Critical habitat is designated for both elkhorn and staghorn corals as described in this section. The textual descriptions of critical habitat in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section are the definitive source for determining the critical habitat boundaries. The overview maps in paragraph (d) of this section are provided for general guidance purposes only, and not as a definitive source for determining critical habitat boundaries.
(a) Physical Feature Essential to the Conservation of Threatened Corals. The physical feature essential to the conservation of elkhorn and staghorn corals is: substrate of suitable quality and availability to support larval settlement and recruitment, and reattachment and recruitment of asexual fragments. “Substrate of suitable quality and availability” is defined as natural consolidated hard substrate or dead coral skeleton that is free from fleshy or turf macroalgae cover and sediment cover.
(b) Critical Habitat Areas. Critical habitat includes one specific area of the Atlantic Ocean offshore of Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties, Florida, and three specific areas of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea offshore of the U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The boundaries of each specific critical habitat area are described below. Except as specified below, the seaward boundary is the 98-ft (30-m) depth contour and the shoreward boundary is the line of mean low water (MLW; 33 CFR 2.20). Within these boundaries, discrete areas of water deeper than 98 ft (30 m) are not included.
(1) Florida Area: The Florida area contains three sub-areas.
(i) The shoreward boundary for Florida sub-area A begins at the 6-ft (1.8 m) contour at the south side of Boynton Inlet, Palm Beach County at 26°32′42.5″ N; then runs due east to the point of intersection with the 98-ft (30 m) contour; then follows the 98-ft (30 m) contour to the point of intersection with latitude 25°45′55″ N, Government Cut, Miami-Dade County; then runs due west to the point of intersection with the 6-ft (1.8 m) contour, then follows the 6-ft (1.8 m) contour to the beginning point.
(ii) The shoreward boundary of Florida sub-area B begins at the MLW line at 25°45′55″ N, Government Cut, Miami-Dade County; then runs due east to the point of intersection with the 98-ft (30 m) contour; then follows the 98-ft (30 m) contour to the point of intersection with longitude 82° W; then runs due north to the point of intersection with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) boundary at 24°31′35.75″ N; then follows the SAFMC boundary to a point of intersection with the MLW line at Key West, Monroe County; then follows the MLW line, the SAFMC boundary (see 50 CFR 600.105(c)), and the COLREGS line (see 33 CFR 80.727. 730, 735, and 740) to the beginning point.
(iii) The seaward boundary of Florida sub-area C (the Dry Tortugas) begins at the northern intersection of the 98-ft (30 m) contour and longitude 82°45′ W; then follows the 98-ft (30 m) contour west around the Dry Tortugas, to the southern point of intersection with longitude 82°45′ W; then runs due north to the beginning point.
(2) Puerto Rico Area: All areas surrounding the islands of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 98 ft (30 m) in depth and shallower, seaward of the COLREGS line (see 33 CFR 80.738).
(3) St. Thomas/St. John Area: All areas surrounding the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, and smaller surrounding islands, 98 ft (30 m) in depth and shallower.
(4) St. Croix Area: All areas surrounding the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, 98 ft (30 m) in depth and shallower.
(c) Areas not included in critical habitat. Critical habitat does not include the following particular areas where they overlap with the areas described in paragraph (b) of this section:
(1) Pursuant to ESA section 4(a)(3)(B), all areas subject to the 2008 Naval Air Station Key West Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan.
(2) Pursuant to ESA section 3(5)(A)(i), all areas containing existing (already constructed) federally authorized or permitted man-made structures such as aids-to-navigation (ATONs), artificial reefs, boat ramps, docks, pilings, maintained channels, or marinas.
(3) Pursuant to ESA section 3(5)(A)(i), all waters identified as existing (already constructed) federally authorized channels and harbors as follows:
(i) Palm Beach Harbor.
(ii) Hillsboro Inlet.
(iii) Port Everglades.
(iv) Miami Harbor.
(v) Key West Harbor.
(vi) Arecibo Harbor.
(vii) San Juan Harbor.
(viii) Fajardo Harbor.
(ix) Ponce Harbor.
(x) Mayaguez Harbor.
(xi) St. Thomas Harbor.
(xii) Christiansted Harbor.
(d) Areas excluded from critical habitat. Pursuant to ESA Section 4(b)(2), all waters of the Restricted Anchorage Area as described at 33 CFR 334.580, beginning at a point located at 26°05′30″ N, 80 03′30″ W.; proceed west to 26°05′30″ N, 80°06′30″ W; thence, southerly to 26°03′00″ N, longitude 80°06′42″ W; thence, east to latitude 26°03′00″ N, 80°05′44″ W.; thence, south to 26°01′36″ N, 80°05′44″ W.; thence, east to 26°01′36″ N, 80°03′30″ W; thence, north to the point of beginning.
(e) Overview maps of designated critical habitat for elkhorn and staghorn corals follow.
[73 FR 72236, Nov. 26, 2008]