It also authorized USDA Wildlife Services' employees to take cormorants at roost sites in the vicinity of aquaculture facilities during October, November, December, January, February, March, and April. Commenters assert that the Service failed to demonstrate how States and Tribes would satisfy the requirement that people first use nonlethal methods to address conflicts. Commenters also expressed concern regarding the Service's commitment to producing a report every 5 years. attach photocopies of any relevant federal permits you possess or have applied for. Migratory Bird Permit Office Mailing Address. A takings implication assessment is not required. The preferred alternative would establish a new, optional permit that would be available to State and Tribal fish and wildlife agencies in the 48 contiguous States to manage conflicts specifically associated with cormorants. The geographic scope of the new State or Tribal permit is authorized at biologically sustainable levels for each subpopulation. Southeast United States Regional Waterbird Plan. One stated that the Service did not address adaptive management in the information collection. No Statement of Energy Effects is required. Migratory Bird Licensing & Permits South Carolina Hunting & Fishing Crows. Permits under this rule will provide the flexibility to State and Tribal fish and wildlife agencies to address conflicts related to the following issues: Wild and publicly stocked fish managed by State fish and wildlife agencies or federally recognized Tribes; Tribal- and State-owned or operated aquaculture facilities (including hatcheries); human health Start Printed Page 85553and safety; State- or Tribal-owned property and assets; and threatened and endangered species or those listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in State Wildlife Action Plans. ).”, With regard to the question in the FWS Form 3-200-90, Permit Application, and the language requesting, “A statement indicating what information will be collected to assess whether the management and take of double-crested cormorants is alleviating the damage or other conflict,” the Service revised this language as well. The Service reserves the authority to immediately suspend or revoke any permit if the Service finds that the terms and conditions set forth in the permit have not been adhered to, as specified in 50 CFR 13.27 and 13.28. (3) How must States and Tribes dispose of or utilize cormorants taken under this permit? One State agency asked how much potential new monitoring or reporting a State would have to agree to, and the amount of time and resources that would need to be invested. 12988, we have reviewed this rule and determined that it will not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. Other migratory bird permits, forms and contact Aviculture, taxidermy, airport, damage or danger, eiderdown, scientific, contact information. Runge, M.C., W.L. Based on information received during the public comment period, the PTL model for the western subpopulation may not have captured complex and changing population dynamics precipitated by cormorant management in the Columbia River Estuary. 2012. Find this particular information collection by selecting “Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments” or by using the search function. While we received no comments pertaining to information collection in response to the proposed rule, we also solicited comments regarding the DEIS titled “Management of Conflicts Associated with Double-crested Cormorants” (EIS number 20200116) that was published June 5, 2020. You may review the comments received at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. Permits must be renewed annually. 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 new permit coupled with the continued use of individual depredation permits for commercial aquaculture producers would provide the flexibility to manage cormorants sustainably and authorize take in an equitable fashion across multiple conflicts. Our DEIS discussed climate change, and we noted that there remains some uncertainty regarding effects of climate change, but the Service can estimate that there will likely be less water available in the Great Basin, and cormorant colonies may shift locations. (See below for more Form 37 information.). USFWS Migratory Bird Permit Office, Region 6 . documents in the last year, 68 We considered comments on the DEIS when developing this final rule, and a summary of the comments is included in the FEIS associated with this Start Printed Page 85554rulemaking action. The conflicts with these Start Printed Page 85540managed fisheries are increasingly causing concerns with State and Tribal fish and wildlife agencies, particularly those involved with providing recreational fishing opportunities. The authority for authorizing lethal take of depredating cormorants reverted to the issuance of individual depredation permits pursuant to 50 CFR 21.41. Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit. Impacts may involve competition for Start Printed Page 85551nest sites, competition for food, reducing available nesting space and nesting material for co-nesting species, habitat degradation, and nest abandonment resulting from habitat degradation. An official website of the United States government Since the Court's vacating of the depredation orders in May 2016 as discussed above, the Service has been reviewing and issuing individual depredation permits in the central and eastern lower 48 States pursuant to two separate analyses conducted under NEPA. With respect to the “no action alternative,” while individual permits do offer control on a site-specific case-by-case basis, they do not meet the purpose and need for action as cited in the DEIS. The Public Resource Depredation Order enabled States, Tribes, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services in 24 States, without the need for individual depredation permits, to take cormorants found committing or about to commit, and to prevent, depredations on the public resources of fish (including hatchery stock at Federal, State, and Tribal facilities), wildlife, plants, and their habitats. A State agency recommended that the Service develop guidelines for determining when there is sufficient proof that nonlethal mechanisms are ineffective at resolving conflicts. Hunters are asked to complete a short survey, also known as the Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey, about migratory game bird hunting in SC for the previous year. 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. Available at: http://www.waterbirdconservation.org/​. The Service continued to issue depredation permits to address damage and conflicts to property, natural resources, and threats to human health and safety pursuant to 50 CFR 21.41. Runge, M.C., J.R. Sauer, M.L. NOAA Fisheries. Make note of the effective and expiration dates, number of wildlife allowed to be taken, approved disposal methods, approved subpermitees (if any), reporting requirements etc. legal research should verify their results against an official edition of The Service makes decisions given this uncertainty by using the data and modeling available and adapting through time as change occurs. 