[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 151 (Monday, August 6, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46730-46732]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19161]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC120


Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force Strategic Plan 2013-2017

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of Strategic Plan; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
announces the availability of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force 
Strategic Plan 2013--2017 (Plan), approved by the Aquatic Nuisance 
Species Task Force (ANSTF). The Plan is available for public review and 
comment.

DATES: Comments must be received within 45 days after September 20, 
2012.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Strategic Plan are available on the 
ANSTF Web site, http://anstaskforce.gov. To obtain a hard copy of the 
Strategic Plan or to submit comments, see Document Availability and 
Public Comment under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margaret M. (Peg) Brady, NOAA Policy 
Liaison to the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. 1315 East West 
Highway, SSMC 3, Rm. 15426 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: 301-427-8655; 
Email: Peg.Brady@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Introduction

    The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) is an 
intergovernmental organization dedicated to preventing and controlling 
aquatic nuisance species (ANS) and coordinating governmental efforts 
dealing with ANS in the United States with those of the private sector 
and other North American interests. ANSTF was established by Congress 
with the passage of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and 
Control Act (NANPCA, Pub. L. 101-646, 104 STAT. 4671, 16 U.S.C. 4701-
4741) in 1990 and reauthorized with the passage of the National 
Invasive Species Act (NISA) in 1996. Section 1201(d) of NANPCA 
designates the Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and 
the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the as the ANSTF Co-
chairpersons. The ANSTF's charter is authorized by the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act (FACA) of 1972. The charter provides the ANSTF with its 
core structure and ensures an open and public forum for its activities. 
To meet the challenges of developing and implementing a coordinated and 
complementary Federal program for ANS activities, the ANSTF members 
include 13 Federal agency representatives and 13 representatives from 
ex-officio member organizations. These members work in conjunction with 
Regional Panels and issue-specific committees to coordinate efforts 
amongst agencies as well as efforts of the private sector and other 
North American interests.

