory instructions on what happens to records when agencies no longer need them for current Government business. The records schedules authorize agencies to preserve records of continuing value in the National Archives of the United States and to destroy, after a specified period, records lacking administrative, legal, research, or other value. NARA publishes notice in the Federal Register for records schedules in which agencies propose to destroy records they no longer need to conduct agency business. NARA invites public comments on such records schedules. This notice includes a major records retention changes for the Interior Department. Comments are due November 26, 2018.
- NASA – Invitation for Nominations for the NASA Federal Advisory Committees
NASA announces its annual invitation for public nominations for service on NASA Federal advisory committees chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. U.S. citizens may submit self-nominations for consideration as potential members of NASA’s Federal advisory committees. NASA’s Federal advisory committees have member vacancies from time to time throughout the year, and NASA will consider self-nominations to fill such intermittent vacancies. NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its Federal advisory committees based on their individual expertise, knowledge, experience, and current/past contributions to the relevant subject area. Nominations are due November 25, 2018.
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Stakeholder Listening Opportunity for Priorities in Research, Education and Extension
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture announces its stakeholder listening initiative “NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives.” This listening opportunity allows stakeholders to provide feedback on the following questions: “When considering all of agriculture, what is the greatest challenge that should be addressed through NIFA’s research, education, and extension?”, “In your field, what is the most-needed breakthrough in science/technology that would advance your agricultural enterprise?” and, “What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address?” NIFA is soliciting comments via an online form (https://nifa.usda.gov/nifalistens) and via in person listening sessions 10/11, 10/18, 10/25 and 11/1. Online comments are due November 30, 2018.
- NOAA – Solicitation for Members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board
NOAA is soliciting nominations for members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB is the only Federal Advisory Committee with the responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans, Atmosphere, and NOAA Administrator on long- and short-range strategies for research, education, and application of science to resource management and environmental assessment and prediction. The SAB consists of approximately fifteen members reflecting the full breadth of NOAA’s areas of responsibility and assists NOAA in maintaining a complete and accurate understanding of scientific issues critical to the agency’s missions. Nominations should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 16, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Several Groundfish Species in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve to the initial total allowable catch and total allowable catch of Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, Bering Sea sablefish, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Alaska plaice, BSAI northern rockfish, BSAI “other flatfish,” BSAI shortraker rockfish, BSAI sculpins, BSAI skates, and Central and Western Aleutian Islands blackspotted/rougheye rockfish in the BSAI management area. This action is necessary to allow the fisheries to continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for the BSAI management area. Comments are due November 16, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Industry-Funded Monitoring
The New England Fishery Management Council submitted the New England Industry-Funded Monitoring Omnibus Amendment, incorporating the Environmental Assessment and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, for review by the Secretary of Commerce. NMFS is requesting comments from the public on the proposed amendment, which was developed to allow for industry-funded monitoring in New England Council fishery management plans and implement industry-funded monitoring in the Atlantic herring fishery. This amendment would ensure consistency in industry-funded monitoring programs across New England fisheries and increase monitoring in the Atlantic herring fishery. Comments are due November 19, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Positive 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Cauliflower Coral (Pocillopora Meandrina)
NMFS announces a 90-day finding on a petition to list the cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina) in Hawaii as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The petition requested that the Hawaii population of P. meandrina be considered a significant portion of the range of the species, and that the species be listed because of its status in Hawaii. NMFS has found that the petition and other readily available information in our files indicates that P. meandrina may warrant listing as a threatened species or an endangered species throughout its range. Thus, NMFS will initiate a global status review of P. meandrina to determine whether listing it throughout its range is warranted. If not, NMFS will determine if Hawaii constitutes a a “significant portion of it range”, and proceed accordingly. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, NMFS is soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to P. meandrina from any interested party. Information and comments are due November 19, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – List of Fisheries
The National Marine Fisheries Service publishes its proposed List of Fisheries (LOF) for 2019, as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The LOF for 2019 reflects new information on interactions between commercial fisheries and marine mammals. NMFS must classify each commercial fishery on the LOF into one of three categories under the MMPA based upon the level of mortality and serious injury of marine mammals that occurs incidental to each fishery. The classification of a fishery on the LOF determines whether participants in that fishery are subject to certain provisions of the MMPA, such as registration, observer coverage, and take reduction plan requirements. Comments are due November 23, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Traceability Information Program for Seafood
