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Title 50Chapter IISubchapter CPart 218 → Subpart H


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 218—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS


Subpart H—Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy's Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT)


Contents
§218.70   Specified activity and geographical region.
§218.71   Effective dates.
§218.72   Permissible methods of taking.
§218.73   Prohibitions.
§218.74   Mitigation requirements.
§218.75   Requirements for monitoring and reporting.
§218.76   Letters of Authorization.
§218.77   Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization.
§§218.78-218.79   [Reserved]

Source: 83 FR 67019, Dec. 27, 2018, unless otherwise noted.

Effective Date Note: At 83 FR 67019, subpart H was revised, effective Dec. 21, 2018, through Dec. 20, 2023.

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§218.70   Specified activity and geographical region.

(a) Regulations in this subpart apply only to the U.S. Navy for the taking of marine mammals that occurs in the area described in paragraph (b) of this section and that occurs incidental to the activities listed in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy under this subpart may be authorized in Letters of Authorization (LOAs) only if it occurs within the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Study Area, which includes established operating and warning areas across the north-central Pacific Ocean, from the mean high tide line in Southern California west to Hawaii and the International Date Line. The Study Area includes the at-sea areas of three existing range complexes the Hawaii Range Complex (HRC), the Southern California Range Complex (SOCAL), and the Silver Strand Training Complex, and overlaps a portion of the Point Mugu Sea Range (PMSR). Also included in the Study Area are Navy pierside locations in Hawaii and Southern California, Pearl Harbor, San Diego Bay, and the transit corridor on the high seas where sonar training and testing may occur.

(c) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy is only authorized if it occurs incidental to the Navy conducting training and testing activities, including:

(1) Training. (i) Amphibious warfare;

(ii) Anti-submarine warfare;

(iii) Electronic warfare;

(iv) Expeditionary warfare;

(v) Mine warfare; and

(vi) Surface warfare.

(2) Testing. (i) Naval Air Systems Command Testing Activities;

(ii) Naval Sea System Command Testing Activities; and

(iii) Office of Naval Research Testing Activities.

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§218.71   Effective dates.

Regulations in this subpart are effective December 21, 2018 through December 20, 2023.

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§218.72   Permissible methods of taking.

(a) Under LOAs issued pursuant to §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.76, the Holder of the LOAs (hereinafter “Navy”) may incidentally, but not intentionally, take marine mammals within the area described in §218.70(b) by Level A harassment and Level B harassment associated with the use of active sonar and other acoustic sources and explosives as well as serious injury or mortality associated with vessel strikes and explosives, provided the activity is in compliance with all terms, conditions, and requirements of these regulations in this subpart and the applicable LOAs.

(b) The incidental take of marine mammals by the activities listed in §218.80(c) is limited to the following species:

Table 1 to §218.72

SpeciesStock
Blue whaleCentral North Pacific.
Blue whaleEastern North Pacific.
Bryde's whaleEastern Tropical Pacific.
Bryde's whaleHawaii.
Fin whaleCA/OR/WA.
Fin whaleHawaiian.
Humpback whaleCA/OR/WA.
Humpback whaleCentral North Pacific.
Minke whaleCA/OR/WA.
Minke whaleHawaii.
Sei whaleEastern North Pacific.
Sei whaleHawaii.
Gray whaleEastern North Pacific.
Gray whaleWestern North Pacific.
Sperm whaleCA/OR/WA.
Sperm whaleHawaii.
Dwarf sperm whaleHawaii.
Pygmy sperm whaleHawaii.
Kogia whalesCA/OR/WA.
Baird's beaked whaleCA/OR/WA.
Blainville's beaked whaleHawaii.
Cuvier's beaked whaleCA/OR/WA.
Cuvier's beaked whaleHawaii.
Longman's beaked whaleHawaii.
Mesoplodon sppCA/OR/WA.
Bottlenose dolphinCalifornia Coastal.
Bottlenose dolphinCA/OR/WA Offshore.
Bottlenose dolphinHawaii Pelagic.
Bottlenose dolphinKauai & Niihau.
Bottlenose dolphinOahu.
Bottlenose dolphin4-Island.
Bottlenose dolphinHawaii.
False killer whaleHawaii Pelagic.
False killer whaleMain Hawaiian Islands Insular.
False killer whaleNorthwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Fraser's dolphinHawaii.
Killer whaleEastern North Pacific (ENP) Offshore.
Killer whaleENP Transient/West Coast Transient.
Killer whaleHawaii.
Long-beaked common dolphinCalifornia.
Melon-headed whaleHawaiian Islands.
Melon-headed whaleKohala Resident.
Northern right whale dolphinCA/OR/WA.
Pacific white-sided dolphinCA/OR/WA.
Pantropical spotted dolphinHawaii Island.
Pantropical spotted dolphinHawaii Pelagic.
Pantropical spotted dolphinOahu.
Pantropical spotted dolphin4-Island.
Pygmy killer whaleHawaii.
Pygmy killer whaleTropical.
Risso's dolphinCA/OR/WA.
Risso's dolphinHawaii.
Rough-toothed dolphinHawaii.
Short-beaked common dolphinCA/OR/WA.
Short-finned pilot whaleCA/OR/WA.
Short-finned pilot whaleHawaii.
Spinner dolphinHawaii Island.
Spinner dolphinHawaii Pelagic.
Spinner dolphinKauai & Niihau.
Spinner dolphinOahu & 4-Island.
Striped dolphinCA/OR/WA.
Striped dolphinHawaii.
Dall's porpoiseCA/OR/WA.
California sea lionU.S.
Guadalupe fur sealMexico.
Northern fur sealCalifornia.
Harbor sealCalifornia.
Hawaiian monk sealHawaii.
Northern elephant sealCalifornia.

