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					                                                                                                      Vol. 76                           Thursday,
                                                                                                      No. 28                            February 10, 2011




                                                                                                      Part II


                                                                                                      Department of the Interior

                                                                                                      Fish and Wildlife Service


                                                                                                      50 CFR Part 17
                                                                                                      Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a
                                                                                                      Petition to List the Pacific Walrus as Endangered or Threatened; Proposed
                                                                                                      Rule
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                                                 7634                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR                              FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:                      evaluate the Pacific walrus petition in
                                                                                                         James MacCracken, Marine Mammals                      FY 2008.
                                                 Fish and Wildlife Service                               Management, Alaska Regional Office                       On December 3, 2008, the Center for
                                                                                                         (see ADDRESSES); by telephone: 800–                   Biological Diversity filed a complaint in
                                                 50 CFR Part 17                                          362–5148; or by facsimile: 907–786–                   U.S. District Court for the District of
                                                 [Docket No. FWS–R7–ES–2009–0051; MO                     3816. If you use a telecommunications                 Alaska for declaratory judgment and
                                                 92210–0–0008–B2]                                        device for the deaf (TDD), please call the            injunctive relief challenging the failure
                                                                                                         Federal Information Relay Service                     of the Service to make a 90-day finding
                                                 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife                      (FIRS) at 800–877–8339.                               on their petition to list the Pacific
                                                 and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a                       SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:                            walrus, pursuant to section 4(b)(3) of the
                                                 Petition to List the Pacific Walrus as                                                                        Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C.
                                                 Endangered or Threatened                                Background                                            1533(b)(3), and the Administrative
                                                                                                            Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Endangered               Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 706(1). On May
                                                 AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service,
                                                                                                         Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act)                 18, 2009, a settlement agreement was
                                                 Interior.
                                                                                                         (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that,              approved in the case of Center for
                                                 ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition                                                                           Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish and
                                                 finding.                                                for any petition to revise the Federal
                                                                                                         Lists of Endangered and Threatened                    Wildlife Service, et al. (3:08–cv–00265–
                                                 SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and                          Wildlife and Plants that contains                     JWS), requiring us to submit our 90-day
                                                 Wildlife Service, announce a 12-month                   substantial scientific or commercial                  finding on the petition to the Federal
                                                 finding on a petition to list the Pacific               information that listing the species may              Register by September 10, 2009. On
                                                 walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens)                    be warranted, we make a finding within                September 10, 2009, we made our 90-
                                                 as endangered or threatened and to                      12 months of the date of receipt of the               day finding that the petition presented
                                                 designate critical habitat under the                    petition. In this finding, we will                    substantial scientific information
                                                 Endangered Species Act of 1973, as                      determine whether the petitioned action               indicating that listing the Pacific walrus
                                                 amended. After review of all the                        is: (a) Not warranted, (b) warranted, or              may be warranted (74 FR 46548). On
                                                 available scientific and commercial                     (c) warranted, but the immediate                      August 30, 2010, the Court approved an
                                                 information, we find that listing the                   proposal of a regulation implementing                 amended settlement agreement
                                                 Pacific walrus as endangered or                         the petitioned action is precluded by                 requiring us to submit our 12-month
                                                 threatened is warranted. Currently,                     other pending proposals to determine                  finding to the Federal Register by
                                                 however, listing the Pacific walrus is                  whether species are endangered or                     January 31, 2011. This notice constitutes
                                                 precluded by higher priority actions to                 threatened, and expeditious progress is               the 12-month finding on the February 7,
                                                 amend the Lists of Endangered and                       being made to add or remove qualified                 2008, petition to list the Pacific walrus
                                                 Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Upon                    species from the Federal Lists of                     as endangered or threatened.
                                                 publication of this 12-month petition                   Endangered and Threatened Wildlife                       This 12-month finding is based on our
                                                 finding, we will add Pacific walrus to                  and Plants. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act             consideration and evaluation of the best
                                                 our candidate species list. We will                     requires that we treat a petition for                 scientific and commercial information
                                                 develop a proposed rule to list the                     which the requested action is found to                available. We reviewed the information
                                                 Pacific walrus as our priorities allow.                 be warranted but precluded as though                  provided in the petition submitted to
                                                 We will make any determination on                       resubmitted on the date of such finding,              the Service by the Center for Biological
                                                 critical habitat during development of                  that is, requiring a subsequent finding to            Diversity, information available in our
                                                 the proposed listing rule. Consistent                   be made within 12 months. We must                     files, and other available published and
                                                 with section 4(b)(3)(C)(iii) of the                     publish these 12-month findings in the                unpublished information. Additionally,
                                                 Endangered Species Act, we will review                  Federal Register.                                     in response to our Federal Register
                                                 the status of the Pacific walrus through                                                                      notice of September 10, 2009, requesting
                                                 our annual Candidate Notice of Review.                  Previous Federal Actions                              information from the public, as well as
                                                 DATES: The finding announced in this                       On February 8, 2008, we received a                 our September 10, 2010 press release,
                                                 document was made on February 10,                       petition dated February 7, 2008, from                 and other outreach efforts requesting
                                                 2011.                                                   the Center for Biological Diversity,                  new information from the public, we
                                                                                                         requesting that the Pacific walrus be                 received roughly 30,000 submissions,
                                                 ADDRESSES: This finding and supporting
                                                                                                         listed as endangered or threatened                    which we have considered in making
                                                 documentation are available on the
                                                                                                         under the Act and that critical habitat be            this finding, including information from
                                                 Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at
                                                 Docket Number FWS–R7–ES–2009–                           designated. The petition included                     the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission,
                                                 0051. A range map of the three walrus                   supporting information regarding the                  the State of Alaska, the Alaska North
                                                 subspecies and a more detailed map of                   species’ ecology and habitat use                      Slope Borough, the Eskimo Walrus
                                                 the Pacific walrus range are available at               patterns, and predicted changes in sea-               Commission, the Humane Society of the
                                                 the following Web site: http://                         ice habitats and ocean conditions that                United States, the Center for Biological
                                                 alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/walrus/                    may impact the Pacific walrus. We                     Diversity, the American Petroleum
                                                 wmain.htm. Supporting documentation                     acknowledged receipt of the petition in               Institute, and many interested citizens.
                                                 we used in preparing this finding is                    a letter to the Center for Biological                 We also consulted with recognized
                                                 available for public inspection, by                     Diversity, dated April 9, 2008. In that               Pacific walrus experts and Federal,
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                                                 appointment, during normal business                     letter, we stated that an emergency                   State, and Tribal agencies.
                                                 hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife                     listing was not warranted and that all                Species Information
                                                 Service, Alaska Regional Office, 1011                   remaining available funds in the listing
                                                 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503.                   program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 had                 Taxonomy and Species Delineation
                                                 Please submit any new information,                      already been allocated to the U.S. Fish                 The walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is
                                                 materials, comments, or questions                       and Wildlife Service’s (Service) highest              the only living representative of the
                                                 concerning this finding to the above                    priority listing actions and that no                  family Odobenidae, a group of marine
                                                 address.                                                listing funds were available to further               carnivores that was highly diversified in


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                           7635

                                                 the late Miocene and early Pliocene                     found some differences in the ratio of                land or ice, in any season, walruses tend
                                                 (Kohno 2006, pp. 416–419; Harington                     trace elements in the teeth of Pacific                to lie in close physical contact with
                                                 2008, p. 26). Fossil evidence suggests                  walruses sampled in winter from two                   each other. Young animals often lie on
                                                 that the genus evolved in the North                     breeding areas (southeast Bering Sea                  top of adults. Group size can range from
                                                 Pacific Ocean and dispersed throughout                  and St. Lawrence Island), suggesting                  a few individuals up to several
                                                 the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic                     that the sampled animals had a history                thousand animals (Gilbert 1999, p. 80;
                                                 during interglacial phases of the                       of feeding in different regions. Scribner             Kastelein 2002, p. 1298; Jefferson et al.
                                                 Pleistocene (Harington and Beard 1992,                  et al. (1997, p. 180), however, found no              2008, p. 378). At any time of the year,
                                                 pp. 311–319; Dyke et al. 1999, p. 60;                   difference in mitochondrial and nuclear               when groups are disturbed, stampedes
                                                 Harington 2008, p. 27).                                 DNA among Pacific walruses sampled                    from a haulout can result in injuries and
                                                    Three modern subspecies of walruses                  from different breeding areas. Pacific                mortalities. Calves and young animals
                                                 are generally recognized (Wozencraft                    walruses are identified and managed in                are particularly vulnerable to trampling
                                                 2005, p. 525; Integrated Taxonomic                      the United States and the Russian                     injuries (Fay 1980, pp. 227–227; Fay
                                                 Information System, 2010, p. 1): The                    Federation (Russia) as a single                       and Kelly 1980, p. 226).
                                                 Atlantic walrus (O. r. rosmarus), which                 population (Service 2010, p. 1).                         The reaction of walruses to
                                                 ranges from the central Canadian Arctic                                                                       disturbance ranges from no reaction to
                                                 eastward to the Kara Sea (Reeves 1978,                  Species Description                                   escape into the water, depending on the
                                                 pp. 2–20); the Pacific walrus (O. r.                       Walruses are readily distinguished                 circumstances (Fay et al. 1984, pp. 13–
                                                 divergens), which ranges across the                     from other Arctic pinnipeds (aquatic                  14). Many factors play into the severity
                                                 Bering and Chukchi Seas (Fay 1982, pp.                  carnivorous mammals with all four                     of the response, including the age and
                                                 7–21); and the Laptev walrus (O. r.                     limbs modified into flippers, this group              sex of the animals, the size and location
                                                 laptevi), which is represented by a                     includes seals, sea lions, and walruses)              of the group (on ice, in water, on land),
                                                 small, geographically isolated                          by their enlarged upper canine teeth,                 their distance from the disturbance, and
                                                 population of walruses in the Laptev                    which form prominent tusks. The family                the nature and intensity of the
                                                 Sea (Heptner et al. 1976, p. 34;                        name Odobenidae (tooth walker), is                    disturbance (Fay et al. 1984, pp. 14,
                                                 Vishnevskaia and Bychkov 1990, pp.                      based on observations of walruses using               114–119). Females with calves appear to
                                                 155–176; Andersen et al. 1998, p. 1323;                 their tusks to pull themselves out of the             be most sensitive to disturbance, and
                                                 Wozencraft 2005, p. 595; Jefferson et al.               water. Males, which have relatively                   animals on shore are more sensitive
                                                 2008, p. 376). Atlantic and Pacific                     larger tusks than females, also tend to               than those on ice (Fay et al. 1984, p.
                                                 walruses are genetically and                            have broader skulls (Fay 1982, pp. 104–               114). A fright response caused by
                                                 morphologically distinct from each                      108). Walrus tusks are used as offensive              disturbance can cause stampedes on a
                                                 other (Cronin et al. 1994, p. 1035), likely             and defensive weapons (Kastelein 2002,                haulout, resulting in injuries and
                                                 as a result of range fragmentation and                  p. 1298). Adult males use their tusks in              mortalities (Fay and Kelly 1980, pp.
                                                 differentiation during glacial phases of                threat displays and fighting to establish             241–244).
                                                 extensive Arctic sea-ice cover                          dominance during mating (Fay et al.                      Mating occurs primarily in January
                                                 (Harington 2008, p. 27). Although                       1984, p. 93), and animals of both sexes               and February in broken pack ice habitat
                                                 geographically isolated and ecologically                use threat displays to establish and                  in the Bering Sea. Breeding bulls follow
                                                 distinct, walruses from the Laptev Sea                  defend positions on land or ice haulouts              herds of females and compete for access
                                                 appear to be more closely related to                    (Fay 1982, pp. 134–138). Walruses also                to groups of females hauled out onto sea
                                                 Pacific walruses (Lindqvist et al. 2009,                use their tusks to anchor themselves to               ice (Fay 1982, pp. 193–194). Males
                                                 pp. 119–121).                                           ice floes when resting in the water                   perform visual and acoustical displays
                                                    Pacific walruses are ecologically                    during inclement weather (Fay 1982,                   in the water to attract females and
                                                 distinct from other walrus populations,                 pp. 134–138; Kastelein 2002, p. 1298).                defend a breeding territory.
                                                 primarily because they undergo                             The Pacific walrus is the largest                  Subdominant males remain on the
                                                 significant seasonal migrations between                 pinniped species in the Arctic. At birth,             periphery of these aggregations and
                                                 the Bering and the Chukchi Seas and                     calves are approximately 65 kilograms                 apparently do not display. Intruders
                                                 rely principally on broken pack ice                     (kg) (143 pounds (lb)) and 113                        into display areas are met with threat
                                                 habitat to access offshore breeding and                 centimeters (cm) (44.5 inches (in)) long              displays and physical attacks.
                                                 feeding areas (Fay 1982, p. 279) (see                   (Fay 1982, p. 32). After the first 7 years            Individual females leave the resting
                                                 Species Distribution, below). In contrast,              of life, the growth rate of female                    herd to join a male in the water where
                                                 Atlantic walruses, which are                            walruses declines rapidly, and they                   copulation occurs (Fay et al. 1984, pp.
                                                 represented by several small discrete                   reach a maximum body size by                          89–99; Sjare and Stirling 1996, p. 900).
                                                 groups of animals distributed from the                  approximately 10 years of age. Adult                  Gestation lasts 15 to 16 months (Fay
                                                 central Canadian Arctic eastward to the                 females can reach lengths of up to 3                  1982, p. 197) and pregnancies are
                                                 Kara Sea, exhibit smaller seasonal                      meters (m) (9.8 feet (ft)) and weigh up               spaced at least 2 years apart (Fay 1982,
                                                 movements and feed primarily in                         to 1,100 kg (2,425 lb). Male walrus tend              p. 206). Calving occurs on sea ice, most
                                                 coastal areas because the continental                   to grow faster and for a longer period of             typically in May, before the northward
                                                 shelf is narrow over much of their range.               time than females. They usually do not                spring migration (Fay 1982, pp. 199–
                                                 The majority of productive feeding areas                reach full adult body size until they are             200). Mothers and newborn calves stay
                                                 used by Atlantic walruses are accessible                15 to 16 years of age. Adult males can                mostly on ice floes during the first few
                                                 from the coast, and all age classes and                 reach lengths of 3.5 m (11.5 ft) and can              weeks of life (Fay et al. 1984, p. 12).
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                                                 gender groups use terrestrial haulouts                  weigh more than 2,000 kg (4,409 lb)                      The social bond between the mother
                                                 during ice-free seasons (Born et al. 2003,              (Fay 1982, p. 33).                                    and calf is very strong, and it is unusual
                                                 p. 356; COSEWIC 2006, p. 15; Laidre et                                                                        for a cow to become separated from her
                                                 al. 2008, pp. S104, S115).                              Behavior                                              calf (Fay 1982, p. 203). The calf
                                                    The Pacific walrus is generally                        Walruses are social and gregarious                  normally remains with its mother for at
                                                 considered a single population,                         animals. They tend to travel in groups                least 2 years, sometimes longer, if not
                                                 although some heterogeneity has been                    and haul out of the water to rest on ice              supplanted by a new calf (Fay 1982, pp.
                                                 documented. Jay et al. (2008, p. 938)                   or land in densely packed groups. On                  206–211). After separation from their


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                                                 7636                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 mother, young females tend to remain                    sea ice. When broken sea ice is                       p. 163; Oliver et al. 1983, p. 504;
                                                 with groups of adult females, whereas                   abundant, walruses are typically found                Kastelein 2002, p. 1298; Levermann et
                                                 young males gradually separate from the                 in patchy aggregations over continental               al. 2003, p. 8). The foraging behavior of
                                                 females and begin to associate with                     shelf waters. Individual groups may                   walruses is thought to have a major
                                                 groups of other males. Individual social                range from less than 10 to more than                  impact on benthic communities in the
                                                 status appears to be based on a                         1,000 animals (Gilbert 1999, pp. 75–84;               Bering and Chukchi Seas (Oliver et al.
                                                 combination of body size, tusk size, and                Ray et al. 2006, p. 405). Summer                      1983, pp. 507–509; Klaus et al. 1990, p.
                                                 aggressiveness. Individuals do not                      concentrations have been reported in                  480). Ray et al. (2006, pp. 411–413)
                                                 necessarily associate with the same                     loose pack ice off the northwestern coast             estimate that walruses consume
                                                 group of animals and must continually                   of Alaska, between Icy Cape and Point                 approximately 3 million metric tons
                                                 reaffirm their social status in each new                Barrow, and along the coast of                        (3,307 tons) of benthic biomass
                                                 aggregation (Fay 1982, p. 135;                          Chukotka, Russia, as far west as Wrangel              annually, and that the area affected by
                                                 NAMMCO 2004, p. 43).                                    Island (Fay 1982, pp. 16–17; Gilbert et               walrus foraging is in the order of
                                                                                                         al. 1992, pp. 1–33; Belikov et al. 1996,              thousands of square kilometers (sq km)
                                                 Species Distribution
                                                                                                         pp. 267–269). In years of low ice                     (thousands of square miles (sq mi))
                                                    Pacific walruses range across the                    concentrations in the Chukchi Sea,                    annually. Consequently, walruses play a
                                                 shallow continental shelf waters of the                 some animals range east of Point Barrow               major role in benthic ecosystem
                                                 northern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea,                    into the Beaufort Sea; walruses have                  structure and function, which Ray et al.
                                                 occasionally ranging into the East                      also been observed in the Eastern                     (2006, p. 415) suggested increased
                                                 Siberian Sea and Beaufort Sea (Fay                      Siberian Sea in late summer (Fay 1982,                nutrient flux and productivity.
                                                 1982, pp. 7–21; Figure 1 in Garlich-                    pp. 16–17; Belikov et al. 1996, pp. 267–                 The earliest studies of food habits
                                                 Miller et al. 2011). Waters deeper than                 269). The pack ice of the Chukchi Sea                 were based on examination of stomachs
                                                 100 m (328 ft) and the extent of the pack               usually reaches its minimum extent in                 from walruses killed by hunters. These
                                                 ice are factors that limit distribution to              September. In years when the sea ice                  reports indicated that walruses were
                                                 the north (Fay 1982, p. 23). Walruses are               retreats north beyond the continental                 primarily feeding on bivalves (clams),
                                                 rarely spotted south of the Alaska                      shelf, walruses congregate in large                   and that non-bivalve prey was only
                                                 Peninsula and Aleutian archipelago;                     numbers (up to several tens of                        incidentally ingested (Fay 1982, p. 145;
                                                 however, migrant animals (mostly                        thousands of animals in some locations)               Sheffield et al. 2001, p. 311). However,
                                                 males) are occasionally reported in the                 at terrestrial haulouts on Wrangel Island             these early studies did not take into
                                                 North Pacific (Service 2010,                            and other sites along the northern coast              account the differential rate of digestion
                                                 unpublished data).                                      of the Chukotka Peninsula, Russia, and                of prey items (Sheffield et al. 2001, p.
                                                    Pacific walruses are highly mobile,                  northwestern Alaska (Fay 1982, p. 17;                 311). Additional research indicates that
                                                 and their distribution varies markedly                  Belikov et al. 1996, pp. 267–269;                     stomach contents include over 100 taxa
                                                 in response to seasonal and interannual                 Kochnev 2004, pp. 284–288;                            of benthic invertebrates from all major
                                                 variations in sea-ice cover. During the                 Ovsyanikov et al. 2007, pp. 1–4; Kavry                phyla (Fay 1982, p. 145; Sheffield and
                                                 January to March breeding season,                       et al. 2008, pp. 248–251).                            Grebmeier 2009, p. 764), and while
                                                 walruses congregate in the Bering Sea                      In late September and October,                     bivalves remain the primary component,
                                                 pack ice in areas where open leads                      walruses that summered in the Chukchi                 walruses are not adapted to a diet solely
                                                 (fractures in sea ice caused by wind drift              Sea typically begin moving south in                   of clams. Other prey items have similar
                                                 or ocean currents), polynyas (enclosed                  advance of the developing sea ice.                    energetic benefits (Wacasey and
                                                 areas of unfrozen water surrounded by                   Satellite telemetry data indicate that                Atkinson 1987, pp. 245–247). Based on
                                                 ice) or thin ice allow access to water                  male walruses that summered at coastal                analysis of the contents from fresh
                                                 (Fay 1982, p. 21; Fay et al. 1984, pp. 89–              haulouts in the Bering Sea also begin to              stomachs of Pacific walruses collected
                                                 99). The specific location of winter                    move northward towards winter                         between 1975 and 1985 in the Bering
                                                 breeding aggregations varies annually                   breeding areas in November (Jay and                   Sea and Chukchi Sea, prey consumption
                                                 depending upon the distribution and                     Hills 2005, p. 197). The male walruses’               likely reflects benthic invertebrate
                                                 extent of ice. Breeding aggregations have               northward movement appears to be                      composition (Sheffield and Grebmeier
                                                 been reported southwest of St. Lawrence                 driven primarily by the presence of                   2009, pp. 764–768). Of the large number
                                                 Island, Alaska; south of Nunivak Island,                females at that time of year (Freitas et              of different types of prey, statistically
                                                 Alaska; and south of the Chukotka                       al. 2009, pp. 248–260).                               significant differences between males
                                                 Peninsula in the Gulf of Anadyr, Russia                                                                       and females from the Bering Sea were
                                                 (Fay 1982, p. 21; Mymrin et al. 1990, pp.               Foraging and Prey
                                                                                                                                                               found in the occurrence of only two
                                                 105–113; Figure 1 in Garlich-Miller et                     Walruses consume mostly benthic                    prey items, and there were no
                                                 al. 2011).                                              (region at the bottom of a body of water)             statistically significant differences in
                                                    In spring, as the Bering Sea pack ice                invertebrates and are highly adapted to               results for males and females from the
                                                 deteriorates, most of the population                    obtain bivalves (Fay 1982, p. 139;                    Chukchi Sea (Sheffield and Grebmeier
                                                 migrates northward through the Bering                   Bowen and Siniff 1999, p. 457; Born et                2009, pp. 765). Although these data are
                                                 Strait to summer feeding areas over the                 al. 2003, p. 348; Dehn et al. 2007, p.                for Pacific walrus stomachs collected
                                                 continental shelf in the Chukchi Sea.                   176; Boveng et al. 2008, pp. 17–19;                   25–35 years ago, we have no reason to
                                                 However, several thousand animals,                      Sheffield and Grebmeier 2009, pp. 766–                believe there has been a change in the
                                                 primarily adult males, remain in the                    767). Fish and other vertebrates have                 general pattern of prey use described
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                                                 Bering Sea during the summer months,                    occasionally been found in their                      here.
                                                 foraging from coastal haulouts in the                   stomachs (Fay 1982, p. 153; Sheffield                    Walruses typically swallow
                                                 Gulf of Anadyr, Russia, and in Bristol                  and Grebmeier 2009, p. 767). Walruses                 invertebrates without shells in their
                                                 Bay, Alaska (Figure 1 in Garlich-Miller                 root in the bottom sediment with their                entirety (Fay 1982, p. 165). Walruses
                                                 et al. 2011).                                           muzzles and use their whiskers to locate              remove the soft parts of mollusks from
                                                    Summer distributions (both males and                 prey items. They use their fore-flippers,             their shells by suction, and discard the
                                                 females) in the Chukchi Sea vary                        nose, and jets of water to extract prey               shells (Fay 1982, pp. 166–167). Born et
                                                 annually, depending upon the extent of                  buried up to 32 cm (12.6 in) (Fay 1982,               al. (2003, p. 348) reported that Atlantic


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                           7637

                                                 walruses consumed an average of 53.2                    et al. 1984, pp. 89–99), giving birth (Fay            between feeding bouts (Ray et al. 2006,
                                                 bivalves (range 34 to 89) per dive. Based               1982, p. 199), and nursing and care of                p. 406). However, it has also been noted
                                                 on caloric need and observations of                     young (Kelly 2001, pp. 43–55). Sea ice                that walruses can and will exploit a
                                                 captive walruses, walruses require                      provides access to offshore feeding areas             fairly broad range of ice types and ice
                                                 approximately 29 to 74 kg (64 to 174                    over the continental shelf of the Bering              concentrations in order to stay in
                                                 lbs) of food per day (Fay 1982, p. 160).                and Chukchi Seas, passive                             preferred foraging or breeding areas
                                                 Adult males forage little during the                    transportation to new feeding areas                   (Freitas et al. 2009, p. 247; Jay et al.
                                                 breeding period (Fay 1982, pp. 142,                     (Richard 1990, p. 21; Ray et al. 2006, pp.            2010a, p. 300). Walruses tend to make
                                                 159–161; Ray et al. 2006, p. 411), while                403–419), and isolation from terrestrial              shorter foraging excursions when they
                                                 lactating females may eat two to three                  predators (Richard 1990, p. 23; Kochnev               are using sea ice rather than land
                                                 times that of nonpregant, nonlactating                  2004, p. 286; Ovsyanikov et al. 2007,                 haulouts (Udevitz et al. 2009, p. 1122),
                                                 females (Fay 1982, p.159). Calves up to                 pp. 1–4). Sea ice provides an extensive               presumably because it is more
                                                 1 year of age depend primarily on their                 substrate upon which the risk of                      energetically efficient for them to
                                                 mother’s milk (Fay 1982, p. 138) and are                predation and hunting is greatly                      haulout on ice near productive feeding
                                                 gradually weaned in their second year                   reduced (Kelly 2001, pp. 43–55; Fay                   areas than forage from shore. Fay (1982,
                                                 (Fisher and Stewart 1997, pp. 1165–                     1982, p. 26).                                         p. 25) notes that several authors
                                                 1175).                                                     Sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere is              reported that when walruses had the
                                                   Although walruses are capable of                      comprised of first-year sea ice that                  choice of ice or land for a resting place,
                                                 diving to depths of more than 250 m                     formed in the most recent autumn-                     ice was always selected.
                                                 (820 ft) (Born et al. 2005, p. 30), they                winter period, and multi-year ice that
                                                 usually forage in waters of 80 m (262 ft)               has survived at least one summer melt                 Terrestrial Habitats (Coastal Haulouts)
                                                 or less (Fay and Burns 1988, p. 239;                    season. Sea-ice habitats for walruses                    When suitable sea ice is not available,
                                                 Born et al. 2003, p. 348; Kovacs and                    include openings or leads that provide                walruses haul out on land to rest. A
                                                 Lydersen 2008, p. 138), presumably                      access to the water and to food                       wide variety of substrates, ranging from
                                                 because of higher productivity of their                 resources. Walruses generally do not use              sand to boulders, are used. Isolated
                                                 benthic foods in shallow waters (Fay                    multi-year ice or highly compacted first-             islands, points, spits, and headlands are
                                                 and Burns 1988, pp. 239–240; Carey                      year ice in which there is an absence of              occupied most frequently. The primary
                                                 1991, p. 869; Jay et al. 2001, p. 621;                  persistent leads or polynyas (Richard                 consideration for a terrestrial haulout
                                                 Grebmeier et al. 2006b, pp. 334–346;                    1990, p. 21). Expansive areas of heavy                site appears to be isolation from
                                                 Grebmeier et al. 2006a, p. 1461).                       ice cover are thought to play a                       disturbances and predators, although
                                                 Walruses make foraging trips from land                  restrictive role in walrus distributions              social factors, learned behavior,
                                                 or ice haulouts that range from a few                   across the Arctic and serve as a barrier              protection from strong winds and surf,
                                                 hours up to several days and up to 100                  to the mixing of populations (Fay 1982,               and proximity to food resources also
                                                 kilometers (km) (60 miles (mi)) (Jay et                 p. 23; Dyke et al. 1999, pp. 161–163;                 likely influence the choice of terrestrial
                                                 al. 2001, p. 626; Born et al. 2003, p. 349;             Harington 2008, p. 35). Walruses                      haulout sites (Richard 1990, p. 23).
                                                 Ray et al. 2006, p. 406; Udevitz et al.                 generally do not occur farther south                  Walruses tend to use established
                                                 2009, p. 1122). Walruses tend to make                   than the maximum extent of the winter                 haulout sites repeatedly and exhibit
                                                 shorter and more frequent foraging trips                pack ice, possibly due to their reliance              some degree of fidelity to these sites (Jay
                                                 when sea ice is used as a foraging                      on sea ice for breeding and rearing                   and Hills 2005, pp. 192–202), although
                                                 platform compared to terrestrial                        young (Fay et al. 1984, pp. 89–99) and                the use of coastal haulouts appears to
                                                 haulouts (Udevitz et al. 2009, p. 1122).                isolation from terrestrial predators                  fluctuate over time, possibly due to
                                                 Satellite telemetry data for walruses in                (Kochnev 2004, p. 286; Ovsyanikov et                  localized prey depletion (Garlich-Miller
                                                 the Bering Sea in April of 2004, 2005,                  al. 2007, pp. 1–4), or because of the                 and Jay 2000, pp. 58–65). Human
                                                 and 2006 showed they spent an average                   higher densities of benthic invertebrates             disturbance is also thought to influence
                                                 of 46 hours in the water between resting                in northern waters (Grebmeier et al.                  the choice of haulout sites; many
                                                 bouts on ice, which averaged 9 hours                    2006a, pp. 1461–1463).                                historic haulouts in the Bering Sea were
                                                 (Udevitz et al. 2009, p. 1122). Because                    Walruses generally occupy first-year               abandoned in the early 1900s when the
                                                 females and young travel with the                       ice that is greater than 20 cm (7.9 in)               Pacific walrus population was subjected
                                                 retreating pack ice in the spring and                   thick and are not found in areas of                   to high levels of exploitation (Fay 1982,
                                                 summer, they are passively transported                  extensive, unbroken ice (Fay 1982, pp.                p. 26; Fay et al. 1984, p. 231).
                                                 northward over feeding grounds across                   21, 26; Richard 1990, p. 23). Thus, in                   Adult male walruses use land-based
                                                 the continental shelves of the Bering                   winter they concentrate in areas of                   haulouts more than females or young,
                                                 and Chukchi Seas. Male walruses                         broken pack ice associated with                       and consequently, have a greater
                                                 appear to have greater endurance than                   divergent ice flow or along the margins               geographical distribution through the
                                                 females, with foraging excursions from                  of persistent polynyas (Burns et al.                  ice-free season. Many adult males
                                                 land haulouts that can last up to 142                   1981, pp. 781–797; Fay et al. 1984, pp.               remain in the Bering Sea throughout the
                                                 hours (about 6 days) (Jay et al. 2001, p.               89–99; Richard 1990, p. 23) in areas                  ice-free season, making foraging trips
                                                 630).                                                   with abundant food resources (Ray et al.              from coastal haulouts in Bristol Bay,
                                                                                                         2006, p. 406). Females with young                     Alaska, and the Gulf of Anadyr, Russia
                                                 Sea-Ice Habitats                                        generally spend the summer months in                  (Figure 1 in Garlich-Miller et al. 2011),
                                                   The Pacific walrus is an ice-                         pack ice habitats of the Chukchi Sea,                 while females and juvenile animals
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                                                 dependent species that relies on sea ice                where they feed intensively between                   generally stay with the drifting ice pack
                                                 for many aspects of its life history.                   bouts of resting and suckling their                   throughout the year (Fay 1982, pp. 8–
                                                 Unlike other pinnipeds, walruses are                    young. Some authors have suggested                    19). Females with dependent young may
                                                 not adapted for a pelagic existence and                 that the size and topography of                       prefer sea-ice habitats because coastal
                                                 must haul out on ice or land regularly.                 individual ice floes are important                    haulouts pose greater risk from
                                                 Floating pack ice serves as a substrate                 features in the selection of ice haulouts,            trampling injuries and predation (Fay
                                                 for resting between feeding bouts (Ray et               noting that some animals have been                    and Kelly 1980, pp. 226–245;
                                                 al. 2006, p. 404), breeding behavior (Fay               observed returning to the same ice floe               Ovsyanikov et al. 1994, p. 80; Kochnev


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                                                 2004, pp. 285–286; Ovsyanikov et al.                    Hills 2005, p. 198) (presumably                       58–67). Large mixed herds of walruses
                                                 2007, pp. 1–4; Kavry et al. 2008, pp.                   mediated by sea-ice coverage or                       have also been reported in late fall and
                                                 248–251; Mulcahy et al. 2009, p. 3).                    temperature).                                         early winter at coastal haulouts in the
                                                 Females may also prefer sea-ice habitats                   Historically, coastal haulouts along               northern Bering Sea at the Punuk
                                                 because they may have difficulty                        the Arctic (Chukchi Sea) coast have                   Islands and Saint Lawrence Island,
                                                 nourishing themselves while caring for                  been used less consistently during the                Alaska; Big Diomede Island, Russia; and
                                                 a young calf that has limited swimming                  summer months than those in the                       King Island, Alaska, prior to the
                                                 range (Cooper et al. 2006, p. 101; Jay                  Bering Sea because of the presence of                 formation of sea ice in offshore breeding
                                                 and Fischbach 2008, p. 1).                              pack ice (a preferred substrate) for much             and feeding areas (Fay and Kelly 1980,
                                                    The numbers of male walruses using                   of the year in the Chukchi Sea. Since the             p. 226; Garlich-Miller and Jay 2000, pp.
                                                 coastal haulouts in the Bering Sea                      mid-1990s, reductions of summer sea                   58–67; Figure 1 in Garlich-Miller et al.
                                                 during the summer months, and the                       ice coincided with a marked increase in               2011).
                                                 relative uses of different coastal haulout              the use of coastal haulouts along the
                                                 sites in the Bering Sea have varied over                Chukchi sea coast of Russia during the                Vital Rates
                                                 the past century. Harvest records                       summer months (Kochnev 2004, pp.                         Walruses have the lowest rate of
                                                 indicate that walrus herds were once                    284–288; Kavry et al. 2008, pp. 248–                  reproduction of any pinniped species
                                                 common at coastal haulouts along the                    251). Large, mixed (composed of various               (Fay 1982, pp. 172–209). Although male
                                                 Alaska Peninsula and the islands of                     age and sex groups) herds of walruses,                walruses reach puberty at 6–7 years of
                                                 northern Bristol Bay (Fay et al. 1984,                  up to several tens of thousands of                    age, they are unlikely to successfully
                                                 pp. 231–376). By the early 1950s, most                  animals, began to use coastal haulouts                compete for access to females until they
                                                 of the traditional haulout areas in the                 on Wrangel Island, Russia in the early                reach full body size at 15 years of age
                                                 Southern Bering Sea had been                            1990s, and several coastal haulouts                   or older (Fay 1982, p. 33; Fay et al.
                                                 abandoned, presumably due to hunting                    along the northern Chukotka coastline                 1984, p. 96). Female walruses attain
                                                 pressure. During the 1950s and 1960s,                   of Russia have emerged in recent years,               sexual maturity at 4–7 years of age (Fay
                                                 Round Island was the only regularly                     likely as a result of reductions in                   1982, pp. 172–209), and the median age
                                                 used haulout in Bristol Bay, Alaska. In                 summer sea ice in the Chukchi Sea                     of first birth ranges from approximately
                                                 1960, the State of Alaska established the               (Kochnev 2004, pp. 284–288;                           8 to 10 years of age (Garlich-Miller et al.
                                                 Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary,                    Ovsyanikov et al. 2007, pp. 1–4; Kavry                2006, pp. 887–893). Because gestation
                                                 which closed Round Island to hunting.                   et al. 2008, p. 248–251; Figure 1 in                  lasts 15–16 months, it extends through
                                                 Peak counts of walruses at Round Island                 Garlich-Miller et al. 2011).                          the following breeding season and thus,
                                                 increased from 1,000–2,000 animals in                      In 2007, 2009, and 2010, walruses                  the minimum interval between
                                                 the late 1950s (Frost et al. 1983, pp. 379)             were also observed hauling out in large               successful births is 2 years. Ovulation
                                                 to more than 10,000 animals in the early                numbers with mixed sex and age groups                 may also be suppressed until the calf is
                                                 1980s (Sell and Weiss, p. 12), but                      along the Chukchi Sea coast of Alaska                 weaned, raising the birth interval to 3
                                                 subsequently declined to 2,000–5,000                    in late August, September, and October                years or more (Garlich-Miller and
                                                 over the past decade (Sell and Weiss                    (Thomas et al. 2009, p. 1; Service 2010,              Stewart 1999, p. 188). The age of sexual
                                                 2010, p. 12). General observations                      unpublished data). Monitoring studies                 maturity and birth rates may be density-
                                                 indicate that declining walrus counts at                conducted in association with oil and                 dependent (Fay et al. 1989, pp. 1–16;
                                                 Round Island may, in part, reflect a                    gas exploration suggest that the use of               Fay et al. 1997, pp. 537–565; Garlich-
                                                 redistribution of animals to other coastal              coastal haulouts along the Arctic coast               Miller et al. 2006, pp. 892–893).
                                                 sites in the Bristol Bay region. For                    of Alaska during the summer months is                    The low birth rate of walruses is offset
                                                 example, walruses have been observed                    dependent upon the availability of sea                in part by considerable maternal
                                                 increasingly regularly at the Cape                      ice. For example, in 2006 and 2008,                   investment in offspring (Fay et al. 1997,
                                                 Seniavin haulout on the Alaska                          walruses foraging off the Chukchi Sea                 p. 550). Assumed survival rates through
                                                 Peninsula since the 1970s, and at Cape                  coast of Alaska remained with the ice                 the first year of life range from 0.5 to 0.9
                                                 Peirce and Cape Newenham in                             pack over the continental shelf during                (Fay et al. 1997, p. 550). Survival rates
                                                 northwest Bristol Bay since the early                   the months of August, September, and                  for juveniles through adults (i.e., 4–20
                                                 1980s (Jay and Hills 2005, p. 193; Figure               October. However in 2007, 2009, and                   years old) have been assumed to be as
                                                 1 in Garlich-Miller et al. 2011).                       2010, the pack ice retreated beyond the               high as 0.96 to 0.99 per cent (DeMaster
                                                    Traditional male summer haulouts                     continental shelf and large numbers of                1984, p. 78; Fay et al. 1997, p. 544),
                                                 along the Bering Sea coast of Russia                    walruses hauled out on land at several                declining to zero by 40 to 45 years
                                                 include sites along the Kamchatka                       locations between Point Barrow and                    (Chivers 1999, p. 240). Using published
                                                 Peninsula, the Gulf of Anadyr (most                     Cape Lisburne, Alaska (Ireland et al.                 estimates of survival and reproduction,
                                                 notably Rudder and Meechkin spits),                     2009, p. xvi; Thomas et al. 2009, p. 1;               Chivers (1999, pp. 239–247) developed
                                                 and Arakamchechen Island (Garlich-                      Service 2010, unpublished data; Figure                an individual age-based model of the
                                                 Miller and Jay 2000, pp. 58–65; Figure                  1 in Garlich-Miller et al. 2011).                     Pacific walrus population, which
                                                 1 in Garlich-Miller et al. 2011). Several                  Transitory coastal haulouts have also              yielded a maximum population growth
                                                 of the southernmost haulouts along the                  been reported in late fall (October–                  rate of 8 percent, but cautioned this
                                                 coast of Kamchatka have not been                        November) along the southern Chukchi                  should not be considered to be an
                                                 occupied in recent years, and the                       Sea coast, coinciding with the southern               estimate of the maximum growth rate
                                                 number of animals in the Gulf of                        migration. Mixed herds of walruses                    (Chivers 1999, p. 239). Thus, the 8
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                                                 Anadyr has also declined in recent years                frequently come to shore to rest for a                percent figure remains theoretical
                                                 (Kochnev 2005, p. 4). Factors                           few days to weeks along the coast before              because age-specific survival rates for
                                                 influencing abundance at Bering Sea                     continuing on their migration to the                  free-ranging walruses are poorly known.
                                                 haulouts are poorly understood, but                     Bering Sea. Cape Lisburne, Alaska, and
                                                 may include changes in prey densities                   Capes Serdtse-Kamen’ and Dezhnev,                     Abundance
                                                 near the haulouts, changes in                           Russia, are the most consistently used                  Based on large sustained harvests in
                                                 population size, disturbance levels, and                haulouts in the Chukchi Sea at this time              the 18th and 19th centuries, Fay (1982,
                                                 changing seasonal distributions (Jay and                of year (Garlich-Miller and Jay 2000, pp.             p. 241) speculated that the pre-


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                                                 exploitation population was represented                                      by the United States and Russia at 5-                 systems to detect walruses hauled out
                                                 by a minimum of 200,000 animals.                                             year intervals produced population                    on sea ice and satellite transmitters to
                                                 Since that time, population size is                                          estimates ranging from 201,039 to                     account for walruses in the water
                                                 believed to have fluctuated in response                                      290,000. Efforts to survey the Pacific                (Speckman et al. 2010, p. 4). The
                                                 to varying levels of human exploitation.                                     walrus population were suspended by                   number of walruses within the surveyed
                                                 Large-scale commercial harvests are                                          both countries after 1990, due to                     area was estimated at 129,000, with 95-
                                                 believed to have reduced the population                                      unresolved problems with survey                       percent confidence intervals of 55,000
                                                 to 50,000–100,000 animals in the mid-                                        methods that produced population                      to 507,000 individuals. This is a
                                                 1950s (Fay et al. 1997, p. 539). The                                         estimates with unknown bias and                       minimum estimate, as weather
                                                 population apparently increased rapidly                                      unknown—but presumably large—                         conditions forced termination of the
                                                 in size during the 1960s and 1970s in                                        variances that severely limited their                 survey before much of the southwest
                                                 response to harvest regulations that                                         utility (Speckman et al. 2010, p. 3).                 Bering Sea was surveyed; animals were
                                                 limited the take of females (Fay et al.                                        In 2006, a joint U.S.-Russian survey                observed in that region as the surveyors
                                                 1989, p. 4). Between 1975 and 1990,                                          was conducted in the pack ice of the                  returned to Anchorage, Alaska. Table 1
                                                 visual aerial surveys jointly conducted                                      Bering Sea, using thermal imaging                     provides a summary of survey results.

