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Federal Register Opportunities

This page is being transitioned to the EcoTone blog: https://www.esa.org/esablog/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:

Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:

    • USDA APHIS – Deregulation of Pine Shoot Beetle
      USDA APHIS is proposing to amend its regulations to remove the domestic pine shoot beetle (PSB) quarantine and to eliminate the restrictions that apply to the importation of PSB host material from Canada. The agency has prepared an analysis of regulatory options, which has been made available for public review and comment, that evaluates the effectiveness of the regulatory program in slowing the spread of the pest and reducing damages. USDA APHIS will consider all comments received on or before Nov. 22, 2019.
    • BEA – Request for Comments on Developing State-Level Statistics for the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account
      The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is soliciting comments from the public about new prototype statistics on the economic activity generated by outdoor recreation in each U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Following the public comment period, BEA will evaluate feedback, finalize the methodology and related materials, and begin publishing this data series annually in the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA). Comments must be received no later than March 31, 2020.
    • 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.
    • BLM- Draft Enviornmental Impact Statement – Tri-State Fuel Breaks Project (Idaho, Oregon, Nevada)
      The BLM in Idaho and Oregon prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) titled Tri-state Fuel Breaks Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a fuel and wildfire management project in Greater-sage grouse habitat. Comments on the draft EIS are due November 25, 2019.
    • BLM – Proposed Rule: Non-Energy Solid Leasable Minerals Royalty Rate Reduction Process
      The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to amend its regulations to revise the process for lessees to seek and for the BLM to grant reductions of rental fees, royalty rates, and/or minimum production requirements associated with non-energy solid leasable minerals. The proposed rule would streamline the process for such reductions for non-energy solid minerals leased by the Federal Government and would codify the BLM’s authority to issue an area- or industry-wide reduction on its own initiative. The BLM claims that existing regulatory requirements are overly restrictive, inflexible, and burdensome. A report from the Senate Committee on Appropriations on the 2019 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill encouraged the BLM to work with soda ash producers to reduce the Federal royalty rate, as appropriate. The proposed rule would give the BLM more flexibility to respond to changing market dynamics by improving the BLM’s ability to boost production and support development of the Federal mineral estate when deemed necessary. Please submit comments on or before December 17, 2019.
    • EPA –  Draft Human Health and/or Ecological Risk Assessments for Several Pesticides
      This notice announced the availability of the EPA’s draft human health and/or ecological risk assessments for the registration review of alkylbenzene sulfonates, cyproconazole, etoxazole, fenamidone, fenbutatin-oxide, fluazifop-p-butyl, flumetralin, MCPB and salts, mecoprop (MCPP-p), oxyfluorfen, pinoxaden, pyraclostrobin, and pyraflufen-ethyl. Comments must be received on or before November 29, 2019.
    • EPA – Integrated Science Assessment for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants (External Review Draft)
      The EPA is announcing a public comment period for the draft document titled, “Integrated Science Assessment for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants”. 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) ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). 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 review of the ozone NAAQS and the appropriateness of possible alternative standards. EPA is releasing this draft document to seek review by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and the public. The public comment period begins on September 26, 2019 and ends December 2, 2019. Comments must be received on or before December 2, 2019.
    • EPA – Draft National Water Reuse Action Plan
      The EPA 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.
    • EPA – Water Quality Trading Under The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program
      The EPA is requesting comment on policy approaches for addressing “baseline” issues in watersheds with EPA-approved Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) where policymakers would like to pursue water quality trading as a regulatory option for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit compliance. These policy approaches may also be of interest to stakeholders pursuing market-based water quality improvement programs outside of the NPDES permit program. Comments must be received on or before November 18, 2019.
    • EPA – Significant New Use Rules on Certain Chemical Substances (19-6.B)
      The EPA is proposing significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for seven chemical substances which are the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). This action would require persons to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing manufacture or processing of any of these seven chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this proposed rule. This action would further require that persons not commence manufacture or processing for the significant new use until they have submitted a Significant New Use Notice, and the EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice under TSCA and has taken any risk management actions as are required as a result of that determination. The EPA will receive comments until November 7, 2019.