Note to Table 1: CA/OR/WA = California/Oregon/Washington.

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§218.73   Prohibitions.

Notwithstanding incidental takings contemplated in §218.72(a) and authorized by LOAs issued under §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.76, no person in connection with the activities listed in §218.70(c) may:

(a) Violate, or fail to comply with, the terms, conditions, and requirements of this subpart or an LOA issued under §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.76;

(b) Take any marine mammal not specified in §218.72(b);

(c) Take any marine mammal specified in §218.72(b) in any manner other than as specified in the LOAs; or

(d) Take a marine mammal specified in §218.72(b) if NMFS determines such taking results in more than a negligible impact on the species or stocks of such marine mammal.

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§218.74   Mitigation requirements.

When conducting the activities identified in §218.70(c), the mitigation measures contained in any LOAs issued under §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.76 must be implemented. These mitigation measures include, but are not limited to:

(a) Procedural mitigation. Procedural mitigation is mitigation that the Navy must implement whenever and wherever an applicable training or testing activity takes place within the HSTT Study Area for each applicable activity category or stressor category and includes acoustic stressors (i.e., active sonar, air guns, pile driving, weapons firing noise), explosive stressors (i.e., sonobuoys, torpedoes, medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles, missiles and rockets, bombs, sinking exercises, mines, anti-swimmer grenades, and mat weave and obstacle loading), and physical disturbance and strike stressors (i.e., vessel movement; towed in-water devices; small-, medium-, and large-caliber non-explosive practice munitions; non-explosive missiles and rockets; and non-explosive bombs and mine shapes).

(1) Environmental awareness and education. Appropriate Navy personnel (including civilian personnel) involved in mitigation and training or testing activity reporting under the specified activities must complete one or more modules of the U.S Navy Afloat Environmental Compliance Training Series, as identified in their career path training plan. Modules include: Introduction to the U.S. Navy Afloat Environmental Compliance Training Series, Marine Species Awareness Training; U.S. Navy Protective Measures Assessment Protocol; and U.S. Navy Sonar Positional Reporting System and Marine Mammal Incident Reporting.

(2) Active sonar. Active sonar includes low-frequency active sonar, mid-frequency active sonar, and high-frequency active sonar. For vessel-based activities, mitigation applies only to sources that are positively controlled and deployed from manned surface vessels (e.g., sonar sources towed from manned surface platforms). For aircraft-based activities, mitigation applies only to sources that are positively controlled and deployed from manned aircraft that do not operate at high altitudes (e.g., rotary-wing aircraft). Mitigation does not apply to active sonar sources deployed from unmanned aircraft or aircraft operating at high altitudes (e.g., maritime patrol aircraft).

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform—(A) Hull-mounted sources. One Lookout for platforms with space or manning restrictions while underway (at the forward part of a small boat or ship) and platforms using active sonar while moored or at anchor (including pierside); and two Lookouts for platforms without space or manning restrictions while underway (at the forward part of the ship).

(B) Sources that are not hull-mounted sources. One Lookout on the ship or aircraft conducting the activity.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. During the activity, at 1,000 yards (yd) Navy personnel must power down 6 decibels (dB), at 500 yd Navy personnel must power down an additional 4 dB (for a total of 10 dB), and 200 yd Navy personnel must shut down for low-frequency active sonar ≥200 dB and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar; or at 200 yd Navy personnnel must shut down for low-frequency active sonar <200 dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull-mounted, and high-frequency active sonar.

