[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 67 (Tuesday, April 8, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 19453-19460]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-07824]



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Vol. 79

Tuesday,

No. 67

April 8, 2014

Part III





Department of the Interior





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 Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 92





 Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for 
Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2014 Season; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 79 , No. 67 / Tuesday, April 8, 2014 / Rules 
and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 92

[Docket No. FWS-R7-MB-2013-0109; [FF09M21200-123-FXMB1231099BPP0L2]
RIN 1018-BA02


Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations 
for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2014 Season

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is 
establishing migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska 
for the 2014 season. These regulations allow for the continuation of 
customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska 
and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of 
birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a co-management 
process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 
and Alaska Native representatives. The rulemaking is necessary because 
the regulations governing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in 
Alaska are subject to annual review. This rulemaking establishes 
region-specific regulations that go into effect on April 8, 2014, and 
expire on August 31, 2014.

DATES: The amendments to subpart A of 50 CFR part 92 are effective May 
8, 2014, and the amendments to subpart D of 50 CFR part 92 are 
effective April 8, 2014, through August 31, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Dewhurst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 1011 E. Tudor Road, Mail Stop 201, Anchorage, AK 99503; (907) 
786-3499.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Why is this rulemaking necessary?

    This rulemaking is necessary because, by law, the migratory bird 
harvest season is closed unless opened by the Secretary of the 
Interior, and the regulations governing subsistence harvest of 
migratory birds in Alaska are subject to public review and annual 
approval. This rule establishes regulations for the taking of migratory 
birds for subsistence uses in Alaska during the spring and summer of 
2014. This rule also sets forth a list of migratory bird season 
openings and closures in Alaska by region.

How do I find the history of these regulations?

    Background information, including past events leading to this 
rulemaking, accomplishments since the Migratory Bird Treaties with 
Canada and Mexico were amended, and a history, was originally addressed 
in the Federal Register on August 16, 2002 (67 FR 53511) and most 
recently on February 21, 2013 (78 FR 11988).
    Recent Federal Register documents, which are all final rules 
setting forth the annual harvest regulations, are available at http://alaska.fws.gov/ambcc/regulations.htm or by contacting the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

What is the process for issuing regulations for the subsistence harvest 
of migratory birds in Alaska?

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is establishing 
migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2014 
season. These regulations allow for the continuation of customary and 
traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe 
regional information on when and where the harvesting of birds may 
occur. These regulations were developed under a co-management process 
involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and 
Alaska Native representatives.
    We opened the process to establish regulations for the 2014 spring 
and summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska in a 
proposed rule published in the Federal Register on April 9, 2013 (78 FR 
21200), to amend 50 CFR part 20. While that proposed rule primarily 
addressed the regulatory process for hunting migratory birds for all 
purposes throughout the United States, we also discussed the background 
and history of Alaska subsistence regulations, explained the annual 
process for their establishment, and requested proposals for the 2014 
season. The rulemaking processes for both types of migratory bird 
harvest are related, and the April 9, 2013, proposed rule explained the 
connection between the two.
    The Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council (Co-management 
Council) held meetings on April 3-4, 2013, to develop recommendations 
for changes that would take effect during the 2014 harvest season. 
These recommendations were presented first to the Pacific Flyway 
Council and then to the Service Regulations Committee (SRC) at the 
committee's meeting on July 23-25, 2013.
    On December 11, 2013, we published in the Federal Register (78 FR 
75321) a proposed rule that provided our proposed migratory bird 
subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2014 season.

Who is eligible to hunt under these regulations?