                                                                                            TABLE 1—ESTIMATES OF PACIFIC WALRUS POPULATION SIZE, 1975–2006.
                                                                                                                                    Population size (with range or
                                                                                    Year                                                                                                         Reference
                                                                                                                                       confidence interval) a

                                                 1975   .........................................................................                        214,687         (Udevitz et al. 2001, p. 614).
                                                 1980   .........................................................................               250,000–290,000          (Johnson et al. 1982, p. 3; Fedoseev 1984, p. 58).
                                                 1985   .........................................................................                        242,366         (Udevitz et al. 2001, p. 614).
                                                 1990   .........................................................................                        201,039         (Gilbert et al. 1992, p. 28).
                                                 2006   .........................................................................       129,000 (50,000–500,000)         (Speckman et al. 2010).
                                                   aDue to differences in methods, comparisons of estimates across years (population trends) are not possible. Most estimates did not provide a
                                                 range or confidence interval.


                                                    We acknowledge that these survey                                          habitat had been covered (Speckman et                 the trend in abundance of the walrus
                                                 results suggest to some that the walrus                                      al. 2010). Due to these general problems,             population or the status of its prey to
                                                 population may be declining; however,                                        as well as seasonal differences among                 verify this hypothesis, and that whether
                                                 we do not believe the survey                                                 surveys (fall or spring) and                          density-dependent changes in life-
                                                 methodologies support such a definitive                                      technological advancements that correct               history parameters might have been
                                                 conclusion. Resource managers in                                             for some problems, we do not believe                  mediated by changes in population
                                                 Russia have concluded that the                                               the survey results provide a reliable                 abundance or changes in the carrying
                                                 population has declined, and                                                 basis for estimating a population trend.              capacity of the environment is
                                                 accordingly, have reduced harvest                                               Changes in the walrus population                   unknown.
                                                 quotas in recent years (Kochnev 2004, p.                                     have also been investigated by                        Summary of Information Pertaining to
                                                 284; Kochnev 2005, p. 4; Kochnev,                                            examining changes in biological                       the Five Factors
                                                 2010, pers. comm.), based in part on the                                     parameters over time. Based on
                                                 lower abundance estimate generated                                           evidence of changes in abundance,                        Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533)
                                                 from the 2006 survey results. However,                                       distributions, condition indices, and                 and implementing regulations (50 CFR
                                                 past survey results are not directly                                         life-history parameters, Fay et al. (1989,            part 424) set forth the procedures for
                                                 comparable among years due to                                                pp.1–16) and Fay et al. (1997, pp. 537–               adding species to, removing species
                                                 differences in survey methods, timing of                                     565) concluded that the Pacific walrus                from, or reclassifying species on the
                                                 surveys, segments of the population                                          population increased greatly in size                  Federal Lists of Endangered and
                                                 surveyed, and incomplete coverage of                                         during the 1960s and 1970s, and                       Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under
                                                 areas where walruses may have been                                           postulated that the population was                    section 4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may
                                                 present (Fay et al. 1997, p. 537); thus,                                     approaching, or had exceeded, the                     be determined to be endangered or
                                                 these results do not provide a basis for                                     carrying capacity of its environment by               threatened based on any of the
                                                 determining trends in population size                                        the early 1980s. Harvest increased in the             following five factors:
                                                 (Hills and Gilbert 1994, p. 203; Gilbert                                     1980s: changes in the size, composition,                 (A) The present or threatened
                                                 1999, pp. 75–84). Whether prior                                              and productivity of the sampled walrus                destruction, modification, or
                                                 estimates are biased low or high is                                          harvest in the Bering Strait Region of                curtailment of its habitat or range;
                                                 unknown, because of problems with                                            Alaska over this time frame are                          (B) Overutilization for commercial,
                                                 detecting individual animals on ice or                                       consistent with this hypothesis (Garlich-             recreational, scientific, or educational
                                                 land, and in open water, and difficulties                                    Miller et al. 2006, p. 892). Harvest levels           purposes;
                                                 counting animals in large, dense groups                                      declined sharply in the early 1990s, and                 (C) Disease or predation;
                                                 (Speckman et al. 2010, p. 33). In                                            increased reproductive rates and earlier                 (D) The inadequacy of existing
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                                                 addition, no survey has ever been                                            maturation in females occurred,                       regulatory mechanisms; or
                                                 completed within a timeframe that                                            suggesting that density-dependent                        (E) Other natural or manmade factors
                                                 could account for the redistribution of                                      regulatory mechanisms had been                        affecting its continued existence.
                                                 individuals (leading to double counting                                      relaxed and the population was likely                    In making this 12-month finding, we
                                                 or undercounting), or before weather                                         below carrying capacity (Garlich-Miller               considered and evaluated the best
                                                 conditions either delayed the effort or                                      et al. 2006, p. 893). However, Garlich-               available scientific and commercial
                                                 completely terminated the survey before                                      Miller et al. (2006, pp. 892–893) also                information. Information pertaining to
                                                 the entire area of potentially occupied                                      noted that there are no data concerning               the Pacific walrus in relation to the five


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                                                 7640                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the              Factor A. The Present or Threatened                   2007, the extent of Arctic Ocean sea ice
                                                 Act is discussed below.                                 Destruction, Modification, or                         reached a record low, approximately 50
                                                    In considering what factors might                    Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range                   percent lower than conditions in the
                                                 constitute threats to a species, we must                                                                      1950s through the 1970s, and 23 percent
                                                                                                            The following potential stressors that
                                                 look beyond the exposure of the species                                                                       below the previous record set in 2005
                                                                                                         may affect the habitat or range of the
                                                 to a particular stressor to evaluate                                                                          (Stroeve et al. 2008, p. 13). Minimum
                                                                                                         Pacific walrus are discussed in this
                                                 whether the species may respond to that                                                                       sea-ice extent in 2010 was the third
                                                                                                         section: (1) Loss of sea ice due to
                                                 stressor in a way that causes actual                                                                          lowest in the satellite record, behind
                                                                                                         climate change; and (2) effects on prey
                                                 impacts to the species. If there is                                                                           2007 and 2008 (second lowest), and
                                                                                                         species due to ocean warming and
                                                 exposure to a stressor and the species                                                                        most of this loss occurred on the Pacific
                                                                                                         ocean acidification.
                                                 responds negatively, the stressor may be                                                                      side of the Arctic Ocean.
                                                 a threat and we attempt to determine                    Effects of Global Climate Change on Sea-                 Of long-term significance is the loss of
                                                 how significant a threat it is. The threat              Ice Habitats                                          over 40 percent of Arctic multi-year sea
                                                 is significant if it drives, or contributes                The Pacific walrus depends on sea ice              ice over the last 5 years (Kwok et al.
                                                 to, the risk of extinction of the species               for several aspects of its life history.
                                                                                                                                                               2009, p. 1). Since 2004, there has been
                                                 such that the species warrants listing as                                                                     a reversal in the volumetric and areal
                                                                                                         This section describes recent
                                                 endangered or threatened as those terms                                                                       contributions between first-year ice and
                                                                                                         observations and future projections of
                                                 are defined in the Act. However, the                                                                          multi-year ice in regards to the total
                                                                                                         sea-ice conditions in the Bering and
                                                 identification of stressors that could                                                                        volume and area of the Arctic Ocean
                                                                                                         Chukchi Seas through the end of the
                                                 impact a species negatively may not be                                                                        that they cover, with first-year ice now
                                                                                                         21st century. Following this
                                                 sufficient to compel a finding that the                                                                       predominating (Kwok et al. 2009, p. 16).
                                                                                                         presentation on the changing ice
                                                 species warrants listing. The                                                                                 Export of ice through Fram Strait,
                                                                                                         dynamics, we examine how these
                                                 information must include evidence                                                                             together with the decline in multi-year
                                                                                                         changing ice conditions may affect the
                                                 sufficient to suggest that these stressors                                                                    ice coverage, suggests that recently there
                                                                                                         Pacific walrus population.
                                                 are operative threats that act on the                                                                         has been near-zero replenishment of
                                                                                                            The Arctic Ocean is covered primarily
                                                 species to the point that the species                                                                         multi-year ice (Kwok et al. 2009, p. 16).
                                                                                                         by a mix of multi-year sea ice, whereas
                                                 meets the definition of endangered or                                                                         The area of the Arctic Ocean covered by
                                                 threatened under the Act. Also, because                 more southerly regions, such as the                   ice predominantly older than 5 years
                                                 an individual stressor may not be a                     Bering Sea, are seasonal ice zones where              decreased by 56 percent between 1982
                                                 threat by itself, but could be in                       first-year ice is renewed every winter.               and 2007 (Polyak et al. 2010, p. 1759).
                                                 conjunction with one or more other                      The observed and projected effects of                 Within the central Arctic Ocean, old ice
                                                 stressors, our process includes                         global warming vary in different parts of             has declined by 88 percent, and ice that
                                                 considering the combined effects of                     the world, and the Arctic and Antarctic               is at least 9 years old has essentially
                                                 stressors.                                              regions are increasingly recognized as                disappeared (Markus et al. 2009, p. 13:
                                                    To inform our analysis of threats to                 being extremely vulnerable to current                 Polyak et al. 2010, p. 1759). In addition,
                                                 the Pacific walrus, we also took into                   and projected effects. For several                    from 2005 to 2008 there was a thinning
                                                 consideration the results of two                        decades, the surface air temperatures in              of 0.6 m (1.9 ft) in multi-year ice
                                                 Bayesian network modeling efforts; one                  the Arctic have warmed at                             thickness. It is likely that the rapid
                                                 conducted by the Service (Garlich-                      approximately twice the global rate                   decline of sea ice in 2007 was in part
                                                 Miller et al. 2011), and the other                      (Christensen et al. 2007, p. 904). The                the result of thinner and lower coverage,
                                                 conducted by the U.S. Geological                        observed and projected effects of                     of the multi-year ice (Comiso et al. 2008,
                                                 Survey (USGS) (Jay et al. 2010b).                       climate change are most extreme during                p. 6). It would take many years to
                                                 Although quantitative, empirical data                   summer in northern high-latitude                      restore the ice thickness through annual
                                                 can be used in Bayesian networks, when                  regions, in large part due to the ice-                growth, and the loss of multi-year ice
                                                 primarily qualitative data are available,               albedo (reflective property) feedback                 makes it unlikely that the age and
                                                 such as for the Pacific walrus, the                     mechanism, in which melting of snow                   thickness composition of the ice pack
                                                 models are well suited to formalizing                   and sea ice lowers surface reflectivity,              will return to previous climatological
                                                 and quantifying the opinions of experts                 thereby further increasing surface                    conditions with continued global
                                                 (Marcot et al. 2006, p. 3063). Bayesian                 warming from absorption of solar                      warming. Further loss of sea ice will be
                                                 network models (also known as                           radiation.                                            a major driver of changes across the
                                                 Bayesian belief networks, reflecting the                   Since 1979 (the beginning of the                   Arctic over the next decades, especially
                                                 importance of expert opinion)                           satellite record of sea-ice conditions),              in late summer and autumn (NOAA
                                                 graphically display the relevant                        there has been an overall reduction in                2010, p. 77503).
                                                 stressors, the interactions among                       the extent of Arctic sea ice (Parkinson                  Due to asymmetric geography of the
                                                 stressors, and the cumulative impact of                 et al. 1999, p. 20837; Comiso 2002, p.                Arctic and the scale of weather patterns,
                                                 those stressors as they are integrated                  1956; Stroeve et al. 2005, pp. 1–4;                   there is considerable regional variability
                                                 through the network. In general terms,                  Comiso 2006, pp. 1–3; Meier et al. 2007,              in sea-ice cover (Meier et al. 2007, p.
                                                 the network is composed of input                        p. 428; Stroeve et al. 2007, p. 1; Comiso             430), and although the early loss of
                                                 variables that represent key                            et al. 2008, p. 1; Stroeve et al. 2008, p.            summer sea ice and volumetric ice loss
                                                 environmental correlates (e.g., sea-ice                 13). Although the decline is a year-                  in the Arctic applies directly to the
                                                 loss, harvest, shipping) and response                   round trend, far greater reductions have              Chukchi Sea, it cannot be directly
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                                                 variables, (e.g., population status).                   been noted in summer sea ice than in                  extrapolated to the seasonal ice zone of
                                                 Although we did not rely on the results                 winter sea ice. For example, from 1979                the Bering Sea (NOAA 2010, p. 77503).
                                                 of the Bayesian models as the sole basis                to 2009, the extent of September sea ice              The contrasts between the two are
                                                 for our conclusions in this finding, the                seen Arctic wide has declined 11                      dramatic: The Bering Sea is one of the
                                                 models corroborated the results of our                  percent per decade (Polyak et al. 2010,               most stable in terms of sea ice,
                                                 threats analysis. Results of the models                 p. 1797). In recent years, the trend in               especially in the winter, and the
                                                 are presented in the five-factor analysis               Arctic sea-ice loss has accelerated                   Chukchi Sea has had some of the most
                                                 below, where pertinent.                                 (Comiso et al. 2008, p. 1). In September              dramatic losses of summer sea ice


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                                                 (Meier et al., p. 431). Below, we describe              documented for 1979 to 2005 for May                   and early January resulted in most of the
                                                 the sea-ice conditions in the Bering and                (¥0.19 percent), June (¥4.3 percent),                 eastern Bering Sea shelf being ice-
                                                 Chukchi Seas as they occur presently, as                July (¥6.7 percent), August (¥15.4                    covered by mid-January, an advance of
                                                 well as recent trends and projections for               percent), September (¥26.3 percent),                  900 km (559 mi), or 30 km per day (19
                                                 the future.                                             October (¥18.6 percent), and November                 mi per day). Maximum ice extent
                                                    In March and April, at maximal sea-                  (¥8.0 percent): The overall annual                    occurred in late March, with ice
                                                 ice extent, the Chukchi Sea is typically                reduction (¥4.9 percent) is statistically             covering much of the shelf, resulting in
                                                 completely frozen, and ice cover in the                 significant (Meier et al. 2007, p. 431). In           a near record maximum ice extent. Ice
                                                 Bering Sea extends southward to a                       essence, the Chukchi Sea has shown                    then slowly retreated, and the Bering
                                                 latitude of approximately 58–60 degrees                 declines in all months when it is not                 Sea was not ice-free until almost July.
                                                 north (Boveng et al. 2008, pp. 33–52).                  completely ice-covered, with greatest                 Therefore, winter ice conditions are not
                                                 The Bering Sea spans the marginal sea-                  declines in months of maximal melt and                necessarily related to the summer-fall
                                                 ice zone, where ice gives way to water                  early freeze-up (August, September, and               ice conditions of the previous year.
                                                 at the southern edge, and around the                    October).
                                                 peripheries of persistent polynyas. Sea                   During the period 1979–2006, the                    Model Projections of Future Sea Ice
                                                 ice in the Bering Sea is highly dynamic                 September sea-ice extent in the Chukchi                  The analysis and synthesis of
                                                 and largely a wind-driven system                        Sea decreased by 26 percent per decade                information presented by the
                                                 (Sasaki and Minobe 2005, pp. 1–2). Ice                  (Douglas 2010, p. 2). In recent years, sea            Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
                                                 cover is comprised of a variety of first-               ice typically has retreated from                      Change (IPCC) in its Fourth Assessment
                                                 year ice thicknesses, from young, very                  continental shelf regions of the Chukchi              Report (AR4) in 2007 represents the
                                                 thin ice to first-year floes that may be                Sea in August or September, with open                 scientific consensus view on the causes
                                                 upwards of 1.0-m (3.3-ft) thick (Burns et               water conditions persisting over much                 and future of climate change. The IPCC
                                                 al. 1980, p. 100; Zhang et al. 2010, p.                 of the continental shelf through late                 AR4 used state-of-the-art Atmosphere-
                                                 1729). Depending on wind patterns, a                    October. In contrast, during the                      Ocean General Circulation Models
                                                 variable (but relatively minor) fraction                preceding 20 years (1979–1998), broken                (GCMs) and a range of possible future
                                                 of ice that drifts south through the                    sea-ice habitat persisted over                        greenhouse gas (GHG) emission
                                                 Bering Strait could be comprised of                     continental shelf areas of the Chukchi                scenarios to project plausible outcomes
                                                 some thicker ice floes that originated in               Sea through the entire summer (Jay and                globally and regionally, including
                                                 the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas (Kozo et                  Fischbach 2008, p. 1).                                projections of temperature and Arctic
                                                 al. 1987, pp. 193–195).                                   From 1979 to 2007, there was a                      sea-ice conditions through the 21st
                                                    Ice melt in the Bering Sea usually                   general trend toward earlier onset of ice             century.
                                                 begins in late April and accelerates in                 melt and later onset of freeze-up in 9 of                The GCMs use the laws of physics to
                                                 May, with the edge of the ice moving                    10 Arctic regions analyzed by Markus et               simulate the main components of the
                                                 northward until it passes through the                   al. (2009, pp. 1–14), the exception being             climate system (the atmosphere, ocean,
                                                 Bering Strait, typically in June. The                   the Sea of Okhotsk. For the entire                    land surface, and sea ice) and to make
                                                 Bering Sea remains ice free for the                     Arctic, the melt season length has                    projections as to the response of these
                                                 duration of the summer. Ice continues to                increased by about 20 days over the last              components to future emissions of
                                                 retreat northward through the Chukchi                   30 years, due to the combined earlier                 GHGs. The IPCC used simulations from
                                                 Sea until September, when minimal sea-                  melt and later freeze-up. The largest                 about 2 dozen GCMs developed by 17
                                                 ice extent is reached.                                  increases, of over 10 days per decade,                international modeling centers as the
                                                    Freeze-up begins in October, with the                have been seen for Hudson Bay, the East               basis for the AR4 (Randall et al. 2007,
                                                 ice edge progressing southward across                   Greenland Sea, and the Laptev/East                    pp. 596–599). The GCM results are
                                                 the Chukchi Sea. The ice edge usually                   Siberian Seas. From 1979 to 2007, there               archived as part of the Coupled Model
                                                 reaches the Bering Strait in November                   was a general trend toward earlier onset              Intercomparison Project–Phase 3
                                                 and advances through the Strait in                      of ice melt and later onset of freeze-up              (CMIP3) at the Program for Climate
                                                 December. The ice edge continues to                     in both the Bering and Chukchi Seas:                  Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
                                                 move southward across the Bering Sea                    For the Bering Sea, the onset of ice melt             (PCMDI). The CMIP3 GCMs provide
                                                 until its maximal extent is reached in                  occurred 1.0 day earlier per decade,                  projections of future effects that could
                                                 March. There is considerable year-to-                   while in the Chukchi/Beaufort Seas ice                result from climate change, because they
                                                 year variation in the timing and extent                 melt occurred 3.5 days earlier per                    are built on well-known dynamical and
                                                 of ice retreat and formation (Boveng et                 decade. The onset of freeze-up in the                 physical principles, and they plausibly
                                                 al. 2008, p. 37; Douglas 2010, p. 19).                  Bering Sea occurred 1.0 day later per                 simulate many large-scale aspects of
                                                    Within various regions of the Arctic,                decade, while freeze-up in the Chukchi/               present-day conditions. However, the
                                                 there is substantial variation in the                   Beaufort Seas occurred 6.9 days later                 coarse resolution of most current
                                                 monthly trends of sea ice (Meier et al.                 per decade (Markus et al. 2009, p. 11).               climate models dictates careful
                                                 2007, p. 431). In the Bering Sea,                         Later freeze-up in the Arctic does not              application on smaller spatial scales in
                                                 statistically significant monthly                       necessarily mean that less seasonal sea               heterogeneous regions.
                                                 reductions in the extent of sea ice over                ice forms by winter’s end in the                         The IPCC AR4 used six ‘‘marker’’
                                                 the period 1979–2005 were documented                    peripheral seas, such as the Bering and               scenarios from the Special Report on
                                                 for March (¥4.8 percent), October                       Chukchi Seas (Boveng et al. 2008, p.                  Emissions Scenarios (SRES) (Carter et
                                                 (¥42.9 percent), and November (¥20.3                    35). For example, in 2007 (the year                   al. 2007, p. 160) to develop climate
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                                                 percent), although the overall annual                   when the record minimal Arctic                        projections spanning a broad range of
                                                 decline (¥1.9 percent) is not                           summer sea-ice extent was recorded),                  GHG emissions through the end of the
                                                 statistically significant (Meier et al.                 the Chukchi Sea did not freeze until                  21st century under clearly stated
                                                 2007, p. 431). The Bering Sea declines                  early December and the Bering Sea                     assumptions about socioeconomic
                                                 were greatest in October and November,                  remained largely ice-free until the                   factors that could influence the
                                                 the period of early freeze-up. In the                   middle of December (Boveng et al. 2008,               emissions. The six ‘‘marker’’ scenarios
                                                 Chukchi Sea, statistically significant                  p. 35). However, rapid cooling and                    are classified according to their
                                                 monthly reductions were also                            advancing of sea ice in late December                 emissions as ‘‘high’’ (A1F1, A2),


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                                                 ‘‘medium’’ (A1B and B2) and ‘‘low’’                     Excluding models that poorly simulate                 that may or not be realized. Thus, there
                                                 (A1T, B1). The SRES made no judgment                    observational data is also a common                   are a number of studies in the published
                                                 as to which of the scenarios were more                  approach to reducing the spread of                    sea-ice literature that use the A1B
                                                 likely to occur, and the scenarios were                 uncertainty among projections from                    scenario and can, therefore, be used for
                                                 not assigned probabilities of occurrence                multi-model ensembles.                                comparative purposes (e.g., Overland
                                                 (Carter et al. 2007, p. 160). The IPCC                     The third source of variation arises               and Wang 2007; Holland et al. 2010;
                                                 focused on three of the marker                          from the range in plausible GHG                       Wang et al. 2010). Second, both the A1B
                                                 scenarios—B1, A1B, and A2—for its                       emissions scenarios. Conditions such as               and A2 scenarios project similar
                                                 synthesis of the climate modeling                       surface air temperature and sea-ice area              declines in hemispheric sea-ice extent
                                                 efforts, because they represented ‘‘low,’’              are linked in the IPCC climate models                 out to 2100 (Meehl et al. 2007, Figure
                                                 ‘‘medium,’’ and ‘‘high,’’ scenarios; this               to GHG emissions by the physics of                    10.13, p. 771); thus, little new
                                                 choice stemmed from the constraints of                  radiation processes. When CO2 is added                understanding is gained by using
                                                 available computer resources that                       to the atmosphere, it has a long                      projections from both scenarios (see
                                                 precluded realizations of all six                       residence time and is only slowly                     discussion of Douglas 2010 in
                                                 scenarios by all modeling centers                       removed by ocean absorption and other                 subsequent paragraphs). Third, model
                                                 (Meehl et al. 2007, p. 753). With regard                processes. Based on IPCC AR4 climate                  projections based on the B1 scenario
                                                 to these three emissions scenarios, the                 models, expected global warming—                      appear to be overly conservative (Meehl
                                                 IPCC Working Group I report noted:                      defined as the change in global mean                  et al. 2007, Figure 10.13, p. 771), in that
                                                 ‘‘Qualitative conclusions derived from                  surface air temperature (SAT)—by the                  sea ice is declining even faster than the
                                                 these three scenarios are in most cases                 year 2100 depends strongly on the                     decline forecasted by the A1B scenario
                                                 also valid for other SRES scenarios’’                   assumed emissions of CO2 and other                    (see discussion at end of this section).
                                                 (Meehl et al. 2007, p. 761). It is                      GHGs. By contrast, warming out to                     Fourth, current global carbon emissions
                                                 important to note that the SRES                         about 2040–2050 will be largely due to                appear to be tracking slightly above
                                                 scenarios do not contain additional                     emissions that have already occurred                  (Raupach et al. 2007, Figure 1, p. 10289;
                                                 climate initiatives (e.g., implementation               and those that will occur over the next               LeQuere et al. 2009, Figure 1a, p. 2;
                                                 of the United Nations Framework                         decade (Meehl 2007, p. 749). Thus,                    Global Carbon Project 2010 at http://
                                                 Convention on Climate Change or the                     conditions projected to mid-century are               www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbon
                                                 emissions targets of the Kyoto Protocol)                less sensitive to assumed future                      budget/09/files/GCP2010_CarbonBudget
                                                 beyond current mitigation policies                      emission scenarios. For the second half               2009_29November2010.pdf) or slightly
                                                 (IPCC 2007, p. 22). The SRES scenarios                  of the 21st century, however, and                     below (Manning et al. 2010, Figure 1, p.
                                                 do, however, have built-in emissions                    especially by 2100, the choice of the                 377) the A1B trajectory at this point in
                                                 reductions that are substantial, based on               emission scenario becomes the major                   time. It may be reasonable to project this
                                                 assumptions that a certain amount of                    source of variation among climate                     or a higher trend in global carbon
                                                 technological change and reduction of                   projections and dominates over natural                emissions into the near future (Garnaut
                                                 emissions would occur in the absence of                 variability and model-to-model                        et al. 2008, Figure 5, p. 392; Sheehan
                                                 climate policies; recent analysis shows                 differences (IPCC 2007, pp. 44–46).                   2008, Figure 2, p. 220; but see caveat by
                                                 that two-thirds or more of all the energy                  Because the SRES group and the IPCC
                                                                                                                                                               van Vuuren et al. 2010). Fifth, there is
                                                 efficiency improvements and                             made no judgment on the likelihood of
                                                                                                                                                               a growing body of opinion that
                                                 decarbonization of energy supply                        any of the scenarios, and the scenarios
                                                                                                                                                               stabilizing GHG emissions at levels well
                                                 needed to stabilize GHGs is built into                  were not assigned probabilities of
                                                                                                                                                               below the A1B scenario (e.g., at 450
                                                 the IPCC reference scenarios (Pielke et                 occurrence, one option for representing
                                                                                                                                                               parts per million (ppm), equivalent to a
                                                 al. 2008, p. 531).                                      the full range of variability in potential
                                                                                                         outcomes, would be to evaluate                        2 degree Celsius increase in
                                                    There are three main contributors to
                                                                                                         projections from all models under all                 temperature) will be difficult in the
                                                 divergence in GCM climate projections:
                                                                                                         marker scenarios for which sea-ice                    absence of substantial policy-mandated
                                                 Large natural variations, across-model
                                                                                                         projections are available to the scientific           mitigation (e.g., Garnaut et al. 2007, p.
                                                 differences, and the range-in-emissions
                                                                                                         community—A2, A1B, and B1. Another                                            ¨
                                                                                                                                                               398; den Elzen and Hohne 2008, p. 250;
                                                 scenarios (Hawkins and Sutton 2009, p.
                                                                                                         typical procedure for projecting future               Pielke et al. 2008, pp. 531–532;
                                                 1096). The first of these, variability from
                                                                                                         outcomes is to use an intermediate                    Macintosh 2009, p. 3; den Elzen et al.
                                                 natural variation, can be incorporated
                                                 by averaging the projections over                       scenario, such as A1B, to predict                     2010, p. 314; Tomassini et al. 2010, p.
                                                 decades, or, preferably, by forming                     changes, or one intermediate and one                  418; Anderson and Bows 2011, p. 20),
                                                 ensemble averages from several runs of                  high scenario (e.g., A1B and A2) to                   largely as a result of continuing high
                                                 the same model.                                         capture a range of variability.                       emissions in certain developed
                                                    The second source of variation is                       Several factors suggest that the A1B               countries, and recent and projected
                                                 model to model differences in the way                   scenario may be a particularly                        growth in the economies and energy
                                                 that physical processes are incorporated                appropriate choice of scenario to use for             demands of rapidly developing
                                                 into the various GCMs. Because of these                 projections of sea-ice declines in the                countries (e.g., Garnaut et al. 2008, p.
                                                 differences, projections of future climate              Arctic and its marginal seas. First, the              392; Auffhammer and Carson 2008, p. 1;
                                                 conditions depend, to a certain extent,                 A1B scenario is widely used in                        Pielke et al. 2008, p. 532; U.S. Energy
                                                 on the choice of GCMs used.                             modeling because it is a ‘‘medium’’                   Information Administration 2010, pp.
                                                 Uncertainty in the amount of warming                    emissions scenario characterized by a                 123–124, 128). Because of these factors,
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                                                 out to mid-century is primarily a                       future world of very rapid economic                   we conclude that sea-ice projections
                                                 function of these model-to-model                        growth, global population that peaks in               developed by using the A1B forcing
                                                 differences. The most common                            mid-century and declines thereafter,                  scenario provide an appropriate basis
                                                 approach to address the uncertainty and                 rapid introduction of new and more                    for evaluating potential impacts to
                                                 biases inherent in individual models is                 efficient technologies, and development               habitat and related impacts to the
                                                 to use the median or mean outcome of                    of energy technologies that are balanced              Pacific walrus population in the future.
                                                 several predictive models (a multi-                     across energy sources, and it contains                   Our analysis of sea-ice response to
                                                 model ensemble) for inference.                          no assumption of mitigation policies                  global warming within the range of the


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                                                 Pacific walrus (Bering and Chukchi                         The analysis of Douglas (2010, pp. 24,                The projected loss of sea ice involves
                                                 Seas) carefully considered the synthesis                31) yields mid-century projections that               uncertainty. In discussing this, Douglas
                                                 of GCM projections presented by                         indicate sea-ice extent in the Bering Sea             2010 (p. 11) states, in part: ‘‘Ice-free
                                                 Douglas (2010). We provide a broad                      will decline for all months when sea ice              conditions in the Chukchi Sea are
                                                 overview of the methods and findings of                 has historically been present, i.e., for              attained for a 3-month period (August–
                                                 the report by Douglas (2010), details of                October through June. The most                        October) at the end of the century (fig
                                                 which are available in the full report.                 pronounced reductions in Bering Sea                   7) with almost complete agreement
                                                    Douglas (2010, pp. 4–5) quantified                   ice extent at mid-century in terms of the             among models of the SD2 subset (fig 12).
                                                 sea-ice projections (from the A2 and                    percent change from baseline conditions               Consequently, a higher degree of
                                                 A1B scenarios) by 18 CMIP3 GCM                          are expected in the months of June and                confidence can accompany hypotheses
                                                 models prepared for the IPCC fourth                     November, which reflects an                           or decisions premised on this outcome
                                                 reporting period, as well as 2 GCM                      increasingly early onset of ice-free or               and timeframe.’’ Douglas also notes
                                                 subsets which excluded models that                      nearly ice-free conditions in the early               there is greater confidence in
                                                 poorly simulated the 1979–2008                          summer and later onset of sea-ice                     projections that the Chukchi Sea will
                                                 satellite record of Bering and Chukchi                  development in the fall. In June, the                 continue to be completely ice covered
                                                 sea-ice conditions. Analyses focused on                 projected extent of sea ice is ¥63                    during February–April at the end of
                                                 the annual cycle of sea-ice extent within               percent of the 1979–1988 baseline level,              century, and that large uncertainties are
                                                 the range of the Pacific walrus                         while the projected extent for November               prevalent during the melt and freeze
                                                 population, specifically the continental                is approximately is ¥88 percent of the                seasons, particularly June, November,
                                                 shelf waters of the Bering and Chukchi                  baseline level. By late century,                      and December (Douglas 2010, p. 11).
                                                 Seas. Models were selected for the two                  substantial declines in Bering Sea ice                   Several other investigations have
                                                 subsets, respectively, when their                       extent are projected for all months, with             analyzed model projections of sea-ice
                                                 simulated mean ice extent and                           losses ranging from 57 percent in April,              change in the Bering and Chukchi Seas
                                                 seasonality during 1979–2008 were                       to 100 percent loss of sea ice in                     and reported results that are consistent
                                                 within two standard deviations (SD2)                    November (Douglas 2010, p. 31). The                   with those of Douglas (2010). Wang et
                                                 and one standard deviation (SD1) of the                 onset of substantial freezing in the                  al. (2010, p. 258) investigated sea-ice
                                                 observed means. In consideration of                     Bering Sea is projected to be delayed                 projections to mid-century for the
                                                 observations of ice-free conditions                     until January by late century, with little            Bering Sea using a subset of models
                                                 across the Chukchi Sea in recent years                  or no ice projected to remain in May by               selected on the basis of their ability to
                                                 in late summer, any models that failed                  the end of the century (Douglas 2010,                 simulate sea-ice area in the late 20th
                                                 to simulate at least 1 ice-free month in                pp. 8, 24, 31).                                       century. Their projections show an
                                                 the Chukchi Sea were also excluded                         Historically, sea-ice cover has                    average decrease in March–April sea-ice
                                                 from the Chukchi Sea subset ensembles.                  persisted, to at least some extent, over              coverage of 43 percent by the decade
                                                 Ice observations and the projections of                 continental shelf waters of the Chukchi               centered on 2050, with a reasonable
                                                 individual GCMs were pooled over 10-                    Sea all 12 months of the year, although               degree of consistency among models.
                                                 year periods to integrate natural                       the extent of sea ice has varied by                   Boveng et al. (2008, pp. 39–40) analyzed
                                                 variability (Douglas 2010, p. 5).                       month. For example, for the 1979–1988                 a subset of IPCC AR4 GCM models
                                                    To quantify projected changes in                     period, the median extent of sea ice                  (selected for accuracy in simulating
                                                 monthly sea-ice extent, Douglas (2010,                  varied from about 50 percent in                       observed ice conditions) to evaluate
                                                 p. 31) compared future monthly sea-ice                  September to essentially 100 percent                  spring (April–June) conditions in the
                                                 projections for the Bering and Chukchi                  from late November through early May                  Bering Sea out to 2050. Their analysis
                                                 Seas at mid-century (2045–2054) and                     (Douglas 2010, p. 19). A pattern of                   suggested that by mid-century, a modest
                                                 late-century (2090–2099) with two                       extensive sea-ice cover (approaching                  decrease in the extent of sea ice in the
                                                 decades from the observational record                   100 percent) in late winter and early                 Bering Sea is expected during the month
                                                 (1979–1988 and 1999–2008). The                          spring (February–April) is expected to                of April, and that ice cover in May will
                                                 earliest observational period (1979–                    persist through the end of the century.               remain variable, with some years having
                                                 1988), which coincides with a                              Projections of sea-ice loss during June            considerably reduced ice cover. June
                                                 timeframe during which the Pacific                      in the Chukchi Sea are relatively                     sea-ice cover in the Bering Sea since the
                                                 walrus population was considered to be                  modest; however, the sea ice is                       1970s has been consistently low or
                                                 occupying most of its historical range                  projected to retreat rapidly during the               absent. Their models project that by
                                                 (Fay 1982, pp. 7–21), provides a useful                 month of July (Douglas 2010, p. 12).                  2050, ice cover in the Bering Sea will
                                                 baseline for examining projected                        Model subset medians project a 2-month                essentially disappear in June, with only
                                                 changes in sea-ice habitats.                            ice-free season at mid-century and a 4-               a rare year when the ice cover exceeds
                                                    Douglas (2010, p. 7) found that                      month ice-free season at the end of the               0.05 million sq km (0.03 million sq mi)
                                                 projected median sea-ice extents under                  century, centered around the month of                 (Boveng et al. 2008, pp. 39–40), a
                                                 both the A1B and A2 forcing scenarios                   September (Douglas 2010, pp. 8, 22, 24),              projection similar to that reported by
                                                 are qualitatively similar in the Bering                 with some models showing up to 5                      Douglas (2010, p. 24).
                                                 and Chukchi Seas in all seasons                         months ice-free by end of the century                    Boveng et al. (2009, pp. 44–54) used
                                                 throughout the 21st century. This                       (Douglas 2010, pp. 12, 22, 24). In the                a subset of IPCC AR4 models to further
                                                 finding is consistent with the generally                most recent observational decade (1999–               investigate sea-ice coverage in the
                                                 similar declines in hemispheric sea-ice                 2008), the southern extent of the Arctic              eastern Bering Sea (the area of greatest
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                                                 extent between the A1B and A2                           ice pack has retreated and advanced                   walrus distribution in the Bering Sea),
                                                 scenarios out to 2100 (Meehl et al. 2007,               through the Bering Strait in the months               Bering Strait, and the Chukchi Sea out
                                                 Figure 10.13, p. 771). Thus, our decision               of June and November, respectively. By                to 2070. For the eastern Bering Sea, they
                                                 to focus on ice projections by the A1B                  the end of the century, these transition              projected that sea-ice coverage will
                                                 forcing scenario (as described above) is                months may shift to May (1 month                      decline in the spring and fall, with fall
                                                 further substantiated, as there would be                earlier) and January (2 months later),                declines exceeding those of spring. By
                                                 little insight gained by considering the                respectively (Douglas 2010, pp. 12, 25–               2050, average sea-ice extent in
                                                 A2 scenario.                                            26).                                                  November and December would be