(A) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of active sonar transmission until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must also observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of active sonar transmission.

(B) During the activity for low-frequency active sonar at or above 200 dB and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and power down active sonar transmission by 6 dB if marine mammals are observed within 1,000 yd of the sonar source; power down by an additional 4 dB (for a total of 10 dB total) if marine mammals are observed within 500 yd of the sonar source; and cease transmission if marine mammals are observed within 200 yd of the sonar source.

(C) During the activity for low-frequency active sonar below 200 dB, mid-frequency active sonar sources that are not hull mounted, and high-frequency active sonar, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and cease active sonar transmission if marine mammals are observed within 200 yd of the sonar source.

(D) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing or powering up active sonar transmission) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the sonar source; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 minutes (min) for aircraft-deployed sonar sources or 30 min for vessel-deployed sonar sources; for mobile activities, the active sonar source has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting; or for activities using hull-mounted sonar where a dolphin(s) is observed in the mitigation zone, the Lookout concludes that the dolphin(s) are deliberately closing in on the ship to ride the ship's bow wave, and are therefore out of the main transmission axis of the sonar (and there are no other marine mammal sightings within the mitigation zone).

(3) Air guns—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout positioned on a ship or pierside.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 150 yd around the air gun.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must also observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of air gun use.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease air gun use.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing air gun use) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the air gun; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the air gun has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

(4) Pile driving. Pile driving and pile extraction sound during Elevated Causeway System training.

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the shore, the elevated causeway, or a small boat.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 100 yd around the pile driver.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (for 30 min), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must delay the start until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of pile driving or vibratory pile extraction.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease impact pile driving or vibratory pile extraction.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. The Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing pile driving or pile extraction) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the pile driving location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min.

(5) Weapons firing noise. Weapons firing noise associated with large-caliber gunnery activities.

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the ship conducting the firing. Depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one provided for under “Explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles” or under “Small-, medium-, and large-caliber non-explosive practice munitions” in paragraphs (a)(8)(i) and (a)(18)(i) of this section.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. Thirty degrees on either side of the firing line out to 70 yd from the muzzle of the weapon being fired.

(A) Prior to the start of the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of weapons firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must also observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of weapons firing.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease weapons firing.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing weapons firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the firing ship; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or for mobile activities, the firing ship has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

(6) Explosive sonobuoys—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft or on small boat. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 600 yd around an explosive sonobuoy.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during deployment of a sonobuoy field, which typically lasts 20-30 min), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel also must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease sonobuoy or source/receiver pair detonations.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the sonobuoy; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints (e.g., helicopter), or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.

(D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(7) Explosive torpedoes—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout positioned in an aircraft. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,100 yd around the intended impact location.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during deployment of the target), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use the information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish aggregation are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity, Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.

(D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(8) Explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles. Gunnery activities using explosive medium-caliber and large-caliber projectiles. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target.

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be on the vessel or aircraft conducting the activity. For activities using explosive large-caliber projectiles, depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one described in “Weapons firing noise” in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 200 yd around the intended impact location for air-to-surface activities using explosive medium-caliber projectiles.

(B) 600 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-surface activities using explosive medium-caliber projectiles.

(C) 1,000 yd around the intended impact location for surface-to-surface activities using explosive large-caliber projectiles.

(D) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing.

(E) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing.

(F) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity, Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for vessel-based firing; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

(G) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(9) Explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed explosive missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target.

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 900 yd around the intended impact location for missiles or rockets with 0.6-20 lb net explosive weight.

(B) 2,000 yd around the intended impact location for missiles with 21-500 lb net explosive weight.

(C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing.

(D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing.

(E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.

(F) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets will assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(10) Explosive bombs—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft conducting the activity. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2,500 yd around the intended target.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment.

(B) During the activity (e.g., during target approach), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing bomb deployment) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended target; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended target has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

(D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(11) Sinking exercises—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. Two Lookouts (one must be positioned in an aircraft and one must be positioned on a vessel). If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 2.5 nautical miles (nmi) around the target ship hulk.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (90 min prior to the first firing), Navy personnel must conduct aerial observations of the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must conduct aerial observations of the mitigation zone for marine mammals and jellyfish aggregations; if marine mammals or jellyfish aggregations are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of firing.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must conduct passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals and use the information from detections to assist visual observations. Navy personnel must visually observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals from the vessel; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing. Immediately after any planned or unplanned breaks in weapons firing of longer than two hours, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals from the aircraft and vessel; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay recommencement of firing.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the target ship hulk; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min.

