Federal Register Opportunities
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:
- Arctic Research Commission — 112th Commission Meeting (October 9)
- BLM – Southwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council Meeting (September 25)
- BLM – Public Meetings of the San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee (September 24)
- BLM – John Day-Snake Resource Advisory Council Meeting (October 17-18)
- BLM – Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council Meeting (October 10)
- BLM- Utah Resource Advisory Council Meetings (October 29-30)
- DOE – Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (October 2)
- EPA – Environmental Laboratory Advisory Board Meeting (2019 teleconferences – September 18, October 16, November 20, and December 18.)
- EPA – Conference on Air Quality Modeling (October 2-3, comments on potential revisions to the way the EPA determines and applies the appropriate air quality models must be received by November 4, 2019)
- EPA – Environmental Modeling Public Meeting (October 16)
- EPA – Environmental Financial Advisory Board (October 16-19)
- EPA – Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel Meeting (November 19-22, preparatory webinar TBA)
- Forest Service – Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board Meeting (September 18, October 20, November 20)
- Forest Service – Saguache-Upper Rio Grande Resource Advisory Committee (CO) Meeting (September 18)
- Forest Service – Flathead Resource Advisory Committee Meeting (September 20, October 1, October 3, October 7, October 8, October 10)
- NOAA – Evaluation of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Meeting (September 25, comments due October 4)
- NOAA – Evaluation of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Coastal Management Program (October 16, comments due October 25)
- NOAA – Public Meeting of the National Sea Grant Advisory Board (November 11 & 12)
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Fishery Management Council Meetings (September 11-18)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Fishery Management Council Webinar – Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the BSAI Halibut abundance-based management (September 20)
- NOAA NMFS – Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Ecosystem and Ocean Planning Committee Meeting (September 19-20)
- NOAA NMFS – Meeting of the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (September 25-26)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Fishery Management Meeting (September 30 – October 9)
- NOAA NMFS – Pacific Fishery Management Council Southern Resident Killer Whale Workgroup (October 8 & 9)
- NOAA NMFS – Permanent Advisory Committee To Advise the U.S. Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Meeting (October 10-11)
- NOAA NMFS – New England Fishery Management Council Scientific & Statistical Committee Meeting (October 17 & 18)
- NPS – Wekiva River System Advisory Management Committee Meetings (September 18, November 13)
- NPS – Meeting of the Made in America Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee (September 24)
- NPS – Alaska Region Subsistence Resource Commission Meetings (Gates of the Arctic National Park – November 6 & 7, Lake Clark National Park – October 2, Cape Krusentern National Monument – October 1 & 2, Kobuk Valley National Park – October 3 & 4, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park – October 7 and 8)
- NSF – Advisory Committee for Geosciences Meeting (October 17 & 18)
- NSF – Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources Meeting (October 29)
- USGS – National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council Federal Advisory Committee Meeting (September 30)
Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:
USDA APHIS – Environmental Assessment for the Release of Sericothrips staphylinus for Biological Control of Gorse
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment relative to permitting the release of Sericothrips staphylinus for the biological control of gorse, a spiny shrub, within the contiguous United States. Based on the environmental assessment and other relevant data, APHIS has reached a preliminary determination that the release of this control agent will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. APHIS is making the environmental assessment available to the public for review and comment and will consider all comments received on or before September 19, 2019.
US Army Corps of Engineers – Intent To Prepare a Draft Integrated Feasibility Report-Environmental Impact Statement for the Memphis Metropolitan Stormwater Management Project: North DeSoto County, Mississippi Feasibility Study
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to prepare a Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (DIFR-EIS) for the Memphis Metropolitan Stormwater Management Project: North DeSoto County, Mississippi Feasibility Study. The DIFR-EIS seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of existing Federal and non-Federal improvements; to determine the need for additional improvements to reduce the risk of flooding from stormwater, restore environmental resources, and improve the quality of water entering the Mississippi River and its tributaries; and to determine if such improvements are technically feasible, environmentally acceptable, and economically justified. Initial scoping comments should be received by October 15, 2019.
