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:
- Army Corps of Engineers – Mississippi River Commission Meeting (April 8)
- Army Corps of Engineers – Scoping Meeting for Grand River Habitat Restoration and Invasive Species Control Project (April 8)
- BLM – Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council Meetings (April 4-5)
- Department of Energy – Savannah River Site Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board Meeting (March 20)
- Department of Energy – Environmental Management Advisory Board (March 22)
- Department of Energy – Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee (March 27-28)
- Department of Energy – Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (April 25 – April 26)
- EPA – Board of Scientific Counselors Air and Energy Subcommittee Meeting-March 2019 (March 22)
- EPA – Environmental Modeling Public Meeting; Notice of Public Meeting (March 27)
- EPA – Environmental Laboratory Advisory Board Meeting (2019 teleconferences – March 20, April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17, September 18, October 16, November 20, and December 18. In-person meetings: August 5, Jacksonville, FL)
- EPA – Board of Scientific Counselors Sustainable and Healthy Communities Subcommittee Meeting (April 2-3, registration due March 26)
- EPA – Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) Safe and Sustainable Water; Resources Subcommittee Meeting (April 23-24, registration due April 15)
- Forest Service – Idaho Panhandle Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (March 29, April 5)
- NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research – Ocean Exploration Advisory Board Meeting (March 26 & 27)
- NOAA National Ocean Service – Meeting of Coral Reef Task Force (April 4)
- NOAA NMFS – Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Scientific and Statistical Committee Meeting (March 12 – March 21)
- NOAA NMFS – Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) Meeting – Greater Amberjack (March 22)
- NOAA NMFS – Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting (March 25)
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting (March 25)
- NOAA NMFS – Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) Meeting- Red Porgy (March 25)
- NOAA NMFS – Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) Meeting– Red Grouper (March 26)
- NOAA NMFS – Alaska Groundfish and Halibut Seabird Working Group Meeting (March 27 – 28)
- NOAA NMFS – Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops (March 28)
- NOAA NMFS – New England Fishery Management Council Scientific and Statistical Committee Meeting (March 29)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting (April 1-9)
- NOAA NMFS – Caribbean Fishery Management Public Hearings (April 1-4)
- NOAA NMFS – Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Meeting (April 1 – April 4)
- NOAA NMFS – Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council – Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Advisory Panels Meeting (April 2)
- NOAA NMFS – Western Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting (April 2)
- NOAA NMFS – Biological Opinion Review Advisory Panel (April 4)
- NOAA NMFS – New England Fishery Management Council Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Committee Meeting (April 4)
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting (April 9-16)
- NOAA NMFS – Meeting of the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel (May 21-23)
- NPS – Acadia National Park Advisory Commission Meetings (June 3, September 9)
- NPS – Wekiva River System Advisory Management Committee Meetings (March 27, May 8, July 10, September 18, November 13)
- NPS – Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee Meeting (March 29)
- NPS – National Park Service Alaska Region Subsistence Resource Commission Program Meetings (Denali National Park – April 3, Gates of the Arctic National Park – April 16 & 17, Lake Clark National Park – April 30, Cape Krusentern National Monument – May 14 & 15, Kobuk Valley National Park – May 16 and 17)
- NPS – Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Advisory Council Meeting (April 8)
- State Department – Town Hall Meeting on Modernizing the Columbia River Treaty Regime (March 20)
- Tennesse Valley Authority – Regional Resource Stewardship Council (April 3 & 4)
- USDA – 2018 Research, Education and Economics Farm Bill Implementation Listening Session (March 21)
- USFWS – Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council Meeting (March 21, registration due March 15)
Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:
- APHIS – Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment for the Release of Biological Control of Brazilian Peppertree
USDA APHIS is advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment relative to permitting the release of Calophya latiforceps and Pseudophilothrips ichini for the biological control of Brazilian peppertree, a significant invasive weed, within the contiguous United States. Based on the environmental assessment and other relevant data, the agency has reached a preliminary determination that the release of these control agents will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. USDA APHIS is making the environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment. Comments are due March 29, 2019.