(D) After completion of the activity (for two hours after sinking the vessel or until sunset, whichever comes first), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets will assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(12) Explosive mine countermeasure and neutralization activities—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) One Lookout must be positioned on a vessel or in an aircraft when implementing the smaller mitigation zone.

(B) Two Lookouts (one must be positioned in an aircraft and one must be on a small boat) when implementing the larger mitigation zone.

(C) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 600 yd around the detonation site for activities using 0.1-5 lb net explosive weight.

(B) 2,100 yd around the detonation site for activities using 6-650 lb net explosive weight (including high explosive target mines).

(C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station; typically, 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations.

(D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, and individual foraging seabirds; if marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, and individual foraging seabirds are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations.

(E) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity or a sighting of seabird concentrations or individual foraging seabirds during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted animal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to detonation site; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.

(F) After completion of the activity (typically 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained), Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(13) Explosive mine neutralization activities involving Navy divers—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. (A) Two Lookouts (two small boats with one Lookout each, or one Lookout must be on a small boat and one must be in a rotary-wing aircraft) when implementing the smaller mitigation zone.

(B) Four Lookouts (two small boats with two Lookouts each), and a pilot or member of an aircrew must serve as an additional Lookout if aircraft are used during the activity, when implementing the larger mitigation zone.

(C) All divers placing the charges on mines will support the Lookouts while performing their regular duties and will report applicable sightings to their supporting small boat or Range Safety Officer.

(D) If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around the detonation site during activities under positive control using 0.1-20 lb net explosive weight.

(B) 1,000 yd around the detonation site during all activities using time-delay fuses (0.1-29 lb net explosive weight) and during activities under positive control using 21-60 lb net explosive weight charges.

(C) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station for activities under positive control; 30 min for activities using time-delay firing devices), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations or fuse initiation until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations or fuse initiation.

(D) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, and individual foraging seabirds (in the water and not on shore); if marine mammals, concentrations of seabirds, and individual foraging seabirds are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations or fuse initiation. To the maximum extent practicable depending on mission requirements, safety, and environmental conditions, Navy personnel must position boats near the mid-point of the mitigation zone radius (but outside of the detonation plume and human safety zone), must position themselves on opposite sides of the detonation location (when two boats are used), and must travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location with one Lookout observing inward toward the detonation site and the other observing outward toward the perimeter of the mitigation zone. If used, Navy aircraft must travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location to the maximum extent practicable. Navy personnel must not set time-delay firing devices (0.1-29 lb. net explosive weight) to exceed 10 min.

(E) During activities conducted in shallow water, a shore-based Navy observer must survey the mitigation zone with binoculars for birds before and after each detonation. If training involves multiple detonations, the second (or third, etc.) detonation will occur either immediately after the preceding detonation (i.e., within 10 seconds) or after 30 min to avoid potential impacts on birds foraging underwater.

(F) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity or a sighting of seabird concentrations or individual foraging seabirds during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted animal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the detonation site; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min during activities under positive control with aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min during activities under positive control with aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained and during activities using time-delay firing devices.

(G) After completion of an activity (for 30 min), the Navy must observe for marine mammals for 30 min. Navy personnel must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(14) Maritime security operations—anti-swimmer grenades—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the small boat conducting the activity. If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended detonation location.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of detonations.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended detonation location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 30 min; or the intended detonation location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

(D) After completion of the activity (e.g., prior to maneuvering off station), Navy personnel must, when practical (e.g., when platforms are not constrained by fuel restrictions or mission-essential follow-on commitments), observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets will assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(15) Underwater demolition multiple charge—mat weave and obstacle loading exercises—(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. Two Lookouts (one must be positioned on a small boat and one must be positioned on shore from an elevated platform). If additional platforms are participating in the activity, Navy personnel positioned in those assets (e.g., safety observers, evaluators) must support observing the mitigation zone for applicable biological resources while performing their regular duties.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 700 yd around the intended detonation location.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity, or 30 min prior to the first detonation, the Lookout positioned on a small boat must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation and marine mammals; if floating vegetation or marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of detonations. For 10 min prior to the first detonation, the Lookout positioned on shore must use binoculars to observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must delay the start of detonations until the mitigation zone has been clear of any additional sightings for a minimum of 10 min.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease detonations.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing detonations) until one of the following conditions has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the detonation location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min (as determined by the Navy shore observer).

