Biological Opinion: Consultation on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Approval of the State of Alaska’s Mixing Zone Regulation Section of the State of Alaska’s Water Quality Standards

July 02, 2019

Biological opinion considering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed action to approve revisions to Alaska's mixing zone regulation (MZR) regarding Alaska Water Quality Standards.

In this document, the action agency is EPA, which proposes to approve the MZR. The consulting agency for this proposed action is NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region. This document represents NOAA Fisheries' biological opinion (opinion) on the effects of this action on endangered and threatened species and designated critical habitats under NOAA Fisheries' jurisdiction.

As described in more detail below, in 2006 NOAA Fisheries first completed section 7 consultation on the effects of the proposed action on ESA-listed species and their critical habitat. Consultation was reinitiated in 2010 to the address effects of the proposed action on the newly listed endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, and we issued a biological opinion the same year. The 2010 opinion (NMFS Consultation Number: AKR-2010-6742) did not address the effects of the proposed action on Cook Inlet beluga whale critical habitat, which NOAA Fisheries designated in 2011. This was the impetus behind EPA’s subsequent request for reinitiation of consultation and our issuance of this opinion.

The opinion and ITS were prepared by NOAA Fisheries in accordance with section 7(b) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531–1544), and implementing regulations at 50 CFR Part 402. The opinion and ITS are in compliance with the Data Quality Act (44 U.S.C. 3504(d)(1)) and underwent pre-dissemination review.

Action Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

ECO Number: AKRO-2018-00362

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on 06/05/2020

Section 7 Consultation Biological Opinions Cook Inlet Beluga Whale