- Army Corps of Engineers – Availability of the Availability of the Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report for the Prado Basin Ecosystem Restoration and Water Conservation Integrated Feasibility Study, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties, California
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in cooperation with the Orange County Water District announces the availability of a Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (FR/EIS/EIR) for the Prado Basin Ecosystem Restoration and Water Conservation Integrated Feasibility Study for review and comment. The study area is located within and downstream of Prado Dam Reservoir and includes portions of Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties, California. The study evaluates alternatives for the restoration of degraded ecosystem structure, function, and dynamic processes to a less degraded, more natural condition within Prado Dam Reservoir and the Santa Ana River downstream of the dam. The study also includes water conservation through re-operation of Prado Dam to capture, retain and release additional water volumes impounded during flood risk management operations. Details of the potential ecosystem restoration measures, water conservation plan and an array of alternatives are identified in the Draft FR/EIS/EIR. Four alternatives are evaluated in the Draft FR/EIS/EIR, including the No Federal Action/No Project Alternative. Potential environmental impacts associated with these project alternatives are addressed in the Draft FR/EIS/EIR. Comments are due March 27, 2019.
- Army Corps of Engineers – Notice of Intent/NEPA Scoping Meeting and Public Comment Period for the Grand River Habitat Restoration and Invasive Species Control Project, Grand Rapids, Michigan
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announces its intent to conduct public scoping and solicit public comments to gather information to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on behalf of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission related to the proposed Grand River Habitat Restoration and Invasive Species Control Project in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The project must provide a means to block sea lamprey from moving upstream, as this invasive species is currently blocked by the existing 6th Street Dam in the Grand River, must maintain or reduce the current risk of flooding upstream, and must provide for fish passage into upstream areas. If implemented, the project is expected to adversely impact existing healthy mussel population, which includes the federally-listed endangered scaleshell and snuffbox mussels as well as a number of state-listed mussel species. A public scoping hearing will be held on April 8, public comments are due May 15, 2019.
- BLM – Notice of Proposed Withdrawal Extension and Opportunity for the Public Meeting, Lake Pleasant Expansion Area, Arizona
The Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management proposes to extend the duration of Public Land Order (PLO) No. 7384 for an additional 20-year term. PLO No. 7384 withdrew 1,988.27 acres of public lands from surface entry and mining to protect the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lake Pleasant expansion area. The lands have been and will remain open to mineral leasing. Comments are due March 28, 2019.
- BLM – Call for Nominations for the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board
The purpose of this notice is to solicit public nominations for three positions on the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board that will become vacant on March 21, 2019. The Board provides advice concerning the management, protection, and control of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands administered by the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management, and the Department of Agriculture, through the U.S. Forest Service. Nominations are due by April 1, 2019.
- BLM – Notice of Availability of the Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Preliminary Environmental Assessment for Evaluation of Potential Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Within the Tres Rios Field Office, Colorado
The Bureau of Land Management has prepared a Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluating potential Areas of Critical Environmental Concern for the Tres Rios Field Office (Colorado). Comments on the Draft RMP Amendment and Preliminary EA are due April 22, 2019.
- BLM – Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Black Rock City LLC’s Burning Man Special Recreation Permit Renewal in Pershing, County, Nevada
In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Bureau of Land Management has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and by this notice are announcing the beginning of the public comment period to solicit public comments on the Draft EIS. The BLM is the lead agency in development of the Draft EIS and will be evaluating Black Rock City LLC’s request for a 10-year Special Recreation Permit for the Burning Man Event in Pershing County, Nevada. Comments must be submitted by April 29, 2019.
- BLM – Draft Bering Sea – Western Interior Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, Alaska
The Bureau of Land Management is issuing for public comment the Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Bering Sea-Western Interior (BSWI) planning area. Comments are due by June 13, 2019.
- Department of the Navy – Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Patuxent River Complex Testing and Training and To Announce Public Scoping Meetings
The Navy announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for testing and training activities within the Patuxent River Complex, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. The proposed action is to continue conducting military testing and training activities within the PRC to meet current and projected military readiness requirements. The proposed action includes testing and training activities analyzed in the Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) December 1998 PRC Final EIS and subsequent Environmental Assessments, plus adjustments to current testing and training activities required to support projected Navy military readiness requirements into the foreseeable future. Public comments are due April 1, 2019.