    • EPA -Significant New Use Rules on Certain Chemical Substances (19-3.F)
      The EPA is proposing significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 31 chemical substances which were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). Eight of these chemical substances are subject to TSCA Orders issued by the EPA and the remaining 23 of these chemical substances received a “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” determination. This action would require persons who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of these 31 chemical substances for an activity that is proposed as a significant new use to notify the EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. Persons may not commence manufacture or processing for the significant new use until the EPA has conducted a review of the notice, made an appropriate determination on the notice, and has taken such actions as are required by that determination. The EPA is accepting comments until November 12, 2019.
    • EPA -Reopening of Comment Period on National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Integrated Iron and Steel Manufacturing Facilities Residual Risk and Technology Review
      The EPA is reopening the comment period on a proposed a rule titled “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Integrated Iron and Steel Manufacturing Facilities Residual Risk and Technology Review.” Said comment period on the proposed rule originally closed on September 30, 2019, but is now reopening until November 30, 2019. The comment period will remain open to allow additional time for stakeholders to review and comment on the proposal.
    • EPA – Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of Applications for New Active Ingredients (September 2019) 
      The EPA has received applications to register pesticide products containing active ingredients not included in any currently registered pesticide products. Pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA is hereby providing notice of receipt and opportunity to comment on these applications. Comments must be received on or before November 25, 2019.
    • EPA – Draft Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments for Paraquat Dichloride
      The EPA is providing an opportunity, through this notice of availability, for interested parties to provide comments and input concerning the Agency’s draft human health and ecological risk assessments for paraquat dichloride. The Agency will consider all comments received during the public comment period and make changes, as appropriate, to the draft human health and/or ecological risk assessment. EPA may then issue a revised risk assessment, explain any changes to the draft risk assessment, and respond to comments. Comments must be received on or before December 16, 2019
    • EPA – Clean Water Act Methods Update Rule for the Analysis of Effluent
      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing changes to its test procedures required to be used by industries and municipalities when analyzing the chemical, physical, and biological properties of wastewater and other environmental samples for reporting under the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. Comments must be received by December 23, 2019.
    • EPA – Pesticide Registration Review on Anthraquinone; Docket Opened for Review and Comment
      The EPA is opening the public comment period for review of anthraquinone. Registration review is the EPA’s periodic review of pesticide registrations to ensure that each pesticide continues to satisfy the statutory standard for registration, that is, the pesticide can perform its intended function without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. Registration review dockets contain information that will assist the public in understanding the types of information and issues that the Agency may consider during the course of registration reviews. Through this program, the EPA is ensuring that each pesticide’s registration is based on current scientific and other knowledge, including its effects on human health and the environment. Comments must be received on or before December 30, 2019.
    • Forest Service – Plan of Operations Amendment 1 for the Kensington Gold Mine in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska
      In December 2018, the Tongass National Forest, received a proposal from Coeur Alaska, Inc., the owner/operator of the Kensington Gold Mine, to amend the 2005 Plan of Operations. This proposed life of mine extension, as described in Coeur Alaska’s proposed Plan of Operations Amendment 1 (POA 1), would expand the disturbance area currently approved by the Forest Service under the 2004 Kensington Gold Project Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). To assess Coeur Alaska’s proposed POA 1, the Forest Service will prepare a new SEIS. This notice advises the public that the Tongass National Forest is gathering information necessary to prepare an SEIS to evaluate the effects of changing the Plan of Operations via Coeur Alaska’s proposed POA 1. Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by November 7, 2019. The Draft SEIS is expected October 2020 and the Final SEIS is expected July 2021.
    • 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 Nominations: The Collaborative Fores Landscape Restoration Advisory Panel
      The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Advisory Panel (Panel) was renewed on September 16, 2019, to evaluate and provide recommendations on the selection of collaborative forest landscape restoration proposals to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) for approval as provided in Section 8629 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The Secretary has determined that the work of the Panel is in the public’s interest and relevant to the duties of the Department of Agriculture. Therefore, the Secretary is seeking nominations to fill vacancies on the Panel. The Panel is a statutory committee. Nominations must be received on or before November 14, 2019. Nominations must contain a completed application packet that includes the nominee’s name, resume, references, and completed Form AD-755 (Advisory Committee or Research and Promotion Background Information). Additional information concerning the Panel can be found by visiting the Panel’s website.
    • Forest Service – Proposed Exemption of Tongass National Forest from Roadless Area Conservation Rule
      The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which prohibits tree harvest and road construction/reconstruction within inventoried roadless areas with certain limited exceptions. In addition, the proposed rule would provide an administrative procedure for correcting and modifying inventoried roadless area boundaries on the Chugach National Forest. The USDA invites written comments on the proposed rule and the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). The proposed rule would not directly authorize any ground-disturbing activities. Comments must be received in writing by December 16, 2019.
