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Soundings Archive

NMFS Proposes MMPA Take Rules for Navy's Expanded Operations in Washington State
On July 7, 2009, the U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service published Federal Register notice that NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy for authorization to take marine mammals. The requested Take is incidental to the Navy's Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) activities within the Naval Sea System Command (NAVSEA) Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Keyport Range Complex and the associated proposed extensions for the period of September 2009 through September 2014. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS proposed regulations to govern that take and requested information, suggestions, and comments on the proposed regulations.

The new Take rules are necessary because the Navy proposes to extend the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex in Washington State. The NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex is composed of Keyport Range Site, Dabob Bay Range Complex (DBRC) Site, and Quinault Underwater Tracking Range (QUTR) Site. The goal of the Proposed Action is to extend the operational areas of each range site. Extending the Range Complex operating areas outside existing range boundaries will allow the Navy to support existing and future range activities including evolving manned and unmanned vehicle program needs in multiple marine environments. With the proposed extension of the Keyport and QUTR range sites, the range sites could support more activities, which include increases in the numbers of tests and days of testing.

NMFS Federal Register notice of its proposed Take authorization is noteworthy for its extensive discussion of whether anthropogenic sounds such as those created by the Navy's operations cause foraging or other behavioral effects in marine mammals.

Comments and information on this proposed Navy Take authorization must be received by NMFS no later than August 6, 2009.

  • Click here to read Federal Register notice of proposed Navy Take Authorization

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