Pursuant to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2018 and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, NMFS is proposing a Traceability Information Program for Seafood to establish registration, reporting and recordkeeping requirements for U.S. aquaculture producers of shrimp and abalone, two species subject to the Seafood Traceability Program, also known as the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. This proposed rule, if finalized, would provide traceability for these species from the point of production to entry into U.S. commerce. Collection of traceability information for U.S. aquacultured shrimp and abalone will be accomplished by electronic submission of data to NMFS. Comments are due November 26, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Nominations for the 2019-2022 General Advisory Committee and the Scientific Advisory Subcommittee to the United States Delegation to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
The National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking nominations for the General Advisory Committee to the U.S. delegation to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, as well as to a Scientific Advisory Subcommittee of the General Advisory Committee. The purpose of the General Advisory Committee and its Scientific Advisory Subcommittee is to provide public input and advice to the U.S. delegation in the formulation of policy and positions at meetings of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and its subsidiary bodies. The Scientific Advisory Subcommittee shall also function as the National Scientific Advisory Committee provided for in the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program. Nominations are due November 29, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Shark Management Measures; 2019 Research Fishery
NMFS announces its request for applications for the 2019 shark research fishery from commercial shark fishermen with directed or incidental shark limited access permits. The shark research fishery allows for the collection of fishery-dependent and biological data for future stock assessments a to meet the research objectives of the Agency. The only commercial vessels authorized to land sandbar sharks are those participating in the shark research fishery. Shark research fishery permittees may also land other large coastal sharks, small coastal sharks, smoothhound and pelagic sharks. Commercial shark fishermen who are interested in participating in the shark research fishery need to submit a completed Shark Research Fishery Permit Application in order to be considered. Applications are due by December 1, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Proposed Rule to Expand the Scallop Dredge Exemption Areas Under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan
NMFS proposes to implement modifications to the regulations implementing the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan to allow vessels issued a limited access general category individual fishing quota sea scallop permit to fish for scallops with small dredges in an expanded area. In addition, NMFS also proposes to modify open area days-at-sea trip reporting procedures for limited access scallop vessels. This action is intended to provide consistency, flexibility, and potential economic benefit to the scallop fleet. This rule notifies the public of these proposed measures and solicits comments on the potential scallop fishery management changes. Comments are due by December 3, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Revisions to Sea Turtle Release Gear
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 49 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, Amendment 49 would add three new devices as options for fishermen to meet requirements for sea turtle release gear, and would simplify and clarify the requirements for other sea turtle release gear. Comments due December 3, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Coastal Migratory Pelagics Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Amendment 31
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council have submitted Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagics of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (Amendment 31) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 31 would remove Atlantic migratory group cobia (Atlantic cobia) from Federal management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. At the same time, NMFS would implement comparable regulations under the Atlantic Coastal Act to replace the existing Magnuson-Stevens Act based regulations in Atlantic Federal waters. The purpose of Amendment 31 is to facilitate improved coordination of Atlantic cobia in state and Federal waters, thereby more effectively constraining harvest and preventing overfishing and decreasing adverse socio-economic effects to fishermen. Comments are due December 10, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Recovery Plan for the Blue Whale and Notice of Initiation of a 5-year Review
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), announces the availability of the Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) for public review. NMFS is soliciting review and comment from the public and all interested parties on the Draft Plan, and will consider all substantive comments received during the review period before submitting the Plan for final approval. NMFS is also initiating a 5-year review of the blue whale and are requesting new information on its status. Comments and information are due December 11, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Draft 2018 Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports
NMFS reviewed the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regional marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) in accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act. SARs for marine mammals in the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regions were revised according to new information. NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 2018 SARs. NMFS also announces the availability of revised Atlantic Regional 2016 and 2017 SARs that include technical corrections. Comments must be received by December 17, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Industry-Funded Monitoring