    • 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.
    • Interior Department – Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Phase 2 Restoration Plan 1.2 and Environmental Assessment: Barataria Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation Project Spanish Pass Increment and Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project Increment One; Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group
      The  Federal and State natural resource trustee agencies for the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (LA TIG) have prepared a Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #1.2: Barataria Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation Project Spanish Pass Increment and Lake Borgne Marsh Creation Project Increment One (Phase 2 RP/EA #1.2), proposing construction activities for the restoration of wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats injured in the Louisiana Restoration Area as a result of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill. The two projects are components of larger marsh restoration strategies, and were approved for engineering and design (E&D) in a 2017 restoration plan entitled Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Final Restoration Plan #1: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; Habitat Projects on Federally Managed Lands; and Birds (Phase 1 RP #1). The Phase 2 RP/EA #1.2 analyzes design alternatives for the two projects, and proposes a preferred design alternative for construction of each. We invite comments on the draft Phase 2 RP/EA #1.2.The Interior Department will consider public comments on the draft Phase 2 RP/EA #1.2 received on or before November 18, 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 meetings will be held December 10 (Marathon, FL).
    • NOAA NMFS – Draft Outline for a Work Plan for a Federal Aquaculture Regulatory Task Force
      On behalf of the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Aquaculture, the NOAA announced the availability of the Draft Outline for a Work Plan for a Federal Aquaculture Regulatory Task Force for public review and comment. Public comments must be received on or before November 8, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Species; Take of Anadromous Fish
      The NOAA announced a Notice of receipt of 14 permit applications for enhancement and monitoring purposes under the ESA of 1973, including an associated Template Safe Harbor Agreement and site plans developed for the proposed enrolled properties. The proposed enhancement of survival permits and Agreement are intended to promote the survival and recovery of the Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU), which is listed as threatened under the ESA. Comments or requests for a public hearing on the actions proposed in the applications must be received at the appropriate address or fax number no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 14, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagics Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region
      The NMFS announced an establishment of a control date of March 7, 2019, for the commercial sector of Spanish mackerel. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council) may use the control date if it decides to create restrictions limiting participation in the commercial sector for Spanish mackerel. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) would also need to approve any restrictions to the Federal commercial Spanish mackerel permit. Anyone entering the sector after the control date would not be assured of future access should a management program that limits participation in the sector be prepared and implemented. This announcement is intended, in part, to promote awareness of the potential eligibility criteria for future access to discourage speculative entry into the Spanish mackerel commercial sector while the South Atlantic Council and NMFS consider whether and how access to the sector should be further controlled. Written comments must be received by November 14, 2019.
    • NOAA – Initiation of Review of Management Plan for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
      NOAA is initiating a review of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary management plan, to evaluate substantive progress toward implementing the goals of the sanctuary, and to make revisions to the management plan as necessary to fulfill the purposes and policies of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. NOAA anticipates management plan changes will require preparation of an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. NOAA will conduct public scoping meetings to gather information and other comments from individuals, organizations, tribes and government agencies on the scope, types, and significance of issues related to the CINMS management plan and the proper scope of environmental analysis for the management plan review.  Written comments should be received on or before November 15, 2019.
    • NOAA – Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment and Public Comment for a Proposed Boundary Expansion for the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is considering a request to amend the boundary of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (Elkhorn Slough NERR or the Reserve) and is soliciting comments from the public on the proposed boundary expansion. The public is also invited to comment on the draft environmental assessment for the proposed boundary expansion. Any person wishing to comment on the proposed boundary expansion or the environmental assessment may submit comments.Written comments must be received on or before November 27, 2019.
    • NOAA –  Availability of a Draft Revised Management Plan for the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve.
      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is soliciting comments from the public on a draft revised management plan for the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. The revision of the existing plan is necessitated by the applicable requirements of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The North Carolina Research Reserve revised plan is intended to replace the plan approved in 2009.Comments must be received on or before November 27, 2019.
    • NNOAA NMFS – Notice Requesting Nominations for the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES)
      The NOAA and Department of Commerce are seeking highly qualified individuals who are knowledgeable about the commercial space-based remote sensing industry and uses of space-based remote sensing data to serve on the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES). The Committee is comprised of leaders in the commercial space-based remote sensing industry, space-based remote sensing data users, government, and academia. The SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice provides committee and membership criteria. Nominations must be postmarked or emailed no later than November 13.
