[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 197 (Friday, October 13, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47700-47717]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-22145]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

XRIN 0648-XF547


Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; 
Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Haines Ferry Terminal 
Modification Project

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

ACTION: Proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for 
comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has received a request from the Alaska Department of 
Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) for authorization to 
take marine mammals incidental to the Haines Ferry Terminal 
Modification Project in Haines, Alaska. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to 
issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take 
marine mammals during the specified activities.

DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than November 
13, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, 
Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 
1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments 
should be sent to [email protected].
    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any 
other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the 
end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including 
all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments 
to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or 
Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted online at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm without change. All personal 
identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by 
the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential 
business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jaclyn Daly, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the applications 
and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in 
this document, may be obtained online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm. In case of problems accessing these 
documents, please call the contact listed above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) 
direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the 
incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine 
mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than 
commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain 
findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking 
is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is 
provided to the public for review.
    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS 
finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where 
relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements 
pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings 
are set forth.
    NMFS has defined ``negligible impact'' in 50 CFR 216.103 as ``an 
impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably 
expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the 
species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or 
survival.''
    NMFS has defined ``unmitigable adverse impact'' in 50 CFR 216.103 
as ``an impact resulting from the specified activity:
    (1) That is likely to reduce the availability of the species to a 
level insufficient for a harvest to meet subsistence needs by: (i) 
Causing the marine mammals to abandon or avoid hunting areas; (ii) 
directly displacing subsistence users; or (iii) placing physical 
barriers between the marine mammals and the subsistence hunters; and
    (2) That cannot be sufficiently mitigated by other measures to 
increase the availability of marine mammals to allow subsistence needs 
to be met.
    The MMPA states that the term ``take'' means to harass, hunt, 
capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine 
mammal.
    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the 
MMPA defines ``harassment'' as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or 
annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or 
marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the 
potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild 
by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not 
limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering (Level B harassment).

National Environmental Policy Act

    To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 
42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO)

[[Page 47701]]

216-6A, NMFS must review our proposed action with respect to 
environmental consequences on the human environment.
    Accordingly, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the issuance of 
the proposed IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further 
NEPA review. This action is consistent with categories of activities 
identified in CE B4 of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative 
Order 216-6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the 
potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human 
environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary 
circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion.
    We will review all comments submitted in response to this notice 
prior to concluding our NEPA process or making a final decision on the 
IHA request.

Summary of Request

    On January 9, 2017, NMFS received a request from ADOT&PF for an IHA 
to take marine mammals incidental to conducting improvements at the 
Haines Ferry Terminal. On February 3, 2017, NMFS requested additional 
information and ADOT&PF submitted a revised application on March 27, 
2017, which NMFS deemed adequate and complete. However, after further 
discussions, ADOT&PF submitted a final application on May 30, 2017, and 
then subsequently sent a request on August 17, 2017, to change the 
effective dates in the application to accommodate a delayed 
construction schedule. ADOT&PF's request is for harassment only and 
NMFS concurs that serious injury or mortality is not expected to result 
from this activity. Therefore, an IHA is appropriate.
    ADOT&PF's request is for take of humpback whale (Megaptera 
novaeangliae), harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), harbor porpoise (Phocoena 
phocoena), and Dall's porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli) by Level A and 
Level B harassment, and an additional two species, Steller sea lion 
(Eumetopias jubatus) and killer whale (Orcinus orca) by Level B 
harassment only. Pile driving would occur for 19 days and pile removal 
would take 2 additional days (total of 21 days) over the course of 4 
months from October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019, but excluding 
March 1 through May 31, 2019. No subsequent IHA would be necessary to 
complete the project.

Description of Proposed Activity

Overview

    ADOT&PF is proposing to construct two new berths and associated 
infrastructure adjacent at the existing Haines Ferry Terminal (see 
Attachment 1 in ADOT&PF's application for project drawings). The 
project includes impact and vibratory pile driving and vibratory pile 
removal. Sounds resulting from pile driving and removal may result in 
the incidental take of marine mammals by Level A and Level B harassment 
up to approximately 4.78 and 21.1 square kilometers (km\2\), 
respectively, around the terminal. The terminal is located in southeast 
Alaska in Lutak Inlet.

Dates and Duration

    The IHA would be valid from October 1, 2018, through September 30, 
2019; however, pile driving and removal would occur for only 21 days 
over the course of four months during this time period and work would 
not occur from March 1 through May 31, 2019. ADOT&PF anticipates up to 
1 hour of vibratory pile driving and 15 to 30 minutes of impact pile 
driving per day.

Specified Geographic Region

    The northern part of Lynn Canal braids into several inlets 
including Chilkat, Chilkoot, Taiya and Lutak Inlets. Tanani Point marks 
the confluence of Lutak Inlet and Chilkoot Inlet and is located 
approximately one mile (mi) southeast of the terminal. The Terminal is 
located near the mouth of Lutak Inlet, approximately four miles north 
of the town of Haines, in northern Southeast Alaska at 59[deg]16'54'' 
N., 135[deg]27'44.6'' W. (see Figures 1-1 and 1-2 in ADOT's 
application). At the terminal where pile driving may occur, Lutak Inlet 
is approximately 1.3 miles (mi) wide and water depth ranges from 20-40 
feet (ft; 6-9 meters (m)); however, water depth in Lynn Canal reaches 
over 300 ft (91 m). Lutak Inlet is a glacial scoured fiord, 
characterized by a typical U-shaped glacial valley. The sediment is 
homogeneous, consisting of dark gray, silty gravel material, as well as 
cobbles and boulders. Other than the terminal, the region is not 
industrialized and is surrounded by several state parks and the Glacier 
Bay National Park and Preserve.

Detailed Description of Specific Activities

    The Terminal is a multi-use dock used by Alaska Marine Highway 
Systems (AMHS) mainline and fast ferries, Alaska Marine Lines (AML) 
(tug and barge), and Delta Western (tug and barge). It is the second 
busiest AMHS port of call and can see up to four ferries coming and 
going during any given day in summer. The AMHS provides a 
transportation link for Alaska residents and businesses, as well as for 
non-residents visiting the state.
    The Haines Ferry Terminal Modification Project involves 
constructing an AMHS End Berth Facility adjacent to the existing dock. 
The expansion is necessary because the current configuration does not 
allow for operation of the new Alaska Class vessels, which are expected 
to be operational in 2018. Specifically, modification work includes 
removing an existing structure and installing moorings, vehicle 
transfer float, float restraint structures, steel transfer bridges and 
associated abutment and bearing structure, berthing structures, 
catwalks and gangways, and a pile-supported passenger waiting shelter. 
The structure to be removed with a vibratory hammer is comprised of 
four 30-inch (in) cylindrical steel pipe piles. To construct the new 
infrastructure, ADOT&PF would install 37 new piles. Fifteen piles would 
be 36-in diameter with 1 in. wall thickness. The remaining 22 piles 
would be 30-in diameter and \3/4\ in thick. To minimize noise 
propagation, the steel piles would be driven with a vibratory hammer, 
as practicable, except for final proofing, which would require use of 
an impact hammer. Based on previous pile driving work at the Terminal 
in 2015, ADOT&PF anticipates each pile would require up 45 to 60 
minutes of vibratory driving (to account for proper placement and 
alignment of the pile) followed by an average of 700 strikes of the 
impact hammer for a total average installation time of 60-90 minutes. 
One pile driver would be used onsite; therefore, only one pile would be 
installed at a time. A construction barge may be used during the 
project to facilitate pile driving and removal; however, the barge 
would be anchored.
    All pile driving and removal would occur within 500 feet (152 
meters) of the shoreline. Assuming two 30 in diameter piles could be 
removed each day, pile removal would take two days. Pile driving the 
30-in piles is expected to take 11 days while an additional 8 days 
would be necessary to install the 36-in piles. In total, ADOT&PF would 
be elevating noise levels around the project area for 21 days (two days 
of pile removal plus 19 days of pile driving) of the 4 month 
construction window (four months from October 1, 2018, through 
September 30, 2019, excluding March 1, 2019 through May, 31 2019).
    Other work for the project includes using a clamshell bucket dredge 
to

[[Page 47702]]

remove sediment around the terminal. However, dredging is not 
anticipated to result in the taking of marine mammals; therefore, this 
activity will not be discussed further.
    Proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures are 
described in detail later in this document (please see the Proposed 
Mitigation and Proposed Monitoring and Reporting sections).

Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities

    Sections 3 and 4 of the application summarize available information 
regarding status and trends, distribution and habitat preferences, and 
behavior and life history, of the potentially affected species. 
Additional information regarding population trends and threats may be 
found in NMFS Stock Assessment Reports (SAR; www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/
), and more general information about these species (e.g., physical and 
behavioral descriptions) may be found on NMFS Web site 
(www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/).
    Table 1 lists all species with expected potential for occurrence in 
Lynn Canal and summarizes information related to the population or 
stock, including regulatory status under the MMPA and ESA and potential 
biological removal (PBR), where known. For taxonomy, we follow 
Committee on Taxonomy (2016). PBR is defined by the MMPA as the maximum 
number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be 
removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach 
or maintain its optimum sustainable population (as described in NMFS 
SARs). While no mortality is anticipated or authorized here, PBR and 
annual serious injury and mortality from anthropogenic sources are 
included here as gross indicators of the status of the species and 
other threats.
    Marine mammal abundance estimates presented in this document 
represent the total number of individuals that make up a given stock or 
the total number estimated within a particular study or survey area. 
NMFS stock abundance estimates for most species represent the total 
estimate of individuals within the geographic area, if known, that 
comprises that stock. For some species, this geographic area may extend 
beyond U.S. waters. All managed stocks in this region are assessed in 
NMFS's U.S. Alaska SARs (Muto et al. 2017). All values presented in 
Table 1 are the most recent available at the time of publication and 
are available in the draft 2016 SARs (available online at: 
www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/draft.htm).
    Three cetacean species have ranges near the terminal but are 
unlikely to occur in the project area: The Pacific white-sided dolphin 
(Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), and 
minke whale (Balaenopera acutorostrata). The range of Pacific white-
sided dolphin is suggested to overlap with Lynn Canal (Angliss and 
Allen, 2015), but no sightings have been documented in the project area 
(Dahlheim et al. 2009, MOS 2016). Gray whale sightings in this northern 
portion of Southeast Alaska are very rare; there have only been eight 
sightings since 1997 (MOS 2016). These observations were made in the 
lower portions of Lynn Canal and were not close to the Lutak Inlet/
upper Lynn Canal area. Finally, only one minke whale has been observed 
in Taiya Inlet over the past five years (MOS 2016).