This action proposes regulations to implement the New England Fishery Management Council’s Industry-Funded Monitoring Omnibus Amendment. The New England Council is considering ways to increase monitoring in certain fisheries to assess the amount and type of catch and reduce uncertainty around catch estimates. This amendment would implement a process to standardize future industry-funded monitoring programs in New England Council fishery management plans and industry-funded monitoring in the Atlantic herring fishery. This action would ensure consistency in industry-funded monitoring programs across fisheries and increase monitoring in the Atlantic herring fishery. Comments are due by December 24, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Identification of Nations Engaged in Illegal, Unreported, or Unregulated Fishing, Bycatch, or Shark Fishing
NMFS is seeking information regarding nations whose vessels are engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing, by-catch of protected living marine resources, and/or fishing activities in waters beyond any national jurisdiction that target or incidentally catch sharks. This information will be reviewed for the purposes of the identification of nations pursuant to the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act and ongoing implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act Import Provisions. Information is due on or before December 31, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Region; Amendment 31
NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagics of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Region, as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. This proposed rule would remove Atlantic migratory group cobia from Federal management under the Magnusen-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. At the same time, this proposed rule would implement comparable regulations under the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act to replace the existing Magnusen-Stevens Act bade regulations in Atlantic Federal waters. The purpose of Amendment 31 is to facilitate improved coordination of Atlantic cobia in state and Federal waters, thereby more effectively constraining harvest and preventing overfishing and decreasing adverse socio-economic effects to fishermen. Comments are due by December 10, 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Approval of New Gear Under Small-Mesh Fisheries Accountability Measures
NOAA NMFS proposes to approve new selective trawl gear for use in several non-groundfish fisheries when subject to the Georges Bank yellowtail flounder accountability measure. The proposed selective gear would reduce bycatch of groundfish species, while allowing the target fisheries to continue operating when selective trawl gear is required. Approving this selective trawl gear would provide the fishing industry with more flexibility because there are limited selective trawl gears currently approved for use. NOAA NMFS also proposes to disapprove the use of this gear in the southern windowpane accountability measure areas. Comments are due by December 17 2018.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; 2019 Specifications
NMFS proposes 2019 specifications for the summer flounder and black sea bass fisheries and maintains previously established 2019 specifications for the scup fishery. Additionally, this action proposes to reopen the February 2018 black sea bass recreational fishery and to adjust to the current commercial incidental possession limit for scup. The implementing regulations for the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan require us to publish specifications for the upcoming fishing year for each of these species and to provide an opportunity for public comment. This action is intended to inform the public of the proposed specifications and management measures for the start of the 2019 fishing year for these three species. Comments are due by November 30, 2018.
- NOAA National Ocean Service – Request for Nominations – Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee
The Department of Commerce is seeking nominations for membership on the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The Committee advises the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior on implementing Section 4 of Executive Order 13158, focusing mainly on strategies and priorities for the design, monitoring and adaptive management of effective MPAs in U.S. waters. Nominations are sought for 11 highly qualified non-Federal scientists (natural and social), resource managers, and people representing other interests or organizations involved with, or affected by, marine protected areas, including in the Great Lakes. Nominations are due December 1, 2018.
- NPS – Request for Nominations for the Made in America Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee
The National Park Service is seeking nominations for individuals to be considered for appointment to the Made in America Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee. The Committee provides advice to the Secretary of the Interior on the public-private partnerships across all public lands, with the goal of expanding access to and improving infrastructure on public lands and waterways. Nominations are due November 21, 2018.
- NPS – Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for a General Management Plan Amendment, Point Reyes National Seashore and North District of Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The National Park Service is preparing a General Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement for all lands currently under agricultural lease/permits within Point Reyes National Seashore and the north district of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Comments due by November 30, 2018.
- NPS – Request for Nominations for the Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee
The National Park Service is requesting nominations for qualified persons to serve as members of the Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of the Interior, through the Director of the National Park Service, on the development of a reuse plan and on matters relating to future uses of certain buildings at the Fort Hancock Historic District, located within the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area in New Jersey. Nominations are due December 6, 2018.
- NPS – Request for Nominations for the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission
The National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, is requesting nominations for qualified persons to serve as members of the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission. Nominations are due by December 17, 2018.
- NRCS – Notice of Recommended Standard Methods for Use as Soil Health Indicator Measurements
NRCS intends to issue a technical note on a group of recommended standard methods for soil health indicators. Comments on the draft technical note are by December 13, 2018.