(D) After completion of the activity (for 30 min), the Lookout positioned on a small boat must observe for marine mammals in the vicinity of where detonations occurred; if any injured or dead marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must follow established incident reporting procedures. If additional platforms are supporting this activity (e.g., providing range clearance), these Navy assets must assist in the visual observation of the area where detonations occurred.

(16) Vessel movement. The mitigation will not be applied if: the vessel's safety is threatened; the vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver (e.g., during launching and recovery of aircraft or landing craft, during towing activities, when mooring); the vessel is operated autonomously; or when impracticable based on mission requirements (e.g., during Amphibious Assault—Battalion Landing exercise).

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be on the vessel that is underway.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. (A) 500 yd around whales.

(B) 200 yd around all other marine mammals (except bow-riding dolphins and pinnipeds hauled out on man-made navigational structures, port structures, and vessels).

(iii) During the activity. When underway Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance.

(iv) Incident reporting procedures. Additionally, if a marine mammal vessel strike occurs, Navy personnel must follow the established incident reporting procedures.

(17) Towed in-water devices. Mitigation applies to devices that are towed from a manned surface platform or manned aircraft. The mitigation will not be applied if the safety of the towing platform or in-water device is threatened.

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on a manned towing platform.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 250 yd around marine mammals.

(iii) During the activity. During the activity (i.e., when towing an in-water device), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must maneuver to maintain distance.

(18) Small-, medium-, and large-caliber non-explosive practice munitions. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target.

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned on the platform conducting the activity. Depending on the activity, the Lookout could be the same as the one described for “Weapons firing noise” in paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 200 yd around the intended impact location.

(A) Prior to the start of the activity (e.g., when maneuvering on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting before or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min for aircraft-based firing or 30 min for vessel-based firing; or for activities using a mobile target, the intended impact location has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

(19) Non-explosive missiles and rockets. Aircraft-deployed non-explosive missiles and rockets. Mitigation applies to activities using a surface target.

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 900 yd around the intended impact location.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., during a fly-over of the mitigation zone), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of firing.

(B) During the activity, Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease firing.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting prior to or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing firing) until one of the following conditions has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended impact location; or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min when the activity involves aircraft that have fuel constraints, or 30 min when the activity involves aircraft that are not typically fuel constrained.

(20) Non-explosive bombs and mine shapes. Non-explosive bombs and non-explosive mine shapes during mine laying activities.

(i) Number of Lookouts and observation platform. One Lookout must be positioned in an aircraft.

(ii) Mitigation zone and requirements. 1,000 yd around the intended target.

(A) Prior to the initial start of the activity (e.g., when arriving on station), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for floating vegetation; if floating vegetation is observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment or mine laying until the mitigation zone is clear. Navy personnel also must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals; if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must relocate or delay the start of bomb deployment or mine laying.

(B) During the activity (e.g., during approach of the target or intended minefield location), Navy personnel must observe the mitigation zone for marine mammals and, if marine mammals are observed, Navy personnel must cease bomb deployment or mine laying.

(C) Commencement/recommencement conditions after a marine mammal sighting prior to or during the activity. Navy personnel must allow a sighted marine mammal to leave the mitigation zone prior to the initial start of the activity (by delaying the start) or during the activity (by not recommencing bomb deployment or mine laying) until one of the following conditions has been met: the animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course, speed, and movement relative to the intended target or minefield location; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for 10 min; or for activities using mobile targets, the intended target has transited a distance equal to double that of the mitigation zone size beyond the location of the last sighting.

(b) Mitigation areas. In addition to procedural mitigation, Navy personnel must implement mitigation measures within mitigation areas to avoid or reduce potential impacts on marine mammals.

(1) Mitigation areas for marine mammals in the Hawaii Range Complex for sonar, explosives, and vessel strikes—(i) Mitigation area requirements—(A) Hawaii Island Mitigation Area (year-round). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not conduct more than 300 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or 20 hours of MF4 dipping sonar annually, or use explosives that could potentially result in takes of marine mammals during training and testing.

(2) Should national security require conduct of more than 300 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or 20 hours of MF4 dipping sonar, or use of explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during training or testing, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.

(B) 4-Islands Region Mitigation Area (November 15-April 15 for active sonar; year-round for explosives). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or explosives that could potentially result in takes of marine mammals during training and testing.

(2) Should national security require use of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar or explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during training or testing, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.

(C) Humpback Whale Special Reporting Areas (December 15-April 15). Navy personnel must report the total hours of surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar used in the special reporting areas in its annual training and testing activity reports submitted to NMFS.

