NMFS Hold Public Meetings on DEIS for Strandings Response Program
The National Marine Fisheries service will hold five public hearings in April 2007 to receive public comments on NMFS' Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program.
According to the DEIS, the Stranding Response Program has the following objectives:
"1. Facilitate the collection and dissemination of reference data on the health of marine mammals and health trends of marine mammal populations in the wild;
The DEIS is focused on the following four proposed actions by the Stranding Response Program:
2. Correlate the health of marine mammals and marine mammal populations, in the wild, with available data on physical, chemical, and biological environmental parameters; and
3. Coordinate effective responses to unusual mortality events by establishing a process in the Department of Commerce in accordance with Section 404 [of the Marine Mammal Protection Act]."
"1. Issuance of the Policies and Best Practices for Marine Mammal Stranding Response,
Rehabilitation, and Release (Policies and Best Practices) as final guidance.
Click here to read NMFS Federal Register notice
Click here to read DEIS
2. Issuance of a new Endangered Species Act (ESA)/MMPA permit to the MMHSRP. The new permit would include current and future response activities for endangered species, disentanglement activities, biomonitoring projects, and import and export of marine mammal tissue samples. The permit would be issued no later than July 1, 2007 and would expire in five years.
3. Continuation of current MMHSRP operations, including response, rehabilitation, release, and research activities, with renewal and authorization of Stranding Agreements (SAs) and Scientific Research Authorizations and other NMFS activities referenced in Section 1.3.1.
4. Continuation of the Prescott Grant Program."