US Army Corps of Engineers – Intent To Prepare a Draft NEPA Document for the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam Disposition Study, Hennepin County, Minnesota
The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting a study regarding the disposition of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam located at river mile 853.9 on the Upper Mississippi River, in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The study will include an environmental assessment and consider modifications that could improve the overall quality of the environment in the public interest, including removal of federally-owned facilities. The study will evaluate three types of alternatives: (1) No action; (2) de-authorization and disposal of all federally-owned and operated facilities; and (3) partial de-authorization and disposal of features or separable elements not required for flood mitigation operations. The study will also explore opportunities to improve the overall quality and health of the environment and/or enhance recreation. It is anticipated that a preliminary draft report of the integrated Disposition Study and Environmental Assessment (EA) will be available for a minimum 30-day public comment period in the Spring of 2020. The Army Corps of Engineers is soliciting public comments on the scope of the proposed study and significant issues that should be analyzed in the EA. The Corps will accept comments received or postmarked on or before October 20, 2019.
BLM – Draft Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Bureau of Land Management has prepared a Draft Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Royal Gorge Field Office. Public comments can be submitted through September 20, 2019.
BLM – Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Willow Master Development Plan (Alaska)
The Bureau of Land Management has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Willow Master Development Plan (MDP) and by this notice is announcing the opening of the comment period. The BLM is also announcing that it will be holding public meetings on the Willow MDP Draft EIS and a subsistence-related hearing to receive comments on the Willow MDP Draft EIS and the proposed project’s potential to impact subsistence resources and activities. Public comments will be accepted through October 15, 2019.
BLM – Ambler Road Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Alaska)
The Bureau of Land Management has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Ambler Road and by this notice is announcing the opening of the comment period. The BLM is also announcing that it will be holding public meetings on the Draft EIS and subsistence-related hearings to receive comments on the Draft EIS and the project’s potential to impact subsistence resources and activities. Public comments will be accepted through October 15, 2019.
BLM – Notice of Intent to Prepare Environmental Impact Statement To Analyze Rangeland Health Management Actions in the Louse Canyon Geographic Management Area of the Malheur Field Office (Oregon)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Malheur Field Office, Vale District, Vale, Oregon, intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) and, by this notice, is announcing the beginning of the public scoping period for the analysis of rangeland health management actions in the Louse Canyon Geographic Management Area (LCGMA). The BLM requests that comments be submitted by October 15, 2019.
BLM – Withdrawal Extension and Public Meeting, Lake Roosevelt Expansion Area (AZ)
The Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management proposes to extend the duration of Public Land Order (PLO) No. 7420 an additional 20-year term. PLO No. 7420 withdrew 9,175 acres of National Forest System lands from location and entry under the United States mining laws, but not from leasing under the mineral leasing laws. The purpose of the withdrawal is to protect the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lake Roosevelt expansion area. There is a public comment period on this withdrawal extension, ending October 29, 2019.
BLM – Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Land Use Plan Amendment for Borderlands Wind Project in Catron County, New Mexico
The Bureau of Land Management has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Borderlands Wind Project and Proposed Socorro Field Office Resource Management Plan Amendment for the BLM Socorro Field Office. Comments on the document may be submitted in writing until November 7, 2019.
EPA – Request for Nominations of Ad Hoc Expert Reviewers to assist the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP)
There will be a 4-day, public, in-person meeting of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to consider and review the Approaches for Quantitative Use of Surface Water Monitoring Data in Pesticide Drinking Water Assessments. The EPA is requesting nominations of prospective candidates for service as ad hoc reviewers to assist the FIFRA SAP with this review. Public comments requests for oral comments be submitted on or before October 4, 2019.
EPA – Designation of an Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site for the Southern Maine, New Hampshire, and Northern Massachusetts Coastal Region
The Environmental Protection Agency proposes to designate one ocean dredged material disposal site (ODMDS), the Isles of Shoals North Disposal Site, located approximately 10.8 nautical miles east of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act. This action is necessary to serve the long-term need for an ODMDS for the possible future disposal of suitable dredged material from harbors and navigation channels in southern Maine, New Hampshire, and northern Massachusetts. Written comments must be received on or before October 18, 2019.