- EPA – Request for Nominations to the Great Lakes Advisory Board
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates who desire to serve as members of EPA’s Great Lakes Advisory Board (GLAB). The GLAB is chartered to provide advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator, through the Great Lakes National Program Manager, on matters related to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and on domestic matters related to the implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada. Nominations are due March 25, 2019.
- EPA – Petition Seeking Rulemaking or a Formal Agency Interpretation for Planted Seeds Treated With Systemic Insecticides; Request for Comment
EPA is seeking public comment on a petition from the Center for Food Safety (CSF) requesting that the Agency either initiate a rulemaking or issue a formal Agency interpretation for planted seeds treated with systemic insecticides. CSF believes that the Agency has improperly applied the treated article exemption in exempting these products from registration and labeling requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Comments are due March 26, 2019.
- EPA – Request for Nominations of Candidates to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC)
The EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board Staff Office is seeking nominations of experts to serve on the CASAC with expertise in ecology. The SAB Staff Office is especially interested in scientists with expertise described above who have knowledge and experience relating to criteria pollutants (carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur oxides). Nominations are due April 1, 2019.
- EPA – National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units-Reconsideration of Supplemental Finding and Residual Risk and Technology Review
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a revision to its response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Michigan v. EPA which held that the EPA erred by not considering cost in its determination that regulation under section 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generating units (EGUs) is appropriate and necessary. The EPA is soliciting comment on whether the EPA has the authority or obligation to delist EGUs from CAA and rescind (or to rescind without delisting) the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Coal- and Oil-Fired EGUs. The results of a residual risk analysis indicate that residual risks due to emissions of air toxics from this source category are acceptable and that the current standards provide an ample margin of safety to protect public health. No new developments in HAP emission controls to achieve further cost-effective emissions reductions were identified under the technology review. Therefore, based on the results of these analyses and reviews, we are proposing that no revisions to MATS are warranted. Finally, the EPA is also taking comment on establishing a subcategory for emissions of acid gas HAP from existing EGUs firing eastern bituminous coal refuse. Comments are due April 8, 2019.
- EPA – Proposed Partial Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen Suit
In accordance with section 113(g) of the Clean Air Act, as amended, notice is given of a proposed partial consent decree in Sierra Club v. Pruitt, No. 1:17-cv-02174-APM (D.D.C.). On October 19, 2017, Sierra Club filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to assess and report to Congress on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the Energy Independence and Security Act’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, failed to complete the required anti-backsliding study to determine whether the vehicle and engine air pollutant emissions changes resulting from the RFS program’s renewable fuel volumes adversely impact air quality, and failed to promulgate fuel regulations to implement appropriate measures to mitigate any such adverse impacts or make a determination that such regulations were unnecessary. The proposed partial consent decree would establish a deadline for EPA to take action on the anti-backsliding study. Comments are due by March 25, 2019.
- EPA & Army Corps of Engineers – Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”
The Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers are publishing for public comment a proposed rule defining the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. Comments must be receive on or before April 15, 2019.
- FWS – Marine Mammals; Incidental Take During Specified Activities: Cook Inlet, Alaska
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to issue regulations authorizing the nonlethal, incidental take by harassment of small numbers of northern sea otters in State and Federal waters (Alaska and the Outer Continental Shelf) within Cook Inlet, Alaska, as well as all adjacent rivers, estuaries, and coastal lands. Take may result from oil and gas exploration, development, production, and transportation activities occurring for a period of 5 years. This proposed rule would authorize take by harassment only; no lethal take would be authorized. Comments are due April 3, 2019.
- FEMA – Proposed Flood Hazard Determinations – Missouri & Michigan
Comments are requested on proposed flood hazard determinations, which may include additions or modifications of any Base Flood Elevation, base flood depth, Special Flood Hazard Area boundary or zone designation, or regulatory floodway on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and where applicable, in the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports for the communities listed in the table below. The purpose of this notice is to seek general information and comment regarding the preliminary FIRM, and where applicable, the FIS report that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided to the affected communities. The FIRM and FIS report are the basis of the floodplain management measures that the community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of having in effect in order to qualify or remain qualified for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. In addition, the FIRM and FIS report, once effective, will be used by insurance agents and others to calculate appropriate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings and the contents of those buildings. Comments are due March 28, 2019.
