Double-crested cormorant impacts to commercial and natural resources. Conflicts also exist between cormorants and conservation of other species and habitats in some areas. (vi) States and Tribes applying for the first time must consult with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services for an assessment of the appropriate level of take and provide recommendations of short-term measures to provide relief from depredation and long-term measures to help eliminate or significantly reduce conflicts. The Service also wants to ensure accountability not only in determining allowable take, but also in reporting of actual take by permittees. Lethal management should be considered as part of an integrated approach to managing cormorant conflicts and used only when other methods are insufficient to resolve conflicts. Under the vacated aquaculture depredation order, aquaculture facilities were required to annually report lethal cormorant control activities. Another stated that the concept of adaptive management only appeared once in the DEIS, in reference to the perceived benefits of Alternative A allowing flexibility in a State's or a Tribe's cormorant control strategies to achieve desired fisheries benefits. 5. Avery, B.F. Blackwell, and M.D. Pacific Flyway Council, U.S. However, due to concerns expressed by a number of commenters in the Pacific Flyway that take reaching the allowable level could negatively impact the Western Population, the Service initially will allow a maximum of 4,539 birds to be taken annually from that population. The Mississippi Flyway Council recognized, supports, and appreciates that, under Alternative A, some States and Tribes in the Flyway not wishing to establish a new permit system, as well as commercial aquaculture facilities experiencing cormorant issues, have the option to apply for depredation permits under 50 CFR 21.41. However, in cases concerning depredation issues, animals that may not otherwise depredate a particular area may do so when decoyed into that area. Methods of take are at the discretion of the permittee responsible for the action, but must be accomplished by means of humane lethal take or active nest take. What is the Migratory Bird Permit? This rule takes effect on February 12, 2021. States and Tribes and their subpermittees must make efforts to avoid disturbance to co-nesting species. The following limitations apply: (i) Nothing in this section applies to any Federal land within a State's or Tribe's boundaries without written permission of the Federal agency with jurisdiction. The President of the United States communicates information on holidays, commemorations, special observances, trade, and policy through Proclamations. Therefore, creating a new State and Tribal cormorant permit would enable the Service to more efficiently respond to the needs of States and Tribes seeking relief from conflicts associated with Start Printed Page 85538cormorants. The Service encourages and expects continued use of nonlethal measures in conjunction with lethal measures where permittees find this approach most effective. has no substantive legal effect. 703 et seq.) The need to ensure adequate monitoring and reporting to manage take while considering the limited State resources was cited by some State agencies as well. ), (b) passive deterrents (e.g., netting, exclusion devices, nest deterrents, etc. At those levels of take, the continental population of double-crested cormorants is expected to average about 830,285 cormorants. The Migratory Bird Permit Office of the US Fish & Wildlife Service must be notified within 24 hours of acquiring a threatened or endangered migratory bird species, or bald or golden eagle, whether live or dead. The Service establishes a new permit option under 50 CFR part 21 (Special Double-Crested Cormorant Permit) that is available to State and Tribal fish and wildlife agencies in the 48 contiguous United States to manage conflicts specifically associated with double-crested cormorants. However, allocation of authorized take may be modified as conditions change once take is allowed. ), (c) habitat management (e.g., vegetative barriers, grass management, prey management, etc. 12866 while calling for improvements in the Nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 11th Avenue . One State agency, for example, requested that the Service provide standardized population monitoring and reporting protocols needed to evaluate impacts of authorized take on cormorant populations, as well as criteria to be used to assess the costs and benefits of take on wild fish stocks, aquaculture facilities, human health and safety, property, and species of conservation concern. The 2017 EA (USFWS 2017) evaluated issuing depredation permits to take cormorants for specific circumstances across 37 central and eastern States and the District of Columbia. 