EPA – Regulations on Water Quality Certification
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing for public comment a proposed rule providing updates and clarifications to the substantive and procedural requirements for water quality certification under Clean Water Act section 401. CWA section 401 is a direct grant of authority to states (and tribes that have been approved for “treatment as a state” status) to review for compliance with appropriate federal, state, and tribal water quality requirements any proposed activity that requires a federal license or permit and may result in a discharge to waters of the United States. Comments must be received on or before October 21, 2019.
EPA – Interim Process for Evaluating Potential Synergistic Effects of Pesticides During the Registration Process; Notice of Availability and Request for Comments
EPA is announcing the availability of and soliciting public comment on an interim process it developed to address risk estimate uncertainties associated with U.S. patent assertions of greater than additive effects (GTA effects) in mixtures of pesticide active ingredients for controlling pests (often referred to as “synergy”). EPA developed a process to document, review and, if necessary, revise ecological risk estimates; and invites public comment on this process to obtain and analyze GTA effects data identified in patent assertions. Comments must be received on or before October 24, 2019.
EPA – Notice of Intent To Develop a Policy on the Determination of a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) and Hypoxia as an Event of National Significance in Freshwater Systems
The Environmental Protection Agency is requesting public comment to inform the development of an Agency policy for determining if a harmful algal bloom (HAB) or hypoxia event in freshwater is an “event of national significance.” Recent amendments to the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, provide the EPA with the statutory authority to make such a determination in the case of a freshwater HAB or hypoxia event. Public comments are intended to inform the development of a policy for the EPA to make such determinations, specifically for events in freshwater. A federal determination that such an occurrence is an event of national significance enables mobilization of federal resources to assess and mitigate its detrimental effects, subject to the availability of appropriations. The EPA requests input on what the Agency should specifically consider for determining a “HAB or Hypoxia event of national significance” in freshwater, and related factors in order to inform development of a draft EPA policy. On July 25, 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a separate notice to solicit comments on HAB or hypoxia events of national significance in marine and coastal waters. Comments must be received on or before October 31, 2019.
EPA – Draft National Water Reuse Action Plan
The Environmental Protection Agency is requesting public comment on a draft National Water Reuse Action Plan. This draft Action Plan seeks to foster greater consideration of water reuse across the water sector, such as agriculture, industry, potable water and more. To accelerate the consideration of water reuse approaches and build on existing science, research, policy, technology, and both national and international experiences, the EPA has facilitated development of this draft National Water Reuse Action Plan across the water sector and with federal, state, and tribal partners. The draft Action Plan is intended to seek commitments and drive action across the various stakeholder groups and the Nation. The plan consists of 46 proposed actions that support consideration and implementation of water reuse applications across ten strategic objectives. Comments must be received on or before December 16, 2019.
Forest Service – Forest Plan Revision for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests (Idaho)
The USDA Forest Service published a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in the Federal Register on July 15, 2014. The NOI served as the scoping document for the Forest Plan Revision for the Nez Perce—Clearwater National Forests, and solicited comments have been used in the preparation of a proposed Nez Perce—Clearwater National Forests Land Management Plan and draft EIS. Due to ongoing work on this planning effort since 2014, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is updating the information in the original NOI. These updates identify new addresses and contact information, update where information on the project can be found, update the responsible official, and update the nature of the decision to be made. Comments concerning the updated information in this notice will be most useful in the continued development of the proposed Forest Plan and draft EIS if received by October 7, 2019. The draft EIS is expected by late fall 2019 and a final EIS is expected by winter 2020/2021.
Forest Service – Oil and Gas Leasing Availability Analysis Environmental Impact Statement for National Forests and Grasslands in Texas
The National Forests and Grasslands in Texas (NFGT) are initiating the preparation of an environmental impact statement. The EIS will analyze and disclose the effects of identifying areas as available or unavailable for new oil and gas leasing. The proposed action identifies the following elements: What lands will be made available for future oil and gas leasing; what stipulations will be applied to lands available for future oil and gas leasing, and if there would be any plan amendments to the 1996 NFGT Revised Land and Resource Management Plan. Public comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by October 11, 2019. The draft EIS is expected in the winter of 2019, and the final EIS is expected in the fall of 2020.