                            Table 1--Marine Mammals Potentially Present Within Upper Lynn Canal During the Specified Activity
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                                                                                                       Stock abundance
                                                                                                      Nbest, (CV, Nmin,
           Common name                Scientific name         MMPA Stock         ESA/MMPA status;        most recent            PBR         Annual M/SI
                                                                                Strategic (Y/N) \1\   abundance survey)                         \3\
                                                                                                             \2\
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                                          Order Cetartiodactyla--Cetacea--Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales)
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                                                                    Family Balaenidae
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Humpback whale...................  Megaptera             Central North         E, D,Y..............  10,103 (0.3, 7,890,              83              24
                                    novaeangliae.         Pacific.                                    2006).
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                                            Superfamily Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises)
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                                                                   Family Delphinidae
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Killer whale.....................  Orcinus orca........  Alaska Resident.....  -, N................  2,347 (N/A, 2,347,               24               1
                                                                                                      2012) \4\.
                                                         Northern Resident...  -, N................  261 (N/A, 261,                 1.96               0
                                                                                                      2011) \4\.
                                                         Gulf of Alaska,       -, N................  587 (N/A, 587,                  5.9               1
                                                          Aleutian Islands,                           2012) \4\.
                                                          Bering Sea.
                                                         West Coast Transient  -, N................  243 (N/A, 243,                  2.4               0
                                                                                                      2009) \4\.
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                                                             Family Phocoenidae (porpoises)
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Harbor porpoise..................  Phocoena phocoena...  Southeast Alaska....  -, Y................  975 (0.10, 896,                 8.9          \5\ 34
                                                                                                      2012) \5\.
Dall's porpoise..................  Phocoenoides dalli..  Alaska..............  -,N.................  83,400 (0.097, N/A,           Undet              38
                                                                                                      1993).
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                                                         Order Carnivora--Superfamily Pinnipedia
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                                                      Family Otariidae (eared seals and sea lions)
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Steller sea lion.................  Eumetopias jubatus..  Western U.S.........  E, D; Y.............  49,497 (2014)......             297             233
                                                         Eastern U.S.........  -, D, Y.............  60,131-74,448                 1,645            92.3
                                                                                                      (2013).
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[[Page 47703]]

 
                                                             Family Phocidae (earless seals)
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Harbor seal......................  Phoca vitulina        Lynn Canal/Stephens   -, N................  9,478 (8,605, 2011)             155              50
                                    richardii.            Passage.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Endangered Species Act (ESA) status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed
  under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality
  exceeds PBR or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed
  under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock.
\2\ NMFS marine mammal stock assessment reports online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/. CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of
  stock abundance. In some cases, CV is not applicable (N/A).
\3\ These values, found in NMFS's SARs, represent annual levels of human-caused mortality plus serious injury from all sources combined (e.g.,
  commercial fisheries, ship strike). Annual M/SI often cannot be determined precisely and is in some cases presented as a minimum value or range. A CV
  associated with estimated mortality due to commercial fisheries is presented in some cases.
\4\ N is based on counts of individual animals identified from photo-identification catalogs.
\5\ In the 2016 SAR for harbor porpoise, NMFS identified population estimates and PBR for porpoises within inland southeast Alaska waters (these
  abundance estimates have not been corrected for g(0); therefore, they are likely conservative). The Annual M/SI value provided is for all Alaska
  fisheries, not just inland waters of southeast Alaska.

Pinnipeds

Steller Sea Lion
    Steller sea lion populations that primarily occur west of 144[deg] 
W. (Cape Suckling, Alaska) comprise the western Distinct Population 
Segment (wDPS), while all others comprise the eastern DPS (eDPS); 
however, there is regular movement of both DPSs across this boundary 
(Muto et al. 2017). Both of these populations may occur in the action 
area. Steller sea lions were listed as threatened range-wide under the 
ESA on 26 November 1990 (55 FR 49204). Steller sea lions were 
subsequently partitioned into the western and eastern DPSs in 1997 
(Muto et al. 2017), with the wDPS being listed as endangered under the 
ESA and the eDPS remaining classified as threatened (62 FR 24345) until 
it was delisted in November 2013. In August 1993, NMFS published a 
final rule designating critical habitat for the Steller sea lion as a 
20-nautical mile buffer around all major haul-outs and rookeries, as 
well as associated terrestrial, air and aquatic zones, and three large 
offshore foraging areas (50 CFR 226.202). There is no Steller sea lion 
critical habitat in the action area.
    In Lynn Canal, Steller sea lions are most likely part of the eDPS; 
however, wDPS animals have moved into the area over the past several 
years. The first western DPS Steller sea lion documented in Lynn Canal 
occurred in 2003 at Benjamin Island in southern Lynn Canal 
(approximately 97 km or 60 miles south from the Ferry Terminal and 40 
km or 25 miles north of Juneau, Alaska). This animal was subsequently 
re-sighted in 2003 and 2004. Two additional animals have been observed 
at Benjamin Island in 2005 and 2006. The Alaska Department of Fish and 
Game (ADF&G) has documented 88 western DPS Steller sea lions in the 
eastern region, of which 40 percent were female, and nine of these 
animals gave birth at rookeries in the eastern region. Data suggest 
five out of these nine females have permanently immigrated to the 
eastern region. Branded individuals from the western DPS have also been 
observed at Gran Point located about 22.5 km (14 mi) southeast of the 
project area. The eDPS stock has been increasing (Muto et al. 2017). 
Pup counts for the wDPS have been decreasing; however, this could be 
due to movement of adult females out of the region (suggesting some 
level of permanent emigration) indicating that sea lions may have 
responded to meso-scale (on the order of 100s of kilometers) 
variability in their environment (Muto et al. 2017).
    Steller sea lions use terrestrial haulout sites to rest and take 
refuge. They also gather on well-defined, traditionally used rookeries 
to pup and breed. These habitats are typically gravel, rocky, or sand 
beaches; ledges; or rocky reefs (Allen and Angliss, 2013). Gran Point, 
which is located 14 mi (22.5 km) southeast of the project area, is the 
closest year-round Steller sea lion haulout. However, during the spring 
eulachon run, a seasonal haulout site is located on Taiya Point at the 
southern tip of Taiya Inlet (approximately 5 km or 3.1 mi from Haines 
Terminal). The eulachon run (which occurs for approximately three to 
four weeks during mid-March through May) in Lutak Inlet is extremely 
important to Steller sea lions for seasonal foraging. These spawning 
aggregations of forage fish provide densely aggregated, high-energy 
prey for Steller sea lions (and harbor seals) for brief time periods 
and influence haulout use (Sigler et al. 2004; Womble et al. 2005; 
Womble and Sigler 2006). The pre-spawning aggregations and spawning 
season for many forage fish species occur between March and May in 
Southeast Alaska just prior to the breeding season of sea lions 
(Pitcher et al. 2001; Womble and Sigler 2006). After May, Steller sea 
lion presence in the action area declines (see section 4.2 in ADOT&PF's 
application for more detailed information on fish runs and 
corresponding Steller sea lion presence).
    Steller sea lions are included in subsistence harvests. From 2011-
2012, an average of 50 animals from this stock were harvested each 
year, which is higher than previous estimates of 30 animals, on 
average, per year from 2004-2008 (Muto and Angliss, 2015). Incidental 
entanglement in fishing gear and marine debris is the biggest 
contributor to their annual human-caused mortality rate. In addition, 
since 2012, known cases of intentional mortality (e.g., gunshot, 
explosives) have also contributed to this rate with an average of 15 
animals per year from 2012 through 2015 (Muto et al. 2016).
Harbor Seal
    Harbor seals generally are nonmigratory, with local movements 
associated with such factors as tides, weather, season, food 
availability, and reproduction (Scheffer and Slipp 1944, Fisher 1952, 
Bigg 1969, 1981, Hastings et al. 2004).
    Harbor seals are included in subsistence harvests. From 2011-2012,

[[Page 47704]]

an average of 50 seals from the Lynn Canal/Stephens Passage stock were 
harvested each year, which is higher than previous estimates of 30 
animals, on average, per year from 2004-2008 (Muto et al. 2017). 
Entanglement is the biggest contributor to their annual human-caused 
mortality. Lynn Canal/Stephens Passage harbor seals are not listed as 
depleted or strategic under the MMPA and are not listed under the ESA.

Cetaceans

Humpback Whale
    Under the MMPA, there are three stocks of humpback whales in the 
North Pacific: (1) The California/Oregon/Washington and Mexico stock, 
consisting of winter/spring populations in coastal Central America and 
coastal Mexico which migrate to the coast of California to southern 
British Columbia in summer/fall (Calambokidis et al. 1989, Steiger et 
al. 1991, Calambokidis et al. 1993); (2) the central North Pacific 
stock, consisting of winter/spring populations of the Hawaiian Islands 
which migrate primarily to northern British Columbia/Southeast Alaska, 
the Gulf of Alaska, and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (Perry et al. 
1990, Calambokidis et al. 1997); and (3) the western North Pacific 
stock, consisting of winter/spring populations off Asia which migrate 
primarily to Russia and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands. The central 
North Pacific stock is the only stock that is found near the project 
activities.
    On September 8, 2016, NMFS published a final decision changing the 
status of humpback whales under the ESA (81 FR 62259), effective 
October 11, 2016. Previously, humpback whales were listed under the ESA 
as an endangered species worldwide. In the 2016 decision, NMFS 
recognized the existence of 14 DPSs, classified four of those as 
endangered and one as threatened, and determined that the remaining 
nine DPSs do not warrant protection under the ESA. WNP DPS whales do 
not occur in Southeast Alaska. Whales from the Mexico DPS, which is a 
threatened species, have a 6.1 percent probability of occurrence in 
Southeast Alaska. Humpback whales in Southeast Alaska are most likely 
to be from the Hawaii DPS (93.9 percent probability), which is not 
protected under the ESA.
    Humpback whales are not common in the action area but, if they are 
sighted, are generally present during mid- to late spring (mid-May 
through June) and vacate the area by July to follow large aggregations 
of forage fish in lower Lynn Canal. However, in recent years humpback 
whales have been observed at the entrance to Taiya Inlet throughout the 
fall months (MOS 2016). Four to five whales were observed in the area 
from spring 2015 to November (MOS 2016).
Killer Whale
    Based on data regarding association patterns, acoustics, movements, 
and genetic differences, eight killer whale stocks are now recognized: 
(1) The Alaska Resident stock; (2) the Northern Resident stock; (3) the 
Southern Resident stock; (4) the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and 
Bering Sea Transient stock; (5) the AT1 Transient stock; (6) the West 
Coast transient stock, occurring from California through southeastern 
Alaska; and (7) the Offshore stock, and (8) the Hawaiian stock. Only 
the Alaska resident; Northern resident; Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian 
Islands, and Bering Sea Transient (Gulf of Alaska transient); and the 
West coast transient stocks are considered in this application because 
other stocks occur outside the geographic area under consideration. Any 
of these four stocks could be seen in the action area; however, the 
Northern resident stock is most likely to occur in the area.
    The Alaska resident stock is found from southeastern Alaska to the 
Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. Intermixing of Alaska residents have 
been documented among the three areas, at least as far west as the 
eastern Aleutian Islands (Allen and Angliss, 2013). The Northern 
resident stock occurs from Washington State through part of 
southeastern Alaska. The Northern Resident stock is a transboundary 
stock and includes killer whales that frequent British Columbia, Canada 
and southeastern Alaska (Dahlheim et al., 1997; Ford et al., 2000). The 
Gulf of Alaska transient stock occurs mainly from Prince William Sound 
through the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. The West coast transient 
stock includes animals that occur in California, Oregon, Washington, 
British Columbia and southeastern Alaska.
    Transient killer whales occur in smaller, less matrilineal 
groupings than resident killer whales. They are also more likely to 
rely on stealth tactics when foraging, making fewer and less 
conspicuous calls, and edging along shorelines and around headlands in 
order to hunt their prey, including, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, 
and smaller cetaceans, in highly coordinated attacks (Barrett-Lennard 
et al. 2011). Residents often travel in much larger and closer knit 
groups within which they share any fish they catch.
    Data from Lutak Inlet suggests that a small number of killer whales 
infrequently enter the inlet, generally during spring fish runs when 
large aggregations of pinnipeds are also present (K. Hastings, pers. 
comm.). Up to 15 to 20 killer whales have been observed in Taiya Inlet 
4 to 5 times a year from early spring through fall (MOS 2016). 
Transient killer whales have also been observed in Lutak Inlet in front 
of the Terminal when sea lions are present (K. Hastings, pers. comm.), 
presumably following their preferred food source. The mean group size 
of four to six animals documented by Dahlheim et al. (2009) is 
consistent with 4 to 5 sightings of up to 20 whales outside Taiya (MOS 
2016) and Lutak Inlets.
Harbor Porpoise
    In Alaska, harbor porpoises are currently divided into three 
stocks, based primarily on geography. These are (1) the Southeast 
Alaska stock--occurring from the northern border of British Columbia to 
Cape Suckling, Alaska, (2) the Gulf of Alaska stock--occurring from 
Cape Suckling to Unimak Pass, and (3) the Bering Sea stock--occurring 
throughout the Aleutian Islands and all waters north of Unimak Pass 
(Allen and Angliss 2014). Only the Southeast Alaska stock is considered 
in this application because the other stocks are not found in the 
geographic area under consideration. The total estimated annual level 
of human-caused mortality and serious injury (M/SI) for harbor porpoise 
in Alaska (n=34) exceeds the calculated PBR of 8.9 harbor porpoise. 
However, this calculated PBR is based on the minimum population 
estimate for harbor porpoise in inland waters of southeast Alaska only 
(n=896) while the annual level of human caused M/SI is derived from 
take in all fisheries throughout Alaska. Therefore, PBR represents the 
total amount of animals that can be removed from all harbor porpoise 
stocks in Alaska combined. No mortality or serious injury of harbor 
porpoise from the Southeast Alaska stock has been observed incidental 
to U.S. commercial fisheries in Alaska in 2010-2014 (Breiwick 2013; MML 
unpubl. data). Population trends and status of this stock relative to 
its optimum sustainable population are currently unknown.
    In Lynn Canal, observations of harbor porpoise are not frequent and 
occur primarily in lower Lynn Canal; however, the species has been 
observed as far north as Haines during the

