NOAA Fisheries will hold a virtual public hearing and extend the public comment period related to the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the endangered Rice’s whale under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
- The rescheduled public hearing on the proposed rule will be held online on September 28, 2023, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).
- The public comment period has been extended and closes on October 6, 2023.
- You can join the virtual public hearing, as specified on this website: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8354248111052852059
On July 24, 2023, NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the endangered Rice’s whale under the ESA. In that document, we also
- opened a 60-day public comment period that closes on September 22, 2023,
- announced two virtual public hearings to be held on August 24, 2023 and August 30, 2023, and an option to request an additional public hearing.
On August 28, 2023, we canceled the August 30, 2023 public hearing due to Hurricane Idalia’s expected landfall. We have rescheduled that public hearing for September 28, 2023. We have also extended the comment period to October 6, 2023, to allow time for submission of any additional public comment following this rescheduled hearing.
The rescheduled public hearing on the proposed rule will be held online on September 28, 2023, from 3:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). NOAA Fisheries will give a short presentation followed by a brief opportunity to ask clarifying questions before accepting public comment testimony for the record. The remaining time will be for public comment. We will limit each speaker’s time to ensure the participants all have an opportunity to speak during the hearing. If you wish to make a public comment during the hearing, you will have up to 3 minutes to do so.
How to Comment On the Proposed Rule:
The comment period will be extended through October 6, 2023. You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail. Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.
Formal Federal Register Name/Number: 88 FR 47453, published July 24, 2023
Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
2. Click on the “Comment” icon and complete the required fields.
3. Enter or attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to Grant Baysinger, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
How to find more information on the proposed rule:
The proposed rule, Endangered Species Act Critical Habitat Report, GIS data, and maps that were prepared to support the development of the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Rice’s whale may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Website here.
Contact: Grant Baysinger at NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Protected Resources Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
By Phone: (727) 551-5790
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Quick Glance Contact List for the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office
Permits Mailbox: The Permits Office in St. Petersburg, Florida, now has a Permits mailbox in the front lobby (263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701). You can now drop off original permits for permit transfers. Envelopes with information labels will be provided so that your documents can be attached to the correct application. The mailbox will be checked daily. For more information, contact the Permits Office at 877-376-4877.
Media Contact: Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750
Recreational Fishing Coordinator: Sean Meehan, 727-385-5202