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e-CFR data is current as of July 9, 2020

Title 50Chapter IISubchapter CPart 218Subpart D → §218.34


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 218—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS
Subpart D—Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to U.S. Navy Construction Activities at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, California


§218.34   Mitigation requirements.

When conducting the activities identified in §218.30(a), the mitigation measures contained in any LOA issued under §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.36 must be implemented. These mitigation measures shall include but are not limited to:

(a) General conditions. (1) A copy of any issued LOA must be in the possession of the Navy, its designees, and work crew personnel operating under the authority of the issued LOA.

(2) The Navy shall conduct briefings for construction supervisors and crews, the monitoring team, and Navy staff prior to the start of all pile driving activity, and when new personnel join the work, in order to explain responsibilities, communication procedures, the marine mammal monitoring protocol, and operational procedures.

(b) Shutdown zones. (1) For all pile driving activity, the Navy shall implement a minimum shutdown zone of a 10 m radius around the pile. If a marine mammal comes within or approaches the shutdown zone, such operations shall cease.

(2) For all pile driving activity, the Navy shall implement shutdown zones with radial distances as identified in any LOA issued under §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.36. If a marine mammal comes within or approaches the shutdown zone, such operations shall cease.

(3) For all pile driving activity, the Navy shall designate monitoring zones with radial distances as identified in any LOA issued under §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.36.

(c) Shutdown protocols. (1) The Navy shall deploy marine mammal observers as described in §218.35.

(2) For all pile driving activities, a minimum of one observer shall be stationed at the active pile driving rig or in reasonable proximity in order to monitor the shutdown zone.

(3) Monitoring shall take place from 30 minutes prior to initiation of pile driving activity through 30 minutes post-completion of pile driving activity. Pre-activity monitoring shall be conducted for 30 minutes to ensure that the shutdown zone is clear of marine mammals, and pile driving may commence when observers have declared the shutdown zone clear of marine mammals. In the event of a delay or shutdown of activity resulting from marine mammals in the shutdown zone, animals shall be allowed to remain in the shutdown zone (i.e., must leave of their own volition) and their behavior shall be monitored and documented. Monitoring shall occur throughout the time required to drive a pile. A determination that the shutdown zone is clear must be made during a period of good visibility (i.e., the entire shutdown zone and surrounding waters must be visible to the naked eye).

(4) If a marine mammal approaches or enters the shutdown zone, all pile driving activities at that location shall be halted. If pile driving is halted or delayed due to the presence of a marine mammal, the activity may not commence or resume until either the animal has voluntarily left and been visually confirmed beyond the shutdown zone or 15 minutes have passed without re-detection of the animal.

(5) During conditions where the entire shutdown zone is not visible (e.g., dark, fog, heavy rain), impact pile driving must be delayed until the PSO is confident marine mammals within the shutdown zone could be detected.

(6) Monitoring shall be conducted by trained observers, who shall have no other assigned tasks during monitoring periods. Trained observers shall be placed at the best vantage point(s) practicable to monitor for marine mammals and implement shutdown or delay procedures when applicable through communication with the equipment operator. The Navy shall adhere to the following additional observer qualifications:

(i) Independent observers (i.e., not construction personnel) are required.

(ii) At least one observer must have prior experience working as an observer.

(iii) Other observers may substitute education (degree in biological science or related field) or training for experience.

(iv) Where a team of three or more observers are required, one observer shall be designated as lead observer or monitoring coordinator. The lead observer must have prior experience working as an observer.

(v) The Navy shall submit observer CVs for approval by NMFS.

(d) Soft start. The Navy shall use soft start techniques for impact pile driving. Soft start for impact drivers requires contractors to provide an initial set of three strikes at reduced energy, followed by a thirty-second waiting period, then two subsequent reduced energy three-strike sets. Soft start shall be implemented at the start of each day's impact pile driving and at any time following cessation of impact pile driving for a period of thirty minutes or longer.

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