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                                                 approximately 14 percent of the 1980–                   Effects of Changing Sea-Ice Conditions                Island and the Gulf of Anadyr will
                                                 1999 mean, while sea-ice extent from                    on Pacific Walruses                                   likely continue to have adequate ice
                                                 March to May would be about 70                             The Pacific walrus is an ice-                      cover to support breeding aggregations
                                                 percent of the 1980–1999 mean. For the                  dependent species. Walruses are poorly                through mid-century, as the extent of
                                                 Bering Strait region, the model                         adapted to life in the open ocean and                 sea ice will still be relatively
                                                 projections indicated a longer ice-free                 must periodically haul out to rest.                   substantial, although slightly
                                                 period by 2050, largely as a result of                  Floating pack ice creates habitat from                diminished from the current extent
                                                 decreasing ice coverage in November                     which breeding behavior is staged (Fay                (Douglas 2010, p. 25). Walruses
                                                 and December. By 2050, they project                     et al. 1984, p. 81), and it provides a                currently wintering in Northern Bristol
                                                 that the March–May sea-ice extent in                    platform for calving (Fay 1982, p. 199),              Bay will likely shift their distribution
                                                 the Bering Strait region would be 80                    access to offshore feeding areas over the             northward in response to the projected
                                                 percent of the 1980–1999 mean, while                    continental shelf of the Bering and                   loss of seasonal pack ice in this region
                                                 November ice extent would be 20                         Chukchi Seas, passive transportation                  (Douglas 2010, p. 25). By the end of the
                                                 percent of the mean for that reference                  among feeding areas (Ray et al. 2006,                 century, winter sea-ice extent across the
                                                 period. For the Chukchi Sea, Boveng et                  pp. 404–407), and isolation from                      Bering Sea is expected to be greatly
                                                 al. (2009, pp. 49–50) reported a                        terrestrial predators and hunters. In this            reduced, and the median sea-ice edge is
                                                 projected reduction in sea-ice extent for               section, we first analyze the effects of              projected to be farther to the north
                                                 November by 2050, a slight decline for                  sea-ice loss on breeding and calving,                 (Douglas 2010, p. 25). Based on these
                                                 June by 2070, and a clear reduction for                 because these are essential life-history              projections, core areas of winter
                                                 November and December by 2070.                          events that depend on ice in specific                 abundance and breeding aggregations
                                                     Several authors note that sea-ice                   seasons. In the second part of this                   will likely shift farther north.
                                                 extent in the Arctic is decreasing at a                 section, we analyze how the anticipated               Potentially, the breeding aggregations
                                                 rate faster than projected by most IPCC-                increasing use of coastal haulouts due to             may shift into areas north of the Bering
                                                 recognized GCMs (Stroeve et al. 2007, p.                the loss of sea-ice habitat may cause                 Strait in the southern Chukchi Sea in
                                                 1; Overland and Wang 2007, p. 1; Wang                   localized prey depletion and affect                   some years by the end of the century
                                                 and Overland 2009, p. 1; Wang et al.                    walrus foraging, as well as increase their            (Douglas 2010, pp. 24, 28).
                                                 2010, p. 258), suggesting that GCM                      susceptibility to trampling, predation,                  Although the location of winter
                                                 projections of 21st century sea-ice losses              and hunting.                                          breeding aggregations will likely shift in
                                                                                                                                                               response to projected reductions in sea-
                                                 may be conservative (Douglas 2010, p.
                                                                                                         Effects of Sea-Ice Loss on Breeding and               ice extent, sea-ice platforms for herds of
                                                 11, and citations therein) and that ice-
                                                                                                         Calving                                               females will persist during the breeding
                                                 free conditions in September in the
                                                                                                         Breeding                                              season; therefore, we conclude that
                                                 Arctic may likely be achieved sooner
                                                                                                                                                               suitable conditions for breeding will
                                                 than projected by most models using the                    During the January-to-March breeding               likely persist into the foreseeable future.
                                                 A1B forcing scenario. In describing the                 season, walruses congregate in the                    We have no information that indicates
                                                 ‘‘faster than forecast’’ situation, Douglas             Bering Sea pack ice (Fay 1982, pp. 8–                 that the specific location of the ice is
                                                 notes that the minimum ice extents in                   11, 193; Fay et al. 1984, pp. 89–99),                 important, and sea ice is expected to
                                                 the Arctic for the summers of 2007–                     where the ice creates the stage for                   remain over shallow, food-rich areas.
                                                 2009 were well below the previous                       breeding. Females congregate in herds                 Therefore, we do not consider changes
                                                 record set in 2005, and concurs that                    on the ice and the bulls station                      in sea-ice extent during the winter
                                                 serious consideration must be given to                  themselves in the water alongside the                 breeding season to be a threat now or in
                                                 the possibility that the CMIP3 GCM                      herd and perform visual and acoustical                the foreseeable future.
                                                 projections collectively yield                          displays (Fay 1982, p. 193). Breeding
                                                 conservative time frames for sea-ice                    aggregations have been reported                       Calving
                                                 losses in this century (Douglas 2010, p.                southwest of St. Lawrence Island,                        Female walruses typically give birth
                                                 11); i.e., the projected changes he                     Alaska, south of Nunivak Island, Alaska,              to a single calf in May on sea ice, shortly
                                                 reports for the range of the Pacific                    and south of the Chukotka Peninsula in                before or during the northward spring
                                                 walrus may occur sooner than the                        the Gulf of Anadyr, Russia (Fay 1982, p.              migration through the Bering Strait. By
                                                 model projections indicate.                             21; Mymrin et al. 1990, pp. 105–113). It              mid-century, ice extent in the Bering
                                                     In conclusion, the actual loss of sea               is unlikely that breeding is tied to a                Strait Region is projected to be reduced
                                                 ice in recent years in the Arctic has been              specific geographic location, because of              during the May calving season, and by
                                                 faster than previously forecast, current                the large seasonal and inter-annual                   end of century, the Bering Sea is
                                                 GHG emissions are at or above those                     variability in sea-ice cover in the Bering            projected to be largely sea-ice-free
                                                 expected under the A1B scenario that                    Sea at this time of year. Fay et al. (1984,           during the month of May (Douglas 2010,
                                                 we (and most scientists studying Arctic                 p. 80) indicate probable changes in the               p. 25). As is the case with breeding, the
                                                 sea ice) relied on, models converge in                  locations of breeding aggregations based              birth of a calf and the natal period in the
                                                 predicting the extended absence of sea                  on differing amounts of sea ice. We                   weeks that follow are probably not tied
                                                 ice in the Chukchi Sea at the end of the                anticipate that seasonal pack ice will                to specific geographic locations. It is
                                                 century (Douglas 2010, pp. 12, 29), and                 continue to form across large areas of                reasonable to assume that suitable ice
                                                 there has been a marked loss of sea ice                 the northern Bering Sea, primarily in                 conditions for calving and post-calving
                                                 over the Chukchi Sea in the past decade.                January–March, and will persist in most               activity on sea ice will persist into the
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                                                 The best scientific information available               years through April (Douglas 2010, p.                 foreseeable future, even though the
                                                 gives us a high level of confidence that                25).                                                  location of favorable ice conditions is
                                                 despite some uncertainty among the                         The distribution of walruses during                likely to shift further to the north over
                                                 models, the projections are generally                   the winter breeding season will likely                time.
                                                 consistent and provide a reliable basis                 shift in the future in response to                       We conclude that changes in sea ice
                                                 for us to conclude that sea-ice loss in                 changing patterns of sea-ice                          during the spring calving season (April–
                                                 the range of the Pacific walrus has a                   development. Core areas of winter                     May) are not a threat now or in the
                                                 high likelihood of continuing.                          abundance south of Saint Lawrence                     foreseeable future. We have no


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                                                 information that indicates the specific                 century (2045–2054), ice-free conditions              ice as a foraging platform. Indirect
                                                 location of the ice is important, and sea               over most continental shelf regions of                effects of global climate change on
                                                 ice would remain over shallow, food-                    the Chukchi Sea are projected to persist              walrus prey species in this region are
                                                 rich areas.                                             for 2 months (August–September). By                   considered separately below in the
                                                                                                         late century, ice-free (or nearly sea-ice-            section: Effects of Global Climate
                                                 Summary of Effects of Sea-Ice Loss on
                                                                                                         free) conditions may persist for 3                    Change on Pacific Walrus Prey Species.
                                                 Breeding and Calving                                                                                             Most of the Pacific walrus population
                                                                                                         months, and extend to 4 to 5 months in
                                                    Breeding and calving activities utilize              some years (Douglas 2010, pp. 8, 12, 22,              (adult females, calves, juveniles, and
                                                 ice as a platform in the months of                      27). The average number of ice-free                   males that have not remained at coastal
                                                 January through May. Based on our                       months in the Bering Sea is projected to              haulouts in the Bering Sea) migrate
                                                 current understanding of these                          increase from the approximately 5.5                   northward in spring following the
                                                 activities, the specific location of the ice            months currently, to approximately 6.5                retreating pack ice through the Bering
                                                 is not important. Although sea-ice                      and 8.5 months at mid- and end of                     Strait to summer feeding areas over the
                                                 extent is projected to move northward                   century, respectively (Douglas 2010, pp.              continental shelf in the Chukchi Sea.
                                                 over time, sea ice is expected to persist               12, 27).                                              Historically, sufficient pack-ice habitat
                                                 in these months and be available for                                                                          has persisted over continental shelf
                                                 these life history functions. Therefore,                Observed and Expected Responses of                    regions of the Chukchi Sea through the
                                                 we do not consider changes in sea-ice                   Pacific Walruses to Declining Sea-Ice                 summer months such that walruses in
                                                 extent to be a threat to breeding or                    Habitats                                              the Chukchi Sea did not rely on coastal
                                                 calving activities now or in the                           Adult male walruses make greater use               haulouts with great frequency or in large
                                                 foreseeable future.                                     of coastal haulouts during ice-free                   numbers. Over the past decade,
                                                                                                         seasons than do females and dependent                 however, sea ice has begun to retreat
                                                 Effects of Increasing Dependence on
                                                                                                         young, and consequently, have a                       north beyond shallow continental shelf
                                                 Coastal Haulouts Due to Sea-Ice Loss
                                                                                                         broader distribution during ice-free                  waters of the Chukchi Sea in late
                                                    We begin this discussion with a                      seasons. Several thousand bulls remain                summer. This has caused walruses to
                                                 summary of sea-ice loss projections and                 in the Bering Sea through the ice-free                relocate to coastal haulouts, which they
                                                 recent observations. We follow with an                  summer months, where they make                        use as sites for resting between foraging
                                                 analysis of the potential effects to                    foraging excursions from coastal                      excursions. The number of walruses
                                                 Pacific walrus from an increasing                       haulouts in Bristol Bay, Alaska and the               using land-based haulouts along the
                                                 dependence on coastal haulouts,                         Gulf of Anadyr, Russia. The size of these             Chukchi Sea coast during the summer
                                                 particularly in the Chukchi Sea, and                    haulouts has changed over time; for                   months, and the duration of haulout
                                                 examine the use of coastal haulouts by                  example, at Round Island, the number                  use, has increased substantially over the
                                                 Atlantic walrus as a potential analog for               of hauled out walruses grew from about                past decade, with up to several tens of
                                                 Pacific walrus coastal haulout use. We                  3,000 animals in the late 1950s to about              thousands of animals hauling out at
                                                 analyze potential effects of increased                  12,000 in the early 1980s (Jay and Hills              some locations along the coast of Russia
                                                 dependency on coastal haulouts                          2005, p. 193), and has subsequently                   during ice-free periods (Ovsyanikov et
                                                 resulting from the loss of sea-ice                      declined to 2,000–5,000 animals in the                al. 2007, pp. 1–2; Kochnev 2008, p. 17–
                                                 habitats. Some of the effects to Pacific                past decade (Sell and Weiss 2010, p.                  20, Kavry et al. 2008, p. 248–251).
                                                 walrus that we have identified as a                     12). The reasons for changes in walrus                Coastal haulouts have also begun to
                                                 result of increasing dependence on                      haulout use in the Bering Sea are poorly              form along the Arctic coast of Alaska in
                                                 coastal haulouts (i.e., trampling,                      understood. Factors that could affect use             recent years (2007, 2009, and 2010)
                                                 predation, and hunting) would typically                 of haulouts include; prey abundance                   when sea ice retreated north of the
                                                 be discussed under other Factors. These                 and distribution, walrus density, and                 continental shelf in late summer
                                                 effects are discussed in this section in                physical alteration or chronic                        (Service 2010, unpublished data). The
                                                 the context of responses to declining sea               disturbance at the haulouts (Jay and                  occupation of terrestrial haulouts along
                                                 ice; however, it should be noted that we                Hills 2005, p. 198). Tagged males                     the Chukchi Sea coast for extended
                                                 also discuss predation under Factor C                   traveled up to 130 km (81 mi) to feed                 periods of time in late summer and fall
                                                 (Disease or Predation), and hunting                     from haulout sites in Bristol Bay (Jay                represents a relatively new and
                                                 under Factor B (Overutilization for                     and Hills 2005, p. 198). Because the                  significant change from traditional
                                                 Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or                benthic densities are poorly                          habitat use patterns. The consequences
                                                 Educational Purposes) and Factor D                      documented, it is not possible to link                of this observed and projected shift in
                                                 (The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory                  the changes in haulout use by males to                habitat use patterns is the primary focus
                                                 Mechanisms).                                            prey depletion. However, non-use of                   of our analysis.
                                                                                                         areas with shallow depths closer to the                  As sea ice withdraws from offshore
                                                 Summary of Sea-Ice Loss Projections                     haulouts suggests prey was not adequate               feeding areas over the continental shelf
                                                    Sea ice has historically persisted over              for effective foraging (Jay and Hills                 of the Chukchi Sea, walruses are
                                                 continental shelf regions of the Chukchi                2005, p. 198). Males have an advantage                expected to become increasingly
                                                 Sea through the entire melt season. Over                over females in that they are bigger and              dependent on coastal haulouts as a
                                                 the past decade, sea ice has begun to                   stronger and have no responsibilities                 foraging base during the summer
                                                 retreat beyond shallow continental shelf                related to the care of calves, and thus,              months. With a delay the onset of ice
                                                 waters in late summer. The recent trend                 can travel as far as necessary to locate              formation in the fall, and in the absence
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                                                 of rapid ice loss from continental shelf                food. Currently, males utilize terrestrial            of sea-ice cover in the southern Chukchi
                                                 regions of the Chukchi Sea in July and                  haulouts for 5 months or more (Jay and                Sea and northern Bering Sea in the
                                                 August is projected to persist, and will                Hills 2005, p. 198). It is unlikely that the          summer, walruses will likely remain at
                                                 likely accelerate in the future (Douglas                projected increase in ice-free months in              coastal haulouts for longer periods of
                                                 2010, p. 12). The onset of ice formation                the Bering Sea will alter male behavior               time until sea ice reforms in the fall or
                                                 in the fall over continental shelf regions              or survival rates at terrestrial haulouts             early winter. By the end of the century,
                                                 in the Chukchi and Bering Seas is                       because the adult males that utilize                  dependence on Chukchi Sea coastal
                                                 expected to be delayed, and by mid-                     Bering Sea haulouts do not rely on sea                haulouts by mixed groups of walruses


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                                                 for resting and as a foraging base may                  176–177; Grebmeier et al. 2006b, p.                   (National Snow and Ice Data Center,
                                                 extend from July into early winter                      346), and many coastal areas which                    2007). Ovsyanikov et al. (2007, pp. 2–3)
                                                 (December–January), when there may be                   provide the physical features of a                    reported that many of the walruses
                                                 up to a 2-month delay in freeze-up                      suitable haulout, may not have                        arriving at Wrangel Island, Russia, in
                                                 (Douglas 2010, pp. 12, 22). This                        sufficient food sources. A visual                     August 2007 were emaciated and weak,
                                                 expectation is consistent with                          comparison of areas of high benthic                   some too exhausted to flee or defend
                                                 observations made by Russian scientists                 production (e.g., Springer et al. 1996, p.            themselves from polar bears patrolling
                                                 that some of the coastal haulouts along                 209; Dunton et al. 2005, p. 3468;                     the coast. The authors attributed the
                                                 the southern Chukchi Sea coast of                       Grebmeier et al. 2006b, p. 346) and                   poor condition of these animals to the
                                                 Russia have persisted in recent years                   areas that have supported large                       rapid retreat of sea ice off of the shelf
                                                 into December (Kochnev 2010, pers.                      terrestrial haulouts of walruses (e.g.,               in July to waters too deep for walrus to
                                                 comm.).                                                 Cape Inkigur, Cape Serdtse-Kamen)                     feed. They also noted that the exhausted
                                                   Increased dependence on coastal                       indicates that walruses have historically             walruses could not find enough food
                                                 haulouts creates the following potential                selected sites near areas of very high                near the island for recovery (Ovsyanikov
                                                 impacts for walruses: Changes in                        benthic productivity. Benthic                         et al. 2007, p. 3).
                                                 foraging patterns and prey depletion;                   productivity along part of the western                   Females with dependent young are
                                                 increased vulnerability to mortality or                 shore of Alaska (i.e., along the eastern              likely to be disproportionally affected
                                                 injury due to trampling, especially for                 edge of the Chukchi Sea) is low because               by prey depletion and increased
                                                 calves, juveniles, and females; greater                 of the nutrient-poor waters of the Alaska             reliance on coastal haulouts as a
                                                 vulnerability to mortality or injury from               Coastal Current, especially for instance,             foraging base. Females with dependent
                                                 predation; and greater vulnerability to                 in the Kotzebue Sound (Dunton et al.                  young require two to three times the
                                                 mortality due to hunting. Each is                       2005, p. 3468; Dunton et al. 2006, p.                 amount of food needed by nonlactating
                                                 discussed in detail below.                              369; Grebmeier et al. 2006b, p. 346).                 females (Fay 1982, p. 159). Over the past
                                                                                                         Consequently, the number of sites with                decade, females and dependent calves
                                                 Changes in Foraging Patterns and Prey
                                                                                                         adequate food resources to support large              have responded to the loss of sea ice in
                                                 Depletion
                                                                                                         aggregations of walruses is likely                    late summer by occupying coastal
                                                    The loss of seasonal pack ice from                   limited.                                              haulouts along the coast of Chukotka,
                                                 continental shelf areas of the Chukchi                     A consequence of prey depletion                    Russia, and more recently (2007–2010)
                                                 Sea is expected to reduce access to                     could be an increased energetic cost to               haulouts along the coast of Alaska.
                                                 traditional foraging areas across the                   locate sufficient food resources                      Females typically nurse their calves
                                                 continental shelf and increase                          (Sheffield and Grebmeier 2009, p. 770;                between short foraging forays from sea-
                                                 competition among individuals for food                  Jay et al. 2010b, pp. 9–10). Energetic                ice platforms situated over productive
                                                 resources in areas close to haulouts.                   costs to walruses will increase if they               forage areas (Ray et al. 2006, pp. 404–
                                                 Information regarding the density of                    have to travel greater distances to locate            407). Drifting ice provides walrus
                                                 walrus prey items accessible from                       prey, or foraging efficiency is reduced as            passive transport and access to new
                                                 coastal haulouts is limited; however,                   a consequence of lower prey densities                 foraging areas with minimal effort. In
                                                 some haulouts have supported sizable                    (Sheffield and Grebmeier 2009, p. 770;                2007, radio-tagged females traveled on
                                                 concentrations of animals (up to several                Jay et al. 2010b, pp. 9–10). Observations             average, 30.7 km (19 mi) on foraging
                                                 tens of thousands of animals) for                       by Russian scientists at haulouts along               trips from several haulouts located
                                                 periods of up to 4 months in recent                     the coast of Chukotka (along the western              along the Chukotka coastline (Kochnev
                                                 years (Kochnev 2010, pers. comm.).                      side of the Chukchi Sea) in recent years              et al. 2008, p. 265). Although we do not
                                                 Many walrus prey species are slow                       suggest that rates of calf mortality and              know the average distance of foraging
                                                 growing and potentially vulnerable to                   poor body condition of adult females are              trips taken from an ice platform, in
                                                 overexploitation, and intensive foraging                inversely related to the persistence of               general, we would expect them to be
                                                 from coastal haulouts by large numbers                  sea ice over offshore feeding areas and               relatively short, because when the ice is
                                                 of walruses may eventually result in                    the length of time that animals occupy                over productive prey areas, the female
                                                 localized prey depletion (Ray et al.                    coastal haulouts (Nikiforov et al. 2007,              only has to dive to the bottom and back
                                                 2006, p. 412). A walrus requires                        pp. 1–2; Ovsyanikov et al. 2007, pp. 1–               up to the ice (Ray et al. 2006, pp. 406–
                                                 approximately 29 to 74 kg (64 to 174                    3; Kochnev 2008, pp. 17–20; Kochnev et                407). Because calves do not have the
                                                 lbs) of food per day (Fay 1982, p. 160),                al. 2008, p. 265). Over time, poor body               swimming endurance of adults, if
                                                 and may consume 4,000 to 6,000 clams                    condition could lead to lower                         sufficient prey is not located within the
                                                 in one feeding bout (Ray et al. 2006, pp.               reproductive rates, greater susceptibility            swimming distance of the calf, the
                                                 408, 412); therefore, when large                        to disease or predation, and ultimately               female either may not be able to obtain
                                                 numbers of walruses are concentrated                    higher mortality rates (Kochnev 2004,                 adequate nutrition or the calf may be
                                                 on coastal haulouts, a large amount of                  pp. 285–286; Kochnev et al. 2008, p.                  abandoned when the female travels to
                                                 prey (whether clams or other types of                   265; Sheffield and Grebmeier 2009, p.                 locations beyond the swimming
                                                 prey) must be available to support them.                770).                                                 capability of the calf (Cooper et al. 2006,
                                                    The presence of large numbers of                        The energetic cost of swimming a long              pp. 98–102). Lack of adequate prey for
                                                 walruses at a coastal haulout over an                   distance is demonstrated by the                       females could eventually lead to
                                                 extended time period could eventually                   observations made in the summer of                    reduced body condition, lower
                                                 lead to localized prey depletion. The                   2007, when the melt season in the                     reproductive success, and potentially
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                                                 most likely response to localized prey                  Chukchi Sea began slowly, and then                    death. Abandoned calves could face
                                                 depletion will be for walruses to seek                  sea-ice retreat accelerated rapidly in                increased mortality from drowning,
                                                 out and colonize other terrestrial                      July and August. The continental shelf                starvation, or predation.
                                                 haulouts that have suitable foraging                    of the Chukchi Sea was sea-ice-free by                   In summary, by the end of the 21st
                                                 areas (Jay and Hills 2005, p. 198).                     mid-August; the ice edge eventually                   century, ice-free conditions are expected
                                                 However, prey densities along the                       retreated hundreds of miles north of the              to persist across the continental shelf of
                                                 Arctic coast are not uniform (Grebmeier                 shelf, and ice did not re-form over the               the Chukchi Sea for a period of up to
                                                 et al. 1989, p. 257; Feder et al. 1994, pp.             continental shelf until late October                  several months (Douglas 2010). Based


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                                                 on the observed responses of walruses                   population-level effect on the Pacific                   In addition, sources of disturbance are
                                                 to periods of low ice cover in the                      walrus. Our concern is based on                       expected to be greater at terrestrial
                                                 Chukchi Sea in recent years, we expect                  projections of continued and more                     haulouts than in offshore pack ice
                                                 walruses to become increasingly                         extensive sea-ice loss that will force the            habitats, because the level of human
                                                 dependent on coastal haulouts as a                      animals onto land. Therefore, we                      activity such as hunting, fishing,
                                                 foraging base, with animals restricted to               conclude that loss of sea-ice habitat,                boating, and air traffic is far greater
                                                 coastal haulouts for most of the summer                 leading to dependence on coastal                      along the coast. Haulout abandonment
                                                 and into the fall and early winter.                     haulouts and localized prey depletion,                has been documented from these
                                                 Walruses have the ability to use land in                will contribute to other negative impacts             sources (Fay et al. 1984; p. 114;
                                                 addition to ice as a resting site and                   associated with sea-ice loss, and is a                Kochnev 2004, pp. 285–286). There is
                                                 foraging base, which will provide them                  threat to the Pacific walrus in the                   also a greater chance of disturbance
                                                 alternate, if not optimal (as explained                 foreseeable future.                                   from terrestrial animals (Kochnev 2004,
                                                 above), resting habitat. However, given                                                                       p. 286). As sea ice declines, and both
                                                                                                         Increased Vulnerability to Disturbances
                                                 the concentration of large numbers of                                                                         polar bears and walruses are
                                                                                                         and Trampling
                                                 animals in relatively small areas, the                                                                        increasingly forced onto land bordering
                                                 large amount of prey needed to sustain                     Another consequence of greater                     the Chukchi Sea, we anticipate that
                                                 each walrus, and the increasing length                  reliance on coastal haulouts is increased             there will be greater interaction between
                                                 of time coastal haulouts will have to be                levels of disturbances and increased                  the two species, especially during the
                                                 used due to sea-ice loss, the increased                 rates of mortalities and injuries                     summer. We expect that one outcome of
                                                 dependence on coastal haulouts is                       associated with trampling. Walruses                   increased interactions will be increased
                                                 expected to result in increased                         often flee land or ice haulouts in                    walrus mortality due to predation
                                                 competition for food resources in areas                 response to disturbances. Disturbance                 (discussed below). Of equal, or more
                                                 accessible from the coastal haulouts.                   can come from a variety of sources,                   importance than predation is the
                                                 Because of the energetic demands of                     either anthropogenic (e.g., hunters,                  disturbance caused at a haulout through
                                                 lactation and limited mobility of calves,               airplanes, ships) or natural (e.g.,                   the arrival or presence of a polar bear,
                                                 female walruses with dependent young                    predators) (Fay et al. 1984, pp. 114–118,             which can cause stampeding. Repeated
                                                 are likely to be disproportionally                      Kochnev 2004, p. 286). Haulout                        stampeding also increases energy
                                                 affected by changes in habitat use                      abandonment represents an increase in                 expenditure and stress levels, and may
                                                                                                         energy expenditure and stress, and                    cause walruses to abandon the haulout
                                                 patterns. Because near-shore food
                                                                                                         disturbance events at densely packed                  (COSEWIC 2006, p. 25).
                                                 resources are unlikely to be able to
                                                                                                         coastal haulouts can result in intra-                    Losses that can occur when large
                                                 support the current population,
                                                                                                         specific trauma and mortalities                       numbers of walruses use terrestrial
                                                 walruses will be required to swim
                                                                                                         (COSEWIC 2006, pp. 25–26). Although                   haulouts are illustrated by observations
                                                 farther to obtain prey, which will
                                                                                                         disturbance-related mortalities at all-               in 2007, along the coast of Chukotka,
                                                 increase energetic costs. Accordingly,
                                                                                                         male haulouts in the Bering Sea are                   Russia. In response to summer sea-ice
                                                 near-shore prey depletion will likely
                                                                                                         relatively uncommon (Fay and Kelly                    loss in 2007, walruses began to arrive at
                                                 result in a population decline over time.
                                                                                                         1980, p. 244; Kochnev 2004, p. 285), the              coastal haulouts in July, a month earlier
                                                 It is unlikely that the projected increase
                                                                                                         situation at mixed haulouts is different;             than previously recorded (Kochnev
                                                 in ice-free months in the Bering Sea will               because of their smaller size, calves,                2008, pp. 17–20). Coastal aggregations
                                                 alter the behavior or survival rates of                 juveniles, and females are more                       ranged in size from 4,500 up to 40,000
                                                 males at terrestrial haulouts because                   susceptible to trampling injuries and                 animals (Ovsyanikov et al. 2007, pp. 1–
                                                 these males do not rely on sea ice as a                 mortalities (Fay and Kelly 1980, pp.                  2; Kochnev 2008, p. 17–20, Kavry et al.
                                                 foraging platform. In addition, males                   226, 244). Females likely avoid using                 2008, p. 248–251). Hunters from the
                                                 have an advantage over females in that                  terrestrial haulouts because their                    Russian coastal villages of Vankarem
                                                 they are bigger and stronger and have no                offspring are vulnerable to predation                 and Ryrkaipii reported more than 1,000
                                                 responsibilities related to the care of                 and trampling (Nikiforov et al. 2007, pp.             walrus carcasses (mostly calves of the
                                                 calves, and thus, can travel as far as                  1–2; Ovsyanikov et al. 2007, pp. 1–3;                 year and aborted fetuses) at coastal
                                                 necessary to forage.                                    Kochnev 2008, pp. 17–20; Kochnev et                   haulouts near the communities in
                                                    The degree to which depletion of food                al. 2008, p. 265).                                    September 2007 (Nikiforov et al. 2007,
                                                 resources near coastal haulouts will                       When walruses are disturbed on ice                 p. 1; Kochnev 2008, pp. 17–20). Noting
                                                 limit population size will depend on a                  floes, escape into the water is relatively            the near absence of calves amongst the
                                                 variety of factors, including: The                      easy because fewer animals are                        remaining animals, Kochnev (2008, pp.
                                                 location of coastal walrus haulouts, the                concentrated in one area. In                          17–20) estimated that most of the 2007
                                                 number of animals utilizing the                         comparison, aggregations of walruses on               cohort using the site had been lost.
                                                 haulouts, the duration of time walruses                 land are often very large in number,                  Approximately 1,500 walrus carcasses
                                                 occupy the haulouts, and the robustness                 densely packed, and ‘‘layered’’ several               (predominately adult females) were also
                                                 of the prey base within range of those                  animals deep (Nikiforov et al. 2007, p.               reported near Cape Dezhnev in late
                                                 haulouts. However, it is highly unlikely                2). The presence of some large males in               October (Kochnev 2007, pers. comm.).
                                                 that the current population can be                      groups using Chukchi Sea coastal                      Russian investigators estimate that
                                                 sustained from coastal haulouts alone.                  haulouts increases the danger to calves,              between 3,000 and 10,000 animals died
                                                 In particular, females and their calves                 juveniles, and females. Consequently,                 along the Chukotka coastline during the
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                                                 will be susceptible to the increased                    the probability of direct mortality or                summer and fall of 2007, primarily from
                                                 energetic demands of foraging from                      injury due to trampling during                        trampling associated with disturbance
                                                 coastal haulouts. We do not anticipate                  stampedes is greater at terrestrial                   events at the haulouts (Kochnev 2010,
                                                 effects to males using coastal haulouts                 haulouts than it is on pack ice (USFWS                pers. comm.).
                                                 in the Bering Sea, because their current                1994, p. 12). Also, whether on ice or                    Relatively few large mortality events
                                                 behavior can continue unaltered into                    land, calves may be abandoned as a                    at coastal haulouts have been
                                                 the future. We do not have evidence that                result of disturbance to a haulout (Fay               documented in the past, but they have
                                                 prey depletion is currently having a                    et al. 1984, p. 118).                                 occurred (Fay 1982, p. 226). For


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                                                 example, Fay and Kelly (1980, p. 230)                   by the dispersal of smaller groups of                 the new haulouts have responded by
                                                 examined several hundred walrus                         animals across a wide expanse of sea ice              developing hunting restrictions to limit
                                                 carcasses at coastal haulouts on St.                    will be lost during periods of ice-free or            disturbances to resting animals (Patrol
                                                 Lawrence Island and the Punuk Islands                   nearly ice-free conditions. Significant               2008, p. 1; Kavry 2010, pers. comm.;
                                                 in the fall of 1978. Approximately 15                   mortality events from trampling have                  Kochnev 2010 pers. comm.). See the
                                                 percent of those carcasses were aborted                 been documented at large haulouts, and                section on Subsistence Hunting in
                                                 fetuses, 24 percent were calves, and the                we anticipate that they will continue                 Factor B below, for further information.
                                                 others were older animals (mostly                       with much greater frequency into the
                                                                                                                                                               Summary of the Effects of Sea-Ice Loss
                                                 females) ranging in age from 1 to 37                    foreseeable future, resulting in increased
                                                                                                                                                               on Pacific Walruses
                                                 years old. The principal cause of death                 mortality, particularly of calves and
                                                 was trampling, possibly from                            females. Therefore, we conclude that                    The Pacific walrus is an ice-
                                                 disturbance-related stampedes or                        disturbances and trampling at haulouts                dependent species. Changes in the
                                                 battling bulls. As walruses become                      is a threat to the Pacific walrus now and             extent, volume, and timing of the sea-ice
                                                 increasingly dependent on coastal                       in the foreseeable future.                            melt and onset of freezing in the Bering
                                                 haulouts, interactions with humans and                                                                        and Chukchi Seas have been
                                                                                                         Increased Vulnerability to Predation and              documented and described earlier in
                                                 predators are expected to increase and
                                                                                                         Hunting                                               this finding, there are reliable
                                                 mortality events are likely to become
                                                 increasingly common. Long-term or                          As Pacific walruses become more                    projections that more extensive changes
                                                 chronic levels of disturbance related                   dependent on coastal haulouts, they                   will occur in the foreseeable future. We
                                                 mortalities at coastal haulouts are likely              will become more susceptible to                       expect these changes in sea ice will
                                                 to have a more significant population                   predation and hunting (Kochnev 2004,                  cause significant changes in the
                                                 effect over time.                                       p. 286). Although hunting and predation               distribution and habitat-use patterns of
                                                    We recognize that Atlantic walruses                  are discussed separately below (see                   Pacific walruses. At this time we
                                                 (including females and calves) utilize                  Factors B and C, respectively), we also               anticipate that breeding behavior in
                                                 coastal haulouts to a greater extent than               consider them here due to their                       winter and calving in the early spring
                                                 Pacific walruses, foraging from shore                   relationship to increased loss of sea-ice             will not be impacted by expected
                                                 along a relatively narrow coastal shelf;                habitat.                                              changes to sea-ice conditions, although
                                                 a situation that is similar to what Pacific                Because of their large size and tusks,             the locations where these events occur
                                                 walrus may experience in the future                     adult walruses are much less                          will most likely change as the location
                                                 during ice-free months in the Chukchi                   susceptible to predation than are young               of available sea ice shifts to the north.
                                                 Sea. However, Atlantic walrus occupy                    animals or females. Females likely avoid                With the loss of summer sea ice, the
                                                 an area with abundant remote islands                    using terrestrial haulouts because their              most obvious change, which has already
                                                 that are free or nearly free from                       offspring are vulnerable to predation                 been observed, will be a greater
                                                 disturbance from humans or terrestrial                  (Kochnev 2004, p. 286; Ovsyanikov et                  dependence on terrestrial haulouts by
                                                 mammals. In essence, their insular                      al. 2007, pp. 1–4; Kelly 2009, p. 302).               both sexes and all age groups. Although
                                                 habitats function in a manner analogous                 Apparently, some polar bear routinely                 walruses of both sexes are capable of
                                                 to the pack ice of the Pacific walrus,                  rush herds to cause a stampede,                       using terrestrial haulouts, historically,
                                                 providing a refugium from disturbance.                  expecting that some calves will be left               adult males have used terrestrial
                                                 In contrast, when Pacific walruses are                  behind (Nikulin 1941; Popove 1958,                    haulouts, particularly in the Bering Sea,
                                                 restricted to terrestrial haulouts, they                1960; as cited in Fay et al. 1984, p. 119).           to a much greater extent than females,
                                                 face disturbance from a variety of                      As sea ice declines in the foreseeable                calves, and juveniles. The loss of
                                                 terrestrial predators and scavengers,                   future, increased use of terrestrial                  summer sea ice means that walruses of
                                                 including bears, wolverines, wolves,                    habitats by both polar bears and                      both sexes, but females and their young
                                                 and feral dogs, and higher levels of                    walruses will likely lead to increased                in particular, will be using coastal
                                                 anthropogenic disturbances, because                     interaction between them, and most                    haulouts for longer periods of time. This
                                                 their haulouts are at the edge of                       likely an increase in mortality,                      change is particularly notable in the
                                                 continental land masses and there are                   particularly of calves. We conclude that              Chukchi Sea, which has historically had
                                                 very few islands in the Bering and                      loss of sea ice, which will force                     sufficient sea ice in the summer so that
                                                 Chukchi Seas. Sea ice, which has                        increased overlap between these two                   females and calves could remain over
                                                 typically acted as a refugium from                      species, will increase mortality from                 the shallow continental shelf
                                                 disturbance for Pacific walruses,                       polar bears through direct take or                    throughout the summer. Since
                                                 particularly for females and young in                   indirect take due to trampling during                 approximately 2005, the Chukchi Sea
                                                 the Chukchi Sea, will be lost entirely, or              stampedes. See the section on predation               has become ice-free or nearly so during
                                                 almost entirely, for increasingly long                  in Factor C below, for further                        part of the summer. This condition is
                                                 time periods annually in the foreseeable                information.                                          projected to increase over time, and may
                                                 future. Therefore, although use of                         Large concentrations of walruses on                occur faster than forecast. The
                                                 coastal haulouts is a form of adaptability              shore for longer periods of time could                consequences of this shift from sea ice
                                                 available to Pacific walruses, it comes                 result in increased harvest levels if the             to increasing use of land include: Risk
                                                 with negative impacts that are not                      terrestrial haulouts form near coastal                of localized prey depletion; increased
                                                 associated with coastal haulouts for                    villages and environmental conditions                 energetic costs to reach prey, resulting
                                                 Atlantic walruses.                                      allow access to haulouts. Kochnev                     in decreased body condition; calf
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                                                    In summary, we anticipate that Pacific               (2004, pp. 285–286) notes that many of                abandonment; increased mortality from
                                                 walruses will become increasingly                       the haulouts along the Chukotka coast                 stampedes, especially to females,
                                                 dependent on coastal haulouts as sea ice                are situated near coastal villages, and               juveniles, and calves; and potentially
                                                 retreats earlier off the continental shelf              hunting activities at the haulouts can                increased exposure to predation and
                                                 and the Bering and Chukchi Seas                         result in stampedes and cause                         hunting. These events are expected to
                                                 become ice-free for increasingly longer                 movements from one haulout to                         reduce survivorship.
                                                 periods of time. The protection                         another. Some communities in                            As large numbers of animals are
                                                 normally provided to females and calves                 Chukotka situated in close proximity to               concentrated at coastal haulouts, prey