    Eligibility to harvest under the regulations established in 2003 
was limited to permanent residents, regardless of race, in villages 
located within the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Archipelago, the Aleutian 
Islands, and in areas north and west of the Alaska Range (50 CFR 92.5). 
These geographical restrictions opened the initial migratory bird 
subsistence harvest to about 13 percent of Alaska residents. High-
populated, roaded areas such as Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna and 
Fairbanks North Star boroughs, the Kenai Peninsula roaded area, the 
Gulf of Alaska roaded area, and Southeast Alaska were excluded from 
eligible subsistence harvest areas.
    Based on petitions requesting inclusion in the harvest, in 2004, we 
added 13 additional communities based on criteria set forth in 50 CFR 
92.5(c). These communities were Gulkana, Gakona, Tazlina, Copper 
Center, Mentasta Lake, Chitina, Chistochina, Tatitlek, Chenega, Port 
Graham, Nanwalek, Tyonek, and Hoonah, with a combined population of 
2,766. In 2005, we added three additional communities for glaucous-
winged gull egg gathering only, based on petitions requesting 
inclusion. These southeastern communities were Craig, Hydaburg, and 
Yakutat, with a combined population of 2,459, based on the latest 
census information at that time.
    In 2007, we enacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's 
request to expand the Fairbanks North Star Borough excluded area to 
include the Central Interior area. This action excluded the following 
communities from participation in this harvest: Big Delta/Fort Greely, 
Healy, McKinley Park/Village, and Ferry, with a combined population of 
2,812.
    In 2012, we received a request from the Native Village of Eyak to 
include Cordova, Alaska, for a limited season that would legalize the 
traditional gathering of gull eggs and the hunting of waterfowl during 
spring.

What is different in the region-specific regulations for 2014?

    In 2011, we received a request by the Fairbanks Native Association 
asking that regulations be developed to allow residents who live in 
excluded areas be able to participate in the spring/summer subsistence 
migratory bird harvest. This would permit tribal members currently

[[Page 19455]]

living in excluded areas to openly and traditionally continue their 
Native hunting practices and provide for the cultural and traditional 
needs for spring/summer waterfowl. This proposal request was tabled by 
the Co-management Council until exact wording could be worked out. 
Language was subsequently proposed to amend 50 CFR 92.5, Subpart D, and 
recommended for passage by the Co-management Council at their April 
2013 meeting.
    Upon legal review by the Department of the Interior's Office of the 
Solicitor and the Service's Law Enforcement Division, the language was 
amended by the Service working with the Co-management Council's 
Invitation Subcommittee. The primary legal concerns were deviations 
from the language in the Letter of Submittal for the Protocol Amendment 
to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act de-emphasizing that the purpose of 
allowing residents who live in excluded areas to be able to participate 
in the spring/summer subsistence migratory bird harvest is to assist 
immediate family members still residing in a village in an included 
area. This revision was approved via phone poll by the Co-management 
Council in July 2013. The revised language was approved by the SRC on 
July 25, 2013, and is set forth in this final rule at 50 CFR 92.5(d).
    In 2012, the Native Village of Eyak requested to add residents of 
Cordova, Alaska, onto the list of included subsistence communities 
based on criteria set forth in 50 CFR 92.5(c). They stated that this 
would allow for the legal traditional gathering of gull eggs and early 
season hunting of migratory waterfowl (and cranes) by residents for 
subsistence. The Copper River barrier islands afford a traditional 
location for gull egg gathering and early spring migratory waterfowl 
hunting. The harvest season requested is in Prince William Sound Game 
Management Units 6C and 6D (barrier islands only), to open a waterfowl 
hunting season, April 2 through 30, and a gull egg gathering season, 
May 1 through 31, primarily for the residents of Cordova. Special 
registration permits, available from the Cordova offices of the Native 
Village of Eyak and the U.S. Forest Service, will be required, and 
hunting will be prohibited from boats or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). 
The Native Village of Eyak worked closely with the Service's Migratory 
Bird Management Office to restrict harvest to protect and conserve 
dusky Canada geese, trumpeter swans, and shorebirds. The special 
registration permits described above will help ensure harvesting is 
conducted only by residents of included areas. The SRC approved 
inclusion of Cordova at their meeting on July 25, 2013, and this 
addition is set forth in this final rule at 50 CFR 92.31(j)(2).

How will the service ensure that the subsistence harvest will not raise 
overall migratory bird harvest or threaten the conservation of 
endangered and threatened species?

    We have monitored subsistence harvest for the past 25 years through 
the use of household surveys in the most heavily used subsistence 
harvest areas, such as the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. In recent years, more 
intensive surveys combined with outreach efforts focused on species 
identification have been added to improve the accuracy of information 
gathered from regions still reporting some subsistence harvest of 
listed or candidate species.