[[Page 47705]]

summer surveys (Dahlheim et al. 2009). At the Haines Ferry Terminal, 
one small pod of harbor porpoise were observed on September 22, 2015 
(ADOT&PF 2015). In addition, approximately 30 individuals have been 
observed in multiple groups of two or three, from spring through fall 
(MOS 2016).
    There are no subsistence use of this species; however, entanglement 
in fishing gear contributes to human-caused mortality and serious 
injury. Muto et al. (2016) also reports harbor porpoise are vulnerable 
to physical modifications of nearshore habitats resulting from urban 
and industrial development (including waste management and nonpoint 
source runoff) and activities such as construction of docks and other 
over-water structures, filling of shallow areas, dredging, and noise 
(Linnenschmidt et al. 2013).
Dall's Porpoise
    Currently one stock of Dall's porpoise is recognized in Alaskan 
waters (Muto et al. 2015). Dall's porpoise have not been observed in 
the waters of Lutak Inlet immediately adjacent to the Terminal but may 
be present in northern Lynn Canal. Local observers have observed only 
three to six Dall's porpoises in Taiya Inlet during the early spring 
and late fall (MOS 2016).
    At present, there is no reliable information on trends in abundance 
for the Alaska stock of Dall's porpoise (Muto et al. 2015). From 2009 
to 2013, no mortality or serious injury of Dall's porpoise was reported 
to the NMFS Alaska. There are also no subsistence uses of this species 
(Muto et al. 2015). Dall's porpoise are vulnerable to physical 
modifications of nearshore habitats resulting from urban and industrial 
development, including waste management and nonpoint source runoff) and 
noise (Linnenschmidt et al. 2013).

Marine Mammal Hearing

    Hearing is the most important sensory modality for marine mammals 
underwater, and exposure to anthropogenic sound can have deleterious 
effects. To appropriately assess the potential effects of exposure to 
sound, it is necessary to understand the frequency ranges marine 
mammals are able to hear. Current data indicate that not all marine 
mammal species have equal hearing capabilities (e.g., Richardson et 
al., 1995; Wartzok and Ketten, 1999; Au and Hastings, 2008). To reflect 
this, Southall et al. (2007) recommended that marine mammals be divided 
into functional hearing groups based on directly measured or estimated 
hearing ranges on the basis of available behavioral response data, 
audiograms derived using auditory evoked potential techniques, 
anatomical modeling, and other data. Note that no direct measurements 
of hearing ability have been successfully completed for mysticetes 
(i.e., low-frequency cetaceans). Subsequently, NMFS (2016) described 
generalized hearing ranges for these marine mammal hearing groups. 
Generalized hearing ranges were chosen based on the approximately 65 
decibels (dB) threshold from the normalized composite audiograms, with 
the exception for lower limits for low-frequency cetaceans where the 
lower bound was deemed to be biologically implausible and the lower 
bound from Southall et al. (2007) retained. The functional groups and 
the associated frequencies are indicated below (note that these 
frequency ranges correspond to the range for the composite group, with 
the entire range not necessarily reflecting the capabilities of every 
species within that group):
     Low-frequency cetaceans (mysticetes): generalized hearing 
is estimated to occur between approximately 7 hertz (Hz) and 35 
kilohertz (kHz);
     Mid-frequency cetaceans (larger toothed whales, beaked 
whales, and most delphinids): Generalized hearing is estimated to occur 
between approximately 150 Hz and 160 kHz;
     High-frequency cetaceans (porpoises, river dolphins, and 
members of the genera Kogia and Cephalorhynchus; including two members 
of the genus Lagenorhynchus, on the basis of recent echolocation data 
and genetic data): Generalized hearing is estimated to occur between 
approximately 275 Hz and 160 kHz;
     Pinnipeds in water; Phocidae (true seals): generalized 
hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 50 Hz to 86 kHz; 
and
     Pinnipeds in water; Otariidae (eared seals): generalized 
hearing is estimated to occur between 60 Hz and 39 kHz.
    The pinniped functional hearing group was modified from Southall et 
al. (2007) on the basis of data indicating that phocid species have 
consistently demonstrated an extended frequency range of hearing 
compared to otariids, especially in the higher frequency range 
(Hemil[auml] et al., 2006; Kastelein et al., 2009; Reichmuth and Holt, 
2013).
    For more detail concerning these groups and associated frequency 
ranges, please see NMFS (2016) for a review of available information. 
Six marine mammal species (four cetacean and two pinniped (one otariid 
and one phocid) species) have the reasonable potential to co-occur with 
the proposed survey activities. Of the cetacean species that may be 
present, one is classified as a low-frequency cetacean (i.e., all 
mysticete species), one is classified as a mid-frequency cetacean 
(i.e., all delphinid and ziphiid species and the sperm whale), and two 
are classified as high-frequency cetaceans (i.e., porpoise and Kogia 
spp.).

Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their 
Habitat

    This section includes a summary and discussion of the ways that 
components of the specified activity may impact marine mammals and 
their habitat. The ``Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment'' section 
later in this document will include a quantitative analysis of the 
number of individuals that are expected to be taken by this activity. 
The ``Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination'' section will 
consider the content of this section, the ``Estimated Take by 
Incidental Harassment'' section, and the ``Proposed Mitigation'' 
section, to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of these 
activities on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals 
and how those impacts on individuals are likely to impact marine mammal 
species or stocks.
    The introduction of anthropogenic noise into the aquatic 
environment from pile driving and removal is the primary means by which 
marine mammals may be harassed from ADOT&PF's specified activity. 
Animals exposed to natural or anthropogenic sound may experience 
physical and psychological effects, ranging in magnitude from none to 
severe (Southall et al. 2007). In general, exposure to pile driving 
noise has the potential to result in auditory threshold shifts and 
behavioral reactions (e.g., avoidance, temporary cessation of foraging 
and vocalizing, changes in dive behavior). Exposure to anthropogenic 
noise can also lead to non-observable physiological responses such an 
increase in stress hormones. Additional noise in a marine mammal's 
habitat can mask acoustic cues used by marine mammals to carry out 
daily functions such as communication and predatory and prey detection. 
The effects of pile driving noise on marine mammals are dependent on 
several factors, including, but not limited to, sound type (e.g., 
impulsive vs. non-impulsive), the species, age and sex class (e.g., 
adult male vs. mom with calf), duration of exposure, the distance 
between the pile and the animal, received levels, behavior at time of 
exposure, and previous history with exposure (Southall et al., 2007, 
Wartzok et al.

[[Page 47706]]

2004). Here we discuss physical auditory effects (threshold shifts) 
followed by behavioral effects and potential impacts on habitat.
    NMFS defines a noise-induced threshold shift (TS) as ``a change, 
usually an increase, in the threshold of audibility at a specified 
frequency or portion of an individual's hearing range above a 
previously established reference level'' (NMFS, 2016). The amount of 
threshold shift is customarily expressed in dB (ANSI 1995, Yost 2007). 
A TS can be permanent or temporary. As described in NMFS (2016), there 
are numerous factors to consider when examining the consequence of TS, 
including, but not limited to, the signal temporal pattern (e.g., 
impulsive or non-impulsive), likelihood an individual would be exposed 
for a long enough duration or to a high enough level to induce a TS, 
the magnitude of the TS, time to recovery (seconds to minutes or hours 
to days), the frequency range of the exposure (i.e., spectral content), 
the hearing and vocalization frequency range of the exposed species 
relative to the signal's frequency spectrum (i.e., how animal uses 
sound within the frequency band of the signal; e.g., Kastelein et al. 
2014b), and the overlap between the animal and the source (e.g., 
spatial, temporal, and spectral). When analyzing the auditory effects 
of noise exposure, it is often helpful to broadly categorize sound as 
either impulsive--noise with high peak sound pressure, short duration, 
fast rise-time, and broad frequency content--or non-impulsive. When 
considering auditory effects, vibratory pile driving is considered to 
be non-impulsive source while impact pile driving is treated as an 
impulsive source.
    Permanent Threshold Shift (PTS)--NMFS defines PTS as a permanent, 
irreversible increase in the threshold of audibility at a specified 
frequency or portion of an individual's hearing range above a 
previously established reference level (NMFS, 2016). Available data 
from humans and other terrestrial mammals indicate that a 40 dB 
threshold shift approximates PTS onset (see Ward et al. 1958, 1959; 
Ward 1960; Kryter et al. 1966; Miller 1974; Ahroon et al. 1996; 
Henderson et al. 2008).
    With the exception of a single study unintentionally inducing PTS 
in a harbor seal (Kastak et al., 2008), there are no empirical data 
measuring PTS in marine mammals largely due to the fact that, for 
various ethical reasons, experiments involving anthropogenic noise 
exposure at levels inducing PTS are not typically pursued or authorized 
(NMFS, 2016).
    Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS)--A temporary, reversible increase 
in the threshold of audibility at a specified frequency or portion of 
an individual's hearing range above a previously established reference 
level (NMFS, 2016). Based on data from cetacean TTS measurements (see 
Southall et al. 2007 for a review), a TTS of 6 dB is considered the 
minimum threshold shift clearly larger than any day-to-day or session-
to-session variation in a subject's normal hearing ability (Schlundt et 
al. 2000; Finneran et al. 2000; Finneran et al. 2002). As described in 
Finneran (2016), marine mammal studies have shown the amount of TTS 
increases with cumulative sound exposure level (SELcum) in 
an accelerating fashion: At low exposures with lower SELcum, 
the amount of TTS is typically small and the growth curves have shallow 
slopes. At exposures with higher higher SELcum, the growth 
curves become steeper and approach linear relationships with the noise 
SEL.
    Depending on the degree (elevation of threshold in dB), duration 
(i.e., recovery time), and frequency range of TTS, and the context in 
which it is experienced, TTS can have effects on marine mammals ranging 
from discountable to serious (similar to those discussed in auditory 
masking, below). For example, a marine mammal may be able to readily 
compensate for a brief, relatively small amount of TTS in a non-
critical frequency range that takes place during a time when the animal 
is traveling through the open ocean, where ambient noise is lower and 
there are not as many competing sounds present. Alternatively, a larger 
amount and longer duration of TTS sustained during time when 
communication is critical for successful mother/calf interactions could 
have more serious impacts. We note that reduced hearing sensitivity as 
a simple function of aging has been observed in marine mammals, as well 
as humans and other taxa (Southall et al., 2007), so we can infer that 
strategies exist for coping with this condition to some degree, though 
likely not without cost.
    The potential for TTS from impact pile driving exists. After 
exposure to playbacks of impact pile driving sounds (rate 2760 strikes/
hour) in captivity, mean TTS increased from 0 dB after 15 minute 
exposure to 5 dB after 360 minute exposure; recovery occurred within 60 
minute (Kastelein et al. 2016). However, one must consider duration of 
exposure in the field. Installing piles at the Haines terminal requires 
700 strikes per pile (average 15 minutes) with re-set time and one hour 
of vibratory pile driving before impact driving the second pile. Given 
marine mammals are likely moving through the action area and not 
remaining for extended periods of time, the potential for TTS declines.