    • NOAA NMFS – Proposed Rule for Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Implementation of Regulatory Amendment 27 for Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region
      NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Vision Blueprint Commercial Regulatory Amendment 27 (Regulatory Amendment 27) to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Snapper-Grouper FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). If implemented, this proposed rule would modify commercial fishing seasons, trip limits, and minimum size limits for selected snapper-grouper species in the South Atlantic exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The purpose of this proposed rule is to improve equitable access for commercial fishermen in the snapper-grouper fishery, minimize discards to the extent practicable, and improve marketability within the snapper-grouper fishery.Written comments on the proposed rule must be received by November 18, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 8
      The NMFS  proposes regulations to implement Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan. The New England Fishery Management Council developed Amendment 8 to specify a long-term acceptable biological catch control rule for Atlantic 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. Amendment 8 is intended to support sustainable management of the herring resource and help ensure that herring is available to minimize possible detrimental biological impacts on predators of herring and associated socioeconomic impacts on other user groups. Public comments must be received by November 25, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Coral and Coral Reefs of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 9
      The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 9 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Coral and Coral Reefs of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 9) to the FMP for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 9, if approved by the Secretary of Commerce, and an associated framework action to the FMP would establish new habitat areas of particular concern, some of which include a prohibition of the deployment of bottom-tending gear, and modify current fishing regulations in the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of Amendment 9 and the framework action is to protect coral essential fish habitat in the Gulf. Written comments on Amendment 9 must be received by November 25, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Availability of a fishery evaluation and management plan for endangered and threatened species and take of anadromous fish
    • Notice is hereby given that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has provided a Fishery Management and Evaluation Plan (FMEP) pursuant to the protective regulations promulgated for Pacific salmon and steelhead under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The FMEP specifies the implementation of fisheries targeting Coho salmon and resident trout in Oregon waters of the Snake River Basin. This document serves to notify the public of the availability of the FMEP for comment prior to a decision by NMFS on whether to approve the proposed fisheries.Comments must be received at the appropriate address no later than 5 p.m. Pacific time on November 25, 2019. Comments received after this date may not be accepted.
    • NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Regulatory Amendment 26
      The NMFS proposes to implement recreational sector management measures described in Vision Blueprint Recreational Regulatory Amendment 26 (Regulatory Amendment 26) to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Snapper-Grouper FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). For the recreational sector, this proposed rule would remove the minimum size limits for queen snapper, silk snapper, and blackfin snapper, reduce the minimum size limit for gray triggerfish in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the east coast of Florida, and modify the 20-fish snapper-grouper aggregate bag limit. The purpose of this proposed rule is to minimize regulatory discards to the extent practicable, improve regulatory compliance among fishers, and increase consistency among regulations. Written comments on the proposed rule must be received by November 25, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS -Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Regulatory Amendment 30
      NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Regulatory Amendment 30 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Snapper-Grouper FMP), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). For red grouper, this proposed rule would modify the spawning season closures for the commercial and recreational sectors in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off North Carolina and South Carolina and establish a commercial trip limit. Additionally, Regulatory Amendment 30 would revise the rebuilding schedule for red grouper. The purpose of this proposed rule and Regulatory Amendment 30 is to modify the rebuilding schedule and extend protections for red grouper. Comments must be received by November 29, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Nominations for the Advisory panel on Atlantic Highly Migratory Species
      NMFS solicits nominations for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel (AP). NMFS consults with and considers the comments and views of the HMS AP when preparing and implementing Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) or FMP amendments for Atlantic tunas, swordfish, sharks, and billfish. Nominations are being sought to fill approximately one-third (10) of the seats on the HMS AP for 3-year appointments. Individuals with definable interests in the recreational and commercial fishing and related industries, environmental community, academia, and non-governmental organizations are considered for membership on the HMS AP.Nominations must be received on or before November 29, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Proposed Rule To Designate Critical Habitat for the Central America, Mexico, and Western North Pacific Distinct Population Segments of Humpback Whales
      The NMFS proposes to designate critical habitats for the endangered Western North Pacific distinct population segment (DPS), the endangered Central America DPS, and the threatened Mexico DPS of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Areas proposed as critical habitat include specific marine areas located off the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Based on consideration of national security and economic impacts, they also propose to exclude multiple areas from the designation for each DPS. The NMFS is soliciting comments on all aspects of the proposed critical habitat designations. Comments must be received by December 9, 2019. Requests for public hearings must be made in writing by November 25, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; IFQ Program; Modify Medical and Beneficiary Transfer Provisions