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. Fish and Wildlife Service R Contact Information egion 6 Migratory Bird Permit Office Utah Ecological Services Field Office P.O. 2010. This page requires Javascript. The comment period for each continued for 45 days, ending on July 20, 2020. Presently, however, the Service does not have the necessary process or resources to adequately monitor take under any new depredation order. 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. Given the controversial nature of this issue and the novel approach toward reducing conflicts, the Service concludes annual permits and annual reporting by permittees are appropriate at this time. This level of authorized take would depend on: (1) Which States and Tribes seek a new special permit within the same subpopulation analyzed within the PTL; (2) an assessment by Service permit staff of the available level of take each year within the specific subpopulation where the State or Tribe is located; and (3) an assessment by Service permit staff of the historical information of authorized take of cormorants due to depredation in the past. Two Tribal entities provided comments, and they have been addressed in this final rule. (iii) States and Tribes may designate subpermittees who must operate under the conditions of the permit. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: PRB (JAO/3W), 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. The Service determined this threshold by using a Potential Take Limit (PTL) model, which uses underlying cormorant population metrics (productive rates, survival rates, etc.) Applicants who apply for a Migratory Bird Depredation Permit must apply to the U.S. (4) How the agency might minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of response. . Once received, be sure to review your Permit. SBA urged the Service to consult with industry directly to devise a cost-effective and more accurate method of data collection. Some states may have slightly different or additional requirements; your USDA WS biologist can provide guidance on such issues. Similarly, another State agency cautioned that State resources are limited, while a separate State agency inquired whether States will receive financial assistance to implement the new permit. Some commenters also requested the Service specify permit conditions to protect nontarget and federally listed species. on FederalRegister.gov (3) Recordkeeping Requirements: Any State or Tribal agency, when exercising the privileges of this permit, must keep records of all activities, including those of subpermittees, carried out under the authority of the special permit. (b) We have determined and certify, in compliance with the requirements of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. Retain one copy of the completed form, mail one copy to your State permit office, and mail the original to the USFWS Migratory Bird Permit Office responsible for your State. In addition, permittees must adhere to these provisions: (i) States and Tribes must implement nonlethal methods, and independently determine that those methods are insufficient at resolving depredation conflicts, before taking double-crested cormorants. Members of the general public commented that there is a general bias against nonlethal measures even when nonlethal measures are proven to work. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) establishes a new permit for State and federally recognized Tribal (hereafter “Tribe” or “Tribal”) fish and wildlife agencies for the management of double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus; hereafter “cormorants”). documents in the last year, 656 Another commenter asserted that nonlethal measures may work for a limited time period, but some birds may become habituated. However, because States and Tribes are not required to obtain this permit, this rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or Tribal governments. Specifically, some commenters requested that the Service require that permittees (individual or a new special permit for States and Tribes) “make progress” toward nonlethal solutions to conflicts as a condition of any permit. (d) What are the conditions of the permit? 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. Although the USDA WS program is not a regulatory program, we have a role in some regulatory processes. We also announced that several public scoping meetings would be held, and that specific dates and times for the public meetings would be available on the internet at https://www.fws.gov/​birds/​management/​managed-species/​double-crested-cormorants.php. 2014. Tenth Wildlife Damage Management Proceedings, Hot Springs, Arkansas. Actions under the permit may be conducted during any time of the year on lands or in waters managed by State or Tribal fish and wildlife agencies within their jurisdictions, or where States or Tribes manage wild or stocked fish that are accessible by the public or all Tribal members. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. 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. We received more than 1,400 comments in response to the ANPR and 1,047 in response to the proposed rule and DEIS. Hines, D.J. 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. Permittees may also consult with USDA Wildlife Services for additional assistance to determine when nonlethal methods are insufficient. Of the 1,047 public comments submitted in response to the proposed rule and DEIS, we received 49 comments from the following entities in response to the DEIS that address the information collection requirements: As mentioned previously, we incorporate by reference comments and our responses in the 2020 FEIS associated with this rulemaking action, and address below those comments directly relevant to this rule. This action will not create inconsistencies with other agencies' actions or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency. By authorizing conflict-management activities at the State or Tribal level, instead of at the Department of the Interior Regional level, management activities will be more responsive and timely than is currently the case. However, a small government agency plan is not required. (b) Who may receive a permit? Fish and Wildlife Service office within 5 days of the activity. Wildlife Services provides a “Form 37 Permit Review,” which is required to be completed and included with the application for first-time applicants only. For example, some commenters note that many catfish farms must employ full-time employees to harass and take cormorants when authorized, but management of the conflict in general is considered an added business expense. Another State agency stated that in order to ensure that monitoring efforts are conducted consistently, the Service should conduct population monitoring or must allocate funding to the States for monitoring. As requests to take cormorants increase, the use of multiple individual depredation permits to address conflicts within State and Tribal jurisdictions will become increasingly time-consuming and burdensome. Separately, one State agency 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 cost and benefit of take on wild fish stocks, aquaculture facilities, human health and safety, property, and species of conservation concern. 