Spectacled and Steller's Eiders

    Spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri) and the Alaska-breeding 
population of Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri) are listed as 
threatened species. Their migration and breeding distribution overlap 
with areas where the spring and summer subsistence migratory bird hunt 
is open in Alaska. Both species are closed to hunting, although harvest 
surveys and Service documentation indicate both species have been taken 
in several regions of Alaska.
    The Service has dual objectives and responsibilities for 
authorizing a subsistence harvest while protecting migratory birds and 
threatened species. Although these objectives continue to be 
challenging, they are not irreconcilable, provided that regulations 
continue to protect threatened species, measures to address documented 
threats are implemented, and the subsistence community and other 
conservation partners commit to working together. With these dual 
objectives in mind, the Service, working with North Slope partners, 
developed measures in 2009, to further reduce the potential for 
shooting mortality or injury of closed species. These conservation 
measures included: (1) Increased waterfowl hunter outreach and 
community awareness through partnering with the North Slope Migratory 
Bird Task Force; (2) continued enforcement of the migratory bird 
regulations that are protective of listed eiders; and (3) in-season 
Service verification of the harvest to detect taking of any threatened 
eider species.
    This final rule continues to focus on the North Slope from Barrow 
to Point Hope because Steller's eiders from the listed Alaska breeding 
population are known to breed and migrate there. These regulations are 
designed to address several ongoing eider management needs by 
clarifying for subsistence users that (1) Service law enforcement 
personnel have authority to verify species of birds possessed by 
hunters, and (2) it is illegal to possess any species of bird closed to 
harvest. This rule also describes how the Service's existing authority 
of emergency closure will be implemented, if necessary, to protect 
Steller's eiders. We are always willing to discuss regulations with our 
partners on the North Slope to ensure protection of closed species as 
well as provide subsistence hunters an opportunity to harvest migratory 
birds in a way that maintains the culture and traditional harvest of 
the community. The regulations pertaining to bag checks and possession 
of illegal birds are deemed necessary to verify that no closed eider 
species are taken during the legal subsistence hunt.
    The Service is aware of and appreciates the considerable efforts by 
North Slope partners to raise awareness and educate hunters on 
Steller's eider conservation via the bird fair, meetings, radio shows, 
signs, school visits, and one-on-one contacts. We also recognize that 
no listed eiders have been documented shot from 2009 through 2012, even 
though Steller's eiders nested in the Barrow area from 2010 through 
2013. One Steller's eider and one spectacled eider were found shot 
during the summer of 2013, both incidents were investigated by the 
Service. The Service acknowledges progress made with the other eider 
conservation measures including partnering with the North Slope 
Migratory Bird Task Force for increased waterfowl hunter awareness, 
continued enforcement of the regulations, and in-season verification of 
the harvest. Our primary strategy to reduce the threat of shooting 
mortality of threatened eiders is to continue working with North Slope 
partners to conduct education, outreach, and harvest monitoring. In 
addition, the emergency closure authority provides another level of 
assurance if an unexpected amount of Steller's eider shooting mortality 
occurs (50 CFR 92.21 and 50 CFR 92.32).
    In-season harvest monitoring information will be used to evaluate 
the efficacy of regulations, conservation measures, and outreach 
efforts. Conservation measures are being continued by the Service and 
the North Slope Borough, with the amount of effort and emphasis being 
based on regulatory adherence. Specifically, local communities have 
continued to develop

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greater responsibility for taking actions to ensure Steller's and 
spectacled eider conservation and recovery. Based on last year's 
observations, local hunters have demonstrated greater compliance with 
hunting regulations.
    The longstanding general emergency closure provision at 50 CFR 
92.21 specifies that the harvest may be closed or temporarily suspended 
upon finding that a continuation of the regulation allowing the harvest 
would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of any migratory bird 
population. With regard to Steller's eiders, the regulation at 50 CFR 
92.32, carried over from the past 4 years, clarifies that we will take 
action under 50 CFR 92.21 as is necessary to prevent further take of 
Steller's eiders, and that action could include temporary or long-term 
closures of the harvest in all or a portion of the geographic area open 
to harvest. If mortality of threatened eiders occurs, we will evaluate 
each mortality event by criteria such as cause, quantity, sex, age, 
location, and date. We will consult with the Co-management Council when 
we are considering an emergency closure. If we determine that an 
emergency closure is necessary, we will design it to minimize its 
impact on the subsistence harvest.