Forest Service – Revision of Ashley National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan
The USDA Forest Service is revising the Land Management Plan (Forest Plan) for the Ashley National Forest in Utah and Wyoming and preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS). Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by November 8, 2019. The agency expects to release a draft revised Forest Plan and EIS by fall 2020 and a final revised Forest Plan and EIS by summer 2021. See the Federal Register notice for a summary of the proposal to revise the forest plan and how to access other forest planning documents.
Forest Service – Request for Applications: The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program
The US Forest Service requests applications for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program or CFP). This is a competitive grant program whereby local governments, qualified nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for grants to establish community forests through fee simple acquisition of private forest land from a willing seller. The purpose of the program is to establish community forests by protecting forest land from conversion to non-forest uses and provide community benefits such as sustainable forest management, environmental benefits including clean air, water, and wildlife habitat; benefits from forest-based educational programs; benefits from serving as models of effective forest stewardship; and recreational benefits secured with public access. Eligible lands for grants funded under this program are private forest that is at least five acres in size, suitable to sustain natural vegetation, and at least 75 percent forested. The lands must also be threatened by conversion to non-forest uses, must not be held in trust by the United States on behalf of any Indian Tribe, must not be Tribal allotment lands, must be offered for sale by a willing seller, and if acquired by an eligible entity, must provide defined community benefits under CFP and allow public access. Interested local government and nonprofit applicants must submit applications to the State Forester. Tribal applicants must submit applications to the appropriate Tribal government officials. All applications, either hardcopy or electronic, must be received by State Foresters or Tribal governments by January 6th, 2020.
NOAA – Establishing an Advisory Council and Solicitation for Applications for the Proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
NOAA is establishing a national marine sanctuary advisory council for the proposed sanctuary in eastern Lake Ontario. The council will provide advice and recommendations to NOAA’s Office of Marine Sanctuaries regarding the sanctuary’s designation. ONMS is soliciting applications to fill seats on the Proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Advisory council members may be appointed from among: (1) Persons employed by federal or state agencies with expertise in natural resources management; (2) members of relevant regional fishery management councils; and (3) representatives of local user groups, conservation and other public interest organizations, scientific organizations, educational organizations, or others interested in the protection and multiple use management of sanctuary resources. See the Federal Register notice for more information on how to apply. Applications for membership on the Proposed Lake Ontario Sanctuary Advisory Council need to be received by November 1, 2019.
NOAA – Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Restoration Blueprint and Announcement of Public Meetings
NOAA has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to evaluate a range of alternatives for changes to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) to expand the boundary of the sanctuary, update sanctuary-wide regulations, update the individual marine zones and their associated regulations, and revise the sanctuary management plan. FKNMS protects 3,800 square miles of waters surrounding the Florida Keys, from south of Miami westward to the Dry Tortugas. Within the boundary of the sanctuary lie spectacular, unique, and nationally significant marine resources including North America’s only coral barrier reef, extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands, and more than 6,000 species of marine life. The sanctuary also protects pieces of our Nation’s history such as shipwrecks and other archeological resources. The DEIS includes a proposed action and a range of alternatives that would help improve the condition of resources in the Florida Keys through a series of regulatory and management measures designed to reduce threats and, where appropriate, restore coral reefs, seagrasses, and other important habitats. NOAA is soliciting public comment on the DEIS, also referred to as the Restoration Blueprint. Comments on this DEIS will be considered if received by January 31, 2020. Public meeting will be held September 23 (Key West, FL), September 30 (Marathon, FL), October 7 (Tavernier, FL), October 15 (Marathon, FL), October 28 (Coral Gables, FL), November 4 (Fort Meyers, FL) and December 10 (Marathon, FL).