Behavioral Harassment

    Exposure to noise from pile driving and removal also has the 
potential to behavioral disturb marine mammals. Disturbance may result 
in changing durations of surfacing and dives, number of blows per 
surfacing, or moving direction and/or speed; reduced/increased vocal 
activities; changing/cessation of certain behavioral activities (such 
as socializing or feeding); visible startle response or aggressive 
behavior (such as tail/fluke slapping or jaw clapping); avoidance of 
areas where sound sources are located. Pinnipeds may increase their 
haul-out time, possibly to avoid in-water disturbance (Thorson and 
Reyff, 2006). These potential behavioral responses to sound are highly 
variable and context-specific and reactions, if any, depend on species, 
state of maturity, experience, current activity, reproductive state, 
auditory sensitivity, time of day, and many other factors (Richardson 
et al., 1995; Wartzok et al., 2003; Southall et al., 2007). For 
example, animals that are resting may show greater behavioral change in 
response to disturbing sound levels than animals that are highly 
motivated to remain in an area for feeding (Richardson et al., 1995; 
NRC, 2003; Wartzok et al., 2003).
    If a marine mammal does react to an underwater sound by changing 
its behavior or moving a small distance, the impacts of that change may 
not be important to the individual, the stock, or the species as a 
whole. However, if a sound source displaces marine mammals from an 
important feeding or breeding area for a prolonged period, impacts on 
the animals could be important. In general, pinnipeds seem more 
tolerant of, or at least habituate more quickly to, potentially 
disturbing underwater sound than do cetaceans, and generally seem to be 
less responsive to exposure to industrial sound than most cetaceans.
    In 2016, ADOT&PF documented observations of marine mammals during 
construction activities (i.e., pile driving and down-hole drilling) at 
the Kodiak Ferry Dock (see 80 FR 60636 for Final IHA Federal Register 
notice). In the marine mammal monitoring report for that project (ABR 
2016), 1,281 Steller sea lions were observed within the Level B 
disturbance zone during pile driving or drilling (i.e., documented as 
Level B take). Of these, 19 individuals demonstrated an alert behavior, 
7 were

[[Page 47707]]

fleeing, and 19 swam away from the project site. All other animals (98 
percent) were engaged in activities such as milling, foraging, or 
fighting and did not change their behavior. In addition, two sea lions 
approached within 20 meters of active vibratory pile driving 
activities. Three harbor seals were observed within the disturbance 
zone during pile-driving activities; none of them displayed disturbance 
behaviors. Fifteen killer whales and three harbor porpoise were also 
observed within the Level B harassment zone during pile driving. The 
killer whales were travelling or milling while all harbor porpoises 
were travelling. No signs of disturbance were noted for either of these 
species. Given the similarities in activities and habitat and the fact 
the same species are involved, we expect similar behavioral responses 
of marine mammals to the specified activity. That is, disturbance, if 
any, is likely to be temporary and localized (e.g., small area 
movements).

Masking and Acoustic Habitat

    Masking is the obscuring of sounds of interest to an animal by 
other sounds, typically at similar frequencies. It may be caused by 
both natural (e.g., wind, waves, other animals) or anthropogenic (e.g., 
pile driving) sources. Marine mammals are highly dependent on sound, 
and their ability to recognize sound signals amid other sound is 
important in communication and detection of both predators and prey. 
Masking may partially or entirely reduce the audibility of acoustic 
signals (Southall et al. 2007). Background ambient sound may interfere 
with or mask the ability of an animal to detect a sound signal even 
when that signal is above its absolute hearing threshold.
    Masking of natural sounds can result when human activities produce 
high levels of background sound at frequencies important to marine 
mammals. Conversely, if the background level of underwater sound is 
high (e.g., on a day with strong wind and high waves), an anthropogenic 
sound source would not be detectable as far away as would be possible 
under quieter conditions and would itself be masked. Masking is also 
likely to result in more severe consequences when continuous. At the 
Haines terminal, pile driving is intermittent. That is, vibratory 
hammering would occur for approximately one hour followed by a break 
before impact hammering to allow changes in equipment. There would also 
be another delay before driving the second pile. Further, pile driving 
would not occur for multiple consecutive days but instead would be 
spaced out over 19 days (plus 2 days for pile removal) over the course 
of approximately four months. Therefore, while masking may occur if a 
marine mammal if a marine mammal is in the terminal area, it would be 
of short duration. In addition, ADOT&PF would conduct pile driving 
outside of important foraging times (i.e., spring echelon runs) the 
action area does not support key reproduction or other vital areas. 
Therefore, the impact of masking is likely to be minimal.

Marine Mammal Habitat Effects

    Construction activities at the Haines Ferry terminal could have 
localized, temporary impacts on marine mammal habitat and their prey by 
increasing in-water sound pressure levels and slightly decreasing water 
quality. Increased noise levels may adversely affect marine mammal prey 
in the vicinity of the project area. During impact pile driving, 
elevated levels of underwater noise would ensonify across Lutak Inlet 
where both fish and mammals occur and could affect foraging success. 
ADOT&PF would avoid pile driving during the more critical months (March 
1 through May 31) when ephemeral fish run in the inlet, thereby 
avoiding the greatest densities of marine mammals.
    In-water pile driving, pile removal, and dredging activities would 
also cause short-term effects on water quality due to increased 
turbidity. Dredging is likely to cause the greatest increase in 
suspended solids; however, turbidity plumes created is localized to 
about 7.6 m (25 ft) and could last from a few minutes to several hours. 
Any contaminants associated with the re-suspended sediments would be 
tightly bound to the sediment matrix. Because of the relatively small 
dredge area, turbidity plumes would be limited to the immediate 
vicinity of the terminal and adjacent portion of the inlet. ADOT&PF 
would employ standard construction best management practices (BMPs; see 
section 9 and 11.1 in ADOT's application), thereby, reducing any 
impacts. Therefore, the impact from increased turbidity levels is 
expected to be discountable.

Estimated Take

    This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes 
proposed for authorization through this IHA, which will inform both 
NMFS' consideration of whether the number of takes is small and the 
negligible impact determination.
    Harassment is the only type of take expected to result from these 
activities. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent 
here, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines ``harassment'' as: Any act of 
pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a 
marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); 
or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal 
stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, 
including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, 
feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).
    Authorized takes would primarily be by Level B harassment, as use 
of the impact and vibratory hammers has the potential to result in 
disruption of behavioral patterns and/or TTS for individual marine 
mammals. Impact pile driving may also result in auditory injury (Level 
A harassment) for mysticetes, high frequency cetaceans, and phocids due 
to modeled auditory injury zones based on exposure to noise from 
installing two piles per day. However, there are multiple hours between 
impact pile driving each pile; therefore, these zones are conservative 
as animals are not known to linger in the area. Therefore, PTS 
potential is low and, if occurs, would likely be minimal (e.g., PTS 
onset). Auditory injury is not expected for mid-frequency species and 
otariids as the accumulation of energy does not reach NMFS' PTS 
thresholds. The death of a marine mammal is also a type of incidental 
take. However, as described previously, no mortality is anticipated or 
proposed to be authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the 
take is estimated.
    Described in the most basic way, we estimate take by considering: 
(1) Acoustic thresholds above which NMFS believes the best available 
science indicates marine mammals may be behaviorally harassed or incur 
some degree of permanent hearing impairment; (2) the area or volume of 
water that will be ensonified above these levels in a day; (3) the 
density or occurrence of marine mammals within these ensonified areas; 
and, (4) the number of days of activities. Below, we describe these 
components in more detail and present the proposed take estimate.

Acoustic Thresholds

    Using the best available science, NMFS has developed acoustic 
thresholds that identify the received level of underwater sound above 
which exposed marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be 
behaviorally harassed (equated to Level B harassment) or to incur PTS 
of some degree (equated to Level A harassment).
    Level B Harassment for non-explosive sources--Though significantly 
driven by received level, the onset of behavioral

[[Page 47708]]

disturbance from anthropogenic noise exposure is also informed to 
varying degrees by other factors related to the source (e.g., 
frequency, predictability, duty cycle), the environment (e.g., 
bathymetry), and the receiving animals (e.g., hearing, motivation, 
experience, demography, behavioral context) making effects difficult to 
predict (Southall et al., 2007, Ellison et al., 2011). Based on what 
the available science indicates and the practical need to use a 
threshold based on a factor that is both predictable and measurable for 
most activities, NMFS uses a generalized acoustic threshold based on 
received level to estimate the onset of behavioral harassment. NMFS 
predicts that marine mammals are likely to be behaviorally harassed in 
a manner we consider Level B harassment when exposed to underwater 
anthropogenic noise above received levels of 120 dB re 1 microPascal 
([mu]Pa) root mean square (rms) for continuous (e.g. vibratory pile-
driving, drilling) and above 160 dB re 1 [mu]Pa (rms) for non-explosive 
impulsive (e.g., seismic airguns, impact pile driving) or intermittent 
(e.g., scientific sonar) sources. ADOT&PF includes the use of 
continuous (vibratory pile driving) and impulsive (impact pile 
driving); therefore, the 120 and 160 dB re 1 [mu]Pa (rms) thresholds 
are applicable.
    Level A harassment for non-explosive sources--NMFS' Technical 
Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine 
Mammal Hearing (Technical Guidance, 2016) identifies dual criteria to 
assess auditory injury (Level A harassment) for five different marine 
mammal groups (based on hearing sensitivity) as a result of exposure to 
noise from two different types of sources (impulsive or non-impulsive).
    These thresholds were developed by compiling and synthesizing the 
best available science and soliciting input multiple times from both 
the public and peer reviewers to inform the final product, and are 
provided in Table 2. The references, analysis, and methodology used in 
the development of the thresholds are described in NMFS 2016 Technical 
Guidance, which may be accessed at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/guidelines.htm.