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                                                 may be locally depleted, and greater                    Pacific walrus population. These                      al. 2010b, p. 40). At the end of 21st
                                                 distances will be required to obtain it.                stressors include: localized prey                     century, the probability of Pacific
                                                 Although males at haulouts in the                       depletion; increased energetic costs to               walruses becoming vulnerable, rare, or
                                                 Bering Sea function for several months                  reach prey, resulting in decreased body               extirpated in both the worst case
                                                 each year from terrestrial haulouts,                    condition; calf abandonment; increased                scenario and the normative run are
                                                 females with calves do not typically use                mortality from stampedes, especially to               essentially equal, at about 40 percent; an
                                                 terrestrial haulouts, and we expect the                 females, juveniles, and calves; and                   outcome that is due to the projected
                                                 loss of sea ice to have a greater impact                increased exposure to predation and                   amount of sea-ice loss being basically
                                                 on them through the higher energetic                    hunting. Because the Pacific walrus                   the same under the worst case and
                                                 cost of obtaining food. It is likely that               range is large, and the animals are not               normative case by the end of the
                                                 these factors will lead to a population                 all in the same place at the same time,               century. We note, however, that the
                                                 decline over time, as fewer walruses can                not all stressors are likely to affect the            models and emissions scenarios used by
                                                 be supported by the resources available                 entire population in a given year.                    the IPCC in 2007 were the basis for this
                                                 from terrestrial haulouts. In the                       However, all stressors represent                      analysis. Thus, it is possible that the
                                                 foreseeable future, as the duration of                  potential sources of increased mortality              ‘‘worst case scenario’’ reflects the ‘‘faster
                                                 ice-free periods over offshore                          over the current condition, in which                  than forecast’’ loss of sea ice that may be
                                                 continental shelf regions of the Chukchi                these stressors occur infrequently. In the            realized if sea-ice loss continues on the
                                                 Sea increases from 1 to up to 5 months                  foreseeable future, as the frequency of               current downward trend that began in
                                                 (July through November), we expect the                  sea-ice loss in the summer and fall over              1979 (National Snow and Ice Data
                                                 effects of prey depletion near terrestrial              the continental shelves increases to a                Center, 2010). Regardless of which
                                                 haulouts will be heightened.                            near-annual event and the length of time              trajectory will actually occur, the
                                                    Periodic ice-free conditions, as are                 ice is absent over the continental shelf              modeling efforts show that the future
                                                 currently occurring, are expected to lead               increases from 1 to up to 5 months, we                status of the Pacific walrus is linked to
                                                 to higher mortality rates, primarily                    expect the effects on walruses to be                  sea ice, which already is declining
                                                 through trampling at haulouts when                      heightened and a greater percentage of                substantially, and more rapidly than
                                                 walruses congregate in large numbers.                   the population to be affected. Increased              previously projected.
                                                 Although of concern, if these events                    direct and indirect mortality,
                                                 happen sporadically, as has been the                                                                          Effects of Global Climate Change on
                                                                                                         particularly of calves, juveniles, and
                                                 case in the past, the population may be                                                                       Pacific Walrus Prey Species
                                                                                                         females, will result in a declining
                                                 able to recover between harsh years.                    population over time. Consequently, we                   The shallow, ice-covered waters of the
                                                 Although trampling mortalities have                     conclude that the destruction,                        Bering and Chukchi Seas provide
                                                 been documented in the past, increasing                 modification, and curtailment of sea-ice              habitat that supports some of the highest
                                                 use of terrestrial haulouts, the higher                 habitat is a threat to the Pacific walrus.            benthic biomass in the world
                                                 probability of disturbance occurring at                                                                       (Grebmeier et al. 2006a, p. 1461; Ray et
                                                 these haulouts, and in the near-term, the               Outcome of Bayesian Network Analyses                  al. 2006, p. 404). Sea-ice algae, pelagic
                                                 very large numbers of animals using                        Both the Service and USGS Bayesian                 (open ocean) primary productivity, and
                                                 particular haulouts, increases the                      network analyses (Garlich-Miller et al.               the benthos (organisms that live on or in
                                                 probability that mortality from                         2011; Jay et al. 2010b) considered                    the sea floor) are tightly linked through
                                                 trampling will become a more regular                    changes in sea ice projected through the              the sedimentation of organic particles
                                                 event.                                                  21st century. In both cases, the results              (Grebmeier et al. 2006b, p. 339). Sea-ice
                                                    The increasing reliance of both polar                indicate that expected loss of sea ice is             algae provide a highly concentrated and
                                                 bears and walruses on terrestrial                       an important risk factor for Pacific                  high-quality food source for plankton
                                                 environments during ice free periods                    walrus population status over time. The               food webs in the spring, which
                                                 will likely result in increased                         USGS analysis deals more directly with                translates to high-quality food for the
                                                 interactions between these two species.                 projected outcomes of the Pacific walrus              benthos such as clams (Grebmeier et al.
                                                 Polar bear predation and associated                     population, including the influence of                2006b, p. 339; McMahon et al. 2006, pp.
                                                 disturbances at densely crowded coastal                 sea-ice loss under different potential                2–11; Gradinger 2009, p. 1211). Because
                                                 haulouts will likely contribute to                      conditions (Jay et al. 2010b, p. 40). For             zooplankton, which also feed on the
                                                 increased mortality levels, particularly                the normative sea ice run (see Jay et al.             algae, have correspondingly low
                                                 of calves, and may displace animals                     2010b for details), the probability of                populations at this time in the spring,
                                                 from preferred feeding areas. Hunting                   Pacific walruses becoming vulnerable,                 much of the primary productivity of
                                                 activity at coastal haulouts does not                   rare, or extirpated increases over time,              algae falls to the sea floor, where it is
                                                 appear to be a significant source of                    from approximately 22 percent in 2050,                available to the benthic invertebrates
                                                 mortality at the present time, but may                  to about 35 percent by 2075, and 40                   (Grebmeier et al. 2006b, p. 339).
                                                 become more of a factor in the future.                  percent in 2095 (Jay et al. 2010b, p. 40).               Spatial distribution and abundance in
                                                 Local hunting restrictions at coastal                   A ‘‘worst case’’ influence run was also               biomass in benthic habitat across the
                                                 haulouts have been established in some                  evaluated. For the worst case, model                  Bering and Chukchi Seas is influenced
                                                 communities in Chukotka to reduce                       outputs were selected that have both the              by a variety of ecological,
                                                 disturbance-related mortalities. The                    greatest number of ice-free months and                oceanographic, and geomorphic
                                                 efficacy of efforts to mitigate sources of              the least ice extent for the Bering and               features. In the subarctic region of the
                                                 anthropogenic disturbances at coastal                   Chukchi Seas and, therefore, represent                Bering Sea (from the Bering Strait south
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                                                 walrus haulouts (including hunting,                     the worst possible situation. The                     to latitude 50 degrees), benthic
                                                 boating and air traffic) will influence the             outcome for the worst case influence                  organisms are preyed upon by demersal
                                                 degree to which these factors will affect               run for sea ice indicated that the                    fish (living near the bottom of the water
                                                 the Pacific walrus population. See                      probability of Pacific walruses becoming              column) and epifaunal invertebrates
                                                 Factors B and C for further discussion                  vulnerable, rare, or extirpated                       (those organisms living on top of the sea
                                                 on harvest and predation.                               approximately doubles at mid-century                  floor rather than in it), whose
                                                    In conclusion, the loss of sea-ice                   to 40 percent, and reaches                            distribution is limited to the north by
                                                 habitat creates several stressors on the                approximately 45 percent at 2075 (Jay et              cold water (less than 0 °C (32 °F))


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                                                 resulting from seasonal sea-ice cover,                  the thermal dynamics of ocean                         2007, p. 2901). When ice is present from
                                                 forming a temperature-mediated                          conditions may affect walrus indirectly               late March to May (as occurs now), cold
                                                 ecological boundary. In the absence of                  through impacts to their prey base.                   surface temperatures, thinning ice, and
                                                 demersal fish and predatory                             Changes to density, abundance,                        low-salinity melt water suppress wind
                                                 invertebrates, benthic-feeding whales,                  distribution, food quality, and species of            mixing, and cause the water column to
                                                 walrus, and sea-birds are the primary                   benthic invertebrates may occur                       stratify, creating conditions that
                                                 consumers in the Arctic region of the                   primarily through changes in habitat                  promote a phytoplankton bloom. The
                                                 Bering Sea (Grebmeier et al. 2006b, pp.                 related to sea ice.                                   burst of phytoplankton, seeded in part
                                                 1461–1463).                                                Walruses are the top predator of a                 by ice algae, persists until ocean
                                                    Within the Arctic region of the Bering               relatively simple food web in which the               nutrients are drawn down. Because it is
                                                 Sea, marginal sea-ice zones and areas of                primary constituents are bacteria, sea-               early in the season and water
                                                 polynyas appear to be ‘‘hot spots’’ of                  ice algae, phytoplankton (tiny floating               temperatures are cold, zooplankton
                                                 high benthic diversity and productivity                 plants), and benthic invertebrates                    populations are still low. Consequently,
                                                 (Grebmeier and Cooper 1995, p. 4439).                   (Horner 1976, p. 179; Lowry and Frost                 the pulse of phytoplankton production
                                                 Benthic biomass is particularly high in                 1981, p. 820; Grebmeier and Dunton                    is not consumed by zooplankton, but
                                                 the northern Bering Sea, the southern                   2000, p. 65; Dunton et al. 2006, p. 370;              instead sinks to the sea floor, where it
                                                 Chukchi Sea, and the Gulf of Anadyr.                    Aydin and Mueter 2007, p. 2507). Sea                  provides abundant food for the benthos
                                                 However, the high diversity and                         ice is important to the Arctic food webs              (Coyle and Cooney 1988, p. 177; Coyle
                                                 productivity of the benthic communities                 because: (1) It is a substrate for ice algae          and Pinchuk 2002, p. 177; Hunt and
                                                 is not seen in the Southern Beaufort Sea                (Horner 1976, pp. 168–171; Kern and                   Stabeno 2002, p. 11; Lovvorn et al.
                                                 shelf and areas of the eastern Chukchi                  Carey Jr. 1983, p. 161; Grainger et al.               2005, p. 136; Renaud et al. 2007, p. 9).
                                                 Sea, which are influenced by the                        1985, pp. 25–27; Melnikov 2000, pp.                   Blooms form a 20- to 50-km- (12–31 mi-
                                                 nutrient-poor Alaska coastal current                    79–81; Gradinger 2009, p. 1201); (2) it               ) wide belt off the ice edge and progress
                                                 (Fay et al. 1977, p. 12; Grebmeier et al.               influences nutrient supply and                        north as the ice melts, creating a zone
                                                 1989, p. 261; Feder et al. 1994, p. 176;                phytoplankton bloom dynamics                          of high productivity. In colder years in
                                                 Smith et al. 1995, p. 243; Grebmeier et                 (Lovvorn et al. 2005, p. 136); and (3) it             the Bering Sea, when the ice extends to
                                                 al. 2006b, p. 346; Bluhm and Gradinger                  determines the extent of the cold-water               the shelf edge, there is greater nutrient
                                                 2008, p. 2).                                            pool on the southern Bering shelf                     resupply through shelf-edge eddies and
                                                                                                         (Aydin and Mueter 2007, p. 2503; Coyle                tidal mixing, creating a longer spring
                                                 Ocean Warming
                                                                                                         et al. 2007, p. 2900; Stabeno et al. 2007,            bloom (Tynan and DeMaster 1997, pp.
                                                    For the last several decades, surface                p. 2615; Mueter and Litzow 2008, p.                   314–315).
                                                 air temperatures throughout the Arctic,                 309).                                                    The blooms that occur near the ice
                                                 over both land and water, have warmed                      In the spring, ice algae form up to a              edge make up approximately 50 to 65
                                                 at a rate that exceeds the global average,              1-cm- (0.4-in-) thick layer on the                    percent of the total primary production
                                                 and they are projected to continue on                   underside of the ice, but are also found              in Arctic waters (Coyle and Pinchuk
                                                 that path (Comiso and Parkinson 2004,                   at the ice surface and throughout the ice             2002, p. 188; Bluhm and Gradinger
                                                 pp. 38–39; Christensen et al. 2007, p.                  matrix (Horner 1976, pp. 168–171; Cota                2008, p. S84). High benthic abundance
                                                 904; Lawrence et al. 2008, p. 1; Serreze                and Horne 1989, p. 111; Gradinger et al.              and biomass correspond to areas with
                                                 et al. 2009, pp. 11–12). In addition, the               2005, p. 176; Gradinger 2009, p. 1207).               high deposition of phytodetritus (dead
                                                 subsurface and surface waters of the                    Ice algae can be released into the water              algae) (Grebmeier et al. 1989, pp. 253–
                                                 Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas,                      through water turbulence below the ice,               254; Grebmeier and McRoy 1989, p. 79;
                                                 including the Bering and Chukchi Seas                   through brine drainage through the ice,               Tynan and DeMaster 1997, p. 315).
                                                 have warmed (Steele and Boyd 1998, p.                   or when the algal mats are sloughed as                Regions with the highest masses of
                                                 10419; Zhang et al. 1998, p. 1745;                      the ice melts (Cota and Horne 1989, p.                benthic invertebrates occur in the
                                                 Overland and Stabeno 2004, p. 309;                      117; Renaud et al. 2007, p. 7). As noted              northern Bering Sea southwest of St.
                                                 Stabeno et al. 2007, pp. 2607–2608;                     above, sea-ice algae provide a highly                 Lawrence Island, Alaska; in the central
                                                 Steele et al. 2008, p. 1; Mueter et al.                 concentrated food source for the                      Gulf of Anadyr, Russia, north and south
                                                 2009, p. 96). There are several                         benthos and the plankton (organisms                   of the Bering Strait; at a few offshore
                                                 mechanisms working in concert to cause                  that float or drift in the water) food web            sites in the East Siberian Sea; and in the
                                                 these increases in ocean temperature,                   that is initiated once the ice melts                  northeast sector of the Chukchi Sea
                                                 including: Warmer air temperatures                      (Grebmeier et al. 2006b, p.339;                       (Grebmeier and Dunton 2000, p. 61;
                                                 (Comiso and Parkinson 2004, pp. 38–39;                  McMahon et al. 2006, pp. 1–2; Renaud                  Dunton et al. 2005, pp. 3468, 3472;
                                                 Overland and Stabeno 2004, p. 310), an                  et al. 2007, pp. 8–9; Gradinger 2009, p.              Carmack et al. 2006, p. 165; Grebmeier
                                                 increase in the heat carried by currents                1211). Areas of high primary                          et al. 2006b, pp. 346–351; Aydin and
                                                 entering the Arctic from both the                       productivity support areas of high                    Mueter 2007, pp. 2505–2506; Bluhm
                                                 Atlantic (Drinkwater et al., p. 25; Zhang               invertebrate mass, which is food for                  and Gradinger 2008, p. S86). As noted
                                                 et al. 1998, p. 1745) and Pacific Oceans                walruses (Grebmeier and McRoy 1989,                   above, the biomass of benthic
                                                 (Stabeno et al. 2007, p. 2599; Woodgate                 p. 87; Grebmeier et al. 2006b, p. 332;                invertebrates is much less in the eastern
                                                 et al. 2010, p. 1–5), and a shorter ice                 Bluhm and Gradinger 2008, p. S87).                    Chukchi Sea, which is under the
                                                 season, which decreases the albedo                         Spring ice melt plays an important                 influence of the nutrient-poor Alaska
                                                 (reflective property) of ice and snow                   role in the timing, amount, and fate of               Coastal Current (Dunton et al. 2006, p.
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                                                 (Comiso and Parkinson 2004, p. 43;                      primary production over the Bering Sea                369).
                                                 Moline et al. 2008, p. 271; Markus et al.               shelf, with late melting (as occurs now)                 When the ice melts early (before mid-
                                                 2009, p. 13). Due to their biological                   leading to greater delivery of food from              March, as projected for the future),
                                                 characteristics which include tolerance                 primary production to the benthos and                 conditions that promote the
                                                 of considerable variations in                           earlier melting (as is projected to occur             phytoplankton bloom do not occur until
                                                 temperature, direct effects to walrus are               in the future) contributing food                      late May or June (Stabeno et al. 2007, p.
                                                 not anticipated with warmer ocean                       primarily to the pelagic system (Aydin                2612). The difference in timing is
                                                 temperatures. Nevertheless, changes in                  and Mueter 2007, p. 2505; Coyle et al.                important, because when the bloom


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                          7651

                                                 occurs later in the spring the surface                  reproduction (Klein Breteler et al. 2005,             and an increase in fish populations
                                                 water temperatures are 2.2 °C (3.6 °F) to               p. 126). Because ice algae are a much                 (Overland and Stabeno 2004, p. 310;
                                                 more than 5 °C (9.4 °F) warmer (Hunt                    better source of essential fatty acids than           Grebmeier et al. 2006a, pp. 1462–1463).
                                                 and Stabeno 2002, p. 11); this, in turn,                phytoplankton, a loss in sea ice could                The Bering Sea is a transition area
                                                 is an important influence on the                        change the quality of food supplied to                between Arctic and subarctic
                                                 metabolism of zooplankton. In cold                      areas that currently support high levels              ecosystems, with the boundary between
                                                 temperatures, zooplankton consume less                  of benthic biomass. These changes may                 the two loosely concurrent with the
                                                 than 2 percent of the phytoplankton                     affect the success of invertebrate                    extent of the winter sea-ice cover
                                                 production (Coyle and Cooney 1988, pp.                  reproduction and recruitment, which, in               (Overland and Stabeno 2004, p. 309). In
                                                 303–305; Coyle and Pinchuk 2002, p.                     turn, may affect the quantity and quality             the eastern Bering Sea, reductions in sea
                                                 191). Warmer temperatures result in                     of food available to walrus (Witbaard et              ice have been responsible for shrinking
                                                 increased zooplankton growth rates,                     al. 2003, p. 81; McMahon et al. 2006,                 a large subsurface pool of cold water
                                                 reduction in their time to maturity, and                pp. 10–12). By the end of the century,                with water temperatures less than 2 °C
                                                 increased production rates (Coyle and                   the March (winter maximum) extent of                  (3.6 °F) (Stabeno et al. 2007, p. 2605;
                                                 Pinchuk 2002, p. 177; Hunt and Stabeno                  sea ice is projected to be approximately              Mueter and Litzow 2008, p. 313). The
                                                 2002, pp. 12–14). Zooplankton are                       half of contemporary conditions                       southern edge of the cold pool, which
                                                 efficient predators of phytoplankton,                   (Douglas 2010, p. 8). We expect ice algae             defines the boundary region between
                                                 and when they are abundant, they can                    will persist where ice is present;                    the Arctic and subarctic communities,
                                                 remove nearly all the phytoplankton                     however, because of the reduced ice                   has retreated approximately 230 km
                                                 available (Coyle and Pinchuk 2002, p.                   extent, current areas of high benthic                 (143 mi) north since the early 1980s
                                                 191). Zooplankton are the primary food                  productivity may be reduced or shift                  (Mueter and Litzow 2008, p. 316).
                                                 for walleye pollock (Theragra                           northward.                                               The northward expansion of warmer
                                                 chalcogramma) and other planktivorous                      The eastern and western Bering Sea                 water has resulted in an increase in
                                                 fishes (Hunt and Stabeno 2002, pp. 14–                  shelves are fueled by nutrient-rich water             pelagic species as subarctic fauna have
                                                 15). Consequently, when zooplankton                     supplied from the deep water of the                   colonized newly favorable habitats
                                                 populations are high, instead of the                    Bering Sea (Sambrotto et al. 1984, pp.                (Overland and Stabeno 2004, p. 309;
                                                 primary production being transmitted to                 1148–1149; Springer et al. 1996, p. 205).             Mueter and Litzow 2008, pp. 316–317).
                                                 the benthos, it becomes tied up in                      Concentrations of nitrate, phosphate,                 Walleye pollock, a species common in
                                                 pelagic food webs. While this may be                    and silicate are among the highest                    the subarctic, which avoid temperatures
                                                                                                         recorded in the world’s oceans and
                                                 beneficial for fish-eating mammals, it                                                                        less than 2° C (3.6 °F), have now moved
                                                 reduces the amount of food delivered to                 contribute to the high benthic
                                                                                                                                                               northward into the former Arctic zone.
                                                 the benthos and, thus, may reduce the                   productivity (Sambrotto et al. 1984, p.
                                                                                                                                                               Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida), which
                                                 amount of prey available to walrus                      1148; Grebmeier et al. 2006a, p. 1461;
                                                                                                                                                               prefer cold temperatures, have also
                                                 (Tynan and DeMaster 1997, p.316;                        Aydin and Mueter 2007, p. 2504). High
                                                                                                                                                               moved north to remain in colder
                                                 Carmack et al. 2006, p. 169; Grebmeier                  productivity on the northern Bering-
                                                                                                                                                               temperatures (Stabeno et al. 2007, p.
                                                 et al. 2006a, p. 1462). Most models                     Chukchi shelf is supported by the
                                                                                                                                                               2605). Because of the redistribution of
                                                 project that sea-ice melt in the Bering                 delivery of nutrient-rich water via the
                                                                                                                                                               these species, benthic fauna will be
                                                 Sea will occur increasingly early in the                Anadyr Current that flows along the
                                                                                                                                                               facing a new set of predators (Coyle et
                                                                                                         western edge of the Bering Sea and
                                                 future, and will be 1 month earlier by                                                                        al. 2007, pp. 2901–2902). The evidence
                                                                                                         through the Bering Strait (Springer et al.
                                                 the end of the century (Douglas 2010, p.                                                                      suggests that warming on the Bering Sea
                                                                                                         1996, p. 206; Aydin and Mueter 2007,
                                                 12). This is consistent with recent                                                                           shelf could alter patterns of energy flow
                                                                                                         p. 2504). Thus, the movement of highly
                                                 trends over the past two decades, and                                                                         and food web relationships in the
                                                                                                         productive water onto the northern
                                                 particularly in the past few years. Based                                                                     benthic invertebrate community,
                                                                                                         Bering Sea shelf supports persistent hot
                                                 on our current understanding of food                                                                          leading to overall reductions in biomass
                                                                                                         spots of high benthic productivity,
                                                 web dynamics in the Bering Sea, this                                                                          of benthic invertebrates (Coyle et al.
                                                                                                         which in turn support large populations
                                                 shift in timing would favor a shift to                                                                        2007, p. 2902).
                                                                                                         of benthic-feeding birds, walrus, and
                                                 pelagic food webs over benthic                                                                                   Continued changes in the extent,
                                                                                                         gray whales (Aydin and Mueter 2007, p.
                                                 production, consequently reducing the                   2506). This contrasts with the southern               thickness, and timing of the melt of sea
                                                 amount of prey available to walrus.                     subarctic region of the Bering Sea,                   ice are expected to create shifts in
                                                    The importance of ice algae is not                   which is south of the current range of                production and species distributions
                                                 only in its role in seeding the spring                  the Pacific walrus, where the benthic                 (Overland and Stabeno 2004, p. 316).
                                                 phytoplankton bloom, but also in its                    mass is largely consumed by upper                     Because some residents of the benthos
                                                 nutritional value. As food supply to the                tropic-level demersal fish and epifaunal              are very long lived, it may take many
                                                 benthos is highly seasonal, synchrony of                invertebrates whose northern                          years of monitoring to observe change
                                                 reproduction with algal inputs insures                  distribution is limited by a pool of cold,            (Coyle et al. 2007, p. 2902). Many
                                                 adequate high-quality food for                          near-freezing water in the northern                   simultaneous changes (e.g., ocean
                                                 developing larvae or juveniles of                       region of the Bering Sea.                             currents, temperature, sea-ice extent,
                                                 benthic organisms (Renaud et al. 2007,                     Benthic productivity on the northern               and wind patterns) are occurring in
                                                 p. 9). Ice algae have high concentrations               Bering Sea shelf has decreased over the               walrus-occupied habitats, and thus may
                                                 of essential fatty acids, some of which                 last two decades, coincident with a                   impact walrus’ prey base. Rapid
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                                                 cannot be synthesized by benthic                        reduction of northward flow of the                    warming might cause a major
                                                 invertebrates and, therefore, must be                   Anadyr current through the Bering                     restructuring of regional ecosystems
                                                 ingested in their diet (Arrigo and                      Strait (Grebmeier et al. 2006a, p. 1462).             (Carmack and Wassmann 2006, p. 474;
                                                 Thomas 2004, p. 477; Klein Breteler et                  Because of recent warming trends, the                 Mackenzie and Schiedek 2007, p. 1344).
                                                 al. 2005, pp. 125–126; McMahon et al.                   northern Bering Sea shelf may be                      Mobile species such as fishes have the
                                                 2006, pp. 2, 5). Fatty acids in marine                  undergoing a transition from an Arctic                ability to move to areas of thermal
                                                 fauna play an integral role in                          to a more subarctic ecosystem with a                  preference and follow key forage species
                                                 physiological processes, including                      reduction in benthic prey populations                 (Mueter et al. 2009, p. 106); immobile


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                                                 7652                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 species such as bivalves must cope with                 carbon-dioxide, downloaded 20 July                    corrosive to these structures and it
                                                 the conditions where they are.                          2010).                                                becomes physiologically more difficult
                                                    Projections by Douglas (2010, pp. 7,                    The global atmospheric concentration               for organisms to construct them (Orr et
                                                 23) indicate that the March (yearly                     of CO2 is now higher than experienced                 al. 2005, p. 685; Gazeau et al. 2007, p.
                                                 maximum) sea-ice extent in the Bering                                                     ¨
                                                                                                         for more than 800,000 years (Luthi et al.             2–5; Fabry et al. 2008, p. 415; Talmage
                                                 Sea will be about 25 percent less than                  2008, p. 379; Scripps 2011, p. 4). Over               and Gobler 2009, p. 2076; Findlay et al.
                                                 the 1979–1988 average by mid-century,                   the industrial era, the ocean has been a              2010, pp. 680–681). The waters of the
                                                 and 60 percent less by the end of the                   sink for anthropogenic carbon                         Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas are
                                                 century. In addition, spring melt of sea                emissions, absorbing about one-third of               among the most vulnerable to ocean
                                                 ice will occur increasingly earlier, and                the atmospheric CO2 (Feely et al. 2004,               acidification, with undersaturation of
                                                 on average will be one month sooner by                  p. 362; Canadell et al. 2007, pp. 18867–              aragonite projected to occur locally
                                                 the end of the century (Douglas 2010, p.                18868). When CO2 is absorbed by                       within a decade (Orr et al. 2005, p. 683;
                                                 8). As described above, the earlier                     seawater, chemical reactions occur that               Chierici and Fransson 2009, pp. 4972–
                                                 spring melt may lead to a change in the                 reduce seawater pH (a measure of                      4973; Steinacher et al. 2009, p. 522). To
                                                 food web dynamics that favors pelagic                   acidity) and the concentration of                     date, aragonite saturation has decreased
                                                 predators, which feed on zooplankton,                   carbonate ions, in a process known as                 in the top 50 m (164 ft) in the Canadian
                                                 over the delivery of high quantities of                 ‘‘ocean acidification.’’                              Basin (Yamamoto-Kawai et al. 2009, p.
                                                 quality food to benthic invertebrates. In                  Ocean acidification is a consequence               1099), and under-saturated waters have
                                                 addition, reductions in the extent of the               of rising atmospheric CO2 levels (The                 been documented on the Mackenzie
                                                 winter sea-ice cover may lead to a                      Royal Society 2005, p.1; Doney et al.                 shelf (Chierici and Fransson 2009, p.
                                                 further or more permanent expansion of                  2008, p. 170). Seawater carbonate                     4974), Chukchi Sea (Bates and Mathis
                                                 the subarctic ecosystem northward into                  chemistry is governed by a series of                  2009, p. 2441), and Bering Sea (Fabry et
                                                 the Arctic. Although there is uncertainty               chemical reactions (CO2 dissolution,                  al. 2009, p. 164).
                                                 about the specific consequences of these                acid/base chemistry, and calcium                         Factors that contribute to
                                                 changes, the best available scientific                  carbonate dissolution) and biologically               undersaturation of seawater with
                                                 information suggests that because of the                mediated reactions (photosynthesis,                   aragonite or calcite are: upwelling of
                                                 likely decreases in the quantity and                    respiration, and calcium carbonate                    carbon dioxide-rich subsurface waters;
                                                 quality of food delivered to benthic                    precipitation) (Wootton et al. 2008, p.               increased carbon dioxide concentrations
                                                 invertebrates, and because of a potential               18848; Bates and Mathis 2009, p. 2450).               from anthropogenic CO2 uptake; cold
                                                 increase in predators from the south, the               The marine carbonate reactions allow                  water temperatures; and fresher, less
                                                 amount and distribution of preferred                    the ocean to absorb CO2 in excess of                  saline water (Feely et al. 2008, p. 1491;
                                                 prey (bivalves) available to walrus in the              potential uptake based on carbon                      Chierici and Fransson 2009, p. 4966;
                                                 Bering Sea will likely decrease in the                  dioxide solubility alone (Denman et al.               Yamamoto-Kawai et al. 2009, p. 1099).
                                                 foreseeable future as a result of the loss              2007, p. 529). Consequently, the pH of                The loss of sea ice (causing greater
                                                 of sea ice and ocean warming. The                       ocean surface waters has already                      ocean surface to be exposed to the
                                                 extent to which this decrease may result                decreased (become more acid) by about                 atmosphere), the retreat of the ice edge
                                                 in a curtailment of the range of the                    0.1 units since the beginning of the                  past the continental shelf break that
                                                 Pacific walrus or limit the walrus                      industrial revolution (Caldeira and                   favors upwelling, increased river runoff,
                                                 population in the future is unknown,                    Wickett, 2003, p. 365; Orr et al. 2005, p.            and increased sea ice and glacial melt
                                                 and at this time we do not have                         681).                                                 are forces that favor undersaturation
                                                 sufficient information to predict it with                  The absorption of carbon dioxide by                (Yamamoto-Kawai et al. 2009, pp. 1099–
                                                 reliability. The implications of the                    seawater changes the chemical                         1100; Bates and Mathis 2009, pp. 2446,
                                                 available information, however, are that                equilibrium of the inorganic carbon                   2449–2450). The projected increase of 3
                                                 impacts may include modification of                     system and reduces the concentration of               to 5 months of ice-free conditions in the
                                                 habitat that could contribute to a                      carbonate ions. Carbonate ions are                    Bering and Chukchi Seas by Douglas
                                                 reduction in the range of the Pacific                   required by organisms like clams, snails,             (2010, p. 7) indicates the potential for
                                                 walrus at the southern edge of its                      crabs, and corals to produce calcium                  increased CO2 absorption in the Arctic
                                                 current distribution, as well as a                      carbonate, the primary component of                   over the next century beyond what
                                                 possible reduction in the walrus                        their shells and skeletons. Decreasing                would occur from predicted CO2
                                                 population because of reduced prey.                     concentrations of carbonate ions may                  increases alone. However, there are
                                                 Although our conclusion is based on the                 place these species at risk (Green et al.             opposing forces that may mitigate
                                                 best available science, we recognize that               2004, p. 729–730; Orr et al. 2005, p. 685;            undersaturation to some extent,
                                                 its validity rests on ecological                        Gazeau et al. 2006 p. 1; Fabry et al.                 including photosynthesis by
                                                 hypotheses that are currently being                     2008, p. 419–420; Comeau et al. 2009,                 phytoplankton that may increase with
                                                 tested.                                                 p. 1877; Ellis et al. 2009, p. 41). Two               reduced sea ice, and warmer ocean
                                                                                                         forms of calcium carbonate produced by                temperatures (Bates and Mathis 2009, p.
                                                 Ocean Acidification                                     marine organisms are aragonite and                    2451). However, according to Steinacher
                                                   Since the beginning of the industrial                 calcite. Aragonite, which is 50 percent               et al. (2009, p. 530), the question is not
                                                 revolution in the mid-18th century, the                 more soluble in seawater than calcite, is             whether undersaturation will occur in
                                                 release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from                    of greatest importance in the Arctic                  the Arctic, but how large an area will be
                                                 human activities (‘‘anthropogenic CO2’’)                region because clams, mussels, snails,                affected, how many months of the year
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                                                 has resulted in an increase in                          crustaceans, and some zooplankton use                 it will occur, and how large its
                                                 atmospheric CO2 concentrations, from                    aragonite in their shells and skeletons               magnitude.
                                                 approximately 280 to approximately 390                  (Fritz 2001, p. 53; Fabry et al. 2008, p.                Because acid-base balance is critical
                                                 ppm currently, with 30 percent of the                   417; Steinacher et al. 2009, p. 515).                 for all organisms, changes in carbon
                                                 increase occurring in the last three                       When seawater is saturated with                    dioxide concentrations and pH can
                                                 decades (NOAA, http://                                  aragonite or calcite, the formation of                affect reproduction, larval development,
                                                 www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/2009/                         shells and skeletons is favored; when                 growth, behavior, and survival of all
                                                 articlesclimate-change-atmospheric-                     undersaturated, the seawater becomes                  marine organisms (Green et al. 1998, p.