- NASS – Notice of Innovation for Nominations to the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, this notice announces an invitation from the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture for nominations to the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics. Nominations are due by March 29, 2019
- NOAA National Ocean Service – Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan revision
NOAA is announcing a thirty-day public comment period for the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Plan revision. The revised management plan outlines the administrative structure; the research/monitoring, stewardship, education, and training programs and priorities of the reserve; plans for including inholdings within the existing boundary into state ownership; and facility development priorities to support reserve operations. The Hudson River Reserve Management Plan revision may be viewed at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/ lands/ 4915.html. Comments on the revision may be submitted to the Reserve’s Manager, Heather Gierloff (email@example.com) by April 5, 2019.
- NOAA National Ocean Service – Procedural Changes to the Coastal Zone Management Act Federal Consistency Process
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is issuing this advance notice of proposed rulemaking to seek the public and regulated community’s input on what changes could be made to NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management Act federal consistency regulations to make the federal consistency process more efficient across all stages of OCS oil and gas projects from leasing to development, as well as renewable energy projects. NOAA is also seeking comments on whether NOAA could process appeals in less time and increase the predictability in the outcome of an appeal. NOAA further invites comment on the potential costs that could be incurred by small entities during CZMA consistency appeals if NOAA revises the federal consistency regulations to provide greater efficiency and predictability as discussed in this Notice. Comments are due April 25, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – Temporary Rule To Establish Management Measures for Red Grouper in the Gulf of Mexico
NMFS proposes to issue an emergency rule as requested by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to address concerns regarding the Gulf of Mexico red grouper stock. The Council made this request after receiving new information that indicates the stock may be in decline. This proposed emergency rule would reduce the commercial and recreational annual catch limits and annual catch targets. This emergency rule would be effective for 180 days, although NMFS may extend the emergency rule’s effectiveness for a maximum of an additional 186 days. The intended effect of this emergency rule is to provide a temporary rapid reduction in Gulf red grouper harvest levels to protect the stock from overharvest while the Council develops permanent rulemaking. Comments are due March 20, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – 2019 and 2020 Sector Operations Plans and 2019 Allocation of Northeast Multispecies Annual Catch Entitlements
The National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to approve Northeast multispecies sector operations plans and grant regulatory exemptions for fishing years 2019 and 2020, approve the formation of a new sector, and provide preliminary annual catch entitlements to approved sectors for fishing year 2019. Approval of sector operations plans and contracts is necessary to allocate annual catch entitlements to the sectors and for the sectors to operate. This action is intended to allow limited access permit holders to form sectors, as authorized under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, and to exempt them from certain effort control regulations to improve the efficiency and economics of sector vessels. Comments are due March 22, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery – Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement
The New England Fishery Management Council announces its intention to prepare an environmental impact statement. An environmental impact statement may be necessary to provide analytic support for Amendment 21 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. Amendment 21 would consider measures related to the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area, Limited Access General Category individual fishing quota possession limits, and the ability of Limited Access vessels with Limited Access General Category individual fishing quota permits to transfer quota to Limited General Category individual fishing quota-only vessels. Comments are due by April 3, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – Nominations for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Permanent Advisory Committee
NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, is seeking nominations for the advisory committee established under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act. The Permanent Advisory Committee, composed of individuals from groups concerned with the fisheries covered by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention (Convention), will be given the opportunity to provide input to the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (Commission) regarding the deliberations and decisions of the Commission. Nominations are due by March 25, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plans
The comment period for the Proposed Endangered Species Act (ESA) Recovery Plan for Puget Sound Steelhead (Proposed Plan) published on December 13, 2018 has been extended. The Proposed Plan addresses the Puget Sound steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Distinct Population Segment (DPS), which was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on May 11, 2007. The geographic area covered by the Proposed Plan is the Puget Sound basin, from the Elwha River (inclusive) eastward, including rivers in Hood Canal, South Sound, and North Sound. As required under the ESA, the Proposed Plan contains objective, measurable delisting criteria, site-specific management actions necessary to achieve the Proposed Plan’s goals, and estimates of the time and costs required to implement recovery actions. Comments are due March 28, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – Changes to the Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan
NMFS proposes to approve changes to the Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan for the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s regulatory Area 2A off Washington, Oregon, and California. In addition, NMFS proposes to implement the portions of the Plan and management measures that are not implemented through the International Pacific Halibut Commission. These measures include the recreational fishery seasons and allocations and management measures for Area 2A. These actions are intended to conserve Pacific halibut and provide angler opportunity where available. Comments due March 29, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS 2019 Ocean Salmon Fisheries Documents
The Pacific Fishery Management Council has begun its annual preseason management process for the 2019 ocean salmon fisheries. This document announces the availability of Council documents. Written comments on the salmon management alternatives must be received by 5 p.m. Pacific Time, April 1, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – 2019 Tribal Fishery for Pacific Whiting
NMFS issues a proposed rule for the 2019 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Pacific Whiting Act. This proposed rule would allocate 17.5 percent of the U.S. Total Allowable Catch of Pacific whiting for 2019 to Pacific Coast Indian tribes that have a treaty right to harvest groundfish. It would also amend the provisions regarding reapportionment of the treaty tribes’ whiting allocation to the non-treaty sectors to require that NMFS consider the level of Chinook salmon bycatch when determining whether to reapportion whiting. This rule is necessary to manage the Pacific whiting stock to Optimal Yield, ensure that the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan is implemented in a manner consistent with treaty rights of four treaty tribes to fish for Pacific whiting in their “usual and accustomed grounds and stations” in common with non-tribal citizens, and to protect salmon stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act. Comments must be received by April 1, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Scoping Process
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council announces its intent to prepare, in cooperation with NMFS, an amendment to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. An environmental impact statement may be necessary for the amendment to analyze the impacts of potential management measures in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The Council has initiated this amendment to review and consider modifications to both the permitting system for Illex squid and the fishery management plan goals and objectives. This notice announces a public process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed, and for identifying the significant issues related to this action. This notice alerts the interested public of the scoping process, the potential development of a draft environmental impact statement, and to provide for public participation in that process. Comments are due April 12, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Study Area
NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Study Area for a period of seven years, from August, 2020 through August, 2027. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS is announcing receipt of the Navy’s request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on the Navy’s application and request. Comments and information are due April 15, 2019.
- NOAA NMFS – Administration of the National Inventory of Marine Mammals
The Marine Mammal Protection Act requires the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to establish and maintain an inventory of marine mammals in zoos and aquariums. The Office of Protected Resources maintains the inventory for marine mammals under NMFS’ jurisdiction including cetaceans and pinnipeds. The MMPA requires that the holders of marine mammals in human care provide the inventory data. NOAA NMFS proposes making the current database, the National Inventory of Marine Mammals (NIMM), accessible to holders of marine mammals for inventory reporting and to the public for access to the inventory data, which is regularly requested through the Freedom of Information Act. NMFS is requesting public comment on proposed policies and procedures for the administration and maintenance of the online inventory database, NIMM, including maintenance of historical information, reporting births and stillbirths, reporting cause of death, and other administrative procedures for NIMM. Comments are due April 16, 2018.
- NOAA – Notification of Receipt of a Petition to Ban Imports of All Fish and Fish Products from New Zealand that do not Satisfy the Marine Mammal Protection Act
NMFS announces receipt of a petition for emergency rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act. Sea Shepherd Legal, Sea Shepherd New Zealand Ltd., and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and other relevant Departments to initiate emergency rulemaking under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”), to ban importation of commercial fish or products from fish that have been caught with commercial fishing technology that results in incidental mortality or serious injury of Māui dolphin in excess of United States standards. Comments are due by March 27, 2019.
- NRCS – Review of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service National Conservation Practice Standards
he 2018 Farm Bill requires an expedited review of conservation practice standards, including engineering design specifications, that were in effect on December 19, 2018. NRCS will evaluate opportunities to increase flexibility in the conservation practice standards in a manner that ensures equivalent natural resource benefits. This notice announces that NRCS will be reviewing the national conservation practice standards in the National Handbook of Conservation Practices and is requesting comments from the public about how to improve the conservation practice standards. Comments are due April 25, 2019.
