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Incidental Take Authorization: U.S. Air Force Launching of Space Launch Vehicles, Missiles, and Aircraft and Helicopter Operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base (2019-2024)


Marine Mammal Protection Act
Action Status
Final Rule


NOAA Fisheries, upon request of the U.S. Air Force (USAF), hereby issues regulations to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to launching space launch vehicles, intercontinental ballistic and small missiles, and aircraft operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), over the course of five years. These regulations, which allow for the issuance of Letters of Authorization (LOA) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the described activities and specified timeframes, prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, as well as requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby additionally given that a five-year LOA has been issued to USAF to take marine mammals incidental to rocket and missile launch and recovery activities and aircraft operations.

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Last updated by Office of Protected Resources on 01/29/2024