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                            7653

                                                 23; Kurihara and Shirayama 2004, pp.                    at the various levels in the food web                 acidification are not threats to the
                                                 163–165; Berge et al. 2006, p. 685; Fabry               will be able to adapt or if one species               Pacific walrus now or in the foreseeable
                                                 et al. 2008, pp. 420–422; Kurihara 2008,                will replace another. It is also not                  future, although we acknowledge that
                                                                  ¨
                                                 pp. 277–282; Portner 2008, pp. 209–211;                 possible to predict what impacts this                 the general indications are that impacts
                                                 Ellis et al. 2009, pp. 44–45; Talmage and               will have on the community structure                  appear more likely to be negative than
                                                 Gobler 2009, p. 2076; Findlay et al.                    and ultimately if it will affect the                  positive or neutral.
                                                                         ¨
                                                 2010, pp. 680–681). Portner (2008, p.                   services that the ecosystems provide.’’               Summary of Factor A
                                                 211) suggests that heavily calcified                    Consequently, although we recognize
                                                 marine groups may be among those with                   that effects to calcifying organisms,                    We have analyzed the effects of the
                                                 the poorest capacity to regulate acid-                  which are important prey items for                    loss of sea ice, ocean warming, and
                                                 base status. Although some animals                      Pacific walrus, will likely occur in the              ocean acidification as related to the
                                                 have been shown to be able to form a                    foreseeable future from ocean                         present or threatened destruction,
                                                 shell in undersaturated conditions, it                  acidification, we do not know which                   modification, or curtailment of the
                                                 comes at an energetic cost which may                    species may be able to adapt and thrive,              habitat or range of the Pacific walrus.
                                                 translate to reduced growth rate                        or the ability of the walrus to depend on             Although we are concerned about the
                                                 (Talmage and Gobler 2009, p. 2075;                      alternative prey items. As noted in the               changes to walrus prey that may occur
                                                 Findlay et al. 2010, p. 679; Gazeau et al.              introduction, the prey base of walrus                 from ocean acidification and warming,
                                                                                      ¨
                                                 2010, p. 2938), muscle wastage (Portner                 includes over 100 taxa of benthic                     and theoretically we understand how
                                                 2008, p. 210), or potentially reduced                   invertebrates from all major phyla                    those stressors might operate, ocean
                                                 reproductive output. Because juvenile                   (Sheffield and Grebmeier 2009, pp. 761–               dynamics are very complex and the
                                                 bivalves have high mortality rates, if                  777). Although walruses are highly                    changing conditions and related
                                                 aragonite undersaturation inhibits                      adapted for obtaining bivalves, they also             outcomes for these stressors are too
                                                 planktonic larval bivalves from                         have the potential to switch to other                 uncertain at this time for us to conclude
                                                 constructing shells (Kurihara 2008, p.                  prey items if bivalves and other                      that these stressors are a threat to Pacific
                                                 277) or inhibits them from settling                     calcifying invertebrate populations                   walrus now or in the foreseeable future.
                                                 (Hunt and Scheibling 1997, pp. 274,                                                                              Because of the loss of sea ice, Pacific
                                                                                                         decline. Whether other prey items
                                                 278; Green et al. 1998, p. 26; Green et                                                                       walruses will be forced to rely on
                                                                                                         would fulfill walrus nutritional needs
                                                 al. 2004, p. 730; Kurihara 2008, p. 278),                                                                     terrestrial haulouts to a greater and
                                                                                                         over their life span is unknown
                                                 the increased mortality would likely                                                                          greater extent over time. Although
                                                                                                         (Sheffield and Grebmeier 2009, p. 770),
                                                 have a negative effect on bivalve                                                                             coastal haulouts have been traditionally
                                                                                                         and there also is uncertainty about the
                                                 populations.                                                                                                  used by males, in the future both sexes
                                                                                                         extent to which other suitable non-                   and all ages will be restricted to coastal
                                                    The effects of ocean acidification on                bivalve prey might be available, due to
                                                 walrus may be through changes in their                                                                        habitats for a much greater period of
                                                                                                         uncertainty about the effects of ocean                time. This will expose all individuals,
                                                 prey base, or indirectly through changes                acidification and the effects of ocean
                                                 in the food chain upon which their prey                                                                       but especially calves and females to
                                                                                                         warming.                                              increased stress, energy expenditure,
                                                 depend. Walruses forage in large part on
                                                 calcifying invertebrates (Ray et al. 2006,                 Both Bayesian network models                       and death or injury from disturbance-
                                                 pp. 407–409; Sheffield and Grebmeier                    (Garlich-Miller et al. 2010; Jay et al.               caused stampedes from terrestrial
                                                 2009, pp. 767–768; also see discussion                  2010b) indicate that ocean warming and                haulouts. Calf abandonment, and
                                                 of diet, above). Aragonite                              ocean acidification are likely to have                increased energy expenditure for
                                                 undersaturation has been documented                     little effect on Pacific walrus future                females and calves is likely to occur
                                                 in the area occupied by Pacific walrus                  status, but these conclusions were                    from prey depletion near terrestrial
                                                 (Bates and Mathis 2009, p. 2441; Fabry                  primarily because of the high degree of               haulouts. Increased energy expenditure
                                                 et al. 2009, p. 164), and it is projected               uncertainty associated with these                     could lead to decreased condition and
                                                 to become widespread in the future                      factors. As described above, our analysis             decreased survival. In addition, there
                                                                                ¨
                                                 (Steinacher 2009, p. 530; Frolicher and                 indicates that earlier melting of ice in              may be a small increase in direct
                                                 Joos 2010, pp. 13–14). Thus, it is                      the spring, a decreased extent of ice in              mortality or injury of calves and females
                                                 possible that mollusks and other                        winter and spring, and warming of the                 due to increased predation or hunting as
                                                 calcifying organisms may be negatively                  ocean may lead to changes in the                      a result of greater use of terrestrial
                                                 affected through a variety of                           distribution, quality, and quantity of                haulouts. Although some of these
                                                 mechanisms, described above. While                      food available to Pacific walrus over                 stressors are acting on the population
                                                 the effects of observed ocean                           time. In addition, in the future, ocean               currently, we anticipate that their
                                                 acidification on the marine organisms                   acidification has the potential to have a             magnitude will increase over time as
                                                 are not yet documented, the progressive                 negative impact on calcifying                         sea-ice loss over the continental shelf
                                                 acidification of oceans is expected to                  organisms, which currently represent a                occurs more frequently and more
                                                 have negative impacts on marine shell-                  large portion of the walrus’ diet. The                extensively. Due to the projected
                                                 forming organisms in the future (The                    best available science does not indicate              increases in sea-ice habitat loss and the
                                                 Royal Society 2005, p. 21; Denman et al.                that either of these factors will have a              resultant stressors associated with
                                                 2007, p. 533; Doney et al. 2009, p. 176;                positive impact on the availability,                  increased dependence on coastal
                                                 Kroeker et al. 2010, p. 9).                             quality, or quantity of food available to             haulouts, as described above, we do not
                                                    Uncertainty regarding the general                    the walrus in the future. However, we                 anticipate the projected Pacific walrus
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                                                 effects of ocean acidification has been                 are also unable to predict to what extent             population decline to stabilize in the
                                                 summarized by the Royal Society (2005,                  these factors may limit the Pacific                   foreseeable future. Rather, the best
                                                 p. 23): ‘‘Organisms will continue to live               walrus population in the future, in                   scientific information available leads to
                                                 in the oceans wherever nutrients and                    terms of reduction in its range or                    a conclusion that the Pacific walrus will
                                                 light are available, even under                         abundance, or the extent to which the                 be increasingly at risk. Through our
                                                 conditions arising from ocean                           walrus may be able to adapt to a                      analysis, we have concluded that loss of
                                                 acidification. However, from the data                   changing prey base. Therefore, we                     sea ice, with its concomitant changes to
                                                 available, it is not known if organisms                 conclude that ocean warming and ocean                 walrus distribution and life-history


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                                                 7654                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 patterns, will lead to a population                     Federation intermittently authorizes the              walrus ivory is closely monitored by the
                                                 decline. Therefore, we conclude, based                  taking of walrus from the wild for                    Service through existing import/export
                                                 on the best scientific and commercial                   scientific and educational purposes. For              regulations (Garlich-Miller et al. 2011,
                                                 data available, that the present or                     example, in 2009, a collection permit                 Section 3.5.1 ‘‘International
                                                 threatened destruction, modification, or                was issued for take of up to 40 walrus                Agreements’’).
                                                 curtailment of its habitat or range is a                calves from the wild to be used for                     Most of the walrus parts imported
                                                 threat to Pacific walrus.                               public display. This take was included                into or exported from the United States
                                                                                                         in the subsistence harvest quota, and is              are derived from historic ivory and bone
                                                 Factor B. Overutilization for                                                                                 shards, and parts from newly harvested
                                                                                                         therefore considered sustainable. We
                                                 Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or                                                                      walrus are subject to the MMPA
                                                                                                         have no information that would lead us
                                                 Educational Purposes                                                                                          requirements that limit U.S. trade to
                                                                                                         to believe this level of take from the
                                                   The following potential factors that                  wild will increase in the foreseeable                 Alaska Native handicrafts. Therefore,
                                                 may result in overutilization of Pacific                future.                                               we have determined, based on the best
                                                 walrus are considered in this section: (1)                 Based on the above, we conclude that               scientific and commercial data
                                                 Recreation, scientific, or educational                  utilization of walrus for recreational,               available, that United States Import/
                                                 purposes; (2) U.S. import/export; (3)                   scientific, or educational purposes is not            Export is not considered to be a threat
                                                 commercial harvest; and (4) subsistence                 a threat to the Pacific walrus                        to the Pacific walrus now or in the
                                                 harvest. Under Factor A, we also discuss                population. Protections and regulatory                foreseeable future.
                                                 the potential increase in subsistence                   mechanisms in both the United States
                                                 hunting associated with increasing                                                                            Commercial Harvest
                                                                                                         and the Russian Federation have
                                                 dependence of Pacific walrus on coastal                 stopped recreational hunting. In the                     Commercial harvest of the Pacific
                                                 haulouts caused by the loss of sea-ice                  United States, the MMPA has effectively               walrus is prohibited in the U.S., and has
                                                 habitat.                                                ensured that any removal for scientific               not occurred in Russia since 1991 (see
                                                                                                         or educational purposes has a bona fide               discussion below). Pacific walrus ivory
                                                 Recreation, Scientific, or Educational                                                                        and meat was available on the
                                                 Purposes                                                and necessary or desirable scientific
                                                                                                         basis. In the Russian Federation, take for            commercial market starting in the
                                                    Overutilization for recreational,                    scientific or educational purposes is                 seventeenth century (Fay 1957, p. 435;
                                                 scientific, or educational purposes is                  controlled by a quota. We believe the                 Elliot 1982, p. 98). Since then,
                                                 currently not considered a threat to the                United States and the Russian                         commercial harvest levels have varied
                                                 Pacific walrus population. Recreational                 Federation will continue to ensure that               in response to population size and
                                                 (sport) hunting has been prohibited in                  any future removal of walrus for                      economic demand. Several of the larger
                                                 the United States since 1979. Russian                   recreational, scientific, or educational              reductions in the Pacific walrus
                                                 legislation also prohibits sport hunting                purposes will be consistent with the                  population have been attributed to
                                                 of Pacific walruses. The Marine                         long-term conservation of the species.                unsustainable harvest levels, largely
                                                 Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as                       Therefore, we have determined, based                  driven by commercial hunting (Fay
                                                 amended (16 U.S.C. 1361, et seq.)                       on the best scientific and commercial                 1957, p. 437; Bockstoce and Botkin
                                                 (MMPA), allows the Service to issue a                   data available, that the utilization of               1982, p. 183). Harvest regulations
                                                 permit authorizing the take of walrus for               Pacific walrus for recreational,                      enacted in the United States and Russia
                                                 scientific purposes in the United States,               scientific, or educational purposes is not            in the 1950s and 1960s that reduced the
                                                 provided that the research will further                 a threat to the species now or in the                 size of the harvest and provided
                                                 a bona fide and necessary or desirable                  foreseeable future.                                   protection to females and calves
                                                 scientific purpose. The Service must                                                                          allowed the population to recover and
                                                 consider the benefits to be derived from                United States Import/Export                           peak in the 1980s (Fay et al. 1989, p. 1).
                                                 the research and the effects of the taking                 Based on data from the Service’s Law                  Commercial harvest of marine
                                                 on the stock, and must consult with the                 Enforcement Management Information                    mammals in U.S. waters is currently
                                                 public, experts in the field, and the                   System (LEMIS), in 2008 more than                     prohibited by the MMPA. Commercial
                                                 United States Marine Mammal                             16,000 walrus parts, products, and                    harvest was last conducted in Russia in
                                                 Commission.                                             derivatives (ivory jewelry, carvings,                 1991 (Garlich-Miller and Pungowiyi
                                                    Similarly, any take for an educational               bone carvings, ivory pieces, and tusks)               1999, p. 59). Russian legislation still
                                                 purpose is allowed by the MMPA only                     were imported into or exported from the               allows for a commercial harvest,
                                                 after rigorous review and with                          United States. Over 98 percent of those               although a decree from the Russian
                                                 appropriate justification. No permits                   specimens were from walrus that had                   Fisheries Ministry allocating a
                                                 authorizing the take of walrus for                      originated in the United States. Most of              commercial harvest quota would be
                                                 educational and public display                          these specimens were identified as                    required prior to resumption of harvest
                                                 purposes have been requested in the                     fossilized bone and ivory shards,                     (Kochnev 2010, pers. comm.). Quota
                                                 United States since the 1990s. The                      principally dug from historic middens                 recommendations are determined by
                                                 Service has worked with the public                      on St. Lawrence Island, or carvings from              sustainable removal levels, which are
                                                 display community to place stranded                     such. Therefore, the harvest of the                   based on the total population and
                                                 animals, which the Service has                          source animals predates adoption of the               productivity estimates (Garlich-Miller
                                                 determined cannot be returned to the                    MMPA in 1972, and does not represent                  and Pungowiyi 1999 p. 32). Therefore,
                                                 wild, at facilities for educational and                 a threat to the species.                              any potential future commercial harvest
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                                                 public display purposes. By placing                        Since the passage of the MMPA in                   in Russia is unlikely to become a threat
                                                 stranded walruses, which would                          1972, ivory and bone can only be                      to the population.
                                                 otherwise be euthanized, at facilities                  exported from the United States after it                 Commercial hunting of Pacific walrus
                                                 that are able to care for and display the               has been legally harvested, and                       is banned in the United States.
                                                 animals, we believe needs for the                       substantially altered to qualify as an                Regulatory protections in the Russian
                                                 domestic public display community in                    Alaska Native handicraft and as a                     Federation have been effective in
                                                 the United States have been, and will                   personal effect or as part of a cultural              ensuring that any removal for
                                                 continue to be, met. The Russian                        exchange. Trade in raw post-MMPA                      commercial purposes is consistent with


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                                                 long-term conservation of the species.                  1997, p. 558). The increase in harvest in             adjust in concert with changes in
                                                 Therefore, we have determined, based                    the 1980s was accompanied by an                       population status or trend.
                                                 on the best scientific and commercial                   increase in the proportion of females                    There are no Statewide harvest quotas
                                                 data available, that commercial harvest                 harvested, and may have caused a                      in Alaska; however, some local harvest
                                                 is not a threat to Pacific walrus either                population decline (Fay et al. 1997, p.               management programs have been
                                                 now or in the foreseeable future.                       549). Harvest levels in the 1990s were                developed. Round Island, within the
                                                                                                         about half those of the previous decade,              Walrus Island State Game Sanctuary,
                                                 Subsistence                                                                                                   was a traditional hunting area of several
                                                                                                         averaging 5,787 walrus per year. The
                                                   Pacific walrus have been an important                 2000–2008 average annual removal,                     Bristol Bay communities prior to the
                                                 subsistence resource for coastal Alaskan                which was 5,285 walrus per year, was                  development of the game sanctuary.
                                                 and Russian Natives for thousands of                    about 9 percent lower than the removal                Access to Round Island is controlled by
                                                 years (Ray 1975, p. 10). In 1960, the                   in the 1990s (Service, unpublished                    the State of Alaska via a permit system.
                                                 State of Alaska restricted the                          data). In the United States for the years             To continue the traditional hunt, the
                                                 subsistence harvest of female walrus to                 2004–2008, the communities of Gambell                 local communities proposed a
                                                 seven per hunter per year in an effort to               and Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island,                  cooperative agreement, which resulted
                                                 recover the population from a reduced                   Alaska, have accounted for 84 percent of              in a quota of 20 walrus and a 40-day
                                                 state. Concurrently, Russia also                        the reported U.S. harvest and 43 percent              hunting season in the fall (Chythlook
                                                 implemented harvest quotas and                          of the harvest rangewide (Garlich-                    and Fall 1998, p. 5). The management
                                                 prohibited shooting animals in the                      Miller, et al. 2011, Section 3.3.1.4                  agreement was negotiated by the
                                                 water (to reduce lost animals) (Fay et al.              ‘‘Regional Harvest Patterns’’). The St.               Service, Bristol Bay Native Association/
                                                 1989, p. 4). In 1961, the State of Alaska               Lawrence Island average reported                      Qayassiq Walrus Commission, the
                                                 further reduced the quota to five females               harvest, not corrected for animals that               Eskimo Walrus Commission, and Alaska
                                                 per hunter per year, still allowing an                  are struck and lost or hunter                         Department of Fish and Game (ADFG),
                                                 unlimited number of males to be                         noncompliance with the Marking                        and sanctioned in a signed
                                                 hunted. The limit of five adult females                 Tagging and Reporting Program, (the                   memorandum of understanding. The
                                                 per hunter remained in effect until                     struck and lost correction and the MTRP               State of Alaska issues hunting access
                                                 1972, when passage of the Marine                        are discussed below) for 2004–2008 is                 permits only during the open season. If
                                                 Mammal Protection Act transferred                       988 animals (Service, unpublished                     the quota is reached, additional hunting
                                                 management responsibility to Federal                    data).                                                access could be denied and existing
                                                 control (Fay et al. 1997, p. 548). As a                                                                       permits could be revoked. Recent
                                                 result of reducing the numbers of                          The lack of information on population              harvests at Round Island have ranged
                                                 females harvested, the population                       status or trends makes it difficult to                from zero to two walruses per year. No
                                                 increased substantially through the                     quantify sustainable removal levels for               walrus were harvested on Round Island
                                                 1960s and 1970s, and by 1980 was                        the Pacific walrus population (Garlich-               in 2009 or 2010. Bristol Bay hunters also
                                                 probably approaching the carrying                       Miller et al. 2011, Section 3.3.1.5                   hunt elsewhere in the area without
                                                 capacity of the habitat (Fay et al. 1989,               ‘‘Harvests Sustainability’’). Recent                  restriction, and may be shifting hunting
                                                 p. 4).                                                  (2003–2007) annual harvest removals in                efforts to islands outside the State game
                                                   Total harvest removals (combined                      the United States and Russia have                     sanctuary as the monetary cost of
                                                 commercial and subsistence harvests in                  ranged from 4,960 to 5,457 walrus per                 traveling to Round Island is often
                                                 the United States and Russia), including                year, representing approximately 4                    prohibitive.
                                                 estimates of animals struck and lost, for               percent of the minimum population                        With an interest in reviving
                                                 the 1960s and 1970s averaged 5,331 and                  estimate of 129,000 animals (FWS 2010,                traditional law, advancing the idea of
                                                 5,747 walrus per year. Between the                      p. 2). These levels are lower than those              self-regulation of the subsistence
                                                 years of 1976 and 1979, the State of                    experienced in the early 1980s (8,000–                harvest, and initiating a local
                                                 Alaska managed the walrus population                    10,000 per year) that led to a population             management infrastructure due to
                                                 under a federally imposed subsistence                   decline (Fay et al. 1989 pp. 3–4).                    concern about changing sea-ice
                                                 harvest quota of 3,000 walrus per year.                 Chivers et al. (1999, p. 239) modeled                 dynamics and the walrus population,
                                                 Relinquishment of management                            walrus population dynamics and                        the Native Villages of Gambell and
                                                 authority by Alaska to the Service in                   estimated the maximum net                             Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island have
                                                 1979 lifted this harvest quota (the                     productivity rate (Rmax) for the Pacific              recently formed Marine Mammal
                                                 MMPA conditionally exempts Alaska                       walrus population at 8 percent per year.              Advisory Committees (MMAC), and
                                                 Natives from the take prohibitions; i.e.,               Wade (1998, p. 21) notes that one half                implemented local ordinances
                                                 subsistence harvest must not be                         of Rmax (4 percent for Pacific walruses)              establishing a limit of four walruses per
                                                 conducted in a wasteful manner), which                  is a reasonably conservative (i.e.,                   hunting trip. Walruses that are struck
                                                 may have also contributed to the                        sustainable) potential biological removal             and lost (wounded and not retrieved), as
                                                 increased harvest rates in subsequent                   (PBR) level for marine mammal                         well as calves, do not count against this
                                                 years (USFWS 1994, p. 2). Specifically,                 populations below carrying capacity,                  limit. In addition, there is no limit on
                                                 the 1980s saw an increase in harvest,                   because it provides a reserve for                     the number of trips, so the effectiveness
                                                 with a total removal estimate averaging                 population growth or recovery. The PBR                of this ordinance in limiting total
                                                 10,970 walrus per year (Service,                        level, as defined under the MMPA, is                  harvest is dependent on the total
                                                 unpublished data). The increased                        the maximum number of animals, not                    number of hunting trips. Factors such as
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                                                 harvest rates in this decade may reflect                including natural mortalities, that may               subsistence needs, social mores,
                                                 several factors, including the absence of               be removed from a marine mammal                       distance of walrus from the village,
                                                 a harvest quota (USFWS 1994, p. 2),                     stock while allowing that stock to reach              weather, success of previous trips,
                                                 commercial harvest in Russia, and                       or maintain its optimum sustainable                   needs of immediate and extended
                                                 increased availability of walruses to                   population. Changes in productivity                   family members, and monetary cost of
                                                 subsistence hunters coinciding with the                 rates or population size could                        making a trip all play a part in the
                                                 population reaching carrying capacity                   eventually result in unsustainable                    number of trips a hunting party makes.
                                                 (Fay and Kelly 1989, p. 1; Fay et al.                   harvest levels if harvest rates do not                The spring hunting season of 2010 was


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                                                 7656                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 the first to have the trip-limit                        population surveys. According to                      regulations to limit or restructure the
                                                 ordinances in place. We estimate that 91                Kochnev (2004, p. 286), all the Pacific               harvest, we do not expect harvest
                                                 percent of the hunting trips were in                    walrus haulouts of the Arctic coast of                pressure in the Bering Strait region to
                                                 compliance with the ordinance by                        Chukotka, Russia, are characterized by a              change appreciably in the foreseeable
                                                 taking no more than four adult/subadult                 high disturbance level. The majority of               future (Garlich-Miller et al. 2011,
                                                 walrus per trip (Service, unpublished                   these haulouts in Chukotka are near                   Section 3.3.1.4.1 ‘‘Climate Change’’). The
                                                 data).                                                  coastal villages, and used by local                   St. Lawrence Island Tribal Governments
                                                    Subsistence harvest reporting in the                 subsistence hunters (Kochnev 2004, p.                 and subsistence hunters have recently
                                                 United States is required under section                 286).                                                 taken steps to modify their harvest
                                                 109(i) of the MMPA, and is                                 The harvest reporting program in                   patterns through the formation of
                                                 administered through a Marking,                         Russia is administered by the Russian                 Marine Mammal Advisory Committees,
                                                 Tagging, and Reporting Program (MTRP)                   Agricultural Department. The harvest in               and the adoption of local ordinances
                                                 codified at 50 CFR 18.23(f). The MTRP                   Russia has been traditionally conducted               limiting the number of walrus harvested
                                                 requires Alaska Native hunters to report                by hunting teams from each village.                   per hunting trip by Tribal members.
                                                 the harvest of walrus and present the                   Team leaders are required to submit two               These are substantial efforts on the part
                                                 ivory for tagging within 30 days of                     harvest reports per month. However,                   of the Tribes and subsistence hunters,
                                                 harvest. The Service also administers                   walrus hunting by individual hunters                  and the Service looks forward to
                                                 the Walrus Harvest Monitor Project                      (those not part of a harvest team) has                continuing to work through the co-
                                                 (WHMP), which is an observer-based                      increased since the inception of the                  management structure (which allows for
                                                 data-collection program conducted in                    Russian Federation, and there is no                   cooperative efforts between the Service,
                                                 the communities of Gambell and                          official mechanism for individuals to                 Alaska Natives, and State agencies;
                                                 Savoonga during the spring harvest.                     report their harvest; as a result, Russian            MMPA sec. 119(b)(4)) to ensure that the
                                                 This program is designed to collect                     harvest estimates are biased low to an                harvest of the Pacific walrus remains
                                                 harvest data and biological samples. Not                unknown degree (Kochnev 2010, pers.                   sustainable for future generations.
                                                 all harvest in the United States is                     comm.). In addition, the Russians do not              However, the current measures to
                                                 reported through the MTRP (regulatory                   adjust their harvest estimates for                    regulate the subsistence harvest do not
                                                 program). The Service uses the WHMP                     animals that are struck and lost. The                 limit the harvest of females or provide
                                                 (observer-based) harvest data to                        Service assumes that the Russian struck               limits on the total number of walruses
                                                 supplement MTRP data to develop a                       and lost rate is comparable to the U.S.               harvested and, therefore, are not wholly
                                                 correction factor for noncompliance to                  rate, and applies the struck and lost                 sufficient to ensure that harvest in the
                                                 estimate the number of walrus                           correction factor of 42 percent to the                Bering Strait region will be sustainable
                                                 harvested, but not reported through the                 Russian harvest data when estimating                  long term. The tribal ordinances are
                                                 MTRP. The MTRP-reported harvest data                    total subsistence harvest levels. This                structured in such a way that the Marine
                                                 (Statewide) is corrected for                            correction provides a more accurate                   Mammal Advisory Committees could
                                                 noncompliance (unreported harvest),                     estimate of the number of animals                     enact additional regulations in the
                                                 and that total is then corrected to                     removed from the population due to                    future to address efficiency (reduce the
                                                 account for animals struck and lost                     harvest.                                              number of animals that are struck and
                                                 (estimated at 42 percent of the walrus                     Subsistence removals of walrus in the              lost), restructure the sex ratio of the
                                                 that are shot). Current accuracy of the                 United States are closely tied to social              harvest, or impose quotas upon their
                                                 struck and lost estimate is unknown and                 and traditional customs, subsistence                  Tribal members, or enact other measures
                                                 should be re-estimated (USFWS 2010, p.                  needs, sea-ice dynamics, weather, and                 to manage the harvest.
                                                 4). Compliance rates with the MTRP                      monetary costs related to hunting. We                    In the Bristol Bay and the Yukon-
                                                 vary considerably from year to year,                    predict that the range-wide walrus                    Kuskokwim regions of Alaska, levels of
                                                 with estimates ranging from a low of 60                 population will be smaller in the future,             subsistence harvest of walrus may
                                                 percent to a high of 100 percent.                       due to changes in summer sea-ice cover                decline slightly, in light of declines in
                                                    Subsistence harvest in Chukotka,                     and associated impacts; thus, fewer                   southern Bering Sea ice in the winter
                                                 Russia, is controlled through a quota                   walrus overall will be available for                  (subsistence hunters search for walrus
                                                 system. An annual subsistence quota is                  harvest. However, in the Bering Strait                that are resting on ice floes) and a recent
                                                 issued through a decree by the Russian                  region, winter and spring sea ice is                  trend of fewer male walrus remaining in
                                                 Federal Fisheries Agency. Quota                         expected to persist through mid-                      Bristol Bay during the summer.
                                                 recommendations are based on                            century; walrus will likely continue to               However, harvest in these regions is
                                                 sustainable removal levels                              be locally abundant in numbers that                   already so low—averaging 5 and 18
                                                 (approximately 4 percent of the                         would enable harvest to continue at                   walrus reported as harvested per year,
                                                 population based on population and                      levels similar to current ones, over time.            respectively, for 2004 through 2008
                                                 productivity estimates) (Garlich-Miller                 Because these animals would be                        (Service, unpublished data)—that it
                                                 and Pungowiyi 1999 p. 32). Because the                  available to local subsistence hunters                likely does not have an appreciable
                                                 population is shared with the United                    around St. Lawrence Island and other                  effect on the population. Future harvest
                                                 States, Russian quota recommendations                   Bering Strait villages, the Pacific walrus            patterns and levels are not anticipated
                                                 have generally been 2 percent or less of                would remain an important subsistence                 to change significantly in either region
                                                 the estimated total population (Garlich-                resource. Subsistence harvest of walrus               (Garlich-Miller et al. 2011, Section
                                                 Miller and Pungowiyi 1999, p. 32;                       is extremely important to several Alaska              3.3.1.4.1 ‘‘Climate Change’’).
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                                                 Kochnev 2010, pers. comm.). Russian                     Native cultures. The primary factor                      In the North Slope region of Alaska,
                                                 harvest quotas are set annually and                     influencing the number of walrus                      reported subsistence harvest averaged
                                                 recent quota reductions in Russia of                    harvested each year will be the general               48 walrus per year from 2004–2008. As
                                                 approximately 57 percent from 2003–                     availability of walruses in the Bering                summer sea ice in the Chukchi Sea
                                                 2010 have been in response to a                         Strait region.                                        recedes out over deep arctic basin
                                                 presumed population decline based in                       Given current and projected sea-ice                waters, it is anticipated that coastal
                                                 part on observed haulout mortalities                    conditions, and without additional                    haulouts will form along the Chukchi
                                                 from trampling and results from various                 Tribal, State or Federal hunting                      coast into the foreseeable future. Large


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                            7657

                                                 concentrations of walrus on shore for                   projections to the end of the 21st                    to the adverse effects of future sea-ice
                                                 longer periods of time could afford                     century.                                              conditions on population outcomes
                                                 opportunity for additional harvest. The                    Although we have suggested that                    through the end of the century (Jay et al.
                                                 potential for hunting activity to create a              overall harvest must adjust with                      2010b, p. 16).
                                                 stampede resulting in injuries or                       population size, there are strategies
                                                                                                         other than a numerical quota that could               Summary of Factor B
                                                 mortalities, or to displace animals from
                                                 preferred forage areas (Kochnev 2004, p.                be utilized in an effort to assure                       As discussed above, scientific and
                                                 285) is of greater concern than the direct              sustainability over the long term. The                educational utilization of walruses is
                                                 mortalities associated with harvest.                    co-management structure and the St.                   currently at low levels, regulated both
                                                 Although the potential for increased                    Lawrence Island Tribal ordinances                     domestically and in the Russian
                                                 harvest exists, we do not expect the                    provide an effective means to address                 Federation, and is not a threat to the
                                                 harvest to increase based on the fact that              improvements in hunting efficiency,                   Pacific walrus now or in the foreseeable
                                                 these communities’ subsistence focus is                 and modification of the sex structure of              future. Recreational (sport) hunting of
                                                 on bowhead and beluga whales, due to                    the harvest. Improving hunting                        Pacific walrus is prohibited under the
                                                 a strong cultural connection and                        efficiency by reducing the number of                  MMPA and by Russian legislation;
                                                 tradition as a whaling culture. North                   animals which are struck and lost could               therefore, it is not a threat to the Pacific
                                                 Slope coastal communities also have                     potentially reduce the total number of                walrus now or in the foreseeable future.
                                                 access to a wider array of resources than               walrus removed from the population                    United States import/export is not a
                                                 island communities and rely much more                   due to subsistence harvest. Adult                     threat to the Pacific walrus now or in
                                                 heavily on other marine mammals,                        breeding-age females are the most                     the foreseeable future because Pacific
                                                 seabirds, fish and terrestrial mammals to               important cohort of the population. An                walrus specimens exported from or
                                                 meet their subsistence needs (MMS                       overall reduction in the number of                    imported into the United States consist
                                                 2007, p. IV–186). Due to the presence of                females removed annually while still                  mostly of fossilized bone and ivory
                                                 the oil industry, North Slope                           allowing an unlimited number of males                 shards, and any other walrus ivory can
                                                 communities also have a stronger                        to be harvested has had a positive effect             only be imported into or exported from
                                                 economic base than the Bering Strait                    on a declining population in the past                 the United States after it has been
                                                 communities, and therefore do not rely                  and could be an effective means of                    legally harvested and substantially
                                                 as heavily on ivory carving as a source                 managing harvests for sustainability into             altered to qualify as a Native handicraft.
                                                                                                         the future.                                           Commercial hunting of Pacific walrus in
                                                 of cash in the local economy.
                                                                                                            Our conclusion that subsistence                    the United States is prohibited under
                                                    As stated above, barring additional                  harvest is a threat in the foreseeable                the MMPA. Commercial hunting in
                                                 Tribal or Federal regulations governing                 future is supported by the BN models                  Russia has not occurred since 1991 and
                                                 harvest, we predict that subsistence                    prepared by the Service and USGS. The                 could not resume unless a harvest quota
                                                 harvest is likely to continue at or near                sensitivity analyses of both models                   based on sustainability were
                                                 current levels, even as the walrus                      identified subsistence harvest as one of              established; therefore, it is unlikely that
                                                 population declines in response to loss                 the major drivers of model predictions.               Russian commercial harvest will be a
                                                 of summer sea ice. This is because                      The two models involved different                     threat to the Pacific walrus population.
                                                 walrus are expected to continue to                      assumptions relative to subsistence                      Over the past 50 years, Pacific walrus
                                                 remain locally abundant and available                   harvest levels. In the Service model, we              population annual harvest removals
                                                 for subsistence harvest in the Bering                   assumed, for the reasons described                    have varied from 3,200 to 16,000 per
                                                 Strait region in the winter and spring.                 above, that subsistence harvest levels                year. Over the past decade, subsistence
                                                 Over time, depending on how quickly                     would remain relatively constant over                 harvest removals in the United States
                                                 the population declines, future harvest                 time, even as the walrus population                   and Russia have averaged
                                                 levels will need to be reduced as                       declined in response to reduced sea-ice               approximately 5,000 per year. Recent
                                                 population size declines, or subsistence                conditions. In the USGS model, Jay et                 harvest levels are significantly lower
                                                 harvest will become unsustainable.                      al. (2010b, p. 15) assumed that future                than historical highs, although the lack
                                                 Therefore, we have determined that if                   harvest rates would be proportional to                of information on population status and
                                                 subsistence harvest continues at current                walrus population size. However, these                trend make it difficult to quantify
                                                 levels, as expected, it represents a threat             authors acknowledge that if in the                    sustainable removal levels. Anticipated
                                                 to the walrus population in the                         future, the walrus population declines,               reductions in population size in
                                                 foreseeable future. Although it is                      but harvest continues at the current                  response to losses in sea-ice habitats
                                                 difficult to quantify sustainable removal               level, the population-level stress caused             and associated impacts underscore the
                                                 levels because of the lack of information               by the harvest would effectively                      need for reliable population information
                                                 on Pacific walrus population status and                 increase (Jay et al. 2010b, p. 16), thereby           as a basis for evaluating the
                                                 trends, we have determined that the                     amplifying the impact of subsistence                  sustainability of future harvest levels.
                                                 current harvest of approximately 4                      harvest on the population. In the                     Research leading to a better
                                                 percent is at a sustainable level based on              Service model, maintaining the harvest                understanding of population responses
                                                 a minimum population estimate of                        at replacement levels (sustainable)                   to changing ice conditions and
                                                 129,000. Therefore, we do not consider                  reduced the probabilities of negative                 modeling efforts to examine the impact
                                                 the current level of subsistence harvest                effects by about 19 percent compared to               of various removal levels are currently
                                                 to be a threat to Pacific walrus at the                 a higher harvest (Garlich-Miller et al.               under way by USGS and others.
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                                                 present time. Our identification of                     2011, Table 8). Results from the USGS                    Subsistence harvest levels in Russia
                                                 subsistence harvest as a threat to the                  model suggest that although minimizing                are presently controlled under a quota
                                                 species in the foreseeable future is tied               harvest from current levels may have                  system based upon the 2006 population
                                                 to expected population declines related                 little positive effect on population                  estimate. The Russian quota has been
                                                 to threats associated with reduced                      outcomes in the future, harvests of high              reduced recently in response to the loss
                                                 summer sea ice, and is based on the best                (greater than 4 percent of the                        of several thousand calves at terrestrial
                                                 scientific and commercial data                          population) and very high levels (greater             haulouts as a result of trampling events
                                                 available, including scientific                         than 6 percent) could add significantly               in recent years and their belief that the


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                                                 population is in decline. Although the                  Pacific walrus harvests, we                           mammals may be the result of changing
                                                 subsistence walrus harvest in Alaska is                 acknowledge that there are currently no               distribution patterns of the host
                                                 not regulated under a quota system, the                 regulatory mechanisms in place to                     (Duignan et al. 1994, p. 90; Dobson and
                                                 MMPA provides for the development of                    assure the sustainability of subsistence              Carper 1993; p. 1096). For example,
                                                 voluntary co-management agreements                      harvests. In the absence of such                      phocine distemper virus (PDV) was
                                                 with Alaska Native organizations.                       regulatory mechanisms, we do not                      recently found in the North Pacific
                                                 Notably, hunting ordinances were                        expect harvest levels in the Bering Strait            (Goldstein et al., 2009 p. 2009), and
                                                 implemented in 2010 in Alaska’s two                     region to change appreciably in the                   while antibodies to PDV have been
                                                 primary hunting communities,                            foreseeable future. Subsistence harvest               found in Atlantic walrus (Duignan et al.
                                                 providing a promising mechanism for                     is predicted to continue at similar                   1994, p. 90; Nielson et al. 2000, p. 510),
                                                 self regulation of harvests. While it is                levels, independent of future walrus                  as yet there has been no evidence of
                                                 premature to evaluate the efficacy of                   population trends. Barring additional                 exposure in Pacific walruses.
                                                 such local ordinances over the long                     Tribal or Federal harvest management                     Parasites are common among
                                                 term, the recent establishment of these                 actions, we anticipate that the                       pinnipeds, and their infestations result
                                                 local management programs offers a                      proportion of animals harvested will                  in various effects to individuals and
                                                 tangible framework for additional                       increase relative to the overall                      populations, ranging from mild to
                                                 harvest management, as necessary. The                   population, and this continued level of               severe (Fay 1982, p. 228; Dubey 2003, p.
                                                 existing harvest reporting and                          subsistence harvest will become                       275). For example, the ectoparasite
                                                 monitoring programs provide                             unsustainable. Therefore, although we                 Antarctophthirus trichchi is an
                                                 information on harvest program                          do not identify current subsistence                   anopluran (sucking) louse that lives in
                                                 effectiveness and also provide data on                  harvest as a threat to the walrus                     the skin folds of walruses (Fay 1982, p.
                                                 harvest trends and composition. In                      population at the present time, we have               228), causing external itching, but no
                                                 conjunction with information on                         determined that this continued level of               serious health issues (Fay 1982, p. 228).
                                                 population status and trends, this                      subsistence harvest will become a threat                 Endoparasites, protozoa, and
                                                 information will be used to evaluate                    to the walrus population, as it declines              helminthes (microorganisms and
                                                 future harvest management strategies.                   in the foreseeable future. Based on the               parasitic worms) also may impact
                                                 Additionally, a multi-party agreement                   best scientific and commercial data                   populations, as they rely on locating
                                                 between the Service, State of Alaska,                   available, we find that overutilization in            suitable hosts to complete all or part of
                                                 and two Alaska native groups includes                   the form of subsistence harvest at                    their life cycle. Of the 17 species of
                                                 a defined hunting season and a quota for                current levels, is likely to threaten the             helminthes known to parasitize Pacific
                                                 the Round Island State Game Sanctuary.                  Pacific walrus in the foreseeable future.             walrus, 2 species are endemic (Fay
                                                    We wish to underscore the                                                                                  1982, p. 228; Rausch 2005, p. 134): The
                                                 importance of the efforts the Alaska                    Factor C. Disease or Predation                        cestode Diphyllobothrium fayi, found
                                                 Native community has undertaken to                        Future disease and predation                        only in the small intestine, and the
                                                 manage subsistence harvest, and we are                  dynamics may be tied to environmental                 nematode Anisakis rosmari, found only
                                                 hopeful that community-based harvest                    changes associated with changes in sea                in stomachs (Heptner and Naumov
                                                 regulations to improve efficiency                       ice and other environmental parameters                1976, p. 52).
                                                 (reduce animals that are struck and                     that influence disease vectors and                       Trichinella spiralis nativa (Rausch et
                                                 lost), adjust the sex structure of the                  exposure, and predation opportunities.                al. 2007, p. 1249) infects Pacific
                                                 harvest (reduce the overall take of                     Our ability to reliably predict the                   walruses at a rate of about 1.5 percent
                                                 females), or limit the total number of                  potential level and influence of disease              (Bukina and Kolevatova 2007, p. 14).
                                                 walrus taken will be developed in the                   and predation is tied to our ability to               While the possibility of contracting
                                                 future. The Service prefers to develop                  predict environmental change and is                   Trichinosis from infected walrus has
                                                 community-based harvest regulations.                    related to our understanding of sea-ice               been an issue of concern to some
                                                 To that end, we will continue working                   dynamics. Under Factor A, we also                     subsistence hunters for decades,
                                                 directly with the subsistence hunting                   discussed the potential increase in                   Trichinella does not appear to cause any
                                                 community and the Eskimo Walrus                         predation by polar bears associated with              ill effects in walrus (Rausch et al. 2007,
                                                 Commission to continually refine                        increasing dependence of Pacific walrus               p. 1249).
                                                 harvest monitoring and reporting and to                 on coastal haulouts caused by the loss                   The intracellular parasite Toxoplasma
                                                 share information on population status                  of sea-ice habitat.                                   gondii is a significant cause of
                                                 and trend from both traditional                                                                               encephalitis in sea otters and harbor
                                                                                                         Disease                                               seals (Dubey et al. 2003, p. 276), and
                                                 ecological knowledge and western
                                                 science. We recognize that to improve                     Infectious viruses and bacteria have                heart, liver, intestine and lung lesions in
                                                 our ability to manage the walrus                        the capacity to impact marine mammals,                sea lions (Dubey et al. 2003, p. 281). It
                                                 harvest, the refinement of methods to                   particularly when first introduced to a               has been isolated from at least 10
                                                 estimate walrus abundance and trend,                    population (Duignan et al. 1994, p. 90;               species of marine mammals, including
                                                 productivity, and habitat carrying                      Osterhaus et al. 1997, p. 838; Ham-                   walrus (Dubey et al. 2003, p. 278). Of
                                                 capacity is needed. Our longstanding                    Lamme et al. 1999, p. 607; Calle et al.               the 53 Pacific walruses tested between
                                                 co-management agreement between the                     2002, p. 98; Burek et al. 2008, p. 129).              1976 and 1998, about 5.6 percent were
                                                 Service and the Eskimo Walrus                           Pacific walrus have had exposure to                   positive for T. gondii (Dubey et al. 2003,
                                                 Commission provides an important                        several pathogens, such as Caliciviruses              p. 278). T. gondii has also been
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                                                 forum for continued dialogue about                      (Fay et al. 1984, p. 140; Smith et al.                documented in some walrus prey (e.g.,
                                                 these harvest-related issues and a                      1983, p. 86; Barlough et al. 1986, p.                 seals and bivalves; Fay 1982, p. 146;
                                                 mechanism for developing further                        166), Leptospirosis (Calle et al. 2002, p.            Lowry and Fay 1984, p. 12; Dubey et al.
                                                 harvest management options.                             96), and Influenza A virus (Calle et al.              2003, p. 278; Lindsay et al. 2004, p.
                                                    In summary, although the Service                     2002, p. 95–96), none of which have                   1055; Jensen et al. 2009, p. 1); however,
                                                 supports efforts by subsistence                         resulted in large die-offs of animals.                it will not likely play a significant role
                                                 communities to implement voluntary                        Additionally, the introduction of new               in the health of the Pacific walrus
                                                 programs with the goal of sustainable                   viruses to populations of marine                      population, because they have a history


