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Biological Opinion on the Marine Terminal Redevelopment Project at the Port of Anchorage

August 24, 2011

Biological opinion on the proposed Port of Anchorage expansion project and its effects on the critical habitat of the Cook Inlet beluga whale.

This consultation considers the effects of the Port of Anchorage Intermodal Expansion Project – referring to the entire Port of Anchorage Expansion Project, including in-water and land-based endeavors, and the Marine Terminal Redevelopment Project - a subset of the PIEP, which includes construction of the marine terminal docks and involves the in-water portion of the PIEP, on the critical habitat of the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale. In formulating this consultation, NOAA Fisheries used information presented in the March 2010 Addendum to Biological Assessment of the Beluga Whale Delphinapterus leucas in Cook Inlet for USACE Dredging and Marine Terminal Redevelopment Project at the Port of Anchorage, Alaska, the October 2008 Conservation Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale, the 2008 Status Review and Extinction Risk Assessment of Cook Inlet Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas), and the 2008 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statements for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Subsistence Harvest, along with other research relating to beluga whales and information provided by NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory, the State of Alaska, and the traditional knowledge of the Alaska Native community. The final rule for CIB critical habitat was published on April 11, 2011 (76 FR 20180). In the final rule, the Port of Anchorage was excluded from the areas designated as critical habitat. The principal benefit from excluding the POA is avoiding the risk that the designation might impede the POA’s operations or otherwise result in a reduction in military readiness.

Action Agencies: U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration; U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska; NOAA Fisheries

NMFS Consultation Number: AKR-2009-2523

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on 06/04/2020

Section 7 Consultation Biological Opinions Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Critical Habitat