Yellow-Billed Loon

    Yellow-billed loons (Gavia adamsii) are a candidate species for 
listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.). Their migration and breeding distribution overlaps with 
where the spring and summer migratory bird hunt is open in Alaska. 
Yellow-billed loons are closed to hunting, but harvest surveys have 
indicated that on the North Slope and St. Lawrence Island some take 
does occur. Most of the yellow-billed loons reported impacted on the 
North Slope were found to be entangled loons salvaged from subsistence 
fishing nets as described below. The Service will continue outreach 
efforts in both areas in 2014, engaging partners to decrease the take 
of yellow-billed loons.
    Consistent with the request of the North Slope Borough Fish and 
Game Management Committee and the recommendation of the Co-management 
Council, this rule continues the provisions originally established in 
2005, to allow subsistence use of yellow-billed loons inadvertently 
entangled in subsistence fishing (gill) nets on the North Slope. 
Yellow-billed loons are culturally important to the Inupiat Eskimo of 
the North Slope for use in traditional dance regalia. A maximum of 20 
yellow-billed loons will be allowed to be kept if found entangled in 
fishing nets in 2014, under this provision. This provision does not 
authorize intentional harvest of yellow-billed loons, but allows use of 
those loons inadvertently entangled during normal subsistence fishing 
activities.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1536) requires 
the Secretary of the Interior to ``review other programs administered 
by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of the 
Act'' and to ``insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried 
out . . . is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any 
endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction 
or adverse modification of [critical] habitat. . . .'' We conducted an 
intra-agency consultation with the Service's Fairbanks Fish and 
Wildlife Field Office on this harvest as it will be managed in 
accordance with this final rule and the conservation measures. The 
consultation was completed with a biological opinion dated February 13, 
2014, that concluded the final rule and conservation measures are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of Steller's eider, 
spectacled eider, or yellow-billed loon or result in the destruction or 
adverse modification of designated critical habitat for Steller's eider 
or spectacled eider.

Summary of Public Involvement

    On December 11, 2013, we published in the Federal Register a 
proposed rule (78 FR 75321) to establish spring and summer migratory 
bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2014 subsistence 
season. The proposed rule provided for a public comment period of 60 
days, ending February 10, 2014. We posted an announcement of the 
comment period dates for the proposed rule, as well as the rule itself 
and related historical documents, on the Co-management Council's 
Internet homepage. We issued a press release announcing our request for 
public comments and the pertinent deadlines for such comments, which 
was faxed to the media statewide in Alaska. Additionally, all documents 
were available on http://www.regulations.gov. The Service received 
three comments, two from members of the public and one from a 
government agency.

Response to Public Comments

    Comment: We received one general comment on the overall regulations 
that expressed strong opposition to the concept of allowing any harvest 
of migratory birds in Alaska.
    Service Response: For centuries, indigenous inhabitants of Alaska 
have harvested migratory birds for subsistence purposes during the 
spring and summer months. The Canada and Mexico migratory bird treaties 
were amended for the express purpose of allowing subsistence hunting 
for migratory birds during the spring and summer. The amendments 
indicate that the Service should issue regulations allowing such 
hunting as provided by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; see 16 U.S.C. 
712(1). Please refer to Statutory Authority section, below, for more 
details.
    Comment: We received one comment stating that the rules and 
regulations involved prevent this harvest from being an open door for 
the public to kill migratory birds.
    Service Response: The Service appreciates the understanding that 
this is a regulated harvest program with migratory bird conservation as 
the primary mandate, while also allowing for the continuation of 
customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds.
    Comment: We received one comment requesting that, under the 
proposed change to allow permanent residents from excluded areas to be 
invited to participate in the subsistence harvest, we add a 
clarification of the process to also notify affected other Federal 
agencies when persons are invited to villages within their 
jurisdiction.
    Service Response: In this final rule, we add a statement to the end 
of 50 CFR 92.5 to clarify the notification procedures for affected 
Federal land management agencies.