NOAA NMFS – Nominations to the Marine Mammal Scientific Review Groups
The Secretary of Commerce established three independent regional scientific review groups (SRGs) to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. NMFS conducted a membership review of the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific SRGs, and is soliciting nominations for new members to fill vacancies and gaps in expertise. Nominations must be received by September 18, 2019.
NOAA NMFS – Pelagic Longline Fishery Management for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries
NMFS is proposing to adjust regulatory measures put in place to manage bluefin tuna bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery for Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS), specifically addressing the Northeastern United States Closed Area, the Cape Hatteras Gear Restricted Area, and the Spring Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area as well as the weak hook requirement in the Gulf of Mexico. Several of the proposed measures would have an evaluation period component to determine whether the current area-based management measure remains necessary to reduce and/or maintain low numbers of bluefin tuna discards and interactions in the pelagic longline fishery. Other proposed measures would eliminate the Cape Hatteras Gear Restricted Area and would adjust the requirement to use weak hooks from a year-round requirement to a seasonal (January-June) requirement. The proposed measures would affect the HMS pelagic longline fishery in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Written comments must be received by September 30, 2019.
NOAA NMFS – Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico – Amendment 18
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 18 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Waters (Amendment 18) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, Amendment 18 would modify the target reduction goal for juvenile red snapper mortality in the Federal Gulf shrimp trawl fishery in the 10-30 fathom depth zone, and would modify the FMP management measures framework procedure. The purposes of Amendment 18 are to promote economic stability, to achieve optimum yield in the Federal Gulf shrimp fishery by reducing effort constraints, and to equitably distribute the benefits from red snapper rebuilding, while continuing to protect, the Gulf red snapper stock. Written comments must be received on or before September 30, 2019.
NOAA NMFS – Amendments 50A-F – State Management of Recreational Harvest of Red Snapper
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendments 50A, 50B, 50C, 50D, 50E, and 50F to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS (Amendments 50A-F). Amendments 50A-F would delegate authority to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas, to establish specific management measures for the harvest of red snapper in Federal waters in the Gulf by the private angling component of the recreational sector. The purposes of Amendments 50A-F are to increase fishing opportunities and economic benefits by allowing each Gulf state to establish specific management measures for the recreational harvest of red snapper in Federal waters by private anglers landing in that state. Written comments must be received on or before October 7, 2019.
NOAA NMFS – Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Seabird Bycatch Avoidance Measures
This proposed rule would require commercial groundfish bottom longline vessels 26 feet length overall and longer managed under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan to deploy streamer lines or to set gear between civil dusk and civil dawn when fishing in Federal waters north of 36° North latitude. The action is necessary to fulfill terms and conditions of a 2017 United States Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion to minimize incidental take of Endangered Species Act-listed short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) by vessels in the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. This proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable laws, including the Endangered Species Act. Comments must be received by October 15, 2019.
NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 8
The New England Fishery Management Council developed Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan to specify a long-term acceptable biological catch control rule for herring and address localized depletion and user group conflict. This amendment would establish an acceptable biological catch control rule that accounts for herring’s role in the ecosystem and prohibit midwater trawling in inshore Federal waters from the U.S./Canada border to the Rhode Island/Connecticut border. Public comments must be received on or before October 21, 2019.
NOAA NMFS – Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment
NMFS announces that the New England Fishery Management Council has submitted the Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment, incorporating the Environmental Assessment and the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, for review by the Secretary of Commerce, and is requesting comments from the public. This action would protect deep-sea corals from the impacts of commercial fishing gear on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine. These proposed management measures are intended to reduce, to the extent practicable, impacts of fishing gear on deep-sea corals in New England while balancing their costs to commercial fisheries. Comments must be received on or before October 25, 2019.