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                                                 of exposure and no large walrus                         that include collection of walrus                     haulouts, and some of the animals die
                                                 mortality events have been attributed to                carcasses and establishment of polar                  in stampedes caused by disturbance
                                                 this organism.                                          bear feeding areas away from the                      events. The magnitude of these potential
                                                    Neospora caninum is a protozoan                      haulouts and villages (Kavry 2010, pers.              energetic costs would be determined by
                                                 parasite that was found in 3 of 53                      comm.).                                               the frequency and distance of the shifts
                                                 walruses (Dubey et al. 2003, p. 281).                      The increase in walrus carcasses at                in location. Although predation by polar
                                                 The health implication for N. caninum                   coastal haulouts in Chukotka in recent                bears on Pacific walrus has been
                                                 exposure in walruses is unknown, but                    years is likely playing an important role             observed, no population-level effects
                                                 the potential for exposure appears low.                 in shifting habitat-use patterns of some              have been documented to date;
                                                    In summary, the occurrence and                       polar bears and their progeny (Kochnev                therefore, polar bear predation is not
                                                 effects of diseases and parasites on                    2006, p. 1). Walrus carcasses now                     currently a threat to the Pacific walrus.
                                                 Pacific walrus appear to be minor in                    represent an important food resource for              As sea ice declines and Pacific walrus
                                                 terms of potential population-level                     polar bears on Wrangel Island in                      spend more time on coastal haulouts,
                                                 effects. Several diseases and parasites                 autumn and early winter (Kochnev                      however, it is likely that polar bear
                                                 appear at chronically low levels;                       2002, p. 137). Polar bears begin to                   predation will increase. However, we
                                                 however, no outbreaks resulting in large                appear near walrus haulouts on Wrangel                cannot reliably predict the level of such
                                                 die-offs have been observed. A changing                 Island in early August, about a month                 predation. Although we have identified
                                                 climate may increase exposure of walrus                 prior to the arrival of walruses (Kochnev             these issues as stressors for Pacific
                                                 to new organisms. Additionally,                         2002, p. 137). In the 1990s, the number               walrus, we are not able to conclude with
                                                 increased use of terrestrial haulouts may               of polar bears coming ashore on                       sufficient reliability that they will rise to
                                                 escalate the risk of transmission of                    Wrangel Island peaked in late October,                the level of a threat to the Pacific walrus
                                                 disease (Fay 1974, p. 394). This                        averaging 50 bears (Kochnev 2002, p.                  population in the foreseeable future.
                                                 potential stressor is part of the USGS                  137). However, in 2007, approximately                    Although sea-ice habitats also provide
                                                 Bayesian network model, which linked                    500–600 polar bears were stranded on                  some protection against killer whales,
                                                 lower-shelf ice availability to walrus                  Wrangel Island (Ovsyanikov and                        which have limited ability to penetrate
                                                 crowding and incidence of disease and                   Menyushina 2007, p. 1), along with                    far into the ice pack, accounts of killer
                                                 parasites in the population, by                         herds of walruses (up to 15,000 in one                whale predation on walrus have been
                                                 increasing the walrus haulout sizes and                 group); some of the walruses were in                  observed by Russian scientists and
                                                 concentrating their locations (Jay et al.               poor condition and polar bears were                   Alaskan Natives (Fay 1982, pp. 216–
                                                 2010b, p. 9). However, sensitivity                      able to kill them relatively easily. At               220). Some observers suggest that killer
                                                 analysis did not identify disease and                   least 11 cases of polar bear predation on             whales primarily prey upon the
                                                 predation as having a significant effect                motherless calves were also observed                  youngest animals, and instances of
                                                 on model outcomes (Jay et al. 2010b, p.                 (Ovsyanikov et al. 2007, p. 1).                       killer whale predation on adult walruses
                                                 86). In addition, increased exposure to                    Because the summer/fall open-water                 have also been documented (Fay and
                                                 disease or parasites has yet to be                      period is projected to increase in the                Stoker 1982, p. 2). The mortality from
                                                 documented, and there are no clear                      foreseeable future, polar bears are also              killer whale predation is unknown, but
                                                 transmission vectors that would change                  predicted to spend more time on land.                 an interpretation of an examination of
                                                 the level of exposure. At this time,                    As a result, we anticipate that there will            52 walrus carcasses that washed ashore
                                                 disease and parasites are not considered                be greater interaction between the two                on St. Lawrence Island in 1951 (Fay
                                                 to be threats to the Pacific walrus                     species, and terrestrial walrus haulouts              1982, p. 220) suggested that 17 walrus
                                                 population, and no evidence exists that                 may become important feeding areas for                (33 percent) died from injuries
                                                 they will be in the foreseeable future.                 polar bears. The presence of polar bears              consistent with killer whale predation.
                                                                                                         along the coast during the ice-free                   Fay and Kelly reported that 2 of 15 (13
                                                 Predation
                                                                                                         season will likely influence patterns of              percent) animals they examined had
                                                    Because of their large size and                      haulout use by walrus, and may play a                 likely been killed by killer whales (Fay
                                                 formidable tusks, adult walruses have                   significant role in the selection of                  and Kelly 1980, p. 235). The potential
                                                 few natural predators. Polar bears                      coastal haulout sites (Garlich-Miller et              for killer whales to expand their range
                                                 (Ursus maritimus) and killer whales                     al. 2011, Section 3.4.2.1 ‘‘Polar Bears’’).           and begin to target walruses at northern
                                                 (Orcinus orca) tend to prey on walruses                 We anticipate walrus to respond to this               haulouts exists; however, this remains
                                                 only opportunistically and focus                        expected increase in interaction with                 speculative at this time. Reduced
                                                 primarily on younger animals.                           polar bears by shifting to other coastal              availability of sea ice may lead to
                                                    However, when suitable sea-ice                       haulout locations. However, if walrus                 walruses spending more time in the
                                                 platforms are not available, Pacific                    are forced to move to other locations to              water where they may be more
                                                 walruses haul out onto land, where they                 avoid predation by polar bears, the                   susceptible to predation by killer whales
                                                 become vulnerable to terrestrial                        walrus may be displaced from preferred                (Boveng et al. 2009, p. 169). However,
                                                 predators and associated stampede                       haulout locations with adequate prey                  there is no evidence that killer whale
                                                 events. Walrus carcasses accumulating                   resources to other areas that may or may              predation has ever limited the Pacific
                                                 at coastal haulouts provide scavenging                  not have less-suitable foraging habitat. It           walrus population, and there is no
                                                 opportunities that may attract bears                    is also possible that walrus will be                  evidence of increased presence of killer
                                                 (Ovsyanikov 2003, p. 13). Brown bears,                  forced to move to different haulout                   whales in the Bering or Chukchi seas;
                                                 wolverines, and feral dogs have also                    locations more frequently, with                       therefore, killer whale predation is not
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                                                 been observed scavenging at coastal                     increased energetic costs to them.                    a threat to the Pacific walrus now and
                                                 haulouts in Chukotka, Russia, in recent                 Kochnev (2004, p. 286) asserted that                  is unlikely to be a threat in the
                                                 years (Kochnev 2010, pers. comm.) and                   when Pacific walrus migrate in autumn,                foreseeable future.
                                                 contribute to disturbances at these                     from haulout to haulout on the Arctic                    Sensitivity analyses of both BN
                                                 haulout sites. Programs have been                       coast of Chukotka, Russia, the increased              models found that disease and
                                                 established in recent years at some                     pressure from humans and animal                       predation had very little effect on model
                                                 coastal haulouts in Chukotka, Russia, to                predators prevents walruses from                      outcomes. For the Service model,
                                                 mitigate disturbance-related mortalities                getting adequate rest at the coastal                  disease and predation altered model


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                                                 7660                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 outcomes by 1.2 and 2.2 percent,                        a threat, we also provide an overview of              reporting of greenhouse gas emissions
                                                 respectively (Garlich-Miller et al. 2011,               additional laws and regulations                       from fossil fuel suppliers and industrial
                                                 Table 8). For the USGS model, disease                   containing protective measures for the                gas suppliers, direct greenhouse gas
                                                 and predation accounted for less than 1                 walrus.                                               emitters, and manufacturers of heavy
                                                 percent of entropy (variation) reduction                                                                      duty and off-road vehicles and engines
                                                                                                         Regulatory Mechanisms To Address
                                                 (Jay et al. 2010b, p. 85–86).                                                                                 (EPA 2009, p. 56260). The rule does not
                                                                                                         Sea-Ice Loss
                                                                                                                                                               actually regulate greenhouse gas
                                                 Summary of Factor C                                        As explained under Factor A, a                     emissions, however; but it merely
                                                    Disease and predation are not                        primary threat to the survival of the                 requires that emissions above certain
                                                 considered to represent threats to the                  Pacific walrus is the projected loss of               thresholds be monitored and reported
                                                 Pacific walrus population at this time.                 sea-ice habitat due to a warming climate              (EPA 2009, p. 56260). On December 7,
                                                 Although a changing climate may                         and its consequences for walrus                       2009, the EPA found that the current
                                                 increase exposure of walrus to new                      populations. Currently, there are no                  and projected concentrations of six
                                                 pathogens, there are no clear                           regulatory mechanisms in place that                   greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
                                                 transmission vectors that would change                  effectively address GHG emissions,                    threaten public health and welfare
                                                 levels of exposure, and no evidence                     climate change, and associated sea-ice                under section 202(a) of the Clean Air
                                                 exists that disease will become a threat                loss.                                                 Act. This finding by itself does not
                                                 in the foreseeable future. As walruses                     National and international regulatory              impose any requirements on any
                                                 and polar bears become increasingly                     mechanisms to comprehensively                         industry or other entities to limit
                                                 dependent on coastal haulouts, we                       address the causes of climate change are              greenhouse gas emissions. While the
                                                 expect interactions between the two                     continuing to be developed.                           finding could be considered a
                                                 species to increase. The presence of                    International efforts to address climate              prerequisite for any future regulations
                                                 polar bears stranded along the coast                    change began with the United Nations                  developed by the EPA to reduce GHG
                                                 during the ice-free season will likely                  Framework Convention on Climate                       emissions, no such regulations exist at
                                                 influence patterns of haulout use and                   Change (UNFCCC), which was signed in                  this time. In addition, it is unknown
                                                 may play a significant role in the                      May 1992. The UNFCCC states as its                    whether any regulations will be adopted
                                                 selection of coastal haulout sites. There               objective the stabilization of GHG                    in the future as a result of the finding,
                                                 is no evidence that killer whale                        concentrations in the atmosphere at a                 or how effective such regulations would
                                                 predation has ever limited the Pacific                  level that would prevent dangerous                    be in addressing GHG emissions and
                                                 walrus population, and there is no                      anthropogenic interference with the                   climate change.
                                                 evidence of increased presence of killer                climate system, but it does not impose
                                                 whales in the Bering or Chukchi seas.                   any mandatory and enforceable                         Summary of Regulatory Mechanisms To
                                                 The net effect of future predation levels               restrictions on GHG emissions. The                    Address Sea-Ice Loss
                                                 on the population cannot be reliably                    Kyoto Protocol, negotiated in 1997,                      Based on our analysis (above), we
                                                 predicted, because of uncertainties                     became the first agreement added to the               conclude that there are no known
                                                 relative to distribution of walrus and                  UNFCCC to set GHG emissions targets                   regulatory mechanisms in place at the
                                                 their potential predators and the amount                for signatory counties, but the targets are           national or international level that are
                                                 of potential overlap, and the degree to                 not mandated. The Climate Change Act                  likely to effectively reduce or limit GHG
                                                 which these predators would target                      of 2008 established a long-term target to             emissions. This conclusion is
                                                 Pacific walrus. The best available                      cut emissions in the United Kingdom                   corroborated by the projections we used
                                                 scientific information indicates that the               (UK) by 80 percent by 2050 and by 34                  to assess risks to sea ice from GHG
                                                 effect of predation on Pacific walrus                   percent in 2020 compared to 1990                      emissions, as described earlier in this
                                                 may be a source of concern in the                       levels, but the law does not pertain to               finding. Therefore, the lack of
                                                 foreseeable future, particularly at the                 any emissions outside the UK. Other                   mechanisms to regulate GHG emissions
                                                 localized scale, where walrus congregate                international laws, regulations, or other             is already included in our risk
                                                 at coastal haulouts. However, we do not                 legally binding requirements imposing                 assessment in Factor A, which shows
                                                 anticipate predation to be a threat to the              limits on GHG emissions to further the                that, without additional regulation, GHG
                                                 entire population. Therefore, we                        goals set forth in the UNFCCC and the                 emissions and corresponding sea-ice
                                                 conclude, based on the best scientific                  Kyoto Protocol have not yet been                      losses are likely to increase in the
                                                 and commercial data available, that                     adopted.                                              foreseeable future. Thus, we conclude
                                                 disease and predation are not threats to                   In the United States, efforts to address           that regulatory mechanisms do not
                                                 the Pacific walrus now, nor are they                    climate change focus on the Clean Air                 currently exist to effectively address the
                                                 likely to become threats to the                         Act and a number of voluntary actions                 loss of sea-ice habitat.
                                                 population in the foreseeable future.                   and programs. Specifically, the Clean
                                                                                                         Air Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.),             Regulatory Mechanisms To Ensure
                                                 Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing                    as amended, requires the Environmental                Harvest Sustainability
                                                 Regulatory Mechanisms                                   Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and                  While current harvest levels are
                                                    In determining whether the                           enforce regulations to protect the                    considered sustainable, subsistence
                                                 inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms                     general public from exposure to                       harvest has been identified as a threat to
                                                 constitutes a threat to the Pacific walrus,             airborne contaminants hazardous to                    the Pacific walrus within the foreseeable
                                                 we focused our analysis on the specific                 human health. In 2007, the Supreme                    future. As explained in Factor B,
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                                                 laws and regulations aimed at                           Court ruled that gases that cause global              subsistence harvest is expected to
                                                 addressing the two primary threats to                   warming are ‘‘pollutants’’ under the                  continue at current levels, while the
                                                 the walrus–the loss of sea-ice habitat                  Clean Air Act, and that the EPA has the               walrus population is projected to
                                                 under Factor A and subsistence harvest                  authority to regulate carbon dioxide and              decline with the continued loss of sea
                                                 under Factor B. These specific                          other heat-trapping gases                             ice and associated impacts. Barring
                                                 regulatory mechanisms are described                     (Massachusetts et al. v. EPA 2007 (Case               additional Tribal or Federal regulations,
                                                 below. Although none of the other                       No. 05–1120)). On December 29, 2009,                  we anticipate that the proportion of
                                                 stressors on walrus rise to the level of                the EPA adopted a regulation to require               animals harvested will increase relative


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                                                 to the overall population. As a result,                 used the program to improve its                       ordinances described above, we
                                                 the current level of subsistence harvest                understanding of subsistence harvest by               conclude that adequate regulatory
                                                 will likely become unsustainable in the                 recruiting, training, and outfitting                  mechanisms are not currently in place
                                                 foreseeable future. To address this                     village residents to collect harvest data             to address the threat that continued
                                                 threat, regulatory mechanisms will need                 and tag tusks. Pursuant to the program,               levels of subsistence harvest pose to the
                                                 to be developed and implemented to                      the Service has also maintained a                     Pacific walrus as the population
                                                 ensure that future harvest levels are                   walrus harvest reporting database and                 declines in the foreseeable future. The
                                                 reduced in proportion to the declining                  developed and implemented important                   Russian harvest is currently regulated
                                                 walrus population such that subsistence                 outreach and education programs.                      with a quota system, based on the
                                                 harvest levels are sustainable. To                         In addition to the MTRP, the Service
                                                                                                                                                               sustainability of the harvest. In Alaska,
                                                 determine whether such regulatory                       also administers the Walrus Harvest
                                                                                                         Monitoring Program, which is an                       no Statewide quota exists. An annual
                                                 mechanisms currently exist, we
                                                 evaluated the various international and                 observer-based data collection program                quota does exist on Round Island, but
                                                 domestic laws and regulations,                          conducted in the communities of                       the number of walrus harvested in this
                                                 cooperative agreements, and local                       Gambell and Savoonga during the                       area is miniscule in relation to the
                                                 ordinances relevant to the subsistence                  spring harvest. The program is designed               overall harvest. In the Bering Strait
                                                 harvest of walrus.                                      to collect basic biological information               Region, where the vast majority of U.S.
                                                    In Russia, the Pacific walrus is a                   on harvested walrus, collect biological               harvest (84 percent) and 43 percent of
                                                 protected species managed primarily by                  samples for research, and supplement                  the rangewide harvest occurs, local
                                                 the Fisheries Department within the                     the MTRP data set, to allow the Service               ordinances recently adopted by two
                                                 Ministry of Agriculture. The subsistence                to more accurately account for the                    Native villages reflect the appreciation
                                                 harvest of walrus in Russia is                          unreported segment of the harvest. The                of the Native community for the
                                                 authorized, but it is controlled through                Service law enforcement office                        important role of self-regulation in
                                                 a quota system. Under the Russian ‘‘Law                 simultaneously conducts an                            managing the subsistence harvest, and
                                                 on Fishery and Protection of Aquatic                    enforcement program designed to                       will serve as a starting point for future
                                                 Biological Resources,’’ the harvest of                  enforce the nonwasteful take provision                cooperative efforts and the development
                                                 walrus is based upon the total annual                   of the MMPA.                                          of harvest management strategies in the
                                                 catch (TAC) of walrus (Food and                            Some local harvest management
                                                                                                                                                               future. There are currently no tribal,
                                                 Agriculture Organization of the United                  programs have been adopted in addition
                                                                                                                                                               Federal, or State regulations in place to
                                                 Nations 2007, p. 4). The TAC takes into                 to the above subsistence harvest data
                                                                                                         collection programs. Through a 1997                   ensure the likelihood that, as the
                                                 account the total population and
                                                                                                         cooperative agreement between the                     population of walrus declines in
                                                 productivity, based in part on the
                                                 recommendations of scientists from the                  Service, Bristol Bay Native Association/              response to changing sea-ice conditions,
                                                 Pacific Research Fisheries Center                       Qayassiq Walrus Commission, the                       the subsistence harvest of walrus will
                                                 (Chukotka Branch-ChukotTINRO)                           Eskimo Walrus Commission, and ADFG,                   occur at a reduced and sustainable level.
                                                 regarding a sustainable removal level                   the subsistence harvest of walrus at                  As a result, we conclude that current
                                                 (Kochnev, 2010 pers. comm.). The 2010                   Round Island, a traditional hunting area              regulatory mechanisms are inadequate
                                                 quota has been set at 1,300 animals                     now located within the Walrus Island                  to prevent subsistence harvest from
                                                 (Kochnev, 2010 pers. comm.).                            State Game Sanctuary, is restricted to a              becoming unsustainable in the
                                                    In the United States, section 101(b) of              40-day fall hunting season and a quota                foreseeable future. Therefore, we
                                                 the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1371(b)) provides                   of 20 walrus (Chythlook and Fall 1998,                conclude that current regulatory
                                                 an exemption for the continued                          pp. 4, 5). The harvest level in this area             mechanisms do not remove or reduce
                                                 nonwasteful harvest of walrus by coastal                has ranged from zero to two per year                  the threat to the Pacific walrus from
                                                 Alaska Natives for subsistence and                      and represents a very minor portion of                future subsistence harvest.
                                                 handicraft purposes. Pursuant to                        the harvest in the United States.
                                                 Section 101(b)(3), regulations limiting                    Similarly, out of a desire to revive               Regulatory Mechanisms To Address
                                                 the subsistence harvest of walrus may                   traditional law, to advance the idea of               Other Stressors
                                                 be adopted, but only if a determination                 self regulation of the subsistence
                                                 is first made that the species or stock                 harvest, and to initiate a local                         A number of regulatory mechanisms
                                                 has been depleted, following notice and                 management infrastructure, the Native                 directed specifically at protecting and
                                                 determination by substantial evidence                   villages of Gambell and Savoonga on St.               conserving the walrus and its habitat are
                                                 on the record following an agency                       Lawrence Island have recently formed                  in place at the international, national,
                                                 hearing before an administrative law                    Marine Mammal Advisory Committees                     and local level. These mechanisms may
                                                 judge. To date, no determination has                    (MMAC) and implemented local                          be useful in minimizing the adverse
                                                 ever been made that the species or stock                ordinances establishing a limit of four               effects to walrus from potential stressors
                                                 has been depleted, and thus, no                         walruses per hunting trip. The scope of               other than sea-ice loss and subsistence
                                                 regulations establishing limits on the                  these ordinances is limited, however, as              harvest, such as the take of walrus for
                                                 subsistence harvest of Pacific walrus in                walruses that are struck and lost and                 scientific or educational purposes,
                                                 the United States have been adopted.                    walrus calves do not count against this               commercial harvest, human
                                                    Subsistence harvest reporting in the                 limit of four walruses per trip, and the              disturbance, and oil spills. Because
                                                 United States is required under section                 number of trips is not restricted.                    none of these other stressors rise to the
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                                                 109(i) of the MMPA. This requirement                    Additionally, there is no quota on the                level of a threat to the Pacific walrus, we
                                                 is administered through the Marking,                    total number of walruses that may be                  acknowledge that the protections
                                                 Tagging, and Reporting Program (MTRP)                   harvested.                                            discussed here are not essential to our
                                                 and requires Alaska Native hunters to                                                                         determination of the adequacy of
                                                 report the harvest of all walrus and                    Summary of Regulatory Mechanisms To
                                                                                                         Ensure Harvest Sustainability                         existing regulatory mechanisms to
                                                 present the ivory for tagging within 30
                                                                                                                                                               address threats to the walrus.
                                                 days of harvest. Since its                                After evaluating the laws, regulations,
                                                 implementation in 1988, the Service has                 cooperative agreements, and local


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                                                 International Agreements                                recognition that marine mammals ‘‘affect              petition the Secretary of the Interior to
                                                 The Convention on International Trade                   the balance of marine ecosystems in a                 authorize the incidental, but not
                                                 in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna                     manner that is important to other                     intentional, taking of small numbers of
                                                 and Flora                                               animals and animal products,’’ and that               marine mammals within that region for
                                                                                                         marine mammals and their habitats                     a period of not more than 5 consecutive
                                                    The Convention on International                      should therefore be protected and                     years (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(A)). The
                                                 Trade in Endangered Species of Wild                     conserved; and (4) direction that the                 Secretary ‘‘shall allow’’ the incidental
                                                 Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a treaty                     primary objective of marine mammal                    taking if the Secretary finds that ‘‘the
                                                 aimed at protecting species that are or                 management is to maintain ‘‘the health                total of such taking during each five-
                                                 may be affected by international trade.                 and stability of the marine ecosystem.’’              year (or less) period concerned will
                                                 The CITES regulates international trade                 Congressional intent to protect marine                have no more than a negligible impact
                                                 in animals and plants by listing species                mammal habitat is also reflected in the               on such species or stock and will not
                                                 in one of three appendices. The level of                definitions section of the MMPA. The                  have an unmitigable adverse impact on
                                                 monitoring and regulation to which an                   terms ‘‘conservation’’ and ‘‘management’’             the availability of such species or stock
                                                 animal or plant species is subject                      of marine mammals are specifically                    for taking for subsistence uses’’ (16
                                                 depends on the appendix in which the                    defined to include habitat acquisition                U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(A)(i)). If the Secretary
                                                 species is listed. At the request of                    and improvement.                                      makes the required findings, the
                                                 Canada, the walrus was listed at the                       The MMPA established a general                     Secretary also prescribes regulations
                                                 species level in Appendix III, which                    moratorium on the taking and importing                that specify: (1) Permissible methods of
                                                 includes species that are subject to                    of marine mammals, as well as a                       taking; (2) means of affecting the least
                                                 regulation in at least one country, and                 number of prohibitions that are subject               practicable adverse impact on the
                                                 for which that country has asked the                    to a number of exceptions. Some of                    species, their habitat, and their
                                                 other CITES Party countries for                         these exceptions include take for                     availability for subsistence uses; and (3)
                                                 assistance in controlling and monitoring                scientific purposes, for purposes of                  requirements for monitoring and
                                                 international trade in that species. For                public display, and for subsistence use               reporting. (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(A)(ii)).
                                                 exportation of walrus specimens from                    by Alaska Natives, as well as                         The regulatory process does not
                                                 Canada, an export permit may be issued                  unintentional take incidental to                      authorize the activities themselves, but
                                                 by the Canadian Management Authority                    conducting otherwise lawful activities.               authorizes the incidental take of the
                                                 if it finds that the specimen was legally               The Service, prior to issuing a permit                marine mammals in conjunction with
                                                 obtained. The import of walrus                          authorizing the taking or importing of a              otherwise legal activities.
                                                 specimens into countries that are parties               walrus, or a walrus part or product, for                Regulations authorizing the nonlethal
                                                 to CITES requires the presentation of a                 scientific or public display purposes,                incidental take of walrus from certain
                                                 certificate or origin and, if the import                reviews each request, provides an                     oil and gas activities in the Beaufort and
                                                 was from Canada, an export permit. All                  opportunity for public comment, and                   Chukchi Seas are currently in place.
                                                 countries within the range of the                       consults with the U.S. Marine Mammal                  These regulations are based on a
                                                 walrus—that is, the United States                       Commission (MMC), as described at 50                  determination that the effects of such
                                                 (Pacific walrus); the Russian Federation                CFR 18.31. The Service has determined                 activities, including noise, physical
                                                 (Pacific and Laptev Walrus), Canada,                    that there is sufficient rigor under the              obstructions, human encounters, and oil
                                                 Norway, Greenland (Denmark), and                        regulations at 50 CFR 18.30 and 18.31                 spills, are likely to be sufficiently
                                                 Sweden (Atlantic walrus) are members                    to ensure that any activities so                      limited in time and scale that they
                                                 to the CITES and have provisions in                     authorized are consistent with the                    would have no more than a negligible
                                                 place to monitor international trade in                 conservation of this species and are not              impact on the stock (USFWS 2008, pp.
                                                 walrus specimens.                                       a threat to the species.                              33212, 33226). General operating
                                                 Domestic Regulatory Mechanisms                             Take is defined in the MMPA to                     conditions required to be imposed in
                                                                                                         include the ‘‘harassment’’ of marine                  specific authorizations include: (1)
                                                 Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972                    mammals. ‘‘Harassment’’ includes any                  Restrictions on industrial activities,
                                                   The Marine Mammal Protection Act                      act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance                 areas, and time of year; (2) restrictions
                                                 of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et                  that ‘‘has the potential to injure a marine           on seismic surveys to mitigate potential
                                                 seq.) (MMPA) was enacted to protect                     mammal or marine mammal stock in the                  cumulative impacts on resting, feeding,
                                                 and conserve marine mammals so that                     wild’’ (Level A harassment), or ‘‘has the             and migrating walrus; and (3)
                                                 they continue to be significant                         potential to disturb a marine mammal or               development of a site-specific plan of
                                                 functioning elements of the ecosystem                   marine mammal stock in the wild by                    operation and a site-specific monitoring
                                                 of which they are a part. The MMPA                      causing disruption of behavioral                      plan to enumerate and document any
                                                 sets forth a national policy to prevent                 patterns, including, but not limited to,              animals that may be disturbed. These
                                                 marine mammal species or population                     migration, breathing, nursing, breeding,              and other safeguards and coordination
                                                 stocks from diminishing to the point                    feeding, or sheltering’’ (Level B                     with industry called for under the
                                                 where they are no longer a significant                  harassment) (16 U.S.C. 1362(18)(A)).                  MMPA have been useful in helping to
                                                 functioning element of the ecosystems.                     The MMPA contains provisions for                   minimize industry effects on walrus.
                                                   The MMPA places an emphasis on                        evaluating and permitting incidental                    A similar process exists for the
                                                 habitat and ecosystem protection. The                   take of marine mammals, provided the                  promulgation of regulations authorizing
                                                 habitat and ecosystem goals set forth in                total take would have no more than a                  the incidental take of small numbers of
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                                                 the MMPA include: (1) Management of                     negligible effect on the population or                marine mammals where the take will be
                                                 marine mammals to ensure they do not                    stock. Specifically, under Section                    limited to harassment (16 U.S.C.
                                                 cease to be a significant element of the                101(a)(5) of the MMPA, citizens of the                1371(a)(5)(D)). These authorizations,
                                                 ecosystem of which they are a part; (2)                 United States who engage in a specified               referred to as Incidental Harassment
                                                 protection of essential habitats,                       activity other than commercial fishing                Authorizations, are limited to 1 year and
                                                 including rookeries, mating grounds,                    (which is specifically and separately                 require a finding by the Department that
                                                 and areas of similar significance ‘‘from                addressed under the MMPA) within a                    the taking will have no more than a
                                                 the adverse effects of man’s action’’; (3)              specified geographical region may                     negligible impact on the species or stock


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                          7663

                                                 and will not have immitigable adverse                   Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act                     or enhance the resources of the Nation’s
                                                 impact on the availability of such                         The Outer Continental Shelf Lands                  coastal zone.’’ The CZMA provides for
                                                 species or stock for taking for                         Act (OCSLA) (43 U.S.C. 331 et seq.)                   the submission of a State program
                                                 subsistence uses. There are currently no                established Federal jurisdiction over                 subject to Federal approval. The CZMA
                                                 incidental harassment authorizations in                 submerged lands on the outer                          requires that Federal actions be
                                                 place for the walrus.                                                                                         conducted in a manner consistent with
                                                                                                         continental shelf (OCS) seaward for 5
                                                                                                                                                               the State’s Coastal Zone Management
                                                    As discussed under Factor E, shipping                km (3 mi) in order to expedite
                                                                                                                                                               Plan (CZMP) to the maximum extent
                                                 and anthropogenic noises are expected                   exploration and development of oil and
                                                                                                                                                               practicable. Federal agencies planning
                                                 to increase in the Chukchi and Beaufort                 gas resources. The OCSLA is
                                                                                                                                                               or authorizing an activity that affects
                                                 Seas in the future, and could impact the                implemented by the Bureau of Ocean
                                                                                                                                                               any land or water use or natural
                                                 walrus or its habitat. Under the MMPA,                  Energy, Management, Regulation and
                                                                                                                                                               resource of the coastal zone must
                                                 however, disturbance of walrus from                     Enforcement (formerly the Minerals
                                                                                                                                                               provide a consistency determination to
                                                 such otherwise lawful human activity is                 Management Service) of the Department
                                                                                                                                                               the appropriate State agency. The
                                                 generally prohibited. While the MMPA                    of the Interior. The OCSLA mandates
                                                                                                                                                               CZMA applies to walrus habitats of
                                                 does allow for the incidental taking of                 that orderly development of OCS energy                northern and western Alaska. In Alaska,
                                                 walrus, any such authorizations for                     resources be balanced with protection of              consistency determinations are
                                                 increasing shipping activities or                       human, marine, and coastal                            reviewed for compliance with the
                                                 anthropogenic noise from industry                       environments. Specifically, Title II of               Alaska Coastal Management Program
                                                 would be required to be based on a                      the OCSLA provides for the cancellation               (Alaska Stat. section 46.39–40). The
                                                                                                         of leases or permits if continued activity            Alaska Coastal Management Plan is
                                                 determination that impacts to the
                                                                                                         is likely to cause serious harm to life,              developed in partnership with Alaska’s
                                                 Pacific walrus would be negligible and
                                                                                                         including fish and other aquatic life. It             natural resource agencies, the Alaska
                                                 would not have an immitigable adverse
                                                                                                         also requires economic, social, and                   Department of Environmental
                                                 impact on the availability of Pacific                   environmental values of the renewable
                                                 walrus for the taking for subsistence                                                                         Conservation, the ADFG, and the
                                                                                                         and nonrenewable resources to be                      Department of Natural Resources
                                                 uses, consistent with the procedures                    considered in management of the OCS.
                                                 outlined previously regarding the                                                                             (Alaska Coastal Management Plan 2005,
                                                                                                         Through consistency determinations,                   p. A85). The CZMA applies to walrus
                                                 promulgation of take regulations and                    any license or permit issued under the
                                                 incidental harassment authorizations.                                                                         habitats of northern and western Alaska
                                                                                                         OCSLA must be consistent with State                   by ensuring that any permitted actions
                                                    Similarly, the potential for                         coastal management plans (see also the                are consistent with the State of Alaska’s
                                                 commercial fishing to expand into the                   Coastal Zone Management Act below).                   CZMP, which, among other things, sets
                                                 Chukchi and Beaufort Seas could                         Thus, the OCSLA helps to increase the                 standards that require exposed high
                                                 impact the Pacific walrus, as discussed                 likelihood that projects on the OCS do                energy coasts to be managed so as to
                                                 later in this finding. However, the                     not adversely impact Pacific walruses or              avoid, minimize, or mitigate significant
                                                 MMPA has protections in place to limit                  their habitats.                                       adverse impacts to the mix and
                                                 any potential incidental impacts of                     Oil Pollution Act of 1990                             transport of sediments. As such, these
                                                 future commercial fisheries.                                                                                  requirements provide potential
                                                 Specifically, section 118 of the MMPA                      The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA)                protection to current or future coastal
                                                 (16 U.S.C. 1387) calls for commercial                   (33 U.S.C. 2701) provides enhanced                    haulouts.
                                                 fisheries to reduce any incidental                      capabilities for oil spill response and
                                                                                                         natural resource damage assessment by                 Alaska National Interest Lands
                                                 mortality or serious injury of marine                                                                         Conservation Act
                                                 mammals to insignificant levels                         the Service. The OPA requires the
                                                 approaching zero. In its 2004 report to                 Service to consult on developing a fish                  The Alaska National Interest Lands
                                                 Congress regarding the commercial                       and wildlife response plan for the                    Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) (16
                                                                                                         National Contingency Plan, provide                    U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) created or expanded
                                                 fisheries’ progress toward reducing
                                                                                                         input to Area Contingency Plans, review               National Parks and National Wildlife
                                                 mortality and serious injury of marine
                                                                                                         Facility and Tank Vessel Contingency                  Refuges in Alaska, including the
                                                 mammals, the National Oceanic and
                                                                                                         Plans, and conduct damage assessments                 expansion of the Togiak National
                                                 Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
                                                                                                         for the purpose of obtaining damages for              Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the Alaska
                                                 concluded that: (1) Most fisheries have
                                                                                                         the restoration of natural resources                  Maritime NWR. One of the purposes of
                                                 achieved levels of incidental mortality                 injured from oil spills. However, we                  these National Wildlife Refuges under
                                                 consistent with the Zero Mortality Rate                 note that there are limited abilities to              the ANILCA is the conservation of
                                                 Goal; (2) substantial progress has been                 respond to a catastrophic oil spill event             marine mammals and their habitat.
                                                 made in reducing incidental mortality                   described in the plan (Alaska Regional                Walrus haulouts at Cape Peirce and
                                                 through Take Reduction Plans; and                       Response Team 2002, pp. G–71, G–72).                  Cape Newenham are located within
                                                 (3) additional information will be                      The U.S. Coast Guard, despite planning                Togiak NWR while haulouts at Cape
                                                 needed for most fisheries and stocks of                 efforts, has limited offshore capability to           Lisburne occur in the Alaska Maritime
                                                 marine mammals to accurately assess                     respond in the event of a large oil spill             NWR. Access to the Cape Peirce is
                                                 whether mortality incidental to                         in northern or western Alaska, and we                 tightly controlled through a permitted
                                                 commercial fishing is at insignificant                  only marginally understand the science                visitor program. Refuge staff require that
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                                                 levels approaching a zero mortality and                 of recovering oil in broken ice                       visitors must remain out of sight,
                                                 serious injury rate (NOAA 2004,                         (O’Rourke 2010, p. 23).                               downwind, and a minimum of 107 m
                                                 Executive Summary). Thus, while                                                                               (100 yards) from walruses. Visitors are
                                                 commercial fishing could expand in the                  Coastal Zone Management Act                           advised that disturbances to walruses or
                                                 future, such expansions would need to                     The Coastal Zone Management Act of                  seals are a violation of the MMPA
                                                 be consistent with existing fisheries                   1972 (CZMA) (16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.)                  (Miller 2010, pers. comm.). Cape
                                                 elsewhere in the United States that must                was enacted to ‘‘preserve, protect,                   Newenham has no established refuge
                                                 limit their impacts to marine mammals.                  develop, and where possible, to restore               visitor program, because public access is