13211 and would not significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. A separate State agency commented with concern for the burden that the proposed permit will place on States to develop and maintain programs to manage allowable take (i.e., population monitoring, permitting, and reporting). The Service expects this special double-crested cormorant permit, which increases the flexibility of States and Tribes to address issues and also expands the scope of conflicts that can be addressed to wild and publicly managed fish, will result in increased efforts to reduce those conflicts, including lethal take of birds, nests, and eggs. Subsequently, the Service developed an EA pursuant to NEPA in 2009 and again in 2014 that determined that a 5-year extension of the expiration date of the two depredation orders would not threaten cormorant populations and that activities conducted under the two depredation orders would not have a significant impact on the human environment. This permit would provide State and Tribal fish and wildlife agencies flexibility within predefined guidelines to address conflicts caused by cormorants within their jurisdictions. Nichols. A State agency commented in disagreement with the assertion that the requirement to track take of cormorants under Alternative A is less burdensome than for other alternatives and that reporting requirements under most alternatives could be structured to equally assess take levels. Commenters in support of a new aquaculture depredation order suggested that this alternative would reduce the administrative and regulatory burden on the Service and the aquaculture industry, and emphasized that individual take permit applications are a significant burden for small businesses. documents in the last year, by the Homeland Security Department The authority to take double-crested cormorants conferred by the permit is given to the State or Tribal fish and wildlife agency, and those agencies may designate permittees that the Service approves on the application for the permit. This take can include any migratory birds -- except for eagles and threatened and endangered species. This report would be provided to the public to promote transparency of decision-making and evaluation of the effectiveness of this conflict-management tool. Lastly, the Central Flyway Council recommended the Flyway process be used to notify the Service of which States within each Flyway will be participating in the new permit. 16 U.S.C. 01/08/2021, 307 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 3. Because not all States have State-designated lists of threatened and endangered species within their State, some State agencies recommended that the language of the rule be changed to “state or tribal species of greatest conservation need,” in reference to lists created for State Wildlife Grants. 2014. Depredation of wild and publicly stocked fish managed by State fish and wildlife agencies or federally recognized Tribes and accessible to the public or all Tribal members. Methods used to determine population sizes and allowable take levels in this rule are detailed in the USFWS Final Environmental Impact Statement: Management of Conflicts Associated with Double-crested Cormorants (USFWS 2020). Cormorants may be able to stay and forage longer in northern portions of the Interior and Atlantic subpopulations, and it is possible that breeding seasons may lengthen. Regulations.gov shows 1,052 total comments, which comprise 1,047 public submissions, 2 primary documents (proposed rules), and 3 supporting documents (DEIS, 2003 FEIS, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers documents), [FR Doc. It is in these situations where the Service anticipates lethal removal of cormorants would be warranted. NOAA Fisheries Log Number NWR-2013-9562. 13. These tools are designed to help you understand the official document Agency Response to Depredation Order Comments: As explained in the DEIS, the Service would apply an annual maximum allowable take threshold across all the needs identified by stakeholders. headings within the legal text of Federal Register documents. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: PRB (JAO/3W), 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. Another State agency commented that the Service needs to clarify its expectations on use of nonlethal methods to meet the needs of managers, stating that there are certain cases where take is essentially unavoidable, or where there is significant evidence that would indicate, prima facie, the need for take. We evaluated this regulation in accordance with the criteria of NEPA, the Department of the Interior regulations on implementation of NEPA (43 CFR 46.10-46.450), and the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 8). However, a small government agency plan is not required. This may include donation to public museums or public scientific and educational institutions for exhibition, scientific, or educational purposes, or burial or incineration. 3501 et seq.). Agency Response to Funding/Resource Concerns: This new permit does not require a State or Tribe to process or issue any depredation permits to entities within their jurisdiction. Written comments and recommendations for the information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this document to www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. 2004. However, conflicts associated with cormorants and wild or publicly stocked fish would only be addressed through the special cormorant permit, which would only be available to fish and wildlife agencies of States and federally recognized Tribes in the contiguous 48 States. 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