      The NMFS proposes regulations to modify the medical and beneficiary transfer provisions of the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the fixed-gear commercial Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries. This proposed rule is intended to simplify administration of the medical and beneficiary transfer provisions while promoting the long-standing objective of maintaining an owner-operated IFQ fishery. This proposed rule would also make minor technical corrections to regulations for improved accuracy and clarity. This proposed rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the IFQ Program, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, and other applicable laws.Submit comments on or before November 25, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Species; Announcement of a Recovery Planning Workshop and Request for Information To Inform Recovery Planning for the Oceanic Whitetip Shark
      The NMFS is convening a workshop to solicit facts and information from experts to inform recovery planning for the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus). They will not be asking for a consensus recommendation on how to recover the oceanic whitetip shark. This workshop will be open to the public. The NMFS is also seeking comments that might inform the development of the recovery plan. The two-day recovery planning workshop for the oceanic whitetip shark will be held Wednesday, November 13 through Thursday, November 14, 2019 at Florida International University Biscayne Bay Campus, Marine Science Building Room #105, 3000 NE 151 Street, Miami, FL 33181. The workshop will begin each day at 9 a.m. and end each day at 5 p.m. or as necessary to complete business for the day. Please submit information to inform recovery planning by December 16, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Inspection and Certification of Establishments and Fishery Products for Human Consumption
      The NMFS Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection intends to revise regulations at 50 CFR parts 260 and 261 to improve the uniformity and reliability of voluntary seafood inspection services by adopting recognized best practices for inspection. The existing regulations have not been significantly revised or updated since NMFS first issued them in 1971. NMFS is issuing this advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting input from stakeholders and interested parties on focused areas of the Seafood Inspection Program regulations. Based on comments received and NMFS’ overall assessment, NMFS expects to comprehensively overhaul the regulations. Written comments must be received on or before December 16, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Proposed Rule To Revise Critical Habitat for the Southern Resident Killer Whale Distinct Population Segment
      The NMFS proposes to  revise the critical habitat designation for the Southern Resident killer whale DPS (Orcinus orca) under the ESA. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to revise the critical habitat designation for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) distinct population segment (DPS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by designating six new areas along the U.S. West Coast. Specific new areas proposed along the U.S. West Coast include 15,626.6 square miles (mi2) (40,472.7 square kilometers (km2)) of marine waters between the 6.1-meter (m) (20 feet (ft)) depth contour and the 200-m (656.2 ft) depth contour from the U.S. international border with Canada south to Point Sur, California. We solicit comments from the public on all aspects of the proposal, including information on the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of the proposed revision to the critical habitat designation. Comments on this proposed rule and supporting documents must be received by December 18, 2019
    • NOAA NMFS – Scoping Meeting for Protective Regulations for Killer Whales in the Inland Waters of Washington State
      The National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to revise the critical habitat designation for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) distinct population segment (DPS) under the Endangered Species Act by designating six new areas along the U.S. West Coast. Specific new areas proposed along the U.S. West Coast include 15,626.6 square miles (mi2) of marine waters between the 6.1-meter (m) (20 feet (ft)) depth contour and the 200-m (656.2 ft) depth contour from the U.S. international border with Canada south to Point Sur, California. NMFS solicits comments from the public on all aspects of the proposal, including information on the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of the proposed revision to the critical habitat designation. Comments on this proposed rule and supporting documents must be received by December 18, 2019.
    • NOAA NMFS – Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Whiting; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan; Amendment 21-4; Catch Share Program, 5-Year Review, Follow-on Actions
      This notice informs the public of an upcoming scoping process, including a scoping meeting, to solicit public comments on whether, based on best available information, existing National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regulations and other measures adequately protect killer whales from the impacts of vessels and noise in the inland waters of Washington State and, if not, what actions NMFS should take. Written or electronic scoping comments must be received by December 23, 2019. A meeting will occur on Tuesday, November 12th, 2019—Friday Harbor, WA, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • NOAA NMFS – Initiation of 5-Year Reviews for 28 Listed Species of Pacific Salmon and Steelhead
      NMFS is announcing 5-year reviews of 28 species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The listed species comprise 17 evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) and 11 distinct population segments (DPSs) of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The purpose of these reviews is to ensure the accuracy of their listing classifications. The 5-year reviews will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the reviews; therefore, NMFS is requesting that interested parties submit new relevant information on these ESUs and DPSs that has become available since the last species status reviews in 2016. Based on the results of these 5-year reviews, NMFS will make the requisite determinations under the ESA. To allow NMFS adequate time to conduct these reviews, the agency must receive the new relevant information by close of business on March 27, 2020.