                     Table 2--Thresholds Identifying the Onset of Permanent Threshold Shift
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     PTS onset acoustic thresholds * (received level)
             Hearing group              ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Impulsive                         Non-impulsive
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low-Frequency (LF) Cetaceans...........  Cell 1: Lpk,flat: 219 dB;   Cell 2: LE,LF,24h: 199 dB.
                                          LE,LF,24h: 183 dB.
Mid-Frequency (MF) Cetaceans...........  Cell 3: Lpk,flat: 230 dB;   Cell 4: LE,MF,24h: 198 dB.
                                          LE,MF,24h: 185 dB.
High-Frequency (HF) Cetaceans..........  Cell 5: Lpk,flat: 202 dB;   Cell 6: LE,HF,24h: 173 dB.
                                          LE,HF,24h: 155 dB.
Phocid Pinnipeds (PW) (Underwater).....  Cell 7: Lpk,flat: 218 dB;   Cell 8: LE,PW,24h: 201 dB.
                                          LE,PW,24h: 185 dB.
Otariid Pinnipeds (OW) (Underwater)....  Cell 9: Lpk,flat: 232 dB;   Cell 10: LE,OW,24h: 219 dB.
                                          LE,OW,24h: 203 dB.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Dual metric acoustic thresholds for impulsive sounds: Use whichever results in the largest isopleth for
  calculating PTS onset. If a non-impulsive sound has the potential of exceeding the peak sound pressure level
  thresholds associated with impulsive sounds, these thresholds should also be considered.
Note: Peak sound pressure (Lpk) has a reference value of 1 [mu]Pa, and cumulative sound exposure level (LE) has
  a reference value of 1[mu]Pa2s. In this Table, thresholds are abbreviated to reflect American National
  Standards Institute standards (ANSI 2013). However, peak sound pressure is defined by ANSI as incorporating
  frequency weighting, which is not the intent for this Technical Guidance. Hence, the subscript ``flat'' is
  being included to indicate peak sound pressure should be flat weighted or unweighted within the generalized
  hearing range. The subscript associated with cumulative sound exposure level thresholds indicates the
  designated marine mammal auditory weighting function (LF, MF, and HF cetaceans, and PW and OW pinnipeds) and
  that the recommended accumulation period is 24 hours. The cumulative sound exposure level thresholds could be
  exceeded in a multitude of ways (i.e., varying exposure levels and durations, duty cycle). When possible, it
  is valuable for action proponents to indicate the conditions under which these acoustic thresholds will be
  exceeded.

Ensonified Area

    Here, we describe operational and environmental parameters of the 
activity that will feed into identifying the area ensonified above the 
acoustic thresholds.
    ADOT&PF prepared an acoustic modeling report that discusses their 
modeling approach and identifies modeled source levels and harassment 
zones for the Haines Ferry Terminal project (Quijano et al., 2016). A 
summary of the methods of the modeling effort is presented here; the 
full report is available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm.
    To assess potential underwater noise exposure of marine mammals 
during pile driving, ADOT&PF used two models: A Pile Driving Source 
Model (PDSM) to estimate the sound radiation generated by the pile 
driver acting upon the pile (i.e., source levels), and a Full Waveform 
Range-dependent Acoustic Model (FWRAM) to simulate sound propagation 
away from the pile. The modeling considered the effect of pile driving 
equipment, bathymetry, water sound speed profile, and seabed 
geoacoustic parameters to predict the acoustic footprint from impact 
and vibratory pile driving of cylindrical pipe piles with respect to 
NMFS Level A and Level B thresholds. The report presents scenarios in 
which one pile or two piles are driven per day; however, for purposes 
here, NMFS considered only the two pile scenario since ADOT&PF has 
indicated that up to two piles could be driven per day. The resulting 
Level A harassment distances represent the location at which an animal 
would remain for the entire duration it takes to drive one pile, reset, 
and then drive another pile that, in reality, occurs over multiple 
hours in one day. The Level B isopleth distances represent 
instantaneous exposure to the Level B harassment criterion.
    To model sounds resulting from impact and vibratory pile driving of 
30-in and 36-in cylindrical pipe pipes, the PDSM was used in 
conjunction with GRL Engineer's Wave Equation Analysis Program 
(GRLWEAP) pile driving simulation software to obtain an equivalent pile 
source signature (i.e., source level) consisting of a vertical array of 
discrete point sources (Table 3). This signature accounts for several 
parameters that describe the operation: Pile type, material, size, and 
length; the pile driving equipment; and approximate pile penetration 
rate. The amplitude and phase of the point sources along the array were 
computed so that they collectively mimicked the time-frequency 
characteristics of the acoustic wave at the pile wall that results from 
a hammer strike (impact driving) or from forced vibration (vibratory 
driving) at the top end of the pile. This approach estimates spectral 
levels within the band 10-800 Hz where

[[Page 47709]]

most of the energy from pile driving is concentrated. An extrapolation 
method (Zykov et al. 2016) was used to extend modeled levels in 1/3-
octave-bands up to 25 kHz, by applying a -2 dB per 1/3-octave-band 
roll-off coefficient to the SEL value starting at the 800 Hz band. This 
was done to estimate the acoustic energy at higher frequencies to 
compare to NMFS thresholds.
    Once the pile source signature was computed, the FWRAM sound 
propagation modeling code was used to determine received levels as a 
function of depth, range, and azimuth direction. FWRAM is a time-domain 
acoustic model that used, as input, the PDSM-generated array of point 
sources representing the pile and computes synthetic pressure 
waveforms. To exclude sound field outliers, NMFS uses the maximum range 
at which the given sound level was encountered after excluding 5 
percent of the farthest such points (R95%) to estimate 
harassment threshold distances. To account for hearing groups, full-
spectrum frequency-dependent weighting functions were applied at each 
frequency. The model also showed the transition from down-slope to up-
slope propagation as the sound crosses Lutak Inlet, resulting in a 
sound field that decays at a constant rate with range.
    Steel cylindrical pipe piles 41 m (135 ft) long with \1/2\ in thick 
walls were modeled for a total penetration of 14 m (46 ft) into the 
sediment. In the case of vibratory pile driving, both pile sizes were 
assumed to be driven by an ICE-44B vibratory pile driver. For impact 
pile driving, the parameters corresponding to the Delmag D30-32 and 
D36-32 impact pile drivers were used to model scenarios with 30-in and 
36-in diameter piles, respectively. Sound energy was accumulated over a 
specified number of hammer strikes, not as a function of time. The 
number of strikes required to install a single pile (assumed to be 700 
strikes per pile) was estimated based on pile driving logs from another 
pile driving project at Haines. Sound footprints were calculated for 
the installation of two piles (thus, accumulated over 1400 strikes). 
For vibratory pile driving, sound energy was accumulated for the two 
piles that could be installed or removed in a 24-hour period.
    Modeled source levels and distances to NMFS acoustic thresholds 
based on these source levels and the sound propagation model are 
presented in Table 3 and 4.

  Table 3--Impact Pile Driving: Modeled Source Levels and Harassment Zones for Impact Driving Two Piles per Day
                                [A dash indicates the threshold was not reached*]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Level A
                                                     threshold        Level A      Level B (160       Level B
                  Hearing group                      distance     threshold area   dB) threshold  threshold area
                                                    (R95%) (km)       (km\2\)      distance (km)      (km\2\)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    30 inch piles: modeled SL = 179.5 dB SEL
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low-frequency cetacean..........................            1.65            3.17            1.98            4.52
Mid-frequency cetacean..........................              --              --
High-frequency cetacean.........................            1.45            1.13
Phocid pinniped.................................            0.26            0.09
Otarrid pinniped................................              --              --
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    36 inch piles: modeled SL = 180.9 dB SEL
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low-frequency cetacean..........................            2.04            4.78            2.67            6.79
Mid-frequency cetacean..........................              --              --
High-frequency cetacean.........................            1.49            2.17
Phocid pinniped.................................            0.33            0.15
Otarrid pinniped................................              --              --
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* NMFS also considers peak sound pressure levels; however, in no case were these thresholds reached or greater
  than the SEL distances.


 Table 4--Vibratory Pile Driving: Modeled Source Levels and Harassment Zones for Vibratory Driving Two Piles per
                                                       Day
                                [A dash indicates the threshold was not reached*]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Level A
                                                     threshold        Level A      Level B (160       Level B
                  Hearing group                      Distance     threshold area   dB) threshold  threshold area
                                                    (R95%) (km)       (km\2\)      distance (km)      (km\2\)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    30 inch piles: modeled SL = 177.6 dB rms
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ALL.............................................              --              --            5.61           21.14
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    36 inch piles: modeled SL = 179.8 dB rms
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low-frequency cetacean..........................            0.02           <0.01            5.62           21.17
Mid-frequency cetacean..........................              --              --
High-frequency cetacean.........................              --              --
Phocid pinniped.................................              --              --
Otarrid pinniped................................              --              --
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* NMFS also considers peak sound pressure levels; however, in no case were these thresholds reached or greater
  than the SEL distances.


[[Page 47710]]

    The modeling approach described above and in ADOT&PF's application 
constitutes a new approach in that it models both source levels and 
propagation loss to estimate distances to NMFS harassment thresholds. 
Some preliminary data comparing measured sound levels to those produced 
by the models has been presented, but no peer reviewed analysis has 
been undertaken. To test the validity of the model, NMFS has included a 
proposed requirement that ADOT&PF conduct a source source verification 
(SSV) study upon the onset of pile driving to validate the model or, if 
necessary, adjust the harassment zones based on measured data. This SSV 
study will also provide the first measurements of sound levels 
generated by 36-in piles driven by ADOT&PF. ADOT&PF has prepared a 
draft acoustic monitoring plan which can be found at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm. We welcome comments on the 
ADOT&PF's source level modeling approach and the acoustic monitoring 
plan.

Marine Mammal Occurrence

    In this section we provide the information about the presence, 
density, or group dynamics of marine mammals that will inform the take 
calculations.
    The data on marine mammals in this area are diverse and fairly 
robust due mostly to ADF&G surveys. Strong seasonal occurrence of 
marine mammals in this area is well documented; therefore, density 
estimates for each species were calculated by month rather than 
averaged throughout the year. For example, we have already discussed 
the seasonality of Steller sea lions and how prey aggregations affect 
their abundance. Monthly Steller sea lion densities were calculated 
based on abundance surveys conducted at Gran Point (ADF&G, pers. comm). 
Considering the Steller sea lion data used to calculate density is from 
Gran Point, ADOT&PF used this location to mark the southern boundary of 
the action area. The area from Gran Point north that encompasses Lutak 
Inlet and Lynn Canal is 91.3 km\2\; this area was used for all species' 
density estimates. For species other than Steller sea lion, average 
sighting rate was used to calculate density (i.e., species occurrence 
rate per month/91.3km\2\). Harbor seals are generally present in the 
action area throughout the year, but their local abundance is clearly 
defined by the presence of available prey. During mid-March through 
mid-June, they are abundant in Lutak Inlet. For these months, an 
average of 100 seals per day in the inlet is considered a conservative 
estimate. For all other months, an estimate of 10 seals per month was 
incorporated into the density equation. Humpback whales are present in 
the action area from mid-April through June at a rate of five whales 
per month and given that a few whales have atypically remained in the 
area through the fall months (MOS 2016), we assumed two whales may 
remain within the action area from August through November. Densities 
for killer whales were calculated assuming five animals enter the area 
seasonally from one of the resident or transient stocks, and may remain 
from April through November. Harbor porpoise may be present in low 
numbers (average of five per month) throughout the year. Finally, 
Dall's porpoise are not sighted very frequently but tend to travel in 
larger groups; therefore, ten animals per for the four months of 
construction were considered in the density calculations. Table 5 
provides the resulting marine mammal densities for months when terminal 
construction would occur (again, no pile activities would occur from 
March 1 through May 31 to avoid peak marine mammal abundance and 
critical foraging periods). Although the table provides all relevant 
months, we used the months with highest density to calculate estimated 
take for each species, thus producing the most conservative estimates. 
Please refer to section 6.6.1 in ADOT's application for supporting data 
information.

