Announcement of Public Hearings for the Southern Resident Killer Whale and Humpback Whale Critical Habitat Proposed Rules
NOAA Fisheries is announcing five public hearings related to our recently published proposed rule to designate critical habitat for humpback whales under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) and three public hearings related to our recently published proposed rule to revise the critical habitat designation for Southern Resident killer whales under the ESA. Given the spatial overlap between the two proposed designations off the U.S. West Coast, the first three public hearings will be joint hearings that address both proposed rules.
The hearings will be held from 4pm to 7pm local time on the following dates:
- November 4, 2019 in Conference Room 188 at the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center Santa Cruz Laboratory on the University of Santa Cruz’s Coastal Science Campus, 110 McAllister Way, Santa Cruz, California.
- November 5, 2019 in the Hennings Auditorium at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center, 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, Oregon.
- November 6, 2019 in the Alder Auditorium at the University of Washington, 1310 NE 40th Street, Seattle, Washington.
- November 7, 2019 in the Egan Lecture Hall (room 112) at the University of Alaska Southeast, 11066 Auke Lake Way, Juneau, Alaska.
- December 3, 2019 in the Wilda Marston Theater in the Z.J. Loussac Public Library, 3600 Denali Street, Anchorage, Alaska.
The hearings will begin with a brief presentation by NOAA Fisheries that gives an overview of critical habitat under the ESA and a summary of the relevant proposed critical habitat designation(s). Following the presentation, members of the public will have the opportunity to provide oral comments on the record regarding the proposed designation(s). Members of the public will also have the opportunity to submit written comments at the hearing.
- Written comments may also be submitted at any time during the relevant public comment period via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
- Instructions for submitting comments are available on the Federal Register notice announcing the hearings and the Federal Register notice on the humpback and Southern Resident killer whale proposed rules.
- Comments on the humpback whale proposed rule must be received by December 9, 2019, and comments on the Southern Resident killer whale proposed rule must be received by December 18, 2019.
Following the close of the public comment periods, NOAA Fisheries will consider all comments submitted on the proposed rules and will prepare final rules. We expect the final rules to be published in the fall of 2020.