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                                                 7664                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 extremely limited due to the presence of                   Additionally, the Sustainable                      State of Alaska
                                                 Department of Defense lands                             Fisheries Act of 1996 amended the                        While the Service has the primary
                                                 surrounding the Cape. As discussed                      MSFCMA, requiring the NOAA to                         authority to manage Pacific walrus in
                                                 under Factor A above, the change in the                 describe and identify Essential Fish                  the United States, the State of Alaska
                                                 nature and location of walrus haulouts                  Habitat, which includes those waters                  has regulatory programs that
                                                 in response to changing ice conditions                  and substrates necessary to fish for                  compliment Federal regulations and
                                                 is anticipated into the foreseeable                     spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth                work in concert to provide conservation
                                                 future. Significant portions of the                     to maturity. ‘‘Waters’’ include aquatic               for walrus and their habitats. For
                                                 Chukchi Sea coastal zone in Alaska are                  areas and their associated physical,                  example, as discussed above, the State’s
                                                 National Wildlife Refuge lands created                  chemical, and biological properties.                  Coastal Zone Management Plan works to
                                                 under ANILCA, and they have the                         ‘‘Substrate’’ includes sediment                       ensure that beach integrity is
                                                 ability to provide haulout locations that               underlying the waters. ‘‘Necessary’’                  maintained. Additionally, oil and gas
                                                 are free from human disturbance.                        means the habitat required to support a               lease permits issued by the State of
                                                                                                         sustainable fishery and the managed                   Alaska in State waters or along the
                                                 Marine Protection, Research and
                                                                                                         species’ contribution to a healthy                    coastal plain contain specific
                                                 Sanctuaries Act
                                                                                                         ecosystem. Spawning, breeding, feeding,               requirements for Pacific walrus that, for
                                                    The Marine Protection, Research and                  or growth to maturity covers all habitat              example, prohibit above-ground lease-
                                                 Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) (33 U.S.C.                      types utilized by a species throughout                related facilities and structures within 1
                                                 1401 et seq.) was enacted in part to                    its life cycle, and includes not only the             mile inland from the coast, in an area
                                                 ‘‘prevent or strictly limit the dumping                 water column but also the benthos                     extending 1 mile northeast and 1 mile
                                                 into ocean waters of any material that                  layers. The NOAA’s ‘‘Final Rule for the               southwest of the Cape Seniavin walrus
                                                 would adversely affect human health,                    implementation of the Fisheries of the                haulout (ADNR 2005, p. 3). In addition,
                                                 welfare, or amenities, or the marine                    Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska;                   walrus and their habitats are protected
                                                 environment, ecological systems, or                     Groundfish Fisheries of the Bering Sea                in various State special-use areas. For
                                                 economic potentialities.’’ The MPRSA                    and Aleutian Islands Management                       example, the Walrus Island State Game
                                                 does not itself regulate the take of                    Area,’’ published July 25, 2008 (NOAA                 Sanctuary is a State of Alaska–managed
                                                 walrus; however, it does help maintain                  2008, p. 43362), protects areas adjacent              conservation area with regulations in
                                                 water quality, which likely benefits                    to walrus haulouts and feeding areas                  place that allow only limited access to
                                                 walrus prey.                                            from potential impacts of trawl                       the sanctuary, prohibit any disturbance
                                                                                                         fisheries. For example, the St. Lawrence              of walrus, and limit access to beaches
                                                 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery                                Island Habitat Conservation Area closes
                                                 Conservation and Management Act                                                                               and water. These regulations protect
                                                                                                         waters around the St. Lawrence Island                 walrus and their haulouts (5 AAC
                                                    The Magnuson Fishery Conservation                    to federally permitted vessels using                  92.066, Permit for access to Walrus
                                                 and Management Act in 1976 (renamed                     nonpelagic trawl gear. Such closures                  Islands State Game Sanctuary).
                                                 the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery                            provide important refuge for the walrus,
                                                 Conservation and Management Act                         but, more importantly, protect feeding                Summary of Factor D
                                                 (MSFCMA)) (16 U.S.C. 1800 et seq.)                      habitat from disturbance.                                As explained in Factor A, the sea-ice
                                                 established the North Pacific Fishery                   Russian Federation                                    habitat of the Pacific walrus has been
                                                 Management Council (NPFMC), one of                                                                            modified by the warming climate, and
                                                 eight regional councils established by                    The walrus in Russia is a protected                 sea-ice losses are projected to continue
                                                 the MSFCMA to oversee management of                     species managed primarily by the                      into the foreseeable future. There
                                                 the U.S. fisheries. With jurisdiction over              Fisheries Department within the                       currently are no regulatory mechanisms
                                                 the 2,331,000-sq-km (900,000-sq-mi)                     Ministry of Agriculture. Regulations                  in place to effectively reduce or limit
                                                 Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off                       regarding the subsistence harvest of                  GHG emissions. This situation was
                                                 Alaska, the NPFMC has primary                           walrus were discussed previously.                     considered as part of our analysis in
                                                 responsibility for groundfish                           There is currently no commercial                      Factor A. Accordingly, there are no
                                                 management in the Gulf of Alaska                        harvest of walrus authorized in Russia                existing regulatory mechanisms to
                                                 (GOA) and Bering Sea and Aleutian                       (Kochnev 2010, pers. comm.).                          effectively address loss of sea-ice
                                                 Islands (BSAI), including Pacific cod                     Important terrestrial haulout sites in              habitat.
                                                 (Gadus macrocephalus), pollock,                         Russia are also protected, and human                     As explained in Factor B, harvest,
                                                 mackerel (Pleurogrammus                                 disturbance is minimized. For example,                while currently sustainable, is identified
                                                 monopterygius), sablefish (Anoplopoma                   Wrangel Island, an area which has seen                as a threat within the foreseeable future
                                                 fimbria), and rockfish (Sebastolobus and                large influxes of walrus, as discussed                because we anticipate that harvest levels
                                                 Sebastes species) species harvested                     above, has been a nature reserve since                will continue at current levels while the
                                                 mainly by trawlers, hook and line,                      1979 and prohibits human disturbance                  population declines due to sea-ice loss;
                                                 longliners, and pot fishermen. In 2009,                 (United Nations Environmental Program                 as a result, the proportion of animals
                                                 the NPFMC released its Fishery                          2005, p. 1). Additionally, the haulouts at            harvested will increase. Harvest in
                                                 Management Plan for Fish Resources of                   Cape Kozhevnikov near the village of                  Russia is managed for sustainability
                                                 the Arctic Management Area, covering                    Ryrkaipyi and Cape Vankarem near the                  through a quota system. Harvest in the
                                                 all U.S. waters north of the Bering Strait.             village of Vankarem were recently                     United States is well-monitored and
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                                                 Management policy for this region is to                 granted protections by the Government                 limited to subsistence harvest by Alaska
                                                 prohibit all commercial harvest of fish                 of Chukotka to minimize disturbance,                  Natives, with further restrictions on use
                                                 until sufficient information is available               and a local conservation organization                 and sale of walrus parts; however, the
                                                 to support the sustainable management                   known as the ‘‘UMKY Patrol’’ has                      U.S. harvest is not directly limited by
                                                 of a commercial fishery (NPFMC 2009,                    organized a quiet zone and                            quota. Emerging local harvest
                                                 p. 3). The policy helps to protect walrus               implemented visitor guidelines to                     management efforts offer a promising
                                                 from potential impacts of commercial                    reduce disturbance (Patrol 2008, p. 1;                approach to developing harvest
                                                 fishery activities.                                     Kavry 2010, pers. comm.).                             management initiatives. Effectiveness of


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                                                 such measures can be evaluated with                     Pollution and Contaminants                            at Nunavut in the Eastern Canadian
                                                 existing harvest monitoring and                            Understanding the potential effects of             Arctic were no higher in the 1980s and
                                                 reporting programs. In the Bering Strait                contaminants on walruses is                           1990s compared to A.D. 1200–1500,
                                                 Region, where the vast majority of U.S.                 confounded by the wide range of                       ‘‘indicating an absence of industrial Hg
                                                 harvest and 43 percent of the rangewide                 contaminants present, each with                       in the species at this location.’’ Increases
                                                 harvest occurs, local ordinances                        different chemical properties and                     of mercury were seen in beluga teeth
                                                 recently adopted by two Native villages                 biological effects, and the differing                 from the Beaufort Sea over the same
                                                 reflect the important role of self-                     geographic, temporal, and ecological                  time span (Outridge et al. 2002, p. 123).
                                                 regulation in managing the subsistence                  exposure regimes. Nevertheless,                       There was also no change in mercury in
                                                 harvest, and will be important in the                   Robards et al. (2009, p. 1) in their                  walruses from Greenland from 1973 to
                                                 development of harvest management                       assessment of contaminant information                 2000 (Riget et al. 2007, p. 76). Born et
                                                 strategies in the future. However, there                available for Pacific walruses conclude               al. (1981, p. 225) found low methyl
                                                 are currently no tribal, Federal, or State                                                                    mercury accumulation in Atlantic
                                                                                                         that Pacific walruses contain generally
                                                 regulations in place to ensure the                                                                            walruses compared to seals in
                                                                                                         low contaminant levels; however, an
                                                 likelihood that, as the population of                                                                         Greenland and the eastern Canadian
                                                                                                         absence of data limited definitive
                                                 walrus declines in response to changing                                                                       Arctic.
                                                                                                         conclusions about the effects current                    The presence of cadmium has been of
                                                 sea-ice conditions, the subsistence                     contaminant had on Pacific walruses.
                                                 harvest of walrus will occur at a                                                                             concern to subsistence hunters who eat
                                                                                                            Of particular concern in the Arctic are
                                                 reduced and sustainable level. As a                                                                           Pacific walruses, though it does not
                                                                                                         persistent organic pollutants (POPs),
                                                 result, we conclude that current                                                                              appear to be having effects on walrus
                                                                                                         because they do not break down in the
                                                 regulatory mechanisms are inadequate                                                                          health. Mollusks accumulate cadmium,
                                                                                                         environment and are toxic. ‘‘Legacy’’
                                                 to address the threat of subsistence                                                                          so it is not surprising that walruses had
                                                                                                         POPs (those no longer used in the                     relatively high levels. However,
                                                 harvest becoming unsustainable in the                   United States) include polychlorinated
                                                 foreseeable future, as the Pacific walrus                                                                     Lipscomb (1995, p. 1) found no
                                                                                                         biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine                   histopathological (effects of disease on
                                                 population declines due to sea-ice                      pesticides such as DDT, chlordanes,
                                                 habitat loss and associated impacts.                                                                          tissue) effects in Pacific walrus liver and
                                                                                                         toxaphene, and mirex. POPS with                       kidney tissues, although liver
                                                    While laws and regulations exist that                continued use include                                 concentrations were great enough to
                                                 help to minimize the effect of other                    hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs).                        cause concern about contamination
                                                 stressors on the Pacific walrus, there are              Although numerous POPs have been                      levels, walrus health, and the
                                                 no regulatory mechanisms currently in                   detected in the Arctic environment,                   consumption of walrus. Over the time
                                                 place that adequately address the                       concentrations of POPs found in Pacific               period 1981 to 1991, cadmium in Pacific
                                                 primary threats of habitat loss due to                  walrus are relatively low (Seagars and                walrus liver declined from 41.2 to 19.9
                                                 sea-ice declines (Factor A) and                         Garlich-Miller 2001, p. 129; Taylor et al.            milligrams/kg dry weight (Robards
                                                 subsistence harvest (Factor B). As a                    1989, pp. 465–468) because walruses                   2006, p. 24).
                                                 result, we conclude that the existing                   generally feed at relatively lower trophic               Radionuclide (a radioactive
                                                 regulatory mechanisms do not remove                     levels than other marine mammals. In                  substance) sources include atmospheric
                                                 or reduce the threats to the Pacific                    1981, Atlantic walruses had the lowest                fallout from Chernobyl, nuclear
                                                 walrus from the loss of sea-ice habitat                 concentrations of organochlorines in                  weapons testing, and nuclear waste
                                                 and overutilization.                                    any pinniped measured (Born et al.                    dumps in Russia (Hamilton et al. 2008,
                                                 Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade                      1981, p. 255), and recent data show                   p. 1161). Pacific walrus muscle had
                                                 Factors Affecting Its Continued                         walruses had much lower levels of                     non-naturally occurring cesium 137
                                                 Existence.                                              brominated compounds and                              levels lower than did bearded seals
                                                                                                         perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSA) than                 (Erignathus barbatus) sampled from the
                                                    We evaluated other factors that may                  other Arctic marine mammals (Letcher                  same area, and lower than seals from
                                                 have an effect on the Pacific walrus,                   et al., 2010, In press). Some Atlantic                Greenland sampled one to two decades
                                                 including pollution and contaminants;                   walrus individuals and populations                    earlier (Hamilton et al. 2008, p. 1162).
                                                 oil and gas exploration, development,                   specialize in feeding on pelagic fish and             Barring new major accidents or releases,
                                                 and production; commercial fisheries                    ringed seals, moving them higher in the               with decay of anthropogenic
                                                 interactions; shipping; oil spills; and                 food chain than the Pacific walrus,                   radionuclides from fallout and
                                                 icebreaking activities. The potential                   resulting in greater POP concentrations               Chernobyl and improved regulation and
                                                 effects of many of the stressors under                  (Dietz et al. 2000, p. 221). For example,             cleanup of waste sources, radionuclide
                                                 this factor are tied directly to changes in             PCBs and DDT concentrations in Pacific                activities are expected to continue to
                                                 sea ice. Potential increases in                         walruses were lower than                              decline in Arctic biota (AMAP 2009, p.
                                                 commercial shipping due to the opening                  concentrations found in Atlantic                      66).
                                                 of shipping lanes that have been                        walruses from Greenland and Hudson                       Tributyltin (TBT; from ship
                                                 unavailable in the past are one example.                Bay, Canada, collected in the 1980s                   antifouling paints) is ubiquitous in the
                                                 In addition, oil and gas exploration and                (Muir et al. 1995, p. 335).                           marine environment (Takahashi et al.
                                                 development activities are in part                         Heavy metals of concern in Arctic                  1999, p. 50; Strand and Asmund 2003,
                                                 dependent on ice conditions, as is the                  marine mammals include mercury (Hg),                  p. 31), although TBT and its toxic
                                                 potential for expanding commercial                      cadmium, and lead. Defining mercury                   metabolites are found at greatest
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                                                 fisheries. Because the potential effects of             trends is complicated by mercury’s                    concentrations in harbors and near
                                                 these stressors are related to sea-ice                  complex environmental chemistry,                      shore shipping channels (Takahashi et
                                                 losses, our ability to reliably predict the             although in general anthropogenic                     al. 1999, p. 52; Strand and Asmund
                                                 potential level and influence of these                  mercury is increasing in the Arctic, as               2003, p. 34). Pacific walruses will likely
                                                 stressors is tied to our ability to predict             it is globally (AMAP 2005, p. 17),                    see increased exposure to this
                                                 environmental changes associated with                   primarily due to combustion processes.                contaminant class as shipping increases
                                                 sea-ice losses, as discussed previously                 Temporally, mercury concentrations in                 in their habitats as a result of longer ice-
                                                 under Factor A.                                         fossils and fresh walrus teeth collected              free seasons due to climate change.


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                                                    Climate-related change will affect                   foreseeable development scenarios                     only small numbers of walruses with no
                                                 long-range and oceanic transport of                     prepared for this lease sale, which                   more than a negligible impact on the
                                                 contaminants, and may provide                           project exploration, development, and                 stock (73 FR 33212 (2008)). Prior to
                                                 additional sources of contaminants.                     production activities to last through                 commencing exploration activities,
                                                 Increasing water temperatures may                       roughly 2049 (USFWS, Final Biological                 operators are currently required by the
                                                 increase methylation of mercury, which                  Opinion for Beaufort and Chukchi Sea                  Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management,
                                                 increases the availability of mercury for               Program Area Lease Sales and                          Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE,
                                                 bioaccumulation (Sunderland et al.                      Associated Seismic Surveys and                        formerly MMS) to obtain letters of
                                                 2009, p. 1) and may release                             Exploratory Drilling, Anchorage, Alaska,              authorization (LOA) pursuant to the
                                                 contaminants from melting pack ice                      September 3, 2009, pp. 10–11).                        ITRs or an incidental harassment
                                                 (Metcalf and Robards 2008, p. S153). It                    In the Chukotka Russia region, the oil             authorization (IHA) (Wall 2011, pers.
                                                 is projected that Cesium 137 from                       and gas industry is targeting regions of              comm.). If operators commence
                                                 nuclear weapons testing fallout and                     the Bering and Chukchi Seas for                       operations without such authorization,
                                                 Chernobyl may be liberated from storage                 exploration. Recently, there has been                 their operations may be shut down,
                                                 in trees as the incidence of forest fires               renewed interest in exploring for oil and             (Wall 2011, pers. comm.), and any take
                                                 increases due to climate change (AMAP                   gas in the Russian Chukchi Sea, as new                of walrus would be in violation of the
                                                 2009, p. 66).                                           evidence suggests that the region may                 MMPA.
                                                    Although few data exist with which to                harbor large reserves. In 2006, seismic                  While we anticipate oil and gas
                                                 evaluate the status of the Pacific walrus               exploration was conducted in the                      exploration activities to occur in the
                                                 population in relation to contaminants,                 Russian Chukchi to explore for                        Chukchi Sea in the foreseeable future,
                                                 information available indicates that                    economically viable oil and gas reserves              we expect industry to request that the
                                                 Pacific walruses have generally low                     (Frantzen 2007, p. 1).                                ITRs be renewed, so that any non-lethal,
                                                 concentrations of contaminants of                          Currently, Pacific walruses do not                 incidental take associated with
                                                 concern. Further, based on the general                  normally range into the Beaufort Sea,                 exploration is authorized under the
                                                 observations of a lack of effect on                     although individuals and small groups                 MMPA. The ITRs could not be renewed,
                                                 individual animals, there is currently no               have been observed there. From 1994 to                and LOAs could not be issued, unless a
                                                 evidence of population-level effects in                 2004, industry monitoring programs                    determination were made that the
                                                 walruses from contaminants of any type.                 recorded a total of 9 walrus sightings,               activities would result in the take of
                                                 Climate change, with projected                          involving a total of 10 animals. No                   only small numbers of walrus and have
                                                 increases in mobilization of                            disturbance events or lethal takes have               a negligible impact on the stock.
                                                 contaminants to and within the Arctic,                  been reported to date (USFWS 2008, p.                    Monitoring studies performed to date
                                                 combined with potential changes in                      33212). Because of the small numbers of               have documented minimal effects of
                                                 Pacific walrus prey base, may lead to                   walruses encountered by past and                      various exploration activities on
                                                 increased exposure. However, potential                  present oil and gas activity in the                   walruses (USFWS 2008, p. 33212). In
                                                 effects are likely to be limited by the                 Beaufort Sea, impacts to the Pacific                  1989 and 1990, aerial surveys and
                                                 trophic status and distribution of                      walrus population appear to have been                 vessel-based observations of walruses
                                                 walruses: As benthic feeders that                       minimal (USFWS 2008, p. 33212). Even                  were carried out to examine the
                                                 specialize on prey lower in the food                    with less ice, it is unlikely that walrus             animals’ response to drilling operations
                                                 web, walruses would have a low rate of                  numbers will increase significantly in                at three Chukchi Sea prospects. Aerial
                                                 bioaccumulation and therefore limited                   the Beaufort Sea, as habitat is limited by            surveys documented several thousand
                                                 exposure to contaminants. Based on our                  a relatively narrow continental shelf,                walruses (a small percentage of the
                                                 estimation of low current contaminant                   which results in deep and less-                       estimated population) in the vicinity of
                                                 loads and the likelihood of minimal                     productive waters. Therefore, we do not               the drilling prospects. The monitoring
                                                 future exposure as walruses feed on                     anticipate significant interactions with,             reports concluded that: (1) Walrus
                                                 lower trophic levels, we conclude that                  or impacts from, oil and gas activities in            distributions were closely linked with
                                                 contaminants are not a threat now and                   the Beaufort Sea on the Pacific walrus                pack ice; (2) pack ice was near active
                                                 are not likely to be a threat to the Pacific            population.                                           drill prospects for relatively short time
                                                 walrus population in the foreseeable                       Pacific walruses are seasonally                    periods; and (3) ice passing near active
                                                 future.                                                 abundant in the Chukchi Sea.                          prospects contained relatively few
                                                                                                         Exploratory oil and gas operations in the             animals. Walruses either avoided areas
                                                 Oil and Gas Exploration, Development,                   Chukchi Sea have routinely                            of operations or were passively carried
                                                 and Production                                          encountered Pacific walruses; however,                away by the ice floes, and because only
                                                   Oil and gas related activities have                   potential impacts to walruses are                     a small proportion of the population
                                                 been conducted in the Beaufort and                      regulated through the MMPA.                           was near the operations, and for short
                                                 Chukchi Seas since the late 1960s, with                 Specifically, incidental take regulations             periods of time, the effects of the
                                                 most activity occurring in the Beaufort                 (ITRs) have been promulgated for the                  drilling operations on walruses were
                                                 Sea (USFWS 2008, p. 33212). Three                       non-lethal, incidental take of walruses               limited in time, area, and proportion of
                                                 existing projects are located off the coast             from oil and gas exploration activities in            the population (USFWS 2008, p. 33212).
                                                 of Alaska in the Beaufort Sea (Endicott,                the Chukchi Sea, including geophysical,               However, if walrus are forced to avoid
                                                 Northstar, and Oooguruk). Current and                   seismic, exploratory drilling and                     areas of operations and associated
                                                 foreseeable future activity in the                      associated support activities for the 5-              disturbance by abandoning ice haulouts
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                                                 Chukchi Sea is related to Lease Sale                    year period ending in June 2013. In a                 and swimming to other areas, they will
                                                 193, the first Chukchi Sea lease sale                   detailed analysis of the effects of such              likely experience increased energetic
                                                 since 1991 (MMS 2008, p. 1). While no                   activities, including noise, physical                 costs related to active swimming as
                                                 development of leases issued pursuant                   obstructions, human encounters, and oil               opposed to passive transport on ice
                                                 to the lease sale has occurred to date,                 spills, the Service concluded that                    floes.
                                                 future activity is anticipated. Our ability             exploration activities would be                          Disturbances caused by vessel and air
                                                 to predict effects of these activities on               sufficiently limited in time and scope                traffic may cause walrus groups to
                                                 walrus is based, in part, on reasonably                 that they would result in the take of                 abandon land or ice haulouts. One study


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                          7667

                                                 suggests that walruses may be tolerant                  time. The potential for an oil spill                  greatest if walrus are aggregated in
                                                 of ship activities; Brueggeman et al.                   increases as offshore oil and gas                     coastal haulouts where oil comes to
                                                 (1991, p. 139) reported that 75 percent                 development and shipping activities                   shore. Overall, the chance of a large oil
                                                 of walruses encountered by vessels in                   increase. No large oil spills have                    spill occurring in the Pacific walrus’
                                                 the Chukchi Sea exhibited no reaction                   occurred in areas inhabited by walruses;              range in the foreseeable future, however,
                                                 to ship activities within 1 km (0.6 mi)                 however, a large oil spill could result in            is considered low.
                                                 or less. This conclusion is corroborated                acute mortalities and chronic exposure                   In summary, oil and gas activities
                                                 by another study, which reported                        that could substantially reduce the                   have occurred sporadically throughout
                                                 observations that walruses in water                     Pacific walrus population for many                    the range of the Pacific walrus. Specific
                                                 generally show little concern about                     years (Garlich-Miller et al. 2011, Section            studies on the effects of exploratory
                                                 potential disturbance from approaching                  3.6.2.3.3 ‘‘Oil Spills’’). A spill that oiled         drilling activities and associated
                                                 vessels and will dive or swim away if                   coastal haulouts occupied by females                  shipping and seismic surveys have
                                                 a vessel is nearing a collision with them               and calves could be particularly                      documented minimal effects on
                                                 (Fay et al. 1984, p. 118).                              significant and could have the potential              walrus—namely, transitory behavioral
                                                    Open-water seismic exploration,                      to impact benthic communities upon                    changes that were temporary in nature.
                                                 which produces underwater sounds                        which walruses depend. As discussed                   Exploration activities are currently
                                                 typically with air gun arrays, may                      below, oil spill cleanup in the broken-               regulated under the MMPA, and the
                                                 potentially affect marine mammals.                      ice and open-water conditions that                    take of walrus during exploration
                                                 Walruses produce a variety of sounds                    characterize walrus habitat would be                  activities is only authorized if operators
                                                 (grunts, rasps, clicks), which range in                 more difficult than in other areas,                   have first obtained an LOA or an IHA.
                                                 frequency from 0.1 to 10.0 Hertz (Hz,                   primarily because effective strategies                These authorizations are only issued for
                                                 sine wave of a sound) (Richardson et al.                have yet to be developed. The Coast                   the non-lethal, incidental take of walrus,
                                                 1995, p. 108). The effects of seismic                   Guard has no offshore response                        where the activities are considered
                                                 surveys on walrus hearing and                           capability in northern or western Alaska              likely to result in the take of small
                                                 communications have not been studied.                   (O’Rourke 2010, p. 23).                               numbers of walrus with a negligible
                                                 Seismic surveys in the Beaufort and                        According to BOEMRE, if oil and gas                impact on the stock. We expect that
                                                 Chukchi Seas will not impact                            development of leases issued pursuant                 future exploration to be similarly
                                                 vocalizations associated with breeding                  to Chukchi Lease Sale 193 occurs, the                 regulated under the MMPA. Therefore,
                                                 activity (one of the most important                     chance of one or more large oil spills                we conclude that impacts of oil and gas
                                                 times of communication), because                        (greater than or equal to 1,000 barrels)              exploration likely to occur over the
                                                 walruses do not currently breed in the                  occurring over the production life of the             foreseeable future will have minimal
                                                 open water areas that are subject to                    development is between 35 and 40                      effects on walruses. Further, although a
                                                 survey. Injury from seismic surveys                     percent (MMS 2007, p. IV–156).                        significant oil spill in the Chukchi Sea
                                                 would likely occur only if animals                      However, the estimated probability that               from exploration, development or
                                                 entered the zone immediately                            oil reserves sufficient for development               production activities could have a
                                                 surrounding the sound source (Southall                  will be discovered range from 1 to 10                 detrimental impact on Pacific walrus,
                                                 et al. 2007, p. 441). Walrus behavioral                 percent (MMS 2007, p. IV–156),                        depending on timing and location, the
                                                 responses to dispersal and diving                       reducing the chance of a large oil spill              potential for such a spill is low. As a
                                                 vessels associated with seismic surveys                 to 0.33 to 4 percent.                                 result, we conclude that oil and gas
                                                 were monitored in the Chukchi Sea OCS                      Our analysis of oil and gas                        exploration, development, and
                                                 in 2006. Based upon the transitory                      development potential and subsequent                  production are not threats to the Pacific
                                                 nature of the survey vessels, and the                   risks was based on the analysis                       walrus now, nor are they likely to
                                                 behavioral reactions of the animals to                  BOEMRE (MMS 2007, p. 1–631)                           become threats in the foreseeable future.
                                                 the passage of the vessels, we conclude                 conducted for the Chukchi Sea lease
                                                                                                         sales. Following the Deepwater Horizon                Commercial Fisheries
                                                 that the interactions resulted in
                                                 temporary changes in animal behavior                    incident in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore                 Commercial fisheries occur primarily
                                                 with no lasting impacts to the species                  oil and gas activities have come under                in ice-free waters and during the open-
                                                 (Ireland et al. 2009, pp. xiii–xvi).                    increased scrutiny. Policy and                        water season, which limits the overlap
                                                    Future seismic surveys are anticipated               management changes are under way                      between fishery operations and
                                                 to have minimal impacts to walrus.                      within the Department of the Interior                 walruses. Where they do overlap,
                                                 Surveys will occur in areas of open                     that will likely affect the timing and                fisheries may impact Pacific walruses
                                                 water, where walrus densities are                       scope of future offshore oil and gas                  through interactions that result in the
                                                 relatively low. Monitoring requirements                 activities. In addition, BOEMRE has                   incidental take of walrus or through
                                                 (vessel-based observers) and mitigation                 been restructured to increase the                     competition for prey resources or
                                                 measures (operations are halted when                    effectiveness of oversight activities,                destruction of benthic prey habitat. A
                                                 close to walrus) in U.S. waters are                     eliminate conflicts of interest, and                  complete list of fisheries is published
                                                 expected to minimize any potential                      increase environmental protections                    annually by NOAA Fisheries. The most
                                                 interactions with large aggregations of                 (USDOI 2010, p. 1). As a result, we                   recent edition (NOAA 2009a, p. 58859),
                                                 walruses. Because seismic operations                    anticipate that the potential for a                   showed about nine fisheries that have
                                                 likely would not be concentrated in any                 significant oil spill will remain small;              the potential to occur within the range
                                                 one area for extended periods, any                      however, we recognize that should a                   of the Pacific walrus.
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                                                 impacts to walruses would likely be                     spill occur, there are no effective                      Currently, incidental take in the form
                                                 relatively short in duration and have a                 strategies for oil spill cleanup in the               of mortality from commercial fishing is
                                                 negligible overall impact on the Pacific                broken-ice conditions that characterize               low. Pacific walruses occasionally
                                                 walrus population.                                      walrus habitat. In addition, the potential            interact with trawl and longline gear of
                                                    Currently, there are no active offshore              impacts to Pacific walrus from a spill                groundfish fisheries. In Alaska each
                                                 oil and gas developments in the U.S.                    could be significant, particularly if                 year, fishery observers monitor a
                                                 Bering or Chukchi Seas. Therefore, the                  subsequent cleanup efforts are                        percentage of commercial fisheries and
                                                 risk of an oil spill is low at the present              ineffective. Potential impacts would be               report injury and mortality of marine


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                                                 7668                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 mammals affected incidental to these                    Federal fisheries occur near Cape                     commercial fisheries does not appear to
                                                 operations. Incidental mortality to                     Seniavin, but State of Alaska–managed                 be a threat to the Pacific walrus
                                                 Pacific walruses during 2002–2006 was                   salmon fisheries do occur in the                      population now or in the foreseeable
                                                 recorded for only one fishery, the Bering               immediate vicinity and pose a potential               future.
                                                 Sea/Aleutian Island flatfish trawl                      for disturbance. In general, however,                    Commercial fisheries—specifically
                                                 fishery, which is a Category II                         within Bristol Bay, the proportion of                 pelagic (mid-water trawl) and
                                                 Commercial Fishery with 34 vessels or                   walruses potentially affected is small                nonpelagic (bottom trawl) fisheries—
                                                 persons. During the years 2002–2006,                    relative to the population. The                       have the potential to indirectly affect
                                                 observer coverage for this fishery                      population is also comprised                          walruses through destruction or
                                                 averaged 64.7 percent. The mean                         predominantly of males, which are less                modification of benthic prey or their
                                                 number of observed mortalities was 1.8                  susceptible to trampling injuries as a                habitat. Pelagic or mid-water trawls
                                                 walrus per year, with a range of 0 to 3                 result of disturbance; however, repeated              make frequent contact with the bottom,
                                                 walrus per year. The total estimated                    disturbance events have the potential to              as evidenced by the presence of benthic
                                                 annual fishery-related incidental                       result in haulout abandonment.                        species (e.g., crabs, halibut) that are
                                                 mortality in Alaska was 2.66 walrus per                    State-managed nearshore herring and                brought up as bycatch. NFMS estimates
                                                 year (USFWS 2010, pp. 3–4).                             salmon gillnet fisheries also have the                that approximately 44 percent of the
                                                    In addition to incidental take from                  potential to take walruses. The ADFG                  area shadowed by the gear receives
                                                 fishing activities, however, fishery                    does not have an observer or self-                    bottom contact from the footrope (NMFS
                                                 vessel traffic has the potential to take                reporting program to record marine                    2005, pp. B–11). The majority of the
                                                 Pacific walruses through collisions and                 mammal interactions, but it is believed               pelagic trawl effort in the eastern Bering
                                                 disturbance of resting, foraging, or                    that gear interactions with walruses                  Sea is directed at walleye pollock in
                                                 travelling behaviors. We consider the                   have not occurred in the recent past                  waters of 50–300 m (164–960 ft) (Olsen
                                                 likelihood of collisions between fishing                (Murphy 2010, pers. comm.; Sands                      2009, p. 1). The area north of Unimak
                                                 vessels and walruses to be very low,                    2010, pers. comm.). Spotter planes used               Island along the continental shelf edge
                                                 however, as we unaware of any                           in the spring herring fishery in Bristol              receives high fishing effort (Olsen 2009,
                                                 documented ship strikes, and it has                     Bay have the potential to cause                       p. 1). This puts the majority of pelagic
                                                 been observed that walruses typically                   disturbance at terrestrial haulouts. To               fishing effort on the periphery of
                                                 dive or swim off to the side if a shipping              mitigate this potential, the Service                  walrus-preferred habitat, as walruses are
                                                 vessel comes close to colliding with                    developed and distributed guidelines                  usually found over the continental shelf
                                                 them (Fay et al. 1984, p. 118). Fisheries               for appropriate use of aircraft within the            in waters of 100 m (328 ft) or less (Fay
                                                 occurring near terrestrial haulouts may                 vicinity of Bristol Bay walrus haulouts               and Burns 1988, pp. 239–240; Jay et al.
                                                 affect animals approaching, leaving, or                 (USFWS 2009, p. 1), and these were in                 2001, p. 621).
                                                 resting at the haulouts.                                effect during the fishing season.                        Nonpelagic fisheries also have the
                                                    The Bristol Bay region in the Bering                    In summary, given the current low                  potential to indirectly affect walruses by
                                                 Sea is home to some of the largest U.S.                 rates of walrus encounters and deaths                 destroying or modifying benthic prey or
                                                 land haulouts and several fisheries. For                associated with commercial fishing, we                their habitat, or both. The predominant
                                                 some haulouts, regulations are in place                 expect that any increase in the level of              effects of nonpelagic trawl include
                                                 to minimize disturbance. Round Island                   fishery-related mortality to walrus will              ‘‘smoothing of sediments, moving and
                                                 is buffered from all fishing activities by              occur at a very low level relative to the             turning of rocks and boulders,
                                                 a 0-to-3-nautical-mile ‘‘no transit’’                   total walrus population. Similarly,                   resuspension and mixing of sediments,
                                                 closure. Capes Peirce and Newenham                      although walrus may be subject to                     removal of sea grasses, damage to corals,
                                                 and Round Island are buffered from                      disturbance from commercial fishing,                  and damage or removal of epigenetic
                                                 fishing activities in Federal waters from               the proportion of walrus affected is low,             organisms’’ (Mecum 2009, p. 57).
                                                 3 to 12 nautical miles; however, this                   and efforts are under way to minimize                 Numerous studies on the effects of trawl
                                                 buffer only applies to vessels with                     the impacts. Accordingly, we do not                   gear on infauna have been conducted,
                                                 Federal fisheries permits. The haulout at               consider fishery-related take of walrus               and all note a reduction in mass
                                                 Hagemeister Island has no protection                    to be a threat to the Pacific walrus                  (Brylinsky et al. 1994, p. 650; Bergman
                                                 zone in either Federal or State waters.                 population now or in the foreseeable                  and van Santbrink 2000, p. 1321;
                                                 Large catcher/processer vessels                         future.                                               McConnaughey et al. 2000, p. 1054;
                                                 associated with the yellowfin sole                         Commercial fisheries may also impact               Kenchington et al. 2001, p. 1043). Two
                                                 fishery, as well as smaller fishing                     walruses through competition for prey                 such studies comparing microfaunal
                                                 vessels 32 ft or less in length routinely               resources or destruction of benthic prey              populations between unfished and
                                                 pass between the haulout and the                        habitat. With regard to competition,                  heavily fished areas in the eastern
                                                 mainland to a site for offloading product               there is little overlap between                       Bering Sea reported that, overall, the
                                                 to foreign vessels. Anecdotal reports                   commercial fish species and Pacific                   heavily trawled and untrawled areas
                                                 indicate potential disturbance of                       walrus prey species. The principal prey               were significantly different. In relation
                                                 walruses using the Hagemeister haulout                  items consumed by weaned walruses                     to walrus prey, the abundance of
                                                 (Wilson and Evans 2009b, p. 28). To                     are bivalves, gastropods, and polychaete              neptunid snails was significantly lower
                                                 address concerns of disturbance                         worms (Fay 1982, p. 145; Sheffield and                in the heavily trawled area, and mean
                                                 associated with the yellowfin sole fleet,               Grebmeier 2009, p. 767). Fay (1982, pp.               body size was smaller, as was the trend
                                                 the Service has engaged the North                       153–154) notes that the scarcity in                   for a number of bivalve species
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                                                 Pacific Fisheries Management Council                    walruses of endoparasites of known fish               (Macoma, Serripes, Tellina), indicating
                                                 to examine alternatives to provide                      origin indicates that walruses rarely                 a general decline in these species. The
                                                 increased protection for the haulout at                 ingest fish. Fay (1982, pp. 152,154) also             abundance of Mactromeris was greater
                                                 Hagemeister Island (Wilson and Evan                     notes that various authors have reported              in the heavily trawled area, but mean
                                                 2009a, pp. 1–23); however, no specific                  occasionally finding several different                body size was smaller (McConnaughey
                                                 measures have been implemented. The                     crab species in walrus stomachs, but                  et al. 2000, pp. 1381–1382;
                                                 haulout at Cape Seniavin currently has                  apparently at low frequency. Thus,                    McConnaughey et al. 2005, pp. 430–
                                                 no Federal or State protection zones. No                direct competition for prey from                      431).