(D) Humpback Whale Awareness Notification Message Area (November-April). (1) Navy personnel must issue a seasonal awareness notification message to alert ships and aircraft operating in the area to the possible presence of concentrations of large whales, including humpback whales.

(2) To maintain safety of navigation and to avoid interactions with large whales during transits, Navy personnel must instruct vessels to remain vigilant to the presence of large whale species (including humpback whales), that when concentrated seasonally, may become vulnerable to vessel strikes.

(3) Platforms must use the information from the awareness notification message to assist their visual observation of applicable mitigation zones during training and testing activities and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation.

(ii) [Reserved]

(2) Mitigation areas for marine mammals in the Southern California portion of the study area for sonar, explosives, and vessel strikes—(i) Mitigation area requirements—(A) San Diego Arc, San Nicolas Island, and Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Areas (June 1-October 31). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not conduct more than a total of 200 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar in the combined areas, excluding normal maintenance and systems checks, during training and testing.

(2) Should national security require conduct of more than 200 hours of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar in the combined areas during training and testing (excluding normal maintenance and systems checks), Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.

(3) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(4) of this section, within the San Diego Arc Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training and testing.

(4) Should national security require use of explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training or testing within the San Diego Arc Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.

(5) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(6) of this section, within the San Nicolas Island Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training.

(6) Should national security require use of explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training in the San Nicolas Island Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.

(7) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A)(8) of this section, within the Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Area, Navy personnel must not use explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training and testing.

(8) Should national security require use of explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during mine warfare, large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training or testing in the Santa Monica/Long Beach Mitigation Area, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.

(B) Santa Barbara Island Mitigation Area (year-round). (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B)(2) of this section, Navy personnel must not use MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar during training or testing, or explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during medium-caliber or large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training.

(2) Should national security require use of MF1 surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar during training or testing, or explosives that could potentially result in the take of marine mammals during medium-caliber or large-caliber gunnery, torpedo, bombing, and missile (including 2.75-inch rockets) activities during training, Naval units must obtain permission from the appropriate designated Command authority prior to commencement of the activity. Navy personnel must provide NMFS with advance notification and include the information (e.g., sonar hours or explosives usage) in its annual activity reports submitted to NMFS.

(C) Blue Whale (June-October), Gray Whale (November-March), and Fin Whale (November-May) Awareness Notification Message Areas. (1) Navy personnel must issue a seasonal awareness notification message to alert ships and aircraft operating in the area to the possible presence of concentrations of large whales, including blue whales, gray whales, and fin whales.

(2) To maintain safety of navigation and to avoid interactions with large whales during transits, Navy personnel must instruct vessels to remain vigilant to the presence of large whale species, that when concentrated seasonally, may become vulnerable to vessel strikes.

(3) Platforms must use the information from the awareness notification messages to assist their visual observation of applicable mitigation zones during training and testing activities and to aid in the implementation of procedural mitigation.

(ii) [Reserved]

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§218.75   Requirements for monitoring and reporting.

(a) Unauthorized take. Navy personnel must notify NMFS immediately (or as soon as operational security considerations allow) if the specified activity identified in §218.70 is thought to have resulted in the mortality or serious injury of any marine mammals, or in any Level A or Level B harassment take of marine mammals not identified in this subpart.

(b) Monitoring and reporting under the LOAs. The Navy must conduct all monitoring and reporting required under the LOAs, including abiding by the HSTT Study Area monitoring program. Details on program goals, objectives, project selection process, and current projects are available at www.navymarinespeciesmonitoring.us.

(c) Notification of injured, live stranded, or dead marine mammals. The Navy must consult the Notification and Reporting Plan, which sets out notification, reporting, and other requirements when dead, injured, or live stranded marine mammals are detected. The Notification and Reporting Plan is available at www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidentaltake-authorizations-military-readinessactivities.

(d) Annual HSTT Study Area marine species monitoring report. The Navy must submit an annual report of the HSTT Study Area monitoring describing the implementation and results from the previous calendar year. Data collection methods must be standardized across range complexes and study areas to allow for comparison in different geographic locations. The report must be submitted to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, either three months after the end of the calendar year, or three months after the conclusion of the monitoring year, to be determined by the Adaptive Management process. This report will describe progress of knowledge made with respect to intermediate scientific objectives within the HSTT Study Area associated with the Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Program (ICMP). Similar study questions must be treated together so that progress on each topic must be summarized across all Navy ranges. The report need not include analyses and content that does not provide direct assessment of cumulative progress on the monitoring plan study questions. As an alternative, the Navy may submit a multi-Range Complex annual Monitoring Plan report to fulfill this requirement. Such a report will describe progress of knowledge made with respect to monitoring study questions across multiple Navy ranges associated with the ICMP. Similar study questions must be treated together so that progress on each topic can be summarized across multiple Navy ranges. The report need not include analyses and content that does not provide direct assessment of cumulative progress on the monitoring study question. This will continue to allow the Navy to provide a cohesive monitoring report covering multiple ranges (as per ICMP goals), rather than entirely separate reports for the HSTT, Gulf of Alaska, Mariana Islands, and Northwest Study Areas.