Effective Date

    The amendments to subpart D of 50 CFR part 92 will take effect less 
than 30 days after publication (see DATES section, above). If there 
were a delay in the effective date of this rule, subsistence hunters 
would not be able to take full advantage of their subsistence hunting 
opportunities. We therefore find that ``good cause'' exists justifying 
the earlier start date, within the terms of 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) of the 
Administrative Procedure Act, and under authority of the Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act (July 3, 1918), as amended (16 U.S.C. 703-712).

Statutory Authority

    We derive our authority to issue these regulations from the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, at 16 U.S.C. 712(1), which 
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the 
treaties with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia, to ``issue such 
regulations as may be

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necessary to assure that the taking of migratory birds and the 
collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants of the State of 
Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional and other 
essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, during 
seasons established so as to provide for the preservation and 
maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.''

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The Office 
of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is 
not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that this rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 
et seq.). A regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. 
Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required. This 
final rule legalizes a pre-existing subsistence activity, and the 
resources harvested will be consumed.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
    (a) Will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more. It legalizes and regulates a traditional subsistence activity. 
It will not result in a substantial increase in subsistence harvest or 
a significant change in harvesting patterns. The commodities that are 
regulated under this final rule are migratory birds. This rule deals 
with legalizing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds and, as 
such, does not involve commodities traded in the marketplace. A small 
economic benefit from this final rule will derive from the sale of 
equipment and ammunition to carry out subsistence hunting. Most, if not 
all, businesses that sell hunting equipment in rural Alaska qualify as 
small businesses. We have no reason to believe that this final rule 
will lead to a disproportionate distribution of benefits.
    (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government 
agencies; or geographic regions. This final rule does not deal with 
traded commodities and, therefore, does not have an impact on prices 
for consumers.
    (c) Will not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This 
final rule deals with the harvesting of wildlife for personal 
consumption. It does not regulate the marketplace in any way to 
generate effects on the economy or the ability of businesses to 
compete.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    We have determined and certified under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) that this final rule will not impose a cost 
of $100 million or more in any given year on local, State, or tribal 
governments or private entities. The final rule does not have a 
significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or 
the private sector. A statement containing the information required by 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required. Participation on 
regional management bodies and the Co-management Council requires 
travel expenses for some Alaska Native organizations and local 
governments. In addition, they assume some expenses related to 
coordinating involvement of village councils in the regulatory process. 
Total coordination and travel expenses for all Alaska Native 
organizations are estimated to be less than $300,000 per year. In a 
notice of decision (65 FR 16405; March 28, 2000), we identified 7 to 12 
partner organizations (Alaska Native nonprofits and local governments) 
to administer the regional programs. The Alaska Department of Fish and 
Game also incurs expenses for travel to Co-management Council and 
regional management body meetings. In addition, the State of Alaska 
will be required to provide technical staff support to each of the 
regional management bodies and to the Co-management Council. Expenses 
for the State's involvement may exceed $100,000 per year, but should 
not exceed $150,000 per year. When funding permits, we make annual 
grant agreements available to the partner organizations and the Alaska 
Department of Fish and Game to help offset their expenses.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 12630, this final rule will 
not have significant takings implications. This final rule is not 
specific to particular land ownership, but applies to the harvesting of 
migratory bird resources throughout Alaska. A takings implication 
assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 13132, this final rule does 
not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation 
of a federalism summary impact statement. We discuss effects of this 
final rule on the State of Alaska in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
section above. We worked with the State of Alaska to develop these 
final regulations. Therefore, a federalism summary impact statement is 
not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    The Department, in promulgating this final rule, has determined 
that it will not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets 
the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal 
Governments

    Consistent with Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249; November 6, 
2000), ``Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments'', and Department of Interior policy on Consultation with 
Indian Tribes (December 1, 2011), in December 2013, we sent letters via 
electronic mail to all 229 Alaska Federally recognized Indian tribes. 
Consistent with Congressional direction (Pub. L. 108-199, div. H, Sec. 
161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Pub. L. 108-447, div. 
H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267), we also sent 
letters to approximately 200 Alaska Native corporations and other 
tribal entities in Alaska soliciting their input as to