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Background

    Section 1202 (a) of NANPCA authorizes the ANSTF to develop and 
implement a program for waters of the United States to prevent 
introduction and dispersal of ANS, to monitor, control, and study such 
species, and to disseminate related information. The Aquatic Nuisance 
Species Program document guided the work of the ANSTF from 1994 to 
2002. The document tracked the requirements outlined in the NANPCA, 
established the core and supporting elements of the ANS program, 
provided for prioritization of activities, and charted a course for 
implementation of the Act. The ANSTF Strategic Plans for 2002-2007 and 
2007-2012 maintained the key elements of the ANS Program, but provided 
a broader focus for activities consistent with provisions of NISA. 
These plans provided more emphasis on prevention strategies, 
particularly for intentional introductions.
    On May 6, 2011, the ANSTF formed an ad hoc committee to draft the 
ANSTF Strategic Plan for 2013--2017. A draft plan was presented to the 
ANSTF on November 2, 2011. ANSTF Federal agency and ex-officio members 
and Regional Panels representatives were given the opportunity to 
review and comment on the draft plan. Each comment received was 
reviewed and addressed by the ad hoc committee and a revised draft plan 
was presented to the ANSTF. The ANSTF approved the revised draft on May 
3, 2012.
    The ANSTF Strategic Plan for 2013--2017 (hereafter, the Strategic 
Plan) carries through many of the goals and objectives established in 
previous plans by remaining focused on prevention, monitoring, and 
control of ANS as well as increasing public understanding of the 
problems and impacts associated with invasive species. The Strategic 
Plan also calls attention to other areas of ANS management, including 
habitat restoration and research. The Strategic Plan establishes the 
following eight goals, each which contain associated objectives and 
action items.
    1. Coordination: The ANSTF was created to facilitate cooperation 
and coordinate efforts between Federal, State, tribes, and local 
agencies, the private sector, and other North American interests. The 
objectives for the coordination goal include strengthening cooperation 
at both national and regional levels within the ANSTF and the Regional 
Panels and encouraging the development and implementation of ANS plans 
and regulations.
    2. Prevention: Prevention is the first-line of defense against ANS. 
This goal calls for developing strategies to identify and reduce the 
risk of ANS introduced by increasing development and use of risk 
assessments, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point programs 
(HACCP), and pathway assessment and interdiction options.
    3. Early Detection and Rapid Response: Early Detection and Rapid 
Response programs are designed to monitor habitats to discover new 
species soon after introduction, report sightings of previously unknown 
species in an area, and work quickly to keep the species from becoming 
established and spreading. Objectives for the ANSTF include improving 
detection and monitoring programs and facilitating development and 
implementation of rapid response contingency plans.
    4. Control and Management: Control and management tools are needed 
to assess, remove, and contain ANS populations as well as to guide 
management decisions. The ANSTF will implement this goal by evaluating 
and providing support to management plans, increasing training 
opportunities, and encouraging the development of management 
techniques.
    5. Restoration: Habitat restoration is an essential to guard 
against future invasions and to minimize harm from invasive species. 
This goal focuses on restoring impacted ecosystems and consideration of 
potential ANS during planning and implementation of restoration 
activities.
    6. Education/Outreach: The lack of awareness concerning ANS impacts 
is one of the largest management obstacles. Few people understand the 
threat some ANS pose and how their actions might introduce them. 
Objectives by the ANSTF for education and outreach include reaching out 
to the general public, providing technical guidance to targeted 
audiences, and raising awareness among legislators and decision makers.
    7. Research: Research supports all facets of the Strategic Plan and 
is necessary to increase the effectiveness of prevention, detection, 
response, and control and management of invasive species. To help 
ensure that research addresses critical needs, this goal focuses on 
coordination among government agencies, academia, and other 
participating entities.
    8. Funding: Securing dedicated long-term and emergency funding is 
necessary to achieve the goals laid out in the Strategic Plan. The 
actions outlined by the ANSTF focus on coordinating Federal agency 
budgets to support ANSTF priorities, develop partnerships, and seek 
opportunities to leverage funds within Federal and State agencies, 
local governments, tribal entities, industry, as well as other entities 
including non-governmental organizations.
    The Strategic Plan should not be considered a comprehensive list of 
all ANS strategic actions; it does contain a targeted set of priority 
strategic goals, objectives, and associated action items that are 
intended to be completed in the next 5 years. The accomplishment of 
specific objectives and action items will be dependent upon budgets of 
individual agencies and the Regional Panels; and in some cases, legal 
or regulatory changes as well as enforcement of these changes. 
Following adoption of the Strategic Plan, an Operational Plan will be 
composed to depict short-term efforts to achieve the actions in the 
Strategic Plan to ensure the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan 
are measurable and accountable. The Operational Plan will be completed 
by the ANSTF members working together and separately with support of 
the Regional Panels and committees. The actions in the Operational Plan 
will be updated regularly and reported on to measure the progress 
towards meeting the goals of the Strategic Plan.
    The Strategic Plan takes a deliberate, cooperative approach and 
builds on existing programs. The ANSTF will utilize this plan to 
maximize its efforts over the next 5 years to prevent and control 
invasive species with the purpose of protecting our environment, 
economy and human health. The Strategic Plan was approved by the ANSTF 
on May 3, 2012; distribution of the document for public comment is the 
final step for the ANSTF to adopt the Strategic Plan.

Document Availability

    You may obtain copies of the Strategic Plan by any one of the 
following methods:
     Internet: http://anstaskforce.gov
     Write: Susan Pasko, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration. 1315 East West Highway, SSMC 3, Rm. 15719 Silver 
Spring, MD 20910; Telephone: (301) 427-8682; Email: 
Susan.Pasko@noaa.gov.

Request for Comments

    Comments on the Strategic Plan are invited. The ANSTF will review 
all submitted comments and make revisions, as appropriate, to the 
Strategic Plan before adoption. You may

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submit a written comment by any one of the following methods:
     Email: Susan.Pasko@noaa.gov.
     Mail or hand-delivery: Susan Pasko, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration. 1315 East West Highway, SSMC 3, Rm. 15719 
Silver Spring, MD 20910.
     Fax: (301) 713-1043.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Dated: July 25, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-19161 Filed 8-3-12; 8:45 am]
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