    • USFWS – 6-Month Extension of Final Determination on the Proposed Threatened Status for the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of Greater Sage-Grouse
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces a 6-month extension of the final determination of whether to list the Bi-State distinct population segment (DPS) of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS is taking this action to extend the final determination based on substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of the available data relevant to the proposed listing, making it necessary to solicit additional information. Therefore, along with this announcement to extend the final determination, USFWS is also reopening, for an additional 30 days, the comment periods for the proposed rule to list the species and the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the species. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they are already incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the final rules. USFWS will submit a final listing determination to the Federal Register on or before April 1, 2020. New comments must be received by Oct. 31, 2019.
    • USFWS – Los Osos Habitat Conservation Plan – San Luis Obispo County, California
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received an application from the County of San Luis Obispo for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act. The permit, if issued, would authorize take of the federally endangered Morro shoulderband snail (Helminthoglypta walkeriana) and Morro Bay kangaroo rat (Dipodomys heermanni morroensis) and provide assurances for the federally endangered Indian Knob mountainbalm (Eriodictyon altissimum) and federally threatened Morro manzanita (Arctostaphylos morroensis). USFWS invites public comment on the draft habitat conservation plan and a draft environmental assessment prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. USFWS will receive public comments on the draft habitat conservation plan and draft environmental assessment until November 18, 2019.
    • USFWS – Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink, Blue-Tailed Mole Skink, and Florida Scrub-Jay, Highlands County, FL; Categorical Exclusion
      The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce receipt of an application from Palmetto Lake Placid-Lakes Blvd., LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. The applicant requests an ITP to take the federally listed sand skink, blue-tailed mole skink, and Florida scrub-jay incidental to construction in Highlands County, Florida. The FWS 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. To make this determination, the organization used their environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. They must receive your written comments by November 21, 2019.
    • US FWS – Draft Environmental Assessment for an Application for an Incidental Take Permit; Diamond Spring Wind Project Habitat Conservation Plan for the Endangered American Burying Beetle in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an application from Diamond Spring Wind, LLC for an ITP pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. The application includes habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the American burying beetle (ABB) in Pontotoc and Johnston Counties, Oklahoma. The HCP and associated incidental take permit (ITP) would authorize incidental take resulting from activities covered by the HCP (e.g., construction, infrastructure, maintenance and habitat restoration). We also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment (dEA) that has been prepared to evaluate the ITP application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.The FWS is making the permit application package, including the HCP and dEA, available for public review and comment. They will accept comments received or postmarked on or before November 21, 2019.
    • USFWS – Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink, Blue-Tailed Mole Skink, and Florida Scrub-Jay, Highlands County, FL; Categorical Exclusion
      The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce receipt of an application from Palmetto Lake Placid-Lakes Blvd., LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. The applicant requests an ITP to take the federally listed sand skink, blue-tailed mole skink, and Florida scrub-jay incidental to construction in Highlands County, Florida. The FWS 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. To make this determination, the organization used their environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. They must receive your written comments by November 21, 2019.
    • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Amendment to the Recovery Plan for the Rough Popcornflower
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft amendment updating the recovery criteria in the Recovery Plan for the Rough Popcornflower (Plagiobothrys hirtus). Rough popcornflower, listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), is an annual herb in the borage family (Boraginaceae), endemic to wet swales and meadows in Douglas County, Oregon. USFWS is updating recovery criteria to better assist in determining when the species has recovered to the point that it may be reclassified as threatened, or that the protections afforded by the ESA are no longer necessary and the species may be removed from the ESA’s protections. USFWS requests review of this draft recovery plan amendment and invite comments from local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the public. written comments must be received on or before November 25, 2019.
