Critical Habitat Designation for Black Abalone
We, NOAA Fisheries, hereby designate critical habitat for the endangered black abalone under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This designation includes approximately 360 square kilometers of rocky intertidal and subtidal habitat within five segments of the California coast between the Del Mar Landing Ecological Reserve to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, as well as on the Farallon Islands, Año Nuevo Island, San Miguel Island, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Anacapa Island, Santa Barbara Island, and Santa Catalina Island. This designation includes rocky intertidal and subtidal habitats from the mean higher high water (MHHW) line to a depth of −6 meters (m) (relative to the mean lower low water (MLLW) line), as well as the coastal marine waters encompassed by these areas. We are not designating the specific area from Corona Del Mar State Beach to Dana Point, California, because we conclude that the economic benefits of exclusion from the critical habitat designation outweigh the benefits of inclusion and that exclusion of this specific area will not result in the extinction of the species. We also conclude that two of the specific areas proposed for designation (San Nicolas Island and San Clemente Island) are no longer eligible for designation, based on determinations that the U.S. Navy's revised integrated natural resource management plans (INRMPs) for these areas provide benefits to black abalone.