(e) Annual HSTT Study Area training exercise report and testing activity report. Each year, the Navy must submit two preliminary reports (Quick Look Report) detailing the status of authorized sound sources within 21 days after the anniversary of the date of issuance of each LOA to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS. Each year, the Navy must submit detailed reports to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, within 3 months after the one-year anniversary of the date of issuance of the LOA. The HSTT annual Training Exercise Report and Testing Activity Report can be consolidated with other exercise reports from other range complexes in the Pacific Ocean for a single Pacific Exercise Report, if desired. The annual reports must contain information on major training exercises (MTEs), Sinking Exercise (SINKEX) events, and a summary of all sound sources used, including within specific mitigation reporting areas as described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section. The analysis in the detailed reports must be based on the accumulation of data from the current year's report and data collected from previous reports. The detailed reports must contain information identified in paragraphs (e)(1) through (7) of this section.

(1) MTEs. This section of the report must contain the following information for MTEs conducted in the HSTT Study Area.

(i) Exercise Information (for each MTE).

(A) Exercise designator.

(B) Date that exercise began and ended.

(C) Location.

(D) Number and types of active sonar sources used in the exercise.

(E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise.

(F) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms participating in exercise.

(G) Total hours of all active sonar source operation.

(H) Total hours of each active sonar source bin.

(I) Wave height (high, low, and average) during exercise.

(ii) Individual marine mammal sighting information for each sighting in each exercise when mitigation occurred:

(A) Date/Time/Location of sighting.

(B) Species (if not possible, indication of whale/dolphin/pinniped).

(C) Number of individuals.

(D) Initial Detection Sensor (e.g., sonar, Lookout).

(E) Indication of specific type of platform observation was made from (including, for example, what type of surface vessel or testing platform).

(F) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine mammal.

(G) Sea state.

(H) Visibility.

(I) Sound source in use at the time of sighting.

(J) Indication of whether animal was less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd from sonar source.

(K) Whether operation of sonar sensor was delayed, or sonar was powered or shut down, and how long the delay.

(L) If source in use was hull-mounted, true bearing of animal from the vessel, true direction of vessel's travel, and estimation of animal's motion relative to vessel (opening, closing, parallel).

(M) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on surface and not swimming, etc.) and if any calves were present.

(iii) An evaluation (based on data gathered during all of the MTEs) of the effectiveness of mitigation measures designed to minimize the received level to which marine mammals may be exposed. This evaluation must identify the specific observations that support any conclusions the Navy reaches about the effectiveness of the mitigation.

(2) SINKEXs. This section of the report must include the following information for each SINKEX completed that year.

(i) Exercise information (gathered for each SINKEX).

(A) Location.

(B) Date and time exercise began and ended.

(C) Total hours of observation by Lookouts before, during, and after exercise.

(D) Total number and types of explosive source bins detonated.

(E) Number and types of passive acoustic sources used in exercise.

(F) Total hours of passive acoustic search time.

(G) Number and types of vessels, aircraft, and other platforms, participating in exercise.

(H) Wave height in feet (high, low, and average) during exercise.

(I) Narrative description of sensors and platforms utilized for marine mammal detection and timeline illustrating how marine mammal detection was conducted.

(ii) Individual marine mammal observation (by Navy Lookouts) information (gathered for each marine mammal sighting) for each sighting where mitigation was implemented.

(A) Date/Time/Location of sighting.

(B) Species (if not possible, indicate whale, dolphin, or pinniped).

(C) Number of individuals.

(D) Initial detection sensor (e.g., sonar or Lookout).

(E) Length of time observers maintained visual contact with marine mammal.

(F) Sea state.

(G) Visibility.

(H) Whether sighting was before, during, or after detonations/exercise, and how many minutes before or after.

(I) Distance of marine mammal from actual detonations (or target spot if not yet detonated): Less than 200 yd, 200 to 500 yd, 500 to 1,000 yd, 1,000 to 2,000 yd, or greater than 2,000 yd.