NOAA NMFS – Amendment 12 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan
NMFS announces the availability of a scoping document and its intent to initiate an amendment to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Given recent revisions to the National Standard guidelines and recent NMFS policy directives, which aim to improve and streamline fishery management procedures to enhance their utility for managers and the public, NMFS has determined it is necessary to: Reassess current HMS FMP objectives to reflect the changing needs of the HMS fisheries, and potentially adopt revised FMP objectives; review stock status determination criteria (SDC) for internationally-managed HMS and adopt such criteria, rather than continue to apply domestic criteria, which at times differ; review the standardized bycatch reporting methodology for certain HMS fisheries and update, if necessary; consider triggers for initiating allocation reviews for quota-managed HMS stocks and adopt such triggers, if appropriate; and consider revising the publication date of the annual HMS Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report and adopt such revision. The goal of the scoping document is to examine potential options and modify domestic HMS fishery management measures to be consistent with the national standards guidelines and recent NMFS policy directives, and to request additional information and input from consulting parties and the public prior to development of Amendment 12 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic HMS FMP. A webinar on this amendment will be held October 9, 2019. Comments on the scoping document are due November 4, 2019.
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 Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee. The Committee consists of representatives from among, but not limited to, the following interest groups to represent a range of interests concerned with the management of Fort Hancock within the park and its impact on the local area: The natural resource community, the business community, the cultural resource community, the real estate community, the recreation community, the education community, the scientific community, and hospitality organizations. Written nominations must be received by October 4, 2019.
USFWS – Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink and Blue-Tailed Mole Skink, Osceola County, FL
The Fish and Wildlife Service announces receipt of an application from Mattamy Homes (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) 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 Osceola County, Florida. USFWS request 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. USFWS must receive written comments on or before September 23, 2019.
USFWS – Initiation of 5-Year Status Reviews of 58 Species in California, Nevada, and the Klamath Basin of Oregon
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is initiating 5-year status reviews of 58 species in California, Nevada, and the Klamath Basin of Oregon under the Endangered Species Act. A 5-year review is based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, USFWS is requesting submission of any new information on these species that has become available since the last review. To ensure consideration, USFWS is requesting submission of new information no later than September 24, 2019. However, USFWS will continue to accept new information about any species at any time.
USFWS – Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat, City of Highland, San Bernardino County, CA
The Fish and Wildlife Service announces receipt of an application from the City of Highland (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. The applicant requests the ITP to take the federally endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat incidental to construction in San Bernardino County, California. USFWS requests public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) and USFWS’ preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as “low-effect,” categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination, USFWS used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, which is also available for review. USFWS must receive written comment on or before October 3, 2019.
USFWS – Initiation of 5-Year Reviews of Seven Northeastern Species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is initiating 5-year reviews under the Endangered Species Act for seven northeastern species, including the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic Salmon. A 5-year review is based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. USFWS requesting submission of any such information that has become available since the previous 5-year review for each species. To ensure consideration, please submit written information by October 4, 2019. However, USFWS will continue to accept new information about any listed species at any time.
USFWS – Reclassifying the American Burying Beetle From Endangered to Threatened on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife With a 4(d) Rule
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to reclassify the American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) from endangered to threatened on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. This determination is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, which indicates that the threats to this species have been reduced to the point that it no longer meets the definition of an endangered species under the Act, but is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. USFWS is also proposing a rule under section 4(d) of the Act to provide for the conservation of the species. Many routine activities in the species’ range will not be regulated if this proposal is finalized because these practices will not affect the overall viability of the American burying beetle. USFWS is soliciting additional data and information that may assist the agency in making a final decision on this proposed action. The comment period had been re-opened and USFWS will accept public comment through October 9, 2019. USFWS will also hold a public informational meeting and public hearing in Tulsa, OK on September 24, 2019.
USFWS – Endangered Species Status for Franklin’s Bumble Bee (Bombus franklini)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklini), an invertebrate species from Douglas, Jackson, and Josephine Counties in Oregon, and Siskiyou and Trinity Counties in California, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS finds that disease and other natural or manmade factors are likely the primary threats to the species within its habitat. If made final, this rule would add this species to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and apply the protections of the Act to this species. USFWS has determined that designating critical habitat for the Franklin’s bumble bee is not prudent, because the Franklin’s bumble bee is a habitat generalist, and the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat is not a threat to Franklin’s bumble bee. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before October 15, 2019.