[[Page 19458]]

whether or not they would like the Service to consult with them on the 
2014 migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations. We received no 
responses, nor any requests for consultation.
    We implemented the amended treaty with Canada with a focus on local 
involvement. The treaty calls for the creation of management bodies to 
ensure an effective and meaningful role for Alaska's indigenous 
inhabitants in the conservation of migratory birds. According to the 
Letter of Submittal, management bodies are to include Alaska Native, 
Federal, and State of Alaska representatives as equals. They develop 
recommendations for, among other things: Seasons and bag limits, 
methods and means of take, law enforcement policies, population and 
harvest monitoring, education programs, research and use of traditional 
knowledge, and habitat protection. The management bodies involve 
village councils to the maximum extent possible in all aspects of 
management. To ensure maximum input at the village level, we required 
each of the 11 participating regions to create regional management 
bodies consisting of at least one representative from the participating 
villages. The regional management bodies meet twice annually to review 
and/or submit proposals to the Statewide body.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule has been examined under the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and does not contain any new 
collections of information that require Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) approval. OMB has renewed our collection of information 
associated with the voluntary annual household surveys used to 
determine levels of subsistence take. The OMB control number is 1018-
0124, which expires June 30, 2016. We may not conduct or sponsor and 
you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless 
it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) 
Consideration

    The annual regulations and options are considered in the 
environmental assessment, ``Managing Migratory Bird Subsistence Hunting 
in Alaska: Hunting Regulations for the 2014 Spring/Summer Harvest,'' 
dated September 20, 2013. Copies are available from the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at http://www.regulations.gov.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This is not a 
significant regulatory action under this Executive Order; it allows 
only for traditional subsistence harvest and improves conservation of 
migratory birds by allowing effective regulation of this harvest. 
Further, this final rule is not expected to significantly affect energy 
supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a 
significant energy action under Executive Order 13211, and no Statement 
of Energy Effects is required.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 92

    Hunting, Treaties, Wildlife.

Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, we amend title 50, chapter 
I, subchapter G, of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 92--MIGRATORY BIRD SUBSISTENCE HARVEST IN ALASKA

0
1. The authority citation for part 92 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 703-712.

Subpart A--General Provisions

0
2. Amend Sec.  92.5 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  92.5  Who is eligible to participate?

* * * * *
    (d) Participation by permanent residents of excluded areas. 
Immediate family members who are residents of excluded areas may 
participate in the customary spring and summer subsistence harvest in a 
village's subsistence area with permission of the village council, to 
assist indigenous inhabitants in meeting their nutritional and other 
essential needs or for the teaching of cultural knowledge. A letter of 
invitation will be sent by the village council to the hunter with a 
copy to the Executive Director of the Co-management Council, who will 
inform law enforcement and the Service's Co-management Council 
coordination office within 2 working days. The Service will then inform 
any affected Federal agency when residents of excluded areas are 
allowed to participate in the subsistence harvest within their Federal 
lands.

Subpart D--Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest

0
3. Amend subpart D by adding Sec.  92.31 to read as follows:


Sec.  92.31  Region-specific regulations.

    The 2014 season dates for the eligible subsistence harvest areas 
are as follows:
    (a) Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Region.
    (1) Northern Unit (Pribilof Islands):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (2) Central Unit (Aleutian Region's eastern boundary on the Alaska 
Peninsula westward to and including Unalaska Island):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 15 and July 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 16-July 15.
    (iii) Special Black Brant Season Closure: August 16-August 31, only 
in Izembek and Moffet lagoons.
    (iv) Special Tundra Swan Closure: All hunting and egg gathering 
closed in units 9(D) and 10.
    (3) Western Unit (Umnak Island west to and including Attu Island):
    (i) Season: April 2-July 15 and August 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: July 16-August 15.
    (b) Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta Region.
    (1) Season: April 2-August 31.
    (2) Closure: 30-day closure dates to be announced by the Service's 
Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field 
biologists and the Association of Village Council President's Waterfowl 
Conservation Committee. This 30-day period will occur between June 1 
and August 15 of each year. A press release announcing the actual 
closure dates will be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and 
television stations.
    (3) Special Black Brant and Cackling Goose Season Hunting Closure: 
From the period when egg laying begins until young birds are fledged. 
Closure dates to be announced by the Service's Alaska Regional Director 
or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and the 
Association of Village Council President's Waterfowl Conservation 
Committee. A press release announcing the actual closure dates will be 
forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations.
    (c) Bristol Bay Region.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31 (general season); 
April 2-July 15 for seabird egg gathering only.
    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15 (general season); July 16-August 31 
(seabird egg gathering).
    (d) Bering Strait/Norton Sound Region.
    (1) Stebbins/St. Michael Area (Point Romanof to Canal Point):

