Under section 305(b)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Councils may comment on and make recommendations to the Secretary and any Federal or state agency concerning any activity or proposed activity authorized, funded, or undertaken by the agency that, in the view of the Council, may affect the habitat, including EFH, of a fishery resource under its authority. Councils must provide such comments and recommendations concerning any activity that, in the view of the Council, is likely to substantially affect the habitat, including EFH, of an anadromous fishery resource under Council authority.
(a) Establishment of procedures. Each Council should establish procedures for reviewing Federal or state actions that may adversely affect the habitat, including EFH, of a species under its authority. Each Council may receive information on actions of concern by methods such as directing Council staff to track proposed actions, recommending that the Council's habitat committee identify actions of concern, or entering into an agreement with NMFS to have the appropriate Regional Administrator notify the Council of actions of concern that would adversely affect EFH. Federal and state actions often follow specific timetables which may not coincide with Council meetings. Therefore, Councils should consider establishing abbreviated procedures for the development of Council recommendations.
(b) Early involvement. Councils should provide comments and recommendations on proposed state and Federal actions of concern as early as practicable in project planning to ensure thorough consideration of Council concerns by the action agency. Each Council should provide NMFS with copies of its comments and recommendations to state and Federal agencies.