(J) Lookouts must report, in plain language and without trying to categorize in any way, the observed behavior of the animal(s) (such as animal closing to bow ride, paralleling course/speed, floating on surface and not swimming etc.), including speed and direction and if any calves were present.

(K) The report must indicate whether explosive detonations were delayed, ceased, modified, or not modified due to marine mammal presence and for how long.

(L) If observation occurred while explosives were detonating in the water, indicate munition type in use at time of marine mammal detection.

(3) Summary of sources used. This section of the report must include the following information summarized from the authorized sound sources used in all training and testing events:

(i) Total annual hours or quantity (per the LOA) of each bin of sonar or other acoustic sources (e.g., pile driving and air gun activities); and

(ii) Total annual expended/detonated ordinance (missiles, bombs, sonobuoys, etc.) for each explosive bin.

(4) Humpback Whale Special Reporting Area (December 15—April 15). The Navy must report the total hours of operation of surface ship hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar used in the special reporting area.

(5) HSTT Study Area Mitigation Areas. The Navy must report any use that occurred as specifically described in these areas. Information included in the classified annual reports may be used to inform future adaptive management of activities within the HSTT Study Area.

(6) Geographic information presentation. The reports must present an annual (and seasonal, where practical) depiction of training and testing bin usage (as well as pile driving activities) geographically across the HSTT Study Area.

(7) Sonar exercise notification. The Navy must submit to NMFS (contact as specified in the LOA) an electronic report within fifteen calendar days after the completion of any MTE indicating:

(i) Location of the exercise;

(ii) Beginning and end dates of the exercise; and

(iii) Type of exercise.

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§218.76   Letters of Authorization.

(a) To incidentally take marine mammals pursuant to the regulations in this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain LOAs in accordance with §216.106 of this chapter.

(b) LOAs, unless suspended or revoked, may be effective for a period of time not to exceed December 20, 2023.

(c) If an LOA expires prior to December 20, 2023, the Navy may apply for and obtain a renewal of the LOA.

(d) In the event of projected changes to the activity or to mitigation, monitoring, or reporting (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision of §218.77(c)(1)) required by an LOA issued under this subpart, the Navy must apply for and obtain a modification of the LOA as described in §218.77.

(e) Each LOA must set forth:

(1) Permissible methods of incidental taking;

(2) Geographic areas for incidental taking;

(3) Means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact (i.e., mitigation) on the species or stocks of marine mammals and their habitat; and

(4) Requirements for monitoring and reporting.

(f) Issuance of the LOA(s) must be based on a determination that the level of taking must be consistent with the findings made for the total taking allowable under the regulations in this subpart.

(g) Notice of issuance or denial of the LOA(s) must be published in the Federal Register within 30 days of a determination.

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§218.77   Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization.

(a) An LOA issued under §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.76 for the activity identified in §218.70(c) may be renewed or modified upon request by the applicant, provided that:

(1) The planned specified activity and mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures, as well as the anticipated impacts, are the same as those described and analyzed for the regulations in this subpart (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section); and

(2) NMFS determines that the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures required by the previous LOA(s) were implemented.

(b) For LOA modification or renewal requests by the applicant that include changes to the activity or to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section) that do not change the findings made for the regulations or result in no more than a minor change in the total estimated number of takes (or distribution by species or stock or years), NMFS may publish a notice of planned LOA in the Federal Register, including the associated analysis of the change, and solicit public comment before issuing the LOA.

(c) An LOA issued under §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.76 may be modified by NMFS under the following circumstances:

(1) Adaptive management. After consulting with the Navy regarding the practicability of the modifications, NMFS may modify (including adding or removing measures) the existing mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures if doing so creates a reasonable likelihood of more effectively accomplishing the goals of the mitigation and monitoring.

(i) Possible sources of data that could contribute to the decision to modify the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures in an LOA include:

(A) Results from the Navy's monitoring from the previous year(s);

(B) Results from other marine mammal and/or sound research or studies; or

(C) Any information that reveals marine mammals may have been taken in a manner, extent, or number not authorized by the regulations in this subpart or subsequent LOAs.

(ii) If, through adaptive management, the modifications to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures are substantial, NMFS will publish a notice of planned LOA in the Federal Register and solicit public comment.

(2) Emergencies. If NMFS determines that an emergency exists that poses a significant risk to the well-being of the species or stocks of marine mammals specified in LOAs issued pursuant to §§216.106 of this chapter and 218.76, an LOA may be modified without prior notice or opportunity for public comment. Notice would be published in the Federal Register within thirty days of the action.

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§§218.78-218.79   [Reserved]

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