      Table 5--Marine Mammal Density Estimates (Animals/km\2\) During Months When Pile Activities May Occur
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Species                Jan      Feb      June     July     Aug      Sept     Oct      Nov      Dec
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Steller sea lion...............     2.06     1.87     7.55     1.35        0     0.01     1.85     1.59     2.47
Harbor seal....................    0.109    0.109     1.09    0.109    0.109    0.109    0.109    0.109    0.109
Humpback whale.................        0        0    0.054    0.054    0.022    0.022    0.022    0.022        0
Killer whale...................        0        0    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054        0
Harbor porpoise................    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054    0.054
Dall's porpoise................        0        0        0     0.03     0.03     0.03     0.03        0        0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Take Calculation and Estimation

    Here we describe how the information provided above is brought 
together to produce a quantitative take estimate.
    The following equation was used to calculate potential Level A take 
per species per pile type: Level A harassment zone/pile installation 
method/pile type * June density * # of pile driving days/pile type. As 
described above, there would be 19 days of pile driving and 2 days of 
pile removal for a total of 21 pile activity days. We used the June 
density because, when densities changed throughout the year, this is 
when the highest density of all species occurs in the project area 
within the project in-water work window (with the exception of Dall's 
porpoise-see below) and ADOT&PF could conduct activities during this 
month. Therefore, the resulting take estimates assume all work is 
conducted in June, producing conservative estimates. The resulting 
Level A takes by pile type (30-in and 36-in) were then added to 
generate a total take number. For Level B harassment, the equation is 
the same; however, we first subtracted any Level A area from its 
corresponding Level B zone so not to ``double count'' takes.
    ADOT&PF may take 1.9 humpback whales by Level A harassment when 
impact driving 30'' piles (i.e., 3.17 km\2\ * 0.054 animals/km\2\ * 11 
days). ADOT&PF may take 2.1 humpback whales by Level A harassment when 
impact driving 36-in piles (i.e., 4.78 km\2\ * 0.054 animals/km\2\ * 8 
days). Together, these equal 4 (i.e., 1.9 from 30-in + 2.1 from 36'') 
potential Level A takes (Table 6). The Level B harassment zone for 
impact driving 30'' piles was calculated as 4.52 km\2\-3.17 km\2\ = 
1.35 km\2\. As such, potential take is calculated as 1.35 km\2\ * 0.054 
animals/km\2\ * 11 days = 1 animal. To calculate take from impact 
driving 36'' piles, the Level A zone (4.78 km\2\) was subtracted from 
the Level B zone (6.79 km\2\) and the process was repeated: 2.01 km\2\ 
* 0.054 animals/km\2\ * 8 days = 1 animal. These takes were then added 
for a total of 2 takes from Level B harassment from impact pile 
driving. Finally, we included the potential Level B takes from 
vibratory pile driving and removal (Level B area = 21.1 km\2\) using 
the method as described above. The resulting Level B takes (n = 24) 
were

[[Page 47711]]

added to the impact pile driving Level B takes (n = 2) for a total 
Level B take of 26 humpback whales.
    For killer whales, Level B takes from vibratory pile driving were 
calculated using June density and the full 21.1 km\2\ Level B zone 
since no Level A takes are predicted: 21.1 km\2\ * 0.054 animals/km\2\ 
* 21 days = 24 animals. Level B take from impact driving 30-in piles is 
calculated as 4.52 km\2\ * 0.054 animals/km\2\ * 11 days = 2.7 killer 
whales. Level B take from impact driving was calculated as 6.79 km\2\ * 
0.054 animals/km\2\ * 8 days = 2.9 killer whales. Together, we proposed 
to authorize Level B take of 30 killer whales over the 21 days of pile 
activity.
    For Dall's porpoise, we used the July density of 0.03 animals/km\2\ 
in the take equations. The resulting Level A take was lower than the 
average group size; therefore, we increased to the number of takes to 
represent the possibility one group of ten Dall's porpoise may come 
within the Level A zone during impact pile driving. For Level B take, 
calculated take fell between 10 and 20 animals; therefore, we assumed 
two groups of ten each may occur within the Level B zone and are 
proposing to authorize 20 Level B takes.
    Harbor porpoise take estimates were based on a density of .054 
porpoise/km\2\ with a Level A isopleth of 1.13 km\2\ and 2.17 km\2\ for 
impact pile driving 30-in (11 days) and 36-in (8 days) piles, 
respectively. The resulting 1 animal is less than the average group 
size; therefore, we are proposing to authorize the take of three harbor 
porpoise. For Level B, calculated take was estimated at 28 animals. 
Level B take numbers for harbor porpoise were based on a 21.1km\2\ 
impact zone for vibratory pile driving while an isopleth of 4.62 km\2\ 
and 3.39 km\2\ were used for pile driving 30-in (11 days) and 36-in (8 
days) piles.
    Harbor seal Level A take numbers were based on 1.09 seals/km\2\, a 
Level A zone of 0.09 and 0.15 km\2\ for impact pile driving 30-in (11 
days) and 36-in (8 days) piles, respectively. In total, three Level A 
takes of harbor seals are expected. For Level B, a 21.1 km\2\ impact 
zone for vibratory pile driving was used whereas a 6.64 km\2\ and 4.43 
km\2\ isopleth were used for impact pile driving 36-in and 30-in piles. 
In all, Level B take numbers for vibratory and impact pile driving were 
598. It is important to note that given harbor seals are more likely to 
haul-out and linger within the Level B harassment zone, it is more 
likely that this number represents exposures and not individual seals. 
As with all other species, it is also likely animals will travel 
through the Level B zone heading up the inlet and then back down again. 
Because individual identification is not always possible, these 
separate sighting events would be counted as individual takes.
    For Steller sea lions, Level B takes from vibratory pile driving 
were calculated using the most conservative June density (assuming 
worst case scenario that all work occurs in June) and the full 21.1 
km\2\ Level B zone since no Level A takes are predicted: 21.1 km\2\ * 
7.55 animals/km\2\ * 21 days = 3345.4 animals. Level B take from impact 
driving 30-in piles was calculated as 4.52 km\2\ * 7.55 animals/km\2\ * 
11 days = 375.4 sea lions. Level B take from impact driving 36-in piles 
was calculated as 6.79 km\2\ * 7.55 animals/km\2\ * 8 days = 410.1 sea 
lions. Together, NMFS proposes to authorize 4131 takes of sea lions 
over the 21 days of pile activity. This amount is not believed to be 
the number of individual Steller sea lions harassed but some lesser 
amount of individuals with repeated exposures.
    Table 6 includes the total proposed take levels, by species, manner 
of taking, and the percentage of stock potentially taken by Level B 
harassment (we did not include Level A take percentages as the proposed 
number of take is essentially zero percent for all stocks).

   Table 6--Estimated Take by Level A and Level B Harassment, by Species and Month, Resulting From Impact and
                                             Vibratory Pile Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Stock or DPS                                    Level B % of
            Species               Stock or DPS       size \1\         Level A         Level B        stock/DPS
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Steller sea lion..............  eastern U.S.....          60,131               0       \2\ 4,131             6.7
                                western U.S.....          49,497               0          \2\ 83            0.16
Harbor Seal...................  Lynn............           9,478               3             598             6.3
                                Canal/Stephens..
                                Passage.........
Humpback whale................  Central North             10,103               4          \3\ 26             0.3
                                 Pacific.
Killer whale..................  Alaska Resident.           2,347               0              30        1.3-12.3
                                Northern                     261               0
                                 Resident.
                                Gulf of Alaska,              587               0
                                 Aleutian
                                 Islands, Bering
                                 Sea.
                                West Coast                   243               0
                                 Transient.
Harbor porpoise...............  Southeast Alaska             975           \4\ 3              28            0.27
Dall's porpoise...............  Alaska..........          83,400          \4\ 10          \4\ 20            0.04
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Stock or DPS size here is Nbest according to NMFS 2016 Stock Assessment Reports.
\2\ Calculated Level B take of all SSL's is based on a June density of 7.55 animals which equals 4131
  individuals. Based on the percent of branded animals at Gran Point and in consultation with the Alaska
  Regional Office, we used a 2 percent distinction factor to determine the number of animals potentially from
  the western DPS.
\3\ Calculated Level B take of all humpback whales is based on a June density of 0.054 animals which equals 4131
  individuals. For ESA section 7 consultation purposes, 6.1 percent are designated to the Mexico DPS and the
  remaining are designated to the Hawaii DPS; therefore, we assigned 2 Level B takes to the Mexico DPS.
\4\ The calculated Level A take for harbor porpoise and Dall's porpoise is less than the average group size;
  therefore, we are proposing to authorize Level A take of one group of each species (i.e., 3 and 10 animals,
  respectively). For Dall's porpoise, we propose to authorize two groups (i.e., 20 animals) to be taken by Level
  B harassment. The calculated amount of Level B take for harbor porpoise is sufficient to cover multiple
  groups; therefore, no adjustments were made.

Proposed Mitigation

    In order to issue an IHA under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, 
NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such 
activity, ``and other means of effecting the least practicable impact 
on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention 
to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on 
the availability of such species or stock for taking'' for

[[Page 47712]]

certain subsistence uses (latter not applicable for this action). NMFS 
regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to 
include information about the availability and feasibility (economic 
and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such 
activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse 
impact upon the affected species or stocks and their habitat (50 CFR 
216.104(a)(11)).
    In evaluating how mitigation may or may not be appropriate to 
ensure the least practicable adverse impact on species or stocks and 
their habitat, as well as subsistence uses where applicable, we 
carefully consider two primary factors:
    (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful 
implementation of the measure(s) is expected to reduce impacts to 
marine mammals, marine mammal species or stocks, and their habitat, as 
well as subsistence uses. This considers the nature of the potential 
adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range). It further 
considers the likelihood that the measure will be effective if 
implemented (probability of accomplishing the mitigating result if 
implemented as planned) the likelihood of effective implementation 
(probability implemented as planned) and,
    (2) the practicability of the measures for applicant 
implementation, which may consider such things as cost, impact on 
operations, and, in the case of a military readiness activity, 
personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the 
effectiveness of the military readiness activity.
    The following mitigation measures are proposed in the IHA:
     Schedule: No pile driving or removal would occur from 
March 1 through May 31 to avoid peak marine mammals abundance periods 
and critical foraging periods.
     Pile Driving Delay/Shut-Down: If an animal comes within 10 
m (33 ft) of a pile being driven or removed, ADOT&PF would shut down. 
Pile driving activities would only be conducted during daylight hours 
when it is possible to visually monitor for marine mammals. If poor 
environmental conditions restrict visibility (e.g., from excessive wind 
or fog, high Beaufort state), pile installation would be delayed. If a 
species for which authorization has not been granted or if a species 
for which authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are 
met, ADOT&PF would delay or shut-down pile driving if the marine 
mammals approaches or is observed within the Level A and/or B 
harassment zone. In the unanticipated event that the specified activity 
clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by 
the IHA, such as serious injury or mortality, the protected species 
observer (PSO) on watch would immediately call for the cessation of the 
specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Chief 
of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, and NMFS Alaska Regional Office.
     Soft-start: For all impact pile driving, a ``soft start'' 
technique will be used at the beginning of each pile installation to 
allow any marine mammal that may be in the immediate area to leave 
before hammering at full energy. The soft start requires ADOT&PF to 
provide an initial set of three strikes from the impact hammer at 40 
percent energy, followed by a one-minute waiting period, then two 
subsequent 3-strike sets. If any marine mammal is sighted within the 
Level A zone designated for that species prior to pile-driving, or 
during the soft start, ADOT&PF will delay pile-driving until the animal 
is confirmed to have moved outside and on a path away from Level A zone 
or if 15 minutes have elapsed since the last sighting.
     Other best management practices: ADOT&PF will drive all 
piles with a vibratory hammer to the maximum extent possible (i.e., 
until a desired depth is achieved or to refusal) prior to using an 
impact hammer. ADOT&PF will also use the minimum hammer energy needed 
to safely install the piles. ADOT&PF will also utilize sound 
attenuation devices (e.g., pile caps/cushions) to reduce source levels 
and, by association, received levels. However, because the actual 
amount of reduction of sound energy from using those devices in 
unknown, ADOT&PF and NMFS used relied on unattenuated source levels to 
calculate harassment zones.
    Based on our evaluation of the applicant's proposed measures, as 
well as other measures considered by NMFS, we have preliminarily 
determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means 
effecting the least practicable impact on the affected species or 
stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, 
mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

Proposed Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an IHA for an activity, Section 101(a)(5)(D) of 
the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth requirements pertaining to the 
monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR 216.104 (a)(13) indicate that requests for 
authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the 
necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased 
knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on 
populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the 
proposed action area. Effective reporting is critical both to 
compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the 
required monitoring.
    Monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by NMFS should 
contribute to improved understanding of one or more of the following:
     Occurrence of marine mammal species or stocks in the area 
in which take is anticipated (e.g., presence, abundance, distribution, 
density).
     Nature, scope, or context of likely marine mammal exposure 
to potential stressors/impacts (individual or cumulative, acute or 
chronic), through better understanding of: (1) Action or environment 
(e.g., source characterization, propagation, ambient noise); (2) 
affected species (e.g., life history, dive patterns); (3) co-occurrence 
of marine mammal species with the action; or (4) biological or 
behavioral context of exposure (e.g., age, calving or feeding areas).
     Individual marine mammal responses (behavioral or 
physiological) to acoustic stressors (acute, chronic, or cumulative), 
other stressors, or cumulative impacts from multiple stressors.
     How anticipated responses to stressors impact either: (1) 
Long-term fitness and survival of individual marine mammals; or (2) 
populations, species, or stocks.
     Effects on marine mammal habitat (e.g., marine mammal prey 
species, acoustic habitat, or other important physical components of 
marine mammal habitat).
     Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness.