- USDA APHIS – Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Conservation Program
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is considering developing a conservation program pursuant to the Endangered Species Act for the southwestern willow flycatcher, a small, neotropical migrant bird found in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. The agency is also planning to prepare an environmental assessment to analyze the effects of the proposed conservation program. This notice identifies potential issues, alternatives, and conservation measures that USDA and APHIS propose to review, and requests public comments to determine the relevant scope of issues and range of alternatives to be addressed in the environmental process from individuals, organizations, Tribes, and government agencies on this topic. Comments are due November 26, 2018.
- USGS – Notice of Request for Nominees for the Advisory Committee on Water Information
The U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) is seeking nominations for individuals to be considered as Committee members and/or alternates to serve on the Advisory Committee on Water Information.
- USFS – Flathead National Forest (MT) – Environmental Impact Statement for Mid-Swan Landscape Restoration & Wildland Urban Interface Fuels Project
The Mid-Swan Landscape Restoration and Wildland Urban Interface Fuels Project (Mid-Swan) area encompasses approximately 246,000 acres within the larger 1.3 million acre Southwestern Crown of the Continent landscape. This project is part of a long-term effort between the USDA Forest Service and the Southwestern Crown Collaborative to restore the resilience and function of the ecosystem within this landscape. The Mid-Swan project is proposing treatments on approximately 70,000 acres to improve aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity by removing vegetation, planting drought tolerant species found there historically, and reducing fuel buildup in the wildland urban interface (WUI). Preliminary, scoping comments on an environmental impact statement for this project are due November 23, 2018.
- USFS – Payette National Forest (ID) – Granite Meadows Project
The Payette National Forest will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to document the potential effects of the Granite Meadows Project. The Granite Meadows Project is located north of New Meadows, Idaho and north and west of McCall, Idaho on the Boise Meridian, within Adams, Valley and Idaho Counties. The analysis will evaluate and disclose the effects of implementing treatments on the National Forest to meet the purpose and need for the project. Proposed treatments include timber harvest, thinning, prescribed fire, road treatments and road decommissioning, watershed improvement and restoration treatments, and recreation improvements. Coordination with existing permittees on grazing schedules would also be included to meet the purpose and need related to fuels reduction. Comments are due December 17th, 2018.
- USFS – Amendments to Land Management Plans for Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation for National Forests in Idaho, Nevada, Urah, Wyoming and Colorado
The U.S. Forest Service has prepared the Draft Greater Sage-grouse Proposed Land Management Plan Amendments (LMPA) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Intermountain and Rocky Mountain Regions. This notice is announcing the opening of the comment period and the Forest Service is soliciting comments on the Draft LMPA and Draft EIS. Comments on the draft LMPA/EIS are due January 3, 2019.
- USFWS – Amendment to the 1997 Washington State Department of Natural Resources State Lands Habitat Conservation Plan
USFWS and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources have jointly developed a revised draft environmental impact statement addressing an amendment to the 1997 WDNR State Lands Habitat Conservation Plan to cover the implementation of a Long-Term Conservation Strategy for the marbled murrelet, federally threated bird species. Comments due December 6, 2018.
- USFWS – Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Collier County, FL
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of a draft environmental impact statement and a habitat conservation plan associated with the incidental take permit (ITP) applications of eleven Collier County landowners under the Endangered Species Act. Each of the eleven landowners, collectively known as the Eastern Collier Property Owners, LLC, requests a 50-year ITP authorizing take of the Florida panther and 18 other Federal or State-listed species incidental to residential and commercial development, earth mining, and low-intensity rural-land activities in a defined portion of Collier County, Florida. Comments are due November 19, 2018.
- USFWS – Incidental Take Permit Application, Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink, Lake County, FL
The Fish and Wildlife Service has received an application for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. McDonald Ventures XXXVIII, LLC is requesting a 5-year ITP for take of the federally listed sand skink incidental to construction. USFWS request public comment on the permit application, which includes the proposed habitat conservation plan, as well as on the preliminary determination that the plan qualifies as low-effect under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination, USFWS used their environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, which are also available for review. Comments are due November 19, 2018.