USFWS – Threatened Species Status for Graham’s Beardtongue (Penstemon grahamii) and White River Beardtongue (Penstemon scariosus var. albifluvis) and Designation of Critical Habitat for Graham’s Beardtongue and White River Beardtongue
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment periods on the August 6, 2013 proposed rules to list Graham’s beardtongue (Penstemon grahamii) and White River beardtongue (Penstemon scariosus var. albifluvis) as threatened species throughout their ranges and to designate critical habitat for these two plant species under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS is reopening the comment period for 30 days to give all interested parties further opportunity to comment on the proposed rules. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they are already incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the final rule.USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before October 15, 2019.
USFWS – Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Scrub-Jay, Volusia County, FL
The Fish and Wildlife Service announces receipt of an application from KBC Development (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. The applicant requests the ITP to take the federally listed scrub-jay incidental to construction in Volusia 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. To make this determination, USFWS used its environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. USFWS must receive your written comments on or before October 15, 2019.
USFWS – Removing Trifolium stoloniferum (Running Buffalo Clover) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove the Trifolium stoloniferum (running buffalo clover) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants, due to recovery. This determination is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, which indicates that the threats to the species have been eliminated or reduced to the point that it no longer meets the definition of an endangered or a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS is seeking information and comments from the public regarding this proposed rule and comments on the draft post-delisting monitoring plan for running buffalo clover. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before October 28, 2019.
USFWS – 90-Day Findings for Gila topminnow, lake sturgeon and Siskiyou Mountains salamander
In response to stakeholder petitions, USFWS has determined that a reclassification of the status of the Gila topminnow from endangered to threatened species status may be warranted. USFWS has also determined that listing the lake sturgeon as endangered or threatened may be warranted and that listing the Siskiyou Mountains salamander is not warranted. The agency seeks any new information concerning the statuses of, or threats to, these species or their habitats and will consider any relevant information received during work on the status reviews.
USFWS – 12-Month Findings on Petitions To List Eight Species as Endangered or Threatened Species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces 12-month findings on petitions to list eight species as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. After a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, USFWS found that it is not warranted at this time to list the Arapahoe snowfly, brook floater, golden orb, Joshua tree, seaside alder, smooth pimpleback, tricolored blackbird, and yellow-banded bumblebee. However, USFWS asks the public to submit at any time any new information that becomes available relevant to the status of any of the species mentioned above or their habitats.
USFWS – 90-Day Findings for Three Species
Based on a review of petitions submitted to USFWS, USFWS has determined that threatened or endangered species status may be warranted for the Mojave poppy bee (Perdita meconis) and the Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis). USFWS has also determined threatened or endangered species status is not warranted for the Yellowstone National Park bison (population of Bison bison bison). USFWS seeks any new information concerning the status of, or threats to, the species or its habitat. Any information received during the agency’s work on the status review will be considered.
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – Request for Information on the Bioeconomy
The Office of Science Technology and Policy (OSTP) requests input from all interested parties on the U.S. Bioeconomy. The Bioeconomy represents the infrastructure, innovation, products, technology, and data derived from biologically-related processes and science that drive economic growth, promote health, and increase public benefit. Through this Request for Information (RFI), OSTP seeks input from the public, including those with capital investments, performing innovative research, or developing enabling platforms and applications in the field of biological sciences, to include healthcare, medicine, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, manufacturing, energy production, and agriculture. This RFI will inform notable gaps, vulnerabilities, and areas to promote and protect in the U.S. Bioeconomy that may benefit from Federal government attention. The information can include suggestions on those areas of greatest priority within the Bioeconomy, as well as past or future Federal government efforts to build, promote, and sustain the U.S. Bioeconomy. The public input provided in response to this RFI will inform the Executive Office of the President as well as private sector, academia, non-governmental entities, and other stakeholders with interest in and expertise relating to the promotion of a Bioeconomy ecosystem encompassing shared values and core American principles. Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on October 22, 2019.