Notice of Meeting
Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Arctic Research Commission will hold its 78th Meeting in Seattle, WA on January 19-20, 2006. The Business Session open to the public will convene at 9 a.m. Thursday,
January 19. The Agenda items include:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on Impacts of Research on Steller Sea Lions and Northern Fur Seals Throughout Their Range in the United States
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
ACTION: Notice of Intent to prepare environmental impact statement.
SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the environmental impacts of administering grants and issuing permits associated with research on endangered and threatened Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) and depleted northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus). Publication of this notice begins the official scoping process that will help identify alternatives and determine the scope of environmental issues to be addressed in the EIS. This notice requests public participation in the scoping process and provides information on how to participate. The purpose of conducting research on threatened and endangered Steller sea lions is to promote the recovery of the species' populations such that the protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) are no longer needed. Consistent with the purpose of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the purpose of conducting research on northern fur seals is to contribute to the basic knowledge of marine mammal biology or ecology and to identify, evaluate, or resolve conservation problems for this depleted species.
Research on Steller sea lions and northern fur seals considered in this EIS is funded and permitted by NMFS, which are both federal actions requiring National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) compliance. The need for these actions is to facilitate research to: (1) Prevent harm and avoid jeopardy or disadvantage to the species; (2) promote recovery; (3) identify factors limiting the population; (4) identify reasonable actions to minimize impacts of human-induced activities; (5) implement conservation and management measures; and (6) make data and results available in a timely manner for management of the species. As part of this action, NMFS is developing measures that will improve efficiency and avoid unnecessary redundancy in Steller sea lion and northern fur seal research, utilize best management practices, facilitate adaptive management, and standardize research protocols.
ADDRESSES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific dates, times, and locations of public scoping meetings for this issue.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Written statements and questions regarding the scoping process must be postmarked by February 13, 2006, and should be mailed to: Steve Leathery, Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226, Fax: 301-427-2583 or e-mail at .