- USFWS – Incidental Take Permit Application; Range-Wide General Conservation Plan for Utah Prairie Dog
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announce the availability of several documents related to an incidental take permit (ITP) application under the Endangered Species Act. If approved, the permit would authorize Wayne County, Utah, to incidentally take Utah Prairie Dogs through under an existing Range-wide General Conservation Plan for Utah Prairie Dogs. Comments are due November 28, 2018.
- USFWS – Removing the Hawaiian Hawk From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
USFWS announces the reopening of the public comment period on the August 6, 2008, proposed rule to remove the Hawaiian hawk or io (Buteo solitarius) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act. Comments submitted during the 2008 comment period, 2009 reopened comment periods, and 2014 reopened comment period do not need to be resubmitted, and will be fully considered in preparation of our final rule. USFWS reopening the comment period once more to present information USFWS has received since 2014 that is relevant to their consideration of the status of the Hawaiian hawk. The agency encourages those who may have commented previously to submit additional comments, if appropriate, in light of this new information. In addition, USFWS is also seeking input on considerations for post-delisting monitoring of the Hawaiian hawk. The goal is to respond to comments and come to a final determination on the status of the Hawaiian hawk in the form of a final rule by the end of 2018. Comments are due November 29, 2018.
- USFWS – Designation of Critical Habitat for the Spring Pygmy Sunfish
USFWS announces the reopening of the comment period on their October 2, 2012 proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the spring pygmy sunfish (Elassoma alabamae), under the Endangered Species Act. In this document, USFWS proposes to add one critical habitat unit (123 hectares (ha) (303 acres (ac)) in Madison County, Alabama, to the critical habitat designation. As a result, the proposed revised critical habitat designation for the species now includes three critical habitat units, totaling approximately 749 ha (1,852 ac), in Alabama. This reopened comment period will provide the public with an opportunity to submit written comments on both the revision described in this document and the October 2, 2012, proposed rule, as well as intervening relevant publications. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule. Comments are due December 5, 2018.
- USFWS – Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat Designation for Slenderclaw Crayfish
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces a 12-month finding on a petition to list the slenderclaw crayfish (Cambarus cracens) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The slenderclaw crayfish is a relatively small, cryptic freshwater crustacean that is endemic to streams on Sand Mountain within the Tennessee River Basin in DeKalb and Marshall Counties, Alabama. After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, USFWS found that listing the slenderclaw crayfish is warranted. Accordingly, USFWS is proposing to list it as a threatened species. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend the Act’s protections to this species and add this species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. USFWS also proposes a rule under the authority of section 4(d) of the Act that provides measures that are necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of the slenderclaw crayfish. In addition, USFWS proposes designating approximately 78 river miles in Alabama as critical habitat for the species under the Act. Comments are due December 10, 2018.
- USFWS – 12-Month Petition Finding and Threatened Species Status for Eastern Black Rail With a Section 4(d) Rule
USFWS announces a 12-month petition finding on a petition to list the eastern black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis jamaicensis) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, USFWS has found that listing the eastern black rail is warranted. Accordingly, we propose to list the eastern black rail, a bird subspecies that occurs in as many as 35 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and several countries in the Caribbean and Central America, as a threatened species under the ESA. If USFWS finalizes this rule as proposed, it would extend the ESA’s protections to this subspecies and, accordingly, add this subspecies to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. USFWS also proposse a rule under the authority of section 4(d) of the Act that provides measures that are necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of the eastern black rail. USFWS has determined that designation of critical habitat for the eastern black rail is not prudent at this time, but the agency is seeking public comment on that determination. Comments are due December 10, 2018.
- USFWS – Threatened Species Status for Black-Capped Petrel With a Section 4(d) Rule
USFWS proposes listing the black-capped petrel (Pterodroma hasitata), a pelagic seabird species that nests on the island of Hispaniola and forages off the coast of the eastern United States, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend the ESA’s protections to this species. We are also proposing a rule issued under section 4(d) of the ESA to provide for the conservation of this species. USFWS has determined that designation of critical habitat for the black-capped petrel is not prudent at this time, but is seeking public comment on that determination. Comments are due December 10, 2018.
- USFWS – Threatened Species Status for Coastal Distinct Population Segment of the Pacific Marten
USFWS proposes listing the coastal distinct population segment of Pacific marten (Martes caurina), a mammal species from coastal California and Oregon, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend the ESA’s protections to this species. Comments are due December 10, 2018.
