Public Hearings on Proposed Critical Habitat for Arctic Ringed Seals and the Beringia Distinct Population Segment of Bearded Seals Under the Endangered Species Act
Three public hearings will be held by teleconference on both proposed critical habitat designations.
Three public hearing conference calls are scheduled, as indicated in the Federal Register notice announcing the hearings, on both the January 8, 2021, revised proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Arctic subspecies of the ringed seal and the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Beringia distinct population segment (DPS) of the bearded seal under the Endangered Species Act. You may join the public hearings by telephone, as specified below and in the Federal Register notice.
For more information, read the Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the Designation of Critical Habitat for the Arctic Subspecies of the Ringed seal and the Designation of Critical Habitat for the Beringia Distinct Population Segment of the Bearded Seal.
During each public hearing, a brief opening presentation on the proposed critical habitat designations will be provided before accepting public testimony for the record. The hearings will be recorded for the purpose of preparing transcripts of oral comments received. Attendees will be asked to identify themselves before joining the hearing. Once connected to the call, telephone lines will be automatically muted. During the public testimony portion of the hearing, to indicate that you would like to offer a comment, press 5*. When it is your turn to offer your comment, the moderator will unmute your individual line. Commenters will be asked to indicate their full name and the identity of any organization on whose behalf they may be speaking. In the event that attendance at the public hearings is large, the time allotted for each commenter may be limited.
Anyone wishing to make an oral statement at the public hearing is encouraged to also submit a written copy of their statement to us during the comment period on the proposed designations.
How to Submit Written Comments
Submit comments by March 9, 2021
You may submit written data, information, or comments regarding the revised proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Arctic ringed seal, identified by Docket ID NOAA-NMFS-2013-0114, and the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Beringia DPS of the bearded seal, identified by Docket ID NOAA-NMFS-2020-0029, by either of the following methods:
- Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov, search for the relevant Docket ID indicated above, click the “Comment Now!” or “Comment” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
- Mail: Submit written comments to Jon Kurland, Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: James Bruschi, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99082-1668.
Public Hearing Conference Call Dates and Times
Public hearings will convene at 4 p.m. and conclude no later than 7 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (AKST), on each of the following dates:
- February 23, 2021 (Yukon-Kuskokwim and southwest Alaska)
- February 24, 2021 (Northwest Arctic Borough and northern Bering Sea)
- February 25, 2021 (North Slope Borough).
The hearings may close 15 minutes after the conclusion of public testimony and after responding to any clarifying questions from hearing participants about the proposed critical habitat designations.
For each hearing, we encourage participation by members of the public wishing to provide oral comments specific to the regions indicated parenthetically. However, all hearings are open to all interested parties and at each hearing we will accept testimony regarding any area or aspect of the proposed critical habitat designations.
Public Hearing Conference Call Dial-In Information
Conference call information for all three hearings is the same: Telephone: (800) 201-3962, Conference Code: 651174.