    • USFWS – Proposed 2020-21 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations With Requests for Indian Tribal Proposals; Notice of Meetings
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to establish annual hunting regulations for certain migratory game birds for the 2020-21 hunting season. This proposed rule provides the regulatory schedule, announces the Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee (SRC) meetings, describes the proposed regulatory alternatives for the 2020-21 duck hunting seasons, and requests proposals from Indian tribes that wish to establish special migratory game bird hunting regulations on Federal Indian reservations and ceded lands. Interested parties may comment on the general harvest strategy and the proposed regulatory alternatives for the 2020-21 season until November 15, 2019. Following subsequent Federal Register documents, they will be given an opportunity to submit comments on the proposed frameworks by January 15, 2020. Tribes must submit proposals and related comments on or before December 1, 2019.
    • USFWS – Removal of Howellia aquatilis (Water Howellia) From the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove the plant Howellia aquatilis (water howellia) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. The best available scientific and commercial data indicate that threats to water howellia identified at the time of listing in 1994 are not as significant as originally anticipated and are being adequately managed. Therefore, the species no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This determination is based on a thorough review of all available information, which indicates that this species’ population and distribution are much greater than was known at the time of listing in 1994 and that threats to this species have been sufficiently minimized. USFWS is seeking information and comments from the public regarding this proposed rule and the draft post-delisting monitoring plan for water howellia. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before December 6, 2019.
    • USFWS – Removal of the Interior Least Tern From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
      The USFWS proposes to remove the inland population of the least tern (Interior least tern) (Sterna (now Sternula) antillarum), from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The Interior least tern is a bird that nests adjacent to major rivers of the Great Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley. This proposed action is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial data, which indicate that the Interior least tern has recovered and no longer meets the definition of an endangered or a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Their review shows that threats identified for the species at the time of listing, i.e., habitat loss, curtailment of range, predation, and inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms, have been eliminated or reduced, and the Interior least tern has increased in abundance and range. They also announced the availability of a draft post-delisting monitoring (PDM) plan for the Interior least tern. We seek information, data, and comments from the public regarding this proposed rule and the associated draft PDM plan. The USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before December 23, 2019.
    • USFWS – Draft Recovery Plan for the Streaked Horned Lark
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Streaked Horned Lark under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The draft recovery plan includes specific goals, objectives, and criteria that should be met to remove the species from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. They request review and comment on this draft recovery plan from Federal, State, and local agencies; Native American Tribes; and the public.In order to be considered, comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or before December 30, 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.
    • USFWS – Twelve Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces findings that 12 species are not warranted for listing as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, USFWS found that it is not warranted at this time to list the Berry Cave salamander, cobblestone tiger beetle, Florida clamshell orchid, longhead darter, Ocala vetch, Panamint alligator lizard, Peaks of Otter salamander, redlips darter, Scott riffle beetle, southern hognose snake, yellow anise tree, and yellow-cedar. However, USFWS asks the public to submit to us at any time any new information relevant to the status of any of the species mentioned above or their habitats.
    • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding for the Bone Cave Harvestman
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announces a plan to initiate a review of the status of the Bone Cave harvestman to determine whether delisting the species from the Endangered Species Act of 1973 is warranted. This announcement followed a 90-day finding on a petition to delist the Bone Cave Harvestman, which presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that delisting the Bone Cave Harvestman may be warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, the USFWS is requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding the species. Based on the status review, they will issue a 12-month finding that will address whether or not delisting the Bone Cave harvestman is warranted, in accordance with the Act. The USFWS seeks any new information concerning the status of, or threats to, the species or its habitat and relevant conservation measures in place. it will consider any relevant information received during their work on the status review.
    • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Review of Domestic and Foreign Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notification of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
      In this candidate notice of review (CNOR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), presents an updated list of plant and animal species they regard as candidates for or have proposed for addition to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The early notice provided here could result in more options for species management and recovery by prompting earlier candidate conservation measures to alleviate threats to the species. This document also includes USFWS’ findings on resubmitted petitions and describes their progress in revising the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists) during the period October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2018. They request any additional status information that may be available for the candidate species identified in this CNOR at any given time.
    • State Department – Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline
      The State Department announces the availability for public review and comment of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS) for the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. The Draft SEIS—consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act —updates the 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, analyzes the impacts related to changes in the Project since 2014, and incorporates current information and new studies, as applicable. The Department invites members of the public, government agencies, tribal governments, and all other interested parties to comment on the Draft SEIS during the 45-day public comment period, ending on November 18, 2019.

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