- USFWS – Draft Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch, Maui
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received an application from the Haleakala Ranch Company (the Ranch) for an enhancement of survival permit pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permit application includes a draft Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) between the Ranch, the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Service. Implementation of the proposed SHA is intended to benefit the recovery of the nene (Hawaiian goose, Branta sandvicensis) on 3,056 acres of privately-owned Ranch land on the island of Maui. The proposed SHA conservation measures on the Ranch include nene habitat improvement and maintenance, establishment and maintenance of a nene release pen, and control of predators. The activities implemented under this SHA will aid in increasing the current range of the covered species, restoring this species to part of its historic range, and increasing the total population of the species, thus contributing to its overall recovery. Comments are due March 21, 2019.
- USFWS – Proposed Green Diamond Resource Company Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for Fisher in Oregon
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received an enhancement of survival permit application from Green Diamond Resource Company pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. The requested permit would authorize the incidental take of fisher should the species become federally listed in the future under the ESA. The Service has also prepared a draft environment action statement (EAS) pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act for the potential issuance of this individual permit. The permit application package and draft EAS are available for public review and comment. Comments are due March 21, 2019.
- USFWS – Safe Harbor Agreements for the Northern Spotted Owl for Eden Property and RPH Comptche Properties. Mendocino County, California
This notice advises the public that Jennifer and Jonathan Eden and RPH Comptche Property LLC (two separate applicants) have each applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of survival (EOS) permit under the Endangered Species Act. If granted, either or both EOS permits would be in effect for a 40-year period in Mendocino County, California, and would authorize take of the northern spotted owl that is likely to occur incidental to managing the timber on their properties under periodic (approximately 10-year harvest intervals) uneven-aged forestry management practices of single-tree and group selection. The documents available for review and comment are the applicants’ safe harbor agreements and our draft environmental action statements and low-effect screening forms, which support categorical exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act. We invite comments from the public and Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments. Comments are due by March 27, 2019.
- USFWS – Draft Amendments to the Environmental Assessment and Oil and Gas Industry Conservation Plan for the American Burying Beetle in Oklahoma
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of an amended environmental assessment that evaluates the impacts of a 5-year extension of the Oil and Gas Industry Conservation Plan (ICP) for incidental take of the federally listed American burying beetle resulting from oil and gas industry activities. The ICP Planning Area consists of 45 counties in Oklahoma. Individual oil and gas companies would continue to apply for Endangered Species Act permits for incidental take and agree to comply with the terms and conditions of the ICP. Comments are due April 15, 2019.
- USFWS – Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink and Blue-Tailed Mole Skink, Polk County, FL
The US Fish and Wildlife Service announces receipt of an application from Nucor Steel Florida, Inc. for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act. The applicant requests the ITP to take the federally listed sand skink and blue-tailed mole skink incidental to construction in Polk County, Florida. USFWS requests public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) and the Service’s preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as “low-effect,” categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are due April 15, 2019.
- USFWS – Hurricane Sandy Remapping Project for Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia
The Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to prepare digital versions of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) maps. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have prepared proposed digital boundaries for the second batch of CBRS units included in the Hurricane Sandy Remapping Project. This second batch of the project includes a total of 310 CBRS units (256 existing units and 54 proposed new units) located in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York (Long Island), Rhode Island, and Virginia. This notice announces the availability of the proposed boundaries for public review and comment, and also advises the public of upcoming public meetings that will be held via webcast and teleconference. Comments are open through April 17, 2019.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Borax Lake Chub From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove the Borax Lake chub (currently listed as Gila boraxobius), a fish native to Oregon, from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife on the basis of recovery. This proposal is based on a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, which indicates that the threats to the Borax Lake chub have been eliminated or reduced to the point where the species no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. Comments are due April 29, 2019.
- USFWS – Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) from the Endangered Species List
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has evaluated the classification status of gray wolves (Canis lupus) currently listed in the contiguous United States and Mexico under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Based on the evaluation, USFWS proposes to remove the gray wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The effect of this rulemaking action would be to remove the gray wolf from the Act’s protections. This proposed rule does not have any effect on the separate listing of the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) as endangered under the Act. Comments are due May 14, 2019.