Visual Monitoring

    Monitoring would be conducted 30 minutes before, during, and 30 
minutes after pile driving and removal activities. In addition, 
observers shall record all incidents of marine mammal occurrence, 
regardless of distance from activity, and shall document any behavioral 
reactions in concert with distance from piles being driven or removed. 
Pile driving activities include the time to install or remove a single 
pile or series of piles, as long as the time elapsed between uses of 
the pile driving

[[Page 47713]]

equipment is no more than thirty minutes.
    A primary PSO would be placed at the terminal where pile driving 
would occur and a second observer would be placed at Tanani Point, 
located approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) southeast of the terminal. This 
second observer is at an advantage to observe species prior to entering 
the Level A zone as they move up Chilkoot Inlet, covering a majority of 
the Level B zone. PSOs would scan the waters using binoculars, and/or 
spotting scopes, and would use a handheld GPS or range-finder device to 
verify the distance to each sighting from the project site. All PSOs 
would be trained in marine mammal identification and behaviors and are 
required to have no other project-related tasks while conducting 
monitoring. The following measures also apply to visual monitoring:
    (1) Monitoring will be conducted by qualified observers, who will 
be placed at the best vantage point(s) practicable to monitor for 
marine mammals and implement shutdown/delay procedures when applicable 
by calling for the shutdown to the hammer operator. Qualified observers 
are trained biologists, with the following minimum qualifications:
    (a) Visual acuity in both eyes (correction is permissible) 
sufficient for discernment of moving targets at the water's surface 
with ability to estimate target size and distance; use of binoculars 
may be necessary to correctly identify the target;
    (b) Advanced education in biological science or related field 
(undergraduate degree or higher required);
    (c) Experience and ability to conduct field observations and 
collect data according to assigned protocols (this may include academic 
experience);
    (d) Experience or training in the field identification of marine 
mammals, including the identification of behaviors;
    (e) Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the 
construction operation to provide for personal safety during 
observations;
    (f) Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of observations 
including but not limited to the number and species of marine mammals 
observed; dates and times when in-water construction activities were 
conducted; dates and times when in-water construction activities were 
suspended to avoid potential incidental injury from construction sound 
of marine mammals observed within a defined shutdown zone; and marine 
mammal behavior; and
    (g) Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with 
project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals 
observed in the area as necessary.
    A draft marine mammal monitoring report would be submitted to NMFS 
within 90 days after the completion of pile driving and removal 
activities. It will include an overall description of work completed, a 
narrative regarding marine mammal sightings, and associated marine 
mammal observation data sheets. Specifically, the report must include:
     Date and time that monitored activity begins or ends;
     Construction activities occurring during each observation 
period;
     Weather parameters (e.g., percent cover, visibility);
     Water conditions (e.g., sea state, tide state);
     Species, numbers, and, if possible, sex and age class of 
marine mammals;
     Description of any observable marine mammal behavior 
patterns, including bearing and direction of travel and distance from 
pile driving activity;
     Distance from pile driving activities to marine mammals 
and distance from the marine mammals to the observation point;
     Locations of all marine mammal observations; and
     Other human activity in the area.
    If no comments are received from NMFS within 30 days, the draft 
final report will constitute the final report. If comments are 
received, a final report addressing NMFS comments must be submitted 
within 30 days after receipt of comments.
    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly 
causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the IHA 
(if issued), such as an injury, serious injury or mortality, ADOT&PF 
would immediately cease the specified activities and report the 
incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office 
of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Alaska Regional Stranding 
Coordinator. The report would include the following information:
     Description of the incident;
     Environmental conditions (e.g., Beaufort sea state, 
visibility);
     Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 
hours preceding the incident;
     Species identification or description of the animal(s) 
involved;
     Fate of the animal(s); and
     Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if 
equipment is available).
    Activities would not resume until NMFS is able to review the 
circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS would work with ADOT&PF to 
determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further 
prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. ADOT&PF would not be able 
to resume their activities until notified by NMFS via letter, email, or 
telephone.
    In the event that ADOT&PF discovers an injured or dead marine 
mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or 
death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than 
a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), 
ADOT&PF would immediately report the incident to the Chief of the 
Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 
and the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline and/or by email to the Alaska 
Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report would include the same 
information identified in the paragraph above. Activities would be able 
to continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS 
would work with ADOT&PF to determine whether modifications in the 
activities are appropriate.
    In the event that ADOT&PF discovers an injured or dead marine 
mammal and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is not 
associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA 
(e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced 
decomposition, or scavenger damage), ADOT&PF would report the incident 
to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of 
Protected Resources, NMFS, and the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline and/or 
by email to the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator, within 24 hours 
of the discovery. ADOT&PF would provide photographs or video footage 
(if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting 
to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

Acoustic Monitoring

    ADOT&PF relied on source level and sound propagation models to 
estimate Level A and harassment zones. To validate the outputs of these 
models, ADOT&PF will conduct acoustic monitoring during the first two 
days of pile driving. The acoustic monitoring plan is available for 
review at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/construction.htm. In summary, ADOT&PF will deploy three bottom-mounted 
Autonomous Multichannel Acoustic Recorders (AMARs) and conduct spot 
measurements with a hydrophone over the side of a vessel. The AMARs 
will be

[[Page 47714]]

set 10 m, 1000m and 5,000 m from the pile. Within one week, ADOT&PF 
will provide NMFS a report of their acoustic measurements. NMFS will 
review the report and if empirical data demonstrates adjustments to 
Level A and B take zones are warranted, those adjustments will be made.

Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination

    NMFS has defined negligible impact as ``an impact resulting from 
the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is 
not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival'' (50 CFR 216.103). 
A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-
level effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough 
information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to 
considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be 
``taken'' through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the 
likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context 
of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, 
migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness 
of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of 
estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population 
status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS implementing 
regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other 
past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this 
analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as 
reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and 
growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or 
ambient noise levels).
    The Level A harassment zones identified in Tables 3 and 4 are based 
upon an animal exposed to impact pile driving two piles per day. 
Considering duration of impact driving each pile (up to 15 minutes) and 
breaks between pile installations (to reset equipment and move pile 
into place), this means an animal would have to remain within the area 
estimated to be ensonified above the Level A harassment threshold for 
multiple hours. This is highly unlikely given marine mammal movement 
throughout the area. If an animal was exposed to accumulated sound 
energy, the resulting PTS would likely be small (e.g., PTS onset) at 
lower frequencies where pile driving energy is concentrated. 
Nevertheless, we propose authorizing a small amount of Level A take for 
four species which is considered in our analysis.
    Behavioral responses of marine mammals to pile driving and removal 
at the Terminal, if any, are expected to be mild and temporary. Marine 
mammals within the Level B harassment zone may not show any visual cues 
they are disturbed by activities (as noted during modification to the 
Kodiak Ferry Dock) or could become alert, avoid the area, leave the 
area, or display other mild responses that are not observable such as 
changes in vocalization patterns. Given the short duration of noise-
generating activities per day and that pile driving and removal would 
occur on 21 days across 4 months, any harassment would be temporary. In 
addition, ADOT&PF would not conduct pile driving or removal during the 
spring eulachon and herring runs as well as the fall salmon runs, when 
marine mammals are in greatest abundance and engaging in concentrated 
foraging behavior.
    In summary and as described above, the following factors primarily 
support our preliminary determination that the impacts resulting from 
this activity are not expected to adversely affect the species or stock 
through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival:
     No mortality is anticipated or authorized.
     ADOT&PF would avoid pile driving and removal during peak 
periods of marine mammals abundance and foraging (i.e., March 1 through 
May 31 eulachon and herring runs,).
     ADOT&PF would implement mitigation measures such as 
vibratory driving piles to the maximum extent practicable, soft-starts, 
use of sound attenuation devices, and shut downs.
     Monitoring reports from similar work in Alaska have 
documented little to no effect on individuals of the same species 
impacted by the specified activities.
    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the 
specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into 
consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and 
mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the total marine 
mammal take from the proposed activity will have a negligible impact on 
all affected marine mammal species or stocks.

Small Numbers

    As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be 
authorized under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for specified 
activities other than military readiness activities. The MMPA does not 
define small numbers and so, in practice, where estimated numbers are 
available, NMFS compares the number of individuals taken to the most 
appropriate estimation of abundance of the relevant species or stock in 
our determination of whether an authorization is limited to small 
numbers of marine mammals. Additionally, other qualitative factors may 
be considered in the analysis, such as the temporal or spatial scale of 
the activities.
    The amount of take NMFS proposes to authorize is 0.03 to 12.3 
percent of any stock's best population estimate. The 12.3 percent is 
based on the possibility all 30 takes of killer whales are from the 
West Coast Transient stock (population size 243) which is highly 
unlikely. The next lowest percent of stock is for the Steller sea lion 
eDPS at 6.7 percent; however, this is also conservative because it 
assumes all pile driving occurs in June which has the highest Steller 
sea lion density and assumes all takes are of individual animals which 
is likely not the case. Harbor seal takes represent 6.3 percent of the 
Lynn Canal/Stephens passage population while takes for the remaining 
five species, including the Steller sea lion wDPS, represent less than 
1 percent of all stocks.
    Based on the analysis contained herein of the proposed activity 
(including the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures) and the 
anticipated take of marine mammals, NMFS preliminarily finds that small 
numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the population size 
of the affected species or stocks.

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any 
action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated 
critical habitat. To ensure ESA compliance for the issuance of IHAs, 
NMFS consults internally, in this case with NMFS Alaska Protected 
Resources Division Office, whenever we propose to authorize take for 
endangered or threatened species.
    NMFS is proposing to authorize take of the Steller sea lion wDPS 
and the Mexico humpback whale DPS which are listed under the ESA. The 
Permit and Conservation Division has requested initiation of Section 7 
consultation with the Alaska Region for the issuance of

[[Page 47715]]

this IHA. NMFS will conclude the ESA consultation prior to reaching a 
determination regarding the proposed issuance of the authorization.