1. The Service will also produce a report every 5 years, and additionally as needed, that provides analyses from population-monitoring efforts and other status information. We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. Private property owners may apply for a depredation permit (50 CFR 21.41) to the Service to alleviate damage to some types of property (i.e., buildings and infrastructure, vehicles and equipment, and some types of vegetation). The Service was not able to include data relating to any potential illegal take of cormorants in the PTL. A State agency also commented in support of Alternative C, citing specific support for a new special State and Tribal permit and the ability for States to manage their own water resources. Another commenter suggested that the Service identify a process for the required evaluation of efficacy of nonlethal methods. Assessing allowable take of migratory birds. Avery, J.R. Sauer, M.C. One of the stated needs for action is to address impacts from cormorants on special status species. However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of the agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. [1] Several commenters voiced a preference for the Service to require only nontoxic shot and not allow the use of any lead ammunition. However, this prohibition would not apply if an air rifle or an air pistol is used. OMB has reviewed the information collection requirements in this rule and assigned OMB Control Number 1018-0175. Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: None. documents in the last year, by the Federal Communications Commission Here's how you know. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector, and the permit is optional to States and Tribes. Step 5. Some State agencies and Flyway Councils provided specific recommendations for population monitoring. documents in the last year, 308 703-712), as amended, which implements conventions with Great Britain (for Canada), Mexico, Japan, and Russia. The private property owner or occupant should also allow access at all reasonable times, including during actual operations, to any Service special agent or refuge officer, State or Tribal wildlife or deputy wildlife agent, warden, protector, or other wildlife law enforcement officer on the premises where they are, or were, conducting activities. 01/08/2021, 860 In such cases, WS biologists complete an evaluation form (WS Form 37) that describes the incident and documents our recommendations for management options. The Service encourages and expects continued use of nonlethal measures in conjunction with lethal measures where permittees find this approach most effective. U.S. The US Army Corps of Engineers Portland District site has... 2003 USA Double-crested cormorant management - Final USFWS EIS, Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563), Compliance With Endangered Species Act Requirements, Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes, https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2020-28742, MODS: Government Publishing Office metadata, https://www.fws.gov/​birds/​management/​managed-species/​double-crested-cormorants.php, https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​resource/​document/​consultation-remand-operation-federal-columbia-river-power-system, https://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/​bbs/​bbs.html, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Division of Resources Management, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Fish and Wildlife Management Board, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Pacific Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This repetition of headings to form internal navigation links The Service used population data from Canada in the subpopulation estimates, and will work closely with Ontario on population monitoring and obtain take data and incorporate it into our assessments. Several States, organizations, and individuals commented on the need for more clarity and details from the Service with regard to the development of a cormorant population monitoring program, and how adaptive management will be incorporated. View the list of MBTA protected birds. 4321-4347). Agency Response to Impact on Small Businesses Concerns: This collection associated with the new permit affects only State and Tribal governments, and does not impact small businesses. Two stakeholders submitted comments regarding adaptive management. One commenter requested the Service require a control moratorium during the nesting season when chicks are present. developer tools pages. Further, any birds incidentally taken would be reported by States and Tribes, and the Service would use this data to better track accidental take of these species when take of cormorants occurs, and recommend appropriate actions such as additional training of personnel, or avoiding areas where there is a high concentration of non-target species in the area. (4) Designation of Subpermittees: States and Tribes may designate subpermittees who must operate under the conditions of the permit. Permittees should continue working with Wildlife Services for review of conflict management approaches and anticipated level of take, and to remain current on effective strategies for nonlethal removal. The Service needs to rely on permittees to make site-specific assessments and employ cormorant conflict management in a manner that makes the most sense, so long as those permittees follow the conditions of the permit. Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 4,598. Further, current regulations allow the take of cormorants only for the purposes of reducing conflicts with and damage to aquaculture, human health and safety, threatened and endangered species (as listed under the ESA) and State-listed species of management concern, and personal property. The Service will continue to issue individual depredation permits and is not proposing to implement any new cormorant depredation orders anywhere in the United States at this time. Finally, the Court ordered that the Service perform a new and legally adequate EA or environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. Nothing in the permit should be construed to authorize the take of cormorants, their eggs, or nests contrary to any State or Tribal law or regulation or on any Federal land without written authorization by the appropriate management authority. 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