[[Page 19459]]

    (i) Season: April 15-June 14 and July 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 15-July 15.
    (2) Remainder of the region:
    (i) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31 for waterfowl; 
April 2-July 19 and August 21-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 15-July 15 for waterfowl; July 20-August 20 for 
all other birds.
    (e) Kodiak Archipelago Region, except for the Kodiak Island roaded 
area, which is closed to the harvesting of migratory birds and their 
eggs. The closed area consists of all lands and waters (including 
exposed tidelands) east of a line extending from Crag Point in the 
north to the west end of Saltery Cove in the south and all lands and 
water south of a line extending from Termination Point along the north 
side of Cascade Lake extending to Anton Larsen Bay. Waters adjacent to 
the closed area are closed to harvest within 500 feet from the water's 
edge. The offshore islands are open to harvest.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 30 and July 31-August 31 for seabirds; 
April 2-June 20 and July 22-August 31 for all other birds.
    (2) Closure: July 1-July 30 for seabirds; June 21-July 21 for all 
other birds.
    (f) Northwest Arctic Region.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 9 and August 15-August 31 (hunting in 
general); waterfowl egg gathering May 20-June 9 only; seabird egg 
gathering May 20-July 12 only; hunting molting/non-nesting waterfowl 
July 1-July 31 only.
    (2) Closure: June 10-August 14, except for the taking of seabird 
eggs and molting/non-nesting waterfowl as provided in paragraph (f)(1) 
of this section.
    (g) North Slope Region.
    (1) Southern Unit (Southwestern North Slope regional boundary east 
to Peard Bay, everything west of the longitude line 158[deg]30' W and 
south of the latitude line 70[deg]45' N to the west bank of the 
Ikpikpuk River, and everything south of the latitude line 69[deg]45' N 
between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east bank of 
Sagavinirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 29 and July 30-August 31 for seabirds; 
April 2-June 19 and July 20-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 30-July 29 for seabirds; June 20-July 19 for all 
other birds.
    (iii) Special Black Brant Hunting Opening: From June 20-July 5. The 
open area consists of the coastline, from mean high water line outward 
to include open water, from Nokotlek Point east to longitude line 
158[deg]30' W. This includes Peard Bay, Kugrua Bay, and Wainwright 
Inlet, but not the Kuk and Kugrua river drainages.
    (2) Northern Unit (At Peard Bay, everything east of the longitude 
line 158[deg]30' W and north of the latitude line 70[deg]45' N to west 
bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything north of the latitude line 
69[deg]45' N between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east 
bank of Sagavinirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 6-June 6 and July 7-August 31 for king and common 
eiders; April 2-June 15 and July 16-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 7-July 6 for king and common eiders; June 16-
July 15 for all other birds.
    (3) Eastern Unit (East of eastern bank of the Sagavanirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 19 and July 20-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 20-July 19.
    (4) All Units: Yellow-billed loons. Annually, up to 20 yellow-
billed loons total for the region may be inadvertently entangled in 
subsistence fishing nets in the North Slope Region and kept for 
subsistence use.
    (5) North Coastal Zone (Cape Thompson north to Point Hope and east 
along the Arctic Ocean coastline around Point Barrow to Ross Point, 
including Iko Bay, and 5 miles inland).
    (i) No person may at any time, by any means, or in any manner, 
possess or have in custody any migratory bird or part thereof, taken in 
violation of subpart C and D of this part.
    (ii) Upon request from a Service law enforcement officer, hunters 
taking, attempting to take, or transporting migratory birds taken 
during the subsistence harvest season must present them to the officer 
for species identification.
    (h) Interior Region.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31; egg gathering 
May 1-June 14 only.
    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15.
    (i) Upper Copper River Region (Harvest Area: Units 11 and 13) 
(Eligible communities: Gulkana, Chitina, Tazlina, Copper Center, 
Gakona, Mentasta Lake, Chistochina and Cantwell).
    (1) Season: April 15-May 26 and June 27-August 31.
    (2) Closure: May 27-June 26.
    (3) The Copper River Basin communities listed above also documented 
traditional use harvesting birds in Unit 12, making them eligible to 
hunt in this unit using the seasons specified in paragraph (h) of this 
section.
    (j) Gulf of Alaska Region.
    (1) Prince William Sound Area West (Harvest area: Unit 6[D]), 
(Eligible Chugach communities: Chenega Bay, Tatitlek):
    (i) Season: April 2-May 31 and July 1-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 1-30.
    (2) Prince William Sound Area East (Harvest area: Units 6[C]and 
[B]--Barrier Islands between Strawberry Channel and Softtuk Bar), 
(Eligible Chugach communities: Cordova):
    (i) Season: April 2-April 30 (hunting); May 1-May 31 (gull egg 
gathering).
    (ii) Closure: May 1-August 31 (hunting); April 2-30 and June 1-
August 31 (gull egg gathering).
    (iii) Species Open for Hunting: Greater white-fronted goose; snow 
goose; gadwall; Eurasian and American wigeon; blue-winged and green-
winged teal; mallard; northern shoveler; northern pintail; canvasback; 
redhead; ring-necked duck; greater and lesser scaup; king and common 
eider; harlequin duck; surf, white-winged, and black scoter; long-
tailed duck; bufflehead; common and Barrow's goldeneye; hooded, common, 
and red-breasted merganser; and sandhill crane. Species open for egg 
gathering: glaucous-winged, herring, and mew gulls.
    (iv) Use of Boats/All-Terrain Vehicles: No hunting from motorized 
vehicles or any form of watercraft.
    (v) Special Registration: All hunters or egg gatherers must possess 
an annual permit, which is available from the Cordova offices of the 
Native Village of Eyak and the U. S. Forest Service.
    (3) Kachemak Bay Area (Harvest area: Unit 15[C] South of a line 
connecting the tip of Homer Spit to the mouth of Fox River) (Eligible 
Chugach Communities: Port Graham, Nanwalek):
    (i) Season: April 2-May 31 and July 1-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 1-30.
    (k) Cook Inlet (Harvest area: Portions of Unit 16[B] as specified 
below) (Eligible communities: Tyonek only):
    (1) Season: April 2-May 31--That portion of Unit 16(B) south of the 
Skwentna River and west of the Yentna River, and August 1-31--That 
portion of Unit 16(B) south of the Beluga River, Beluga Lake, and the 
Triumvirate Glacier.
    (2) Closure: June 1-July 31.
    (l) Southeast Alaska.
    (1) Community of Hoonah (Harvest area: National Forest lands in Icy 
Strait and Cross Sound, including Middle Pass Rock near the Inian 
Islands, Table Rock in Cross Sound, and other traditional locations on 
the coast of Yakobi Island. The land and waters of Glacier Bay National 
Park remain closed to all subsistence harvesting (50 CFR part 
100.3(a)):