Proposed Authorization

    As a result of these preliminary determinations, NMFS proposes to 
issue an IHA to ADOT&PF for conducting pile driving and removal at the 
Haines Ferry Terminal, Alaska, from October 1, 2018 September 30, 2019 
provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting 
requirements are incorporated. This section contains a draft of the IHA 
itself. The wording contained in this section is proposed for inclusion 
in the IHA (if issued).
    1. This IHA is valid from October 1 2018, through September 30, 
2019.
    2. This IHA is valid only for pile driving and removal during the 
Haines Ferry Terminal Modification Project, Haines, Alaska.
    3. General Conditions.
    (a) A copy of this IHA must be in the possession of, its designees, 
and work crew personnel operating under the authority of this IHA.
    (b) The species authorized for taking is the Steller sea lions 
(Eumetopias jubatus), harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), harbor porpoise 
(Phocoena phocoena), and Dall's porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli) humpback 
whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and killer whale (Orcinus orca).
    (c) The taking, by harassment, is limited to the species listed in 
condition 3(b). See Table 6 for manner of taking and numbers of take 
authorized, by species.
    (d) The taking by serious injury or death of the species listed in 
condition 3(b) of this IHA or any taking of species of marine mammal 
not listed in condition 3(b) is prohibited and may result in the 
modification, suspension, or revocation of this IHA.
    (e) The taking of any marine mammal in a manner prohibited under 
this IHA must be reported immediately to the Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS.
    (f) ADOT&PF shall conduct briefings between construction 
supervisors and crews, marine mammal monitoring team, and ADOT&PF staff 
prior to the start of pile driving and removal for the Haines Ferry 
Terminal Modification Project, and when new personnel join the work, in 
order to explain responsibilities, communication procedures, marine 
mammal monitoring protocol, and operational procedures.
    4. Mitigation
    The holder of this Authorization is required to implement the 
following mitigation measures:
    (a) Timing Restrictions: Pile driving and removal shall occur only 
during daylight hours from October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019, 
excluding March 1, 2019, to May 31, 2019.
    (b) Weather Restrictions: If poor environmental conditions restrict 
visibility (e.g., from excessive wind or fog, high Beaufort state), the 
commencement of pile installation shall be delayed.
    (c) Pile Driving Operations
    (i) ADOT&PF shall drive all piles with a vibratory hammer to the 
maximum extent possible (i.e., until a desired depth is achieved or to 
refusal) prior to using an impact hammer. ADOT&PF shall also use the 
minimum hammer energy needed to safely install the piles.
    (ii) ADOT&PF shall use sound attenuation devices (e.g., pile caps/
cushions) in an attempt to reduce source levels.
    (iii) ADOT&PF shall use a ``soft start'' technique at the beginning 
of impact pile driving to allow any marine mammal that may be in the 
immediate area to leave before hammering at full energy. The soft start 
requires ADOT&PF to provide an initial set of three strikes from the 
impact hammer at 40 percent energy, followed by a one-minute waiting 
period, then two subsequent 3-strike sets.
    (iv) ADOT&PF shall use a direct pull method as the primary removal 
method for piles and, if ineffective, then using a vibratory hammer;
    (d) Shut-down Procedures.
    (i) A shut-down zone of 10 m shall be established during impact 
pile driving. Pile driving shall not commence until marine mammals are 
not sighted within the shut-down zone for a 15-minute period. If a 
marine mammal enters the shut down zone during pile driving, the 
activity shall stop until the animal leaves the shut-down zone or until 
15 minutes has elapsed without observation of the animal within the 
zone.
    (ii) If any marine mammal is sighted within the Level A zone (see 
Tables 3 and 4) designated for that species prior to pile-driving, or 
during the soft start, ADOT&PF shall delay pile-driving until the 
animal is confirmed to have moved outside and on a path away from Level 
A zone or if 15 minutes have elapsed since the last sighting.
    (iii) ADOT&PF shall use delay and shut-down procedures, if a 
species for which authorization has not been granted or if a species 
for which authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are 
met, approaches or is observed within the Level A and/or B harassment 
zone.
    (iv) ADOT&PF shall use delay and shut-down procedures, if a species 
for which authorization has not been granted or if a species for which 
authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are met, 
approaches or is observed within the Level A and/or B harassment zone 
(as appropriate).
    5. Monitoring.
    The holder of this Authorization is required to abide by the 
following monitoring conditions:
    (a) Two qualified Protected Species Observer (PSOs) shall be used 
to detect, document, and minimize impacts to marine mammals. One PSO 
shall be stationed at the Terminal and another shall be stationed at 
Tanani Point or other vantage point that allows visual line of sight 
across Chilkoot Inlet.
    (b) Qualifications for PSOs for visual monitoring include:
    (i) Visual acuity in both eyes (correction is permissible) 
sufficient for discernment of harbor seals on land or in the water with 
ability to estimate target size and distance; use of binoculars may be 
necessary to correctly identify the target;
    (ii) Advanced education in biological science or related field 
(undergraduate degree or higher required);
    (iii) Experience and ability to conduct field observations and 
collect data according to assigned protocols (this may include academic 
experience);
    (iv) Experience or training in the field identification of marine 
mammals, including the identification of behaviors;
    (v) Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the 
construction operation to provide for personal safety during 
observations;
    (vi) Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of observations 
including but not limited to the number and species of marine mammals 
observed; dates and times when construction activities were conducted; 
dates and times when construction activities were suspended to avoid 
potential incidental injury from construction sound or visual 
disturbance of marine mammals observed; and marine mammal behavior; and
    (vii) Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with 
project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals 
observed in the area as necessary.
    (c) PSO Monitoring and Data Collection: Monitoring shall be 
conducted before, during, and after pile driving and removal 
activities. PSOs shall record all incidents of marine mammal 
occurrence, regardless of distance from activity, and shall document 
any behavioral reactions in

[[Page 47716]]

concert with distance from construction activities. PSOs shall be 
placed at the best vantage point(s) practicable to monitor for marine 
mammals. The PSO shall also conduct biological resources awareness 
training for construction personnel. The awareness training shall be 
provided to brief construction personnel on identification of marine 
mammals (including neonates) and the need to avoid and minimize impacts 
to marine mammals. If new construction personnel are added to the 
project, the contractor shall ensure that the personnel receive the 
mandatory training before starting work. The PSO shall have authority 
to stop construction if marine mammals appear distressed (evasive 
maneuvers, rapid breathing, inability to flush) or in danger of injury.
    (d) Monitoring requirements also include:
    (i) The holder of this Authorization must designate at least one 
biologically-trained, on-site individual(s), approved in advance by 
NMFS, to monitor marine mammal species. The PSO shall be trained in 
marine mammal identification and behaviors and are required to have no 
other construction-related tasks while conducting monitoring.
    (ii) PSOs shall be provided with the equipment necessary to 
effectively monitor for marine mammals in order to record species, 
behaviors, and responses to construction activities.
    (iii) Pre-activity Monitoring: At least 30 minutes prior to the 
start of all pile driving, the PSO(s) must conduct observations on the 
number, type(s), location(s), and behavior(s) of marine mammals.
    (iv) Data collection during marine mammal monitoring shall consist 
of counts of all marine mammals by species and number (if possible, 
also include sex and age class), a description of behavior, location, 
direction of movement, type of construction that is occurring, time 
construction activities starts and ends, any noise or visual 
disturbance, and time of the observation. The type of take (i.e., Level 
A or B) and the assumed cause (whether related to construction 
activities or not) shall be noted. Environmental conditions such as 
weather, visibility, temperature, tide level, current, and sea state 
shall also be recorded. A written log of dates and times of monitoring 
activity shall be kept. The log shall report the following information:
     Time of PSO arrival on site;
     Time of the commencement of construction activities;
     Distances to all marine mammals relative to the 
disturbance;
     Observations, notes on marine mammal behavior during 
construction activities, as described above, and on the number and 
distribution observed in the project vicinity;
     For observations of all other marine mammals (if observed) 
the time and duration of each animal's presence in the project 
vicinity; the number of animals observed; the behavior of each animal, 
including any response to construction activities;
     Time of the cessation of construction activities;
     Time of PSO departure from site; and
     An estimate of the number (by species) of marine mammals 
that are known to have been disturbed by construction activities (based 
on visual observation) with a discussion of any specific behaviors 
those individuals exhibited. Disturbance must be recorded according to 
NMFS' three-point scale.
    (v) Post-activity Monitoring: At least 30 minutes following the 
cessation of pile driving for the day, the PSO(s) will continue to scan 
for marine mammals and document any sightings in accordance with 
section 4(c)(iv) of this IHA.
    (e) Acoustic Monitoring: ADOT&PF shall conduct acoustic monitoring 
at the onset of pile driving per the Acoustic Monitoring Plan. The data 
shall be analyzed to determine if any adjustments to the harassment 
zones are warranted.
    6. Reporting.
    (a) The ADOT&PF shall submit a draft report to NMFS within 90 days 
of the completion of marine mammal monitoring, or sixty days prior to 
the issuance of any subsequent IHA for this project (if required), 
whichever comes first. The report shall include marine mammal 
observations pre-activity, during-activity, and post-activity of 
construction, and shall also provide descriptions of any behavioral 
responses by marine mammals due to disturbance from construction 
activities and a complete description of total take estimate based on 
the number of marine mammals observed during the course of 
construction. If comments are received from the NMFS Office of 
Protected Resources on the draft report, a final report shall be 
submitted to NMFS within 30 days thereafter following resolution of 
comments on the draft report from NMFS. If no comments are received 
from NMFS, the draft report will be considered to be the final report. 
This report must contain the informational elements described above and 
in the monitoring plan of the application and at minimum shall also 
include:
    (b) Reporting injured or dead marine mammals:
    (i) In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly 
causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this IHA, 
such as serious injury or mortality, ADOT&PF shall immediately cease 
the specified activities and report the incident to the NMFS' Office of 
Protected Resources and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator. 
The report must include the following information:
     Time and date of the incident;
     Description of the incident;
     Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, 
tidal conditions, cloud cover, and visibility);
     Description of all marine mammal observations and active 
sound
     Species identification or description of the animal(s) 
involved;
     Fate of the animal(s); and
     Photographs or video footage of the animal(s).
    Activities shall not resume until NMFS is able to review the 
circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS will work with ADOT&PF to 
determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of 
further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. ADOT&PF may not 
resume their activities until notified by NMFS.
    (ii) In the event that ADOT&PF discovers an injured or dead marine 
mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or 
death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than 
a moderate state of decomposition), ADOT&PF shall immediately report 
the incident to the NMFS' Office of Protected Resources and the Alaska 
Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report must include the same 
information identified in 6(b)(i) of this IHA. Activities may continue 
while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work 
with the ADOT&PF to determine whether additional mitigation measures or 
modifications to the activities are appropriate.
    (iii) In the event that the ADOT&PF discovers an injured or dead 
marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is 
not associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA 
(e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced 
decomposition, or scavenger damage), the ADOT&PF shall report the 
incident to the NMFS' Office of Protected Resources and the Alaska 
Regional Stranding Coordinator within 24 hours of the discovery. 
ADOT&PF shall provide photographs or video footage or other 
documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS.

[[Page 47717]]

    7. This Authorization may be modified, suspended or withdrawn if 
the holder fails to abide by the conditions prescribed herein, or if 
NMFS determines the authorized taking is having more than a negligible 
impact on the species or stock of affected marine mammals.

Request for Public Comments

    We request comment on our analyses, the draft authorization, and 
any other aspect of this Notice of Proposed IHA for the proposed Haines 
Ferry Terminal Dock Modification Project. Please include with your 
comments any supporting data or literature citations to help inform our 
final decision on the request for MMPA authorization.

    Dated: October 6, 2017.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-22145 Filed 10-12-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P