NOAA/NMFS Intend to Publish Draft Acoustic Criteria Guidance in August 2013

NOAA/NMFS are developing Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammals: Noise Exposure Levels for Permanent and Threshold Shift Onset and Behavioral Response Zones (Seismic Surveys). This document provides guidance for assessing the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal species, under the NOAA/NMFS’ jurisdiction. Specifically, it summarizes available data on noise exposure levels for onset of permanent threshold shift and temporary threshold shifts for all sound sources and behavioral response zones for seismic surveys (e.g., primary sound source is airguns). It is intended to be used by NOAA/NMFS analysts/managers and other relevant user groups/stakeholders, including other federal agencies.

NMFS Discusses Pile Driving in MMPA Authorization

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published its Incidental Harassment Authorization for a wharf to be constructed in Hood Canal, Washington. NMFS issued this IHA pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This IHA contains an extensive discussion of the acoustics of pile driving and their effects on marine mammals.  These issues are discussed in part during NMFS’ responses to the Marine Mammal Commission’s comments on NMFS’ draft IHA.

Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice of this IHA.

NMFS Issues IHA to Marine Corps

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to the U.S. Marine Corps.  This IHA was issued under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  It authorizes the Marine Corps to take marine mammals incidental to various training exercises at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point Range Complex, North Carolina for a period of one year. The Marine Corps’ activities are military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004. This IHA is effective June 17, 2013 through June 14, 2014.

NMFS Still Using Historical Acoustic Criteria for Navy Pile Driving

NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to the Navy  to take marine mammals,by harassment,incidental to conducting training exercises

at the Silver Strand Training Complex (SSTC) in the vicinity of San Diego Bay, California. This authorization is effective from July 18, 2013, until July 17, 2014.

It is noteworthy in that NMFS continues to use the historical acoustic criteria for Navy pile driving,even though NMFS has stated that it is developing new acoustic

criteria for oil and gas sound producing activities. Click here to read NMFS’ IHA and response to comments on it.



A Continuation of Misstatements on Seismic Exploration

 Editor’s Note: Stakeholders need a concentrated program to educate the public on the safety of seismic operations as witnessed by the misinformed article that follows. Such an effort could begin by publicizing the library of scientific studies presented on the Interactive Public Docket, “The Regulation of Seismic Exploration in the United States” maintained by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.

 Federal regulators missing the big picture in Alaska’s Arctic seas

Daniel Lum

June 18, 2013