FR Notice – Proposed Rulemaking To Designate Critical Habitat for the Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whale Distinct Population Segment (Nov. 3, 2017)

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY: We, NMFS, propose to designate critical habitat for the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) distinct population segment by designating waters from the 45-meter (m) depth contour to the 3200-m depth contour around the main Hawaiian Islands from Niihau east to Hawaii, pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Based on considerations of economic and national security impacts, we propose to exclude the following areas from designation because the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and exclusion will not result in extinction of the species: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Call Area offshore of the Island of Oahu, the Pacific Missile Range Facilities Offshore ranges (including the Shallow Water Training Range, the Barking Sands Tactical Underwater Range, and the Barking Sands Underwater Range Extension), the Kingfisher Range, Warning Area 188, Kaula and Warning Area 187, Fleet Operational Readiness Accuracy Check Site Range, the Shipboard Electronic Systems Evaluation Facility, Warning Areas 196 and 191, and Warning Areas 193 and 194. In addition, the Ewa Training Minefield and the Naval Defensive Sea Area are precluded from designation under section 4(a)(3) of the ESA because they are managed under the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan that we find provides a benefit to the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale. We are soliciting comments on all aspects of the proposal, including information on the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts. We will consider
additional information received prior to making a final designation.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on January 2, 2018.
A public hearing will be held on December 7, 2017 at the Manoa Grand Ballroom, Japanese Cultural Center, 2454 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI 96826. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and a presentation and hearing will begin at
6:30 p.m. Parking is available and will be validated.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, information, or data on this document, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2017–0093, and on the supplemental documents by either of the following methods:
Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0093, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

Mail: Submit written comments to Susan Pultz, Chief, Conservation Planning and Rulemaking Branch, Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818, Attn: MHI IFKW Critical Habitat Proposed Rule.

Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will
generally be posted for public viewing on without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. We will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if
you wish to remain anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Pultz, NMFS, Pacific Islands Region, Chief, Conservation
Planning and Rulemaking Branch, 808–725–5150; or Lisa Manning, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources 301–427–8466.

Complete FR Notice