50 CFR 217.75 - Requirements for monitoring and reporting.

§ 217.75 Requirements for monitoring and reporting.
(a) Holders of Letters of Authorization issued pursuant to §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 217.76 for activities described in § 217.70(a) are required to cooperate with NMFS, and any other Federal, State, or local agency with authority to monitor the impacts of the activity on marine mammals. Unless specified otherwise in the Letter of Authorization, the Holder of the Letter of Authorization must notify the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, by letter, e-mail or telephone, prior to each launch. If the authorized activity identified in § 217.70(a) is thought to have resulted in the take of marine mammals not identified in § 217.70(b), then the Holder of the Letter of Authorization must notify the Director, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, or designee, by telephone (301-713-2289), within 48 hours of the discovery of the take.
(b) Holders of Letters of Authorization must designate qualified protected species observers, approved in advance by NMFS, as specified in the Letter of Authorization, to:
(1) Deploy for AAC a remote camera system designed to detect pinniped responses to rocket launches for at least the first five launches conducted under these regulations. AAC will conduct visual monitoring for at least 2 hours before, during, and 2 hours after launch;
(2) Ensure a remote camera system will be in place and operating in a location which allows visual monitoring of a harbor seal rookery, if a launch during the harbor seal pupping season cannot be avoided;
(3) Relocate the camera system to or re-aim the camera system on another haulout to be chosen in cooperation with NMFS after the first five launches with harbor seals present;
(4) Review and log pinniped presence, behavior, and re-occupation time data from the visual footage obtained from the remote camera system and report results to NMFS within 90 days post launch;
(5) Obtain, whenever a new class of rocket is flown from the Kodiak Launch Complex, a real-time sound pressure and sound exposure record for documentation purposes and to correlate with the behavioral response record. Two monitors shall be used: one shall be placed at the established recording location known as Narrow Cape, and the other as close as practical to the remote video system;
(6) Conduct quarterly aerial surveys, ideally during midday coinciding with low tide, to obtain data on pinniped presence, abundance, and behavior within the action area to determine long-term trends in pinniped haulout use. Results of these quarterly surveys will be reported once as part of the year-end summary report that will accompany the request for a new LOA.
(c) Holders of Letters of Authorization must conduct additional monitoring as required under an annual Letter of Authorization.
(d) Holders of Letters of Authorization must submit a report to the Alaska Region Administrator, NMFS, within 90 days after each launch. This report must contain the following information:
(1) Date(s) and time(s) of the launch;
(2) Location of camera system and acoustic recorders (if used);
(3) Design of the monitoring program and a description of how data is stored and analyzed; and
(4) Results of the monitoring program, including, but not necessarily limited to:
(i) Numbers of pinnipeds, by species and age class (if possible), present on the haulout prior to commencement of the launch;
(ii) Numbers of pinnipeds, by species and age class (if possible), that may have been harassed, including the number that entered the water as a result of launch noise;
(iii) The length of time pinnipeds remained off the haulout during post-launch monitoring;
(iv) Number of harbor seal pups that may have been injured or killed as a result of the launch; and
(v) Other behavioral modifications by pinnipeds that were likely the result of launch noise.
(5) Results of sound pressure and sound exposure level monitoring will be reported in flat weighted, A-weighted, and peak measurements.
(e) An annual report must be submitted at the time of request for a renewal of the Letter of Authorization; it will include results of the aerial quarterly trend counts of pinnipeds at Ugak Island.
(f) A final report must be submitted at least 90 days prior to expiration of these regulations if new regulations are sought or 180 days after expiration of regulations. This report will:
(1) Summarize the activities undertaken and the results reported in all previous reports;
(2) Assess the impacts of launch activities on pinnipeds within the action area, including potential for pup injury and mortality; and
(3) Assess the cumulative impacts on pinnipeds and other marine mammals from multiple rocket launches.
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