- USFWS – Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat Designation for Atlantic Pigtoe
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Atlantic pigtoe (Fusconaia masoni) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Atlantic pigtoe is a freshwater mussel native to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the Atlantic pigtoe as a threatened species is warranted. Accordingly, USFWS proposes to list it as a threatened species with a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act (“4(d) rule”). USFWS also proposes to designate critical habitat under the ESA. In total, approximately 542 river miles in Virginia and North Carolina fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designation. Finally, USFWS announces the availability of a draft economic analysis of the proposed designation of critical habitat. Comments due December 10, 2018.
- USFWS – Designation of Critical Habitat for the Black Pinesnake
USFWS announces the reopening of the comment period on the 2015 proposed designation of critical habitat for the black pinesnake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi) under the Endangered Species Act. We are reopening the comment period to accept comments on our proposal, including revisions to proposed Units 7 and 8 that are described in this document. As a result of these revisions, USFWS is now proposing to designate a total of 338,379 acres as critical habitat for the black pinesnake across eight units within nine counties in Mississippi, and Clarke County in Alabama. This is a small increase in acreage from the area USFWS proposed to designate in our March 11, 2015, proposed rule but constitutes less privately owned lands. In addition, USFWS announces two public informational meetings on the proposed rule on Oct 22 and 24 in Missippi and Alabama. USFWS is reopening the comment period the 2015 proposed rule to allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the revised proposed rule. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule. Comments are due December 10, 2018.
- USFWS – Updated Collision Risk Model Priors for Estimating Eagle Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses a collision risk model to predict the number of golden and bald eagles that may be killed at new wind facilities. The model incorporates existing information on eagle exposure and collision probability in the form of prior distributions (priors). USFWS has updated the priors for both species of eagle and, on June 21 of this year, announced the availability of a report of the analysis conducted to generate the new priors. The notice solicited public comments on how the USFWS should use the new bald eagle priors. Today’s notice reopens the comment period for 30 days, and provides additional information requested by commenters. Comments are due December 13, 2018.
- USFWS – Initiation of a 5-Year Status Review of the Wood Bison
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is initiating a 5-year status review of the wood bison under the Endangered Species Act . A 5-year status review is based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, USFWS are requesting submission of any new information on this species that has become available since the species was reclassified under the ESA as threatened throughout its range, in 2012. Comments and information due December 24, 2018.
- USFWS – Draft City of Rancho Palos Verdes Natural Community Conservation Plan and Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment, City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Los Angeles County, California
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the receipt and availability of a draft Natural Community Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan (NCCP/HCP) and draft environmental assessment (EA), which evaluates the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposed City of Rancho Palos Verdes (City of RPV) NCCP/HCP. The City of RPV NCCP/HCP was submitted by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes in support of an application under the Endangered Species Act, for a permit authorizing the incidental take of 10 covered species resulting from covered projects/activities and a permit under the State of California’s Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 2002. We request review and comment on the City of RPV NCCP/HCP and the draft EA from local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; and the public. Comments due by December 31st 2018.
- USFWS – CITES Eighteenth Regular Meeting: Taxa Being Considered for Amendments to the CITES Appendices and Proposed Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items Being Considered; Observer Information
The United States, as a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), may propose amendments to the CITES Appendices for consideration at meetings of the Conference of the Parties. The eighteenth regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP18) is scheduled to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 23 to June 3, 2019. With this notice, USFWS describes proposed amendments to the CITES Appendices (species proposals) as well as proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items that the United States might submit for consideration at CoP18; invite your comments and information on these proposals; and provide information on how U.S. nongovernmental organizations can attend CoP18 as observers. USFWS will consider comments received by November 30 and organizations requesting approval to attend CoP18 as an observer must send their request by February 15, 2019.
- USFWS – Supplemental Proposals for Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations for the 2019-20 Hunting Season
USFWS proposed in an earlier document this year to establish annual hunting regulations for certain migratory game birds for the 2019-20 hunting season. This supplement to that proposed rule provides the regulatory alternatives for the 2019-20 duck hunting seasons, announces the Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee (SRC) and Flyway Council meetings, and provides Flyway Council recommendations resulting from their March meetings. Comments on these proposed rules are due January 15. 2019.