[[Page 19460]]

    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15-June 
30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (2) Communities of Craig and Hydaburg (Harvest area: Small islands 
and adjacent shoreline of western Prince of Wales Island from Point 
Baker to Cape Chacon, but also including Coronation and Warren 
islands):
    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15-June 
30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (3) Community of Yakutat (Harvest area: Icy Bay (Icy Cape to Point 
Riou), and coastal lands and islands bordering the Gulf of Alaska from 
Point Manby southeast to Dry Bay):
    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering: May 15-June 30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.

0
4. Amend subpart D by adding Sec.  92.32 to read as follows:


Sec.  92.32  Emergency regulations to protect Steller's eiders.

    Upon finding that continuation of these subsistence regulations 
would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of threatened 
Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service Alaska Regional Director, in consultation with the Co-
management Council, will immediately under Sec.  92.21 take action as 
is necessary to prevent further take. Regulation changes implemented 
could range from a temporary closure of duck hunting in a small 
geographic area to large-scale regional or Statewide long-term closures 
of all subsistence migratory bird hunting. These closures or temporary 
suspensions will remain in effect until the Regional Director, in 
consultation with the Co-management Council, determines that the 
potential for additional Steller's eiders to be taken no longer exists.

    Dated: March 27, 2014
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2014-07824 Filed 4-7-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P