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                           7669

                                                    The areas open to nonpelagic                         Management Area, which was released                   Shipping
                                                 trawling, however, are limited. The                     by the NPFMC in 2009. Management                         Commercial shipping and marine
                                                 Final Environmental Impact Statement                    policy for this region is to prohibit all             transportation vessels include oil and
                                                 (EIS) for Essential Fish Habitat                        commercial harvest of fish until                      gas tankers, container ships, cargo ships,
                                                 Identification and Conservation in                      sufficient information is available to                cruise ships, research vessels,
                                                 Alaska concluded that nonpelagic                        support the sustainable management of                 icebreakers, and commercial fishing
                                                 trawling in the southern Bering Sea has                 a commercial fishery (NPFMC 2009,                     vessels. These vessels may travel to or
                                                 long-term effects on benthic habitat                    p. 3). At some point, the Arctic                      from destinations within the Arctic
                                                 features, but little impact on fish stock               Management Area may be opened to                      (destination traffic), or may use the
                                                 productivity. The EIS concludes that the                commercial fishing, but to date the                   Arctic as a passageway between the
                                                 reduction of infaunal and epifanual prey                NPFMC has taken a conservative stance.                Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
                                                 for managed fish species would be 0 to                  It is unclear whether the Arctic                      (nondestination traffic). While the level
                                                 3 percent (NMFS 2005, p. 10; Mecum
                                                                                                         Management Area will open to                          of shipping activity is currently limited,
                                                 2009, p. 47). While not a direct measure
                                                                                                         commercial fishing at all, and if so,                 the potential exists for increased activity
                                                 of impacts to walrus prey, the analysis
                                                                                                         when it would be opened. If commercial                in the future if changes in sea-ice
                                                 provides some insight on the level of
                                                                                                         fishing does open up in this area,                    patterns open new shipping lanes and
                                                 impact to benthic species and indicates
                                                                                                         however, we would work with the                       result in a longer navigable season.
                                                 that impacts are likely to be minimal.
                                                    Nonpelagic trawls are designed to                    NPFMC to ensure that any necessary                    Whether, and to what extent, marine
                                                 remain on the bottom of the ocean floor,                measures to minimize negative effects to              transportation levels may change in the
                                                 but they may bring up walrus prey items                 Pacific walrus are implemented.                       Arctic depends on a number of factors,
                                                 as bycatch, albeit in very small                                                                              including the extent of sea-ice melt,
                                                                                                            Accordingly, although commercial
                                                 quantities. Wilson and Evans (2009, p.                                                                        global trade dynamics, infrastructure
                                                                                                         fisheries—specifically pelagic and                    development, the safety of Arctic
                                                 15) report bycatch of walrus prey items                 nonpelagic trawl fisheries—have the
                                                 in the nonpelagic trawl fishery in the                                                                        shipping lanes, the marine insurance
                                                                                                         potential to indirectly affect walruses               industry, and ship technology. Given
                                                 Northern Bristol Bay Trawl Area                         through destruction or modification of
                                                 (NBBTA). Data were collected through                                                                          these uncertainties, forecasts of future
                                                                                                         benthic prey or their habitat, those                  shipping levels in the Arctic are highly
                                                 the NMFS Fisheries Observer program                     fisheries do not appear to be a threat to
                                                 and are aggregated for the years 2001 to                                                                      speculative (Arctic Council 2009, p. 1).
                                                                                                         Pacific walrus now or in the foreseeable                 Two major shipping lanes in the
                                                 2009. Bivalves (mussels, oysters,
                                                                                                         future, because of limited overlap                    Arctic intersect the range of Pacific
                                                 scallops, and clams) accounted for 334
                                                                                                         between the areas currently open to                   walrus: The Northwest Passage, which
                                                 kg (735 lb) of the 457 kg (1005 lb) (73
                                                 percent) of total bycatch reported;                     trawling and areas of walrus prey                     runs parallel to the Alaskan Coast
                                                 snails, which are consumed by                           habitat as well as ongoing efforts to                 through the Bering Strait up through the
                                                 walruses, were listed as a bycatch                      minimize detrimental impacts to walrus                Canadian Arctic Archipelago; and the
                                                 species, but no amounts were reported.                  prey and benthic habitat.                             Northern Sea Route, which refers to a
                                                 This level of bycatch is very low relative                 In summary, we find that commercial                segment of the Northeast Passage
                                                 to the total amount of prey consumed by                 fisheries have limited overlap with                   paralleling the Russian Coast through
                                                 walrus. The NMFS is currently                           walrus distribution, and reported direct              the Bering Strait and into the Bering Sea
                                                 developing regulations to require the                   takes are nominal. Indirect effects on                (Garlich-Miller et al. 2011, Section
                                                 use of modified nonpelagic trawl gear in                walruses are also limited, with some                  3.6.4.1 ‘‘Scope and Scale of Shipping’’).
                                                 the Bering Sea subarea for the flatfish                 site-specific potential effects to walrus                Shipping levels in the Northwest
                                                 fishery and for nonpelagic trawl gear                                                                         Passage and Northern Sea Route are
                                                                                                         near terrestrial haulouts in Bristol Bay.
                                                 fishing in the northern Bering Sea                                                                            highly dependent on the extent of sea-
                                                                                                         Indirect effects to prey and benthic
                                                 subarea (Brown 2010, pers. comm.),                                                                            ice cover. Walrus occur along both of
                                                                                                         habitats due to various types of trawls
                                                 which will likely reduce impacts on                                                                           these routes where they pass through
                                                                                                         occur, but are limited with respect to
                                                 walrus prey. When implemented, the                                                                            the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and
                                                                                                         overlap with the range of walrus and
                                                 regulations will reopen an area within                                                                        Chukchi Sea. Given the dependence of
                                                                                                         walrus feeding habitat. We did not                    shipping activities on the absence of sea
                                                 the NBSRA to modified gear nonpelagic                   identify any direct competition for prey
                                                 trawl fishing (Brown 2010, pers. comm.;                                                                       ice, shipping levels are seasonally
                                                                                                         resources between walruses and                        variable. Almost all activity occurs in
                                                 Mecum 2009, pp. 1–194).                                 fisheries. In addition, as fisheries
                                                    Ecosystem shifts in the Bering Sea are                                                                     June through September, and to a lesser
                                                                                                         currently do not occur in the Chukchi                 extent, October and November, and
                                                 expected to extend the distribution of
                                                 fish populations northward and, along                   Sea, they are not considered a serious                April and May. Most walrus are in the
                                                 with this shift, nonpelagic bottom trawl                threat to walrus at this time. We                     Chukchi Sea during the height of the
                                                 fisheries are also expected to move                     recognize the potential future interest by            shipping season, although at times they
                                                 northward (NOAA 2009b, p. 1). Because                   the fishing industry to initiate fisheries            are associated with sea ice or terrestrial
                                                 we currently lack information on                        further north as fish distribution                    haulouts. There is currently no
                                                 benthic habitats and community ecology                  changes in association with predicted                 commercial shipping or marine
                                                 of the northern Bering Sea, we are                      changes in ocean conditions. However,                 transportation in December through
                                                 unable to forecast the specific impacts                 based on the limited fishing-related                  March (Arctic Council 2009, p. 85).
jdjones on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with PROPOSALS2




                                                 that may occur from nonpelagic bottom                   impacts to walrus that have occurred in                  Based on predicted sea-ice loss
                                                 trawling within this area (NOAA 2009b,                  other areas to date, and the active                   (Douglas 2010, p. 12), the navigation
                                                 p. 1) and how it may affect the Pacific                 engagement of the NPFMC through the                   period in the Northern Sea Route is
                                                 walrus.                                                 Arctic Fisheries Management Plan, we                  forecast to increase from 20–30 days to
                                                    Commercial fisheries in all U.S.                     conclude that commercial fishing is not               90–100 days per year by 2100. Other
                                                 waters north of the Bering Strait are                   now a threat to Pacific walrus and is not             factors that may lead to increased vessel
                                                 covered by the Fishery Management                       likely to become a threat in the                      traffic in the Arctic, in addition to
                                                 Plan for Fish Resources of the Arctic                   foreseeable future.                                   reduced sea ice, include increased oil


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                                                 and gas development, Arctic community                   off to the side (Fay et al. 1984, p. 118).            herd or haze potentially affected
                                                 population growth and associated                        Therefore, we expect disturbance to                   wildlife away from the spill area. Phase
                                                 development, and increased tourism                      walruses from shipping to be minimal.                 Three, the most involved and most
                                                 (Brigham and Ellis 2004, pp. 8–9; Arctic                In situations where negligible impacts to             infrequently undertaken phase of oil
                                                 Council 2009, p. 5).                                    a small number of walrus are                          spill response for wildlife, includes the
                                                    No quantitative analyses of changes in               anticipated from repeated displacement                capture and rehabilitation of oiled
                                                 shipping levels currently exist. Both the               from a preferred feeding area, for                    individuals.
                                                 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment                       example, or noise disturbance at                         Even under the most stringent control
                                                 (AMSA) and the Arctic Marine                            haulouts, incidental take regulations                 systems, some tanker spills, pipeline
                                                 Transport Workshop note that the                        could potentially be developed for U.S.               leaks, and other accidents are likely to
                                                 greatest potential for increased shipping               vessels to permit take caused by                      occur from equipment leaks or human
                                                 and marine transportation is the                        shipping activities, which are subject to             error (O’Rourke 2010, p. 16). The history
                                                 potential use of the Arctic as an                       the MMPA. These activities likely                     of oil spills and response in the
                                                 alternative trade route connecting the                  would require mandatory monitoring                    Aleutian Islands raises concerns for
                                                 Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The                        and mitigation measures designed to                   potential spills in the Arctic region:
                                                 Northwest Passage is not considered a                   minimize effects to walrus through                    ‘‘The past 20 years of data on response
                                                 viable Arctic throughway, given that the                vessel-based observers to avoid                       to spills in the Aleutians has also shown
                                                 oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic               collisions and disturbance.                           that almost no oil has been recovered
                                                 is pushed into the western edge of the                     As a result, shipping is not currently             during events where attempts have been
                                                 Canadian Arctic Archipelago, making                     a threat to the Pacific walrus                        made by the responsible parties or
                                                 the passage dangerous to navigate                       population, because shipping occurs at                government agencies, and that in many
                                                 (Arctic Council 2009, p. 93). However,                  low levels, and shipping in support of                cases, weather and other conditions
                                                 the passage was open in 2007 and 2010,                  other activities (e.g., oil and gas                   have prevented any response at all’’
                                                 due to ice-free conditions.                             exploration) is sufficiently regulated                (O’Rourke 2010, p. 23). Moreover, the
                                                    The broad range of future shipping                   and mitigated by MMPA incidental take                 Commander of the Coast Guard’s 17th
                                                 scenarios described in the AMSA and                     regulations. Shipping may increase in                 District, which covers Alaska, noted in
                                                 the Arctic Marine Transport Workshop                    the future, but shipping lanes are                    an online journal that ‘‘ * * * we are not
                                                 underscore the uncertainties regarding                  typically limited to narrow corridors,                prepared for a major oil spill [over
                                                 future shipping levels. The AMSA notes                  and disturbance from such activities is               100,000 gallons] in the Arctic
                                                 that while the reduction in sea ice will                expected to be low. Moreover, given the               environment. The Coast Guard currently
                                                 provide the opportunity for increased                   uncertainties identified related to                   has no offshore response capability in
                                                 shipping levels, ultimately it is                       potential future shipping activities, we              northern or western Alaska and we only
                                                 economic factors, such as the feasibility               conclude that increased shipping                      dimly understand the science of
                                                 of utilizing the Northern Sea Route as an               activities are unlikely to cause                      recovering oil in broken ice’’ (O’Rourke
                                                 alternative connection between the                      population-level effects to the Pacific               2010, p. 23). The behavior of oil spills
                                                 Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, that will                  walrus in the foreseeable future. In                  in cold and icy waters is not well
                                                 determine future shipping levels (Arctic                addition, take provisions of the MMPA                 understood (O’Rourke 2010, p. 23).
                                                 Council 2009, pp. 120–121).                             can be effective in regulating shipping               Cleaning up oil spills in ice-covered
                                                    Increased shipping in the Bering and                 that may disturb haulouts and interrupt               waters will be more difficult than in
                                                 Chukchi Seas has the potential to                       foraging activity in U.S. waters.                     other areas, primarily because effective
                                                 impact Pacific walrus during the spring,                                                                      strategies have yet to be developed.
                                                 summer, and fall seasons. An increase                   Oil Spills                                               The Arctic conditions present several
                                                 in shipping will result in increased                       To date, there have been relatively                hurdles to oil cleanup efforts. In colder
                                                 potential for disturbance in the water                  few oil spills caused by marine vessel                water temperatures, there are fewer
                                                 and at terrestrial haulouts. According to               travel in the Bering and Chukchi seas.                organisms to break down the oil through
                                                 Garlich-Miller et al. (2011, Section                    Within the seasonal range of walrus,                  microbial degradation and oil
                                                 3.2.1.2.3 ‘‘Summer/Fall’’), recent trends               there were approximately six vessel oil               evaporates at a slower rate. Although
                                                 suggest that most of the Pacific walrus                 spill incidents between 1995 and 2004:                slower evaporation may allow for more
                                                 population will be foraging in open                     two caused by fires, two by machinery                 oil to be recovered, evaporation removes
                                                 water from coastal haulouts along the                   damage or failure, one by grounding,                  the lighter, more toxic hydrocarbons
                                                 Chukotka coast during the shipping                      and one by damage to the vessel. These                that are present in crude oil (O’Rourke
                                                 season. Because the Northern Sea Route                  incidents were small in scale and did                 2010, p. 24). The longer the oil remains
                                                 passes through this area, it is reasonable              not cause widespread impacts to walrus                in an ecosystem, the more opportunity
                                                 to expect walruses may be encountered                   or their habitat. In general, the pattern             there is for exposure. Oil spills may get
                                                 along this route (Garlich-Miller et al.                 of past vessel incidents corresponds to               trapped in ice, evaporating only when
                                                 2011, Figure 9). According to one study,                areas of high vessel traffic. Given                   the ice thaws, and in some cases, oil
                                                 however, walruses may be tolerant of                    anticipated increases in marine vessel                could remain in the ice for years. Icy
                                                 ship activities, as 75 percent of walruses              travel within the range of Pacific walrus             conditions enhance emulsification—the
                                                 encountered by vessels in the Chukchi                   due to sea-ice decline, it is likely that             process of forming different states of
                                                 Sea exhibited no reaction to ship                       the number of vessel incidents will                   water in oil, often described as
                                                 activities within 1 km (0.6 mi) or less                 increase in the foreseeable future.                   ‘‘mousse.’’ Emulsification creates oil
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                                                 (Brueggeman et al. 1991, p. 139). This is                  Oil spill response for walruses, and               cleanup challenges by increasing the
                                                 confirmed by another study, which                       for wildlife in general, can be broken                volume of the oil/water mixture and the
                                                 noted that walruses in water have been                  into three phases (Alaska Regional                    mixture’s viscosity (resistance to flow).
                                                 observed to generally show little                       Response Team 2002, p. G1). Phase One                 The latter change creates particular
                                                 concern about potential disturbance                     is focused on eliminating the source of               problems for conventional removal and
                                                 from approaching vessels, unless the                    the spill, containing the spilled oil, and            pumping cleanup methods (O’Rourke
                                                 ship came in very close proximity to                    protecting environmentally sensitive                  2010, p. 24). Moreover, two of the major
                                                 them, in which case they dove or swam                   areas. Phase Two involves efforts to                  nonmechanical recovery methods—in-


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                                                 situ burning and dispersant                             factors, the availability of a reliable               risk of an oil spill. Commercial fishing
                                                 application—may be limited by the                       government or private icebreaking fleet               is also currently not a threat to walrus,
                                                 Arctic conditions and lack of logistical                to clear the entire Route and provide                 as it occurs only on the periphery of the
                                                 support such as aircraft, vessels, and                  predictable open shipping lanes (Arctic               walrus’ range and results in minimal
                                                 other infrastructure (O’Rourke 2010,                    Marine Transport Workshop 2004, p. 1;                 impacts on the population. We
                                                 p. 24).                                                 Arctic Council 2009, p. 20). Although                 recognize the potential future interest by
                                                    As stated earlier, vessel-related spills             there are no current regulations on                   the fishing industry to initiate fisheries
                                                 were, and will likely continue to be,                   icebreaking activities in the Arctic,                 further north as fish distribution
                                                 small in scale with localized impact to                 voluntary guidelines addressing                       changes in association with predicted
                                                 walrus and their habitat. A large-scale                 icebreaking activities could be included              changes in ocean conditions. However,
                                                 spill could have a major impact on the                  as part of unified, multilateral                      based on the limited fishing-related
                                                 Pacific walrus population, depending                    regulation on Arctic shipping.                        impacts to walrus that have occurred in
                                                 on the spill and location relative to                   According to the U.S. Department of                   other areas to date, and the active
                                                 coastal aggregations. However, at                       Transportation, the International                     engagement of the NPFMC through the
                                                 present the chance of a large oil spill                 Maritime Organization (IMO) is                        Arctic Fisheries Management Plan, we
                                                 occurring in the Pacific walrus’ range in               considering developing icebreaking                    conclude that commercial fishing is not
                                                 the foreseeable future is considered low.               guidelines.                                           now, and is not likely to become, a
                                                 Because most oil spills will have only                     Icebreaking is currently not a threat to           threat to Pacific walrus in the
                                                 localized impact to walrus, and the                     the Pacific walrus population, because                foreseeable future. Shipping is not
                                                 chance of a large-scale spill occurring in              of the limited amount of icebreaking                  currently a threat to the Pacific walrus
                                                 the walrus’ range in the foreseeable                    activity, current regulations associated              population, because it occurs at low
                                                 future is low, oil spills do not appear to              with shipping in support of other                     levels, and shipping in support of other
                                                 be a threat to Pacific walrus now or in                 activities (e.g., oil and gas                         activities (e.g., oil and gas exploration)
                                                 the foreseeable future.                                 development), and the relatively narrow               is sufficiently regulated and mitigated
                                                                                                         corridors in which the activities occur.              by MMPA incidental take regulations.
                                                 Icebreaking Activities
                                                                                                         Shipping activity and associated                      Shipping may increase in the future, but
                                                    Icebreaking activities can create noise              icebreaking are predicted to increase in              shipping lanes are typically limited to
                                                 that causes marine mammals to avoid                     the future, but the magnitude and rate                narrow corridors, and disturbance from
                                                 areas where these activities are                        of increase are unknown and dependent                 such activities is expected to be low.
                                                 occurring. Further, icebreaking activities              on both economic and environmental                    Moreover, given the uncertainties
                                                 may increase the risk of oil spills by                  factors. Given the uncertainties                      identified related to potential future
                                                 increasing vessel traffic in ice-filled                 identified related to potential future
                                                 waters. Given that marine mammals,                                                                            shipping activities, we conclude that
                                                                                                         shipping activities, the available                    increased shipping activities are
                                                 including walrus, have been found to                    information does not enable us to
                                                 concentrate in and around temporary                                                                           unlikely to cause population-level
                                                                                                         conclude that these activities will cause             effects to the Pacific walrus in the
                                                 breaks in the ice created by icebreakers,               population-level effects to the Pacific
                                                 there may be greater environmental                                                                            foreseeable future. In addition, take
                                                                                                         walrus in the foreseeable future.                     provisions of the MMPA can be effective
                                                 impact associated with an oil spill                        Both the Service and USGS BN
                                                 involving an icebreaker or a vessel                                                                           in regulating shipping in U.S. waters
                                                                                                         models included oil and gas
                                                 operating in a channel cleared by an                                                                          that may disturb haulouts and interrupt
                                                                                                         development, commercial fisheries, and
                                                 icebreaker.                                                                                                   foraging activity. Because most oil spills
                                                                                                         shipping as stressors (Garlich-Miller et
                                                    Currently, Russian and Canadian                                                                            will have only localized impact to
                                                                                                         al. 2011, Section 3.8.5 ‘‘Other Natural or
                                                 icebreakers are used along the Northern                 Human Factors’’; Jay et al. 2010b, p. 37).            walrus, and the chance of a large-scale
                                                 Sea Route and within the Canadian                       The USGS model also included air                      spill occurring in the walrus’ range in
                                                 Arctic Archipelago to clear passageways                 traffic and shipping activities                       the foreseeable future is considered low,
                                                 utilized by commercial shipping vessels                 simultaneously (Jay et al. 2010b, p. 37).             oil spills do not appear to be a threat to
                                                 (Arctic Council 2009, p. 74), primarily                 In both models, these stressors had little            Pacific walrus now or in the foreseeable
                                                 in the summer months. The United                        influence on model outcomes (Garlich-                 future. Finally, shipping activity and
                                                 States does not currently engage in                     Miller et al. 2011 Section 3.8.5 ‘‘Other              associated icebreaking is predicted to
                                                 icebreaking activities for navigational                 Natural or Human Factors’’; Jay et al.                increase in the future, but the
                                                 purposes in the Arctic (NRC 2005, p.                    2010b, pp. 85–86, respectively).                      magnitude and rate of increase are
                                                 16). There are no current U.S. or State                                                                       unknown and dependent on both
                                                 of Alaska regulations on icebreaking                    Summary of Factor E                                   economic and environmental factors.
                                                 activities, mainly because icebreaking                     Based on our estimation of low                     Based on the best information available
                                                 along the Alaskan Coast is minimal and                  current contaminant loads and the                     at this time, we are unable to conclude
                                                 usually carried out by the Coast Guard.                 likelihood of minimal future exposure                 that these shipping activities will be a
                                                 However, in the last few years, oil and                 as walruses feed on lower trophic levels,             threat to the Pacific walrus in the
                                                 gas exploration activities in the Beaufort              we conclude that contaminants are not                 foreseeable future, in light of the
                                                 and Chukchi Seas have used privately                    a threat now and are not likely to be a               uncertainties in projecting the
                                                 contracted icebreakers in support of                    threat to the Pacific walrus population               magnitude and rate of increase of these
                                                 their operations.                                       in the foreseeable future. Oil and gas                activities in the future.
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                                                    Icebreaking activities may increase in               exploration, development, and                            Therefore, based on our review of the
                                                 the future, given increases in                          production are currently not a threat to              best commercial and scientific data
                                                 commercial shipping and marine                          the Pacific walrus and are not expected               available, we conclude that none of the
                                                 transportation. In particular, the                      to be in the foreseeable future, due to               potential stressors identified and
                                                 establishment of the Northern Sea Route                 the anticipated increased scrutiny oil                discussed under Factor E (‘‘Other
                                                 as a viable alternative trade route                     and gas development will undergo in                   Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting
                                                 connecting the Atlantic and Pacific                     the future, the continued application of              Its Continued Existence of the Pacific
                                                 Oceans is contingent on, among other                    incidental take regulations, and the low              Walrus’’) is a threat to the Pacific walrus


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                                                 7672                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 now, or is likely to become a threat in                 occurring faster than forecast and, on                educational purposes. Under Factor B,
                                                 the foreseeable future.                                 average, sea ice has retreated off the                we considered four potential risks to the
                                                                                                         continental shelf for approximately 1                 Pacific walrus from overutilization
                                                 Finding
                                                                                                         month per year during the last decade.                relating to (1) Recreation, scientific, or
                                                    As required by the Act, we considered                At mid-century, model subsets project a               educational purposes; (2) United States
                                                 each of the five factors under section                  2-month ice-free season in the Chukchi                import/export; (3) commercial harvest;
                                                 4(a)(1)(A) in assessing whether the                     Sea, and a 4-month ice-free season at the             and (4) subsistence harvest. We found
                                                 Pacific walrus is endangered or                         end of the century, centered on the                   that recreational, scientific, and
                                                 threatened throughout all or a                          month of September (Douglas 2010, p.                  educational utilization of walruses is
                                                 significant portion of its range. We                    8), with some models indicating there                 currently at low levels and is not
                                                 carefully examined the best scientific                  will be 5 ice-free months. Based on the               projected to be a threat in the
                                                 and commercial information available                    current rate of sea-ice loss, and the                 foreseeable future. United States import/
                                                 regarding the past, present, and future                 current rate of GHG increases, these                  export is not considered to be a threat
                                                 threats faced by the Pacific walrus. We                 changes may occur earlier in the century              to Pacific walrus now or in the
                                                 considered the information provided in                  than currently projected.                             foreseeable future, because most
                                                 the petition submitted to the Service by                   Through our analysis, we have                      specimens imported into or exported
                                                 the Center for Biological Diversity;                    concluded that loss of sea ice, with its              from the United States are fossilized
                                                 information available in our files; other               concomitant changes to walrus                         bone and ivory shards, and any other
                                                 available published and unpublished                     distribution and life-history patterns,               walrus ivory can only be imported into
                                                 information; information submitted to                   will lead to a population decline, and is             or exported from the United States after
                                                 the Service in response to our Federal                  a threat to Pacific walrus in the                     it has been legally harvested and
                                                 Register notice of September 10, 2009;                  foreseeable future. We base this                      substantially altered to qualify as a
                                                 and information submitted to the                        conclusion on the fact that, over time,               Native handicraft. Commercial and
                                                 Service in response to our public news                  walruses will be forced to rely on                    sport hunting of Pacific walrus in the
                                                 release requesting information on                       terrestrial haulouts to an increasingly               United States is prohibited under the
                                                 September 10, 2010. We also consulted                   greater extent. Although coastal                      MMPA. Russian legislation also
                                                 with recognized Pacific walrus experts                  haulouts have been traditionally used                 prohibits sport hunting of Pacific
                                                 and other Federal, State, and Tribal                    more frequently by males than by                      walruses. Commercial hunting in Russia
                                                 agencies.                                               females with calves, in the future both               has not occurred since 1991, and
                                                    In our analysis of Factor A, we                      sexes and all ages will be restricted to              resumption would require the issuance
                                                 identified and evaluated the risks of                   coastal habitats for a much greater                   of a governmental decree. In addition,
                                                 present or threatened destruction,                      period of time. This will expose all                  any future commercial harvest in Russia
                                                 modification, or curtailment of habitat                 individuals, but especially calves,                   must be based on a sustainable quota;
                                                 or range of the Pacific walrus from (1)                 juveniles, and females, to increased                  therefore, it is unlikely that any
                                                 loss of sea ice due to climate change and               levels of stress from depletion of prey,              potential future Russian commercial
                                                 (2) effects on prey species due to ocean                increased energetic costs to obtain prey,             harvest will become a threat to the
                                                 warming and ocean acidification. We                     trampling injuries and mortalities, and               Pacific walrus population.
                                                 examined the likely responses and                       predation. Although some of these                        With regard to the subsistence harvest
                                                 effects of changing sea-ice conditions in               stressors are currently acting on the                 of walrus, subsistence harvest in
                                                 the Bering and Chukchi Seas on Pacific                  population, we anticipate that their                  Chukotka, Russia, is controlled through
                                                 walruses. Pacific walrus is an ice-                     magnitude will increase over time as                  a quota system. An annual subsistence
                                                 dependent species. Individuals use ice                  sea-ice loss over the continental shelf               quota is issued through a decree by the
                                                 for many aspects of their life history                  occurs regularly and more extensively.                Russian Federal Fisheries Agency.
                                                 throughout the year, and because of the                 Given this persistent and increasing                  Quota recommendations are based on
                                                 projected loss of sea ice over the 21st                 threat of sea-ice loss, we conclude that              what is thought to be a sustainable
                                                 century, we have identified the loss of                 this anticipated Pacific walrus                       removal level (approximately 4 percent
                                                 sea ice and associated effects to be a                  population decline will continue into                 of the population), based on the total
                                                 threat to the Pacific walrus population.                the foreseeable future.                               population and productivity estimates.
                                                 Although we anticipate that sufficient                     Under Factor A, we also analyzed the               However, there are no U.S. quotas on
                                                 ice will remain, so that breeding                       effects of ocean warming and ocean                    subsistence harvest. Although at present
                                                 behavior and calving will still occur in                acidification on Pacific walrus.                      it is difficult to quantify sustainable
                                                 association with sea ice, the locations of              Although we are concerned about the                   removal levels because of the lack of
                                                 these activities will likely change in                  changes to the walrus prey base that                  information on Pacific walrus
                                                 response to changing ice patterns. The                  may occur from ocean acidification and                population status and trends, we
                                                 greatest change in sea ice, walrus                      warming, and theoretically we                         determined that 4 percent is a
                                                 distribution, and behavioral responses is               understand how those stressors might                  conservative sustainable harvest level.
                                                 expected to occur in the summer (June–                  operate, ocean dynamics are very                      The current level of subsistence harvest
                                                 August) and fall (October and                           complex and the specific outcomes for                 rangewide is about 4 percent of the 2006
                                                 November), when sea-ice loss is                         these stressors are too unreliable at this            population estimate. Therefore, we do
                                                 projected to be the greatest.                           time for us to conclude that they are a               not consider the current level of
                                                    Based on the best scientific                         threat to Pacific walrus now or in the                subsistence harvest to be a threat to
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                                                 information available, in the foreseeable               foreseeable future. We therefore                      Pacific walrus at the present time.
                                                 future, we anticipate that there will be                conclude that these stressors do not rise                Pacific walrus are an important
                                                 a 1–5-month period in which sea ice                     to the level of a threat, now or in the               subsistence resource in the Bering Strait
                                                 will typically retreat northward off of                 foreseeable future.                                   region, and we expect Pacific walrus to
                                                 the Chukchi continental shelf. The                         In our analysis of Factor B, we                    continue to remain available for harvest
                                                 Chukchi Sea is projected to be ice-free                 identified and evaluated the risks to                 there, even as sea-ice conditions change.
                                                 in September every year by mid-                         Pacific walrus from overutilization for               Because there are no U.S. subsistence
                                                 century. However, loss of sea ice is                    commercial, recreational, scientific, or              harvest quotas, we do not expect harvest


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                            7673

                                                 levels in the Bering Strait region to                   walrus population, and there is no                    pollution and contaminants; oil and gas
                                                 change appreciably in the foreseeable                   evidence of increased presence of killer              exploration, development, and
                                                 future, unless regulations are put in                   whales in the Bering or Chukchi Seas;                 production; commercial fisheries
                                                 place to restrict harvest by limiting the               therefore, killer whale predation is not              interactions; shipping; oil spills; and
                                                 number of walrus that may be taken.                     a threat to the Pacific walrus now, and               icebreaking activities. Based on our
                                                 There are two paths that could result in                it is unlikely to become a threat in the              estimation of low current contaminant
                                                 harvest quotas: (1) Self-regulation                     foreseeable future.                                   loads and the likelihood of minimal
                                                 activities by Alaska Natives; and (2)                      In our analysis under Factor D, we                 future exposure as walruses feed on
                                                 implementation of procedures in the                     identified and evaluated the risks from               lower trophic levels, we conclude that
                                                 MMPA. Neither of these is currently in                  the inadequacy of existing regulatory                 contaminants are not a threat now and
                                                 place, except for one quota on Round                    mechanisms by focusing our analysis on                are not likely to be a threat to the Pacific
                                                 Island, as discussed below. Instead, we                 the specific laws and regulations aimed               walrus population in the foreseeable
                                                 predict that subsistence harvest is likely              at addressing the two primary threats to              future. Oil and gas development is
                                                 to continue at similar levels to those                  the walrus—the loss of sea-ice habitat                currently not a threat to the Pacific
                                                 currently, even as the walrus population                and subsistence harvest. As discussed                 walrus and is not expected to be in the
                                                 declines in response to loss of summer                  previously under Factor A, GHG                        foreseeable future due to the anticipated
                                                 sea ice. Over time, as the proportion of                emissions have contributed to a                       increased scrutiny oil and gas
                                                 animals harvested increases relative to                 warming climate and the loss of sea-ice               development will undergo in the future,
                                                 the overall population, this continued                  habitat for the Pacific walrus. There are             the continued application of incidental
                                                 level of subsistence harvest likely will                currently no regulatory mechanisms in                 take regulations, and the low risk of an
                                                 become unsustainable. Therefore, we                     place to reduce or limit GHG emissions.
                                                                                                                                                               oil spill. Commercial fishing is also
                                                 determine that subsistence harvest is a                 This situation was considered as part of
                                                                                                                                                               currently not a threat to walrus as it
                                                 threat to the walrus population in the                  our analysis in Factor A. Accordingly,
                                                                                                                                                               occurs only on the periphery of the
                                                 foreseeable future.                                     there are no existing regulatory
                                                                                                                                                               species’ range and results in minimal
                                                    In our analysis of Factor C, we                      mechanisms to effectively address sea-
                                                                                                                                                               impacts on the population. We
                                                 identified and evaluated the risks to                   ice loss.
                                                                                                            With regard to the other main threat               recognize the potential future interest by
                                                 Pacific walrus from disease and
                                                                                                         to the walrus, subsistence harvest, there             the fishing industry to initiate fisheries
                                                 predation, and we determined that
                                                                                                         is currently no limit on the number of                further north as fish distribution
                                                 neither component currently, or in the
                                                 foreseeable future, represents threats to               walrus that may be taken for subsistence              changes in association with predicted
                                                 the Pacific walrus population. Although                 purposes rangewide. While the                         changes in ocean conditions. However,
                                                 a changing climate may increase                         subsistence harvest in Russia is                      based on the limited fishing-related
                                                 exposure of walrus to new pathogens,                    controlled through a quota system, no                 impacts to walrus that have occurred in
                                                 there are no clear transmission vectors                 national or Statewide quota exists in the             other areas to date, and the active
                                                 that would change levels of exposure,                   United States. One local quota restricts              engagement of the NPFMC through the
                                                 and no evidence exists that disease will                the number of walrus that may be taken                Arctic Fisheries Management Plan, we
                                                 become a threat in foreseeable future.                  on Round Island (Alaska), but the                     conclude that commercial fishing is not
                                                    As the use of coastal haulouts by both               harvest level in this area represents only            now a threat to Pacific walrus, and is
                                                 walruses and polar bears during                         a very minor portion of the harvest                   not likely to become a threat in the
                                                 summer increases, we expect                             rangewide. Local ordinances recently                  foreseeable future. Shipping is not
                                                 interactions between the two species to                 adopted by two Native communities in                  currently a threat to the Pacific walrus
                                                 also increase, and terrestrial walrus                   the Bering Strait region, where 84                    population, because it occurs at low
                                                 haulouts may become important feeding                   percent of the harvest in the United                  levels, and shipping in support of other
                                                 areas for polar bears. The presence of                  States and 43 percent of the rangewide                activities (e.g., oil and gas exploration)
                                                 polar bears along the coast during the                  harvest occurs, contain provisions                    is sufficiently regulated and mitigated
                                                 ice-free season will likely influence                   aimed at restricting the number of                    by MMPA incidental take regulations.
                                                 patterns of haulout use as walrus shift                 hunting trips that may be taken for                   Shipping may increase in the future, but
                                                 to other coastal haulout locations. These               subsistence purposes. While these                     given the uncertainties identified
                                                 movements may result in increased                       ordinances provide an important                       related to potential future shipping
                                                 energetic costs to walrus, but it is not                framework for future co-management                    activities, the available information does
                                                 possible to predict the magnitude of                    initiatives and the potential                         not allow us to conclude that these
                                                 these costs. Although predation by polar                development of future localized harvest               activities will cause population-level
                                                 bears on Pacific walrus has been                        limits, we acknowledge that no limits                 effects to the Pacific walrus in the
                                                 observed, the lack of documented                        currently exist on the total number of                foreseeable future. In addition, take
                                                 population-level effects leads us to                    walrus that may be taken in the Bering                provisions of the MMPA can be effective
                                                 conclude that polar bear predation is                   Strait region or rangewide. Nor are there             in regulating shipping in U.S. waters
                                                 not currently a threat to the Pacific                   other restrictions in place to ensure the             that may disturb haulouts and interrupt
                                                 walrus. As sea ice declines and Pacific                 likelihood that, as the population of                 foraging activity. Because most oil spills
                                                 walrus spend more time on coastal                       walrus declines in response to changing               will have only localized impact to
                                                 haulouts, however, it is likely that polar              sea-ice conditions, the subsistence                   walrus, and the chance of a large-scale
                                                 bear predation will increase. However,                  harvest of walrus will occur at a                     spill occurring in the walrus’ range in
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                                                 we cannot reliably predict the level of                 reduced level. As a result, we determine              the foreseeable future is considered low,
                                                 predation in the future, and therefore                  that the existing regulatory mechanisms               oil spills do not appear to be a threat to
                                                 we are not able to conclude with                        are inadequate to address the threat of               Pacific walrus now or in the foreseeable
                                                 sufficient reliability that it will rise to             subsistence harvest to the Pacific walrus             future. Finally, shipping activity and
                                                 the level of a threat to the Pacific walrus             in the foreseeable future.                            associated icebreaking are predicted to
                                                 population in the foreseeable future.                      In our analysis under Factor E, we                 increase in the future, but the
                                                 There is no evidence that killer whale                  evaluated other factors that may have an              magnitude and rate of increase are
                                                 predation has ever limited the Pacific                  effect on the Pacific walrus, including               unknown and dependent on both


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                                                 7674                  Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 economic and environmental factors.                     Listing Priority Number                               population-level effects. Because the
                                                 Given the uncertainties identified                         The Service adopted guidelines on                  threat of the loss of sea-ice habitat is not
                                                 related to potential future shipping                    September 21, 1983 (48 FR 43098), to                  having significant effects currently, but
                                                 activities, the available information does              establish a rational system for utilizing             is projected to, we have determined the
                                                 not enable us to conclude that                          available resources for the highest                   magnitude of this threat is moderate,
                                                 icebreaking will cause population-level                 priority species when adding species to               and not high.
                                                 effects to the Pacific walrus in the                    the Lists of Endangered and Threatened                   Subsistence harvest is also identified
                                                 foreseeable future. Therefore, we                       Wildlife and Plants or reclassifying                  as a threat to the Pacific walrus. Harvest
                                                 determine that none of the potential                    species listed as threatened to                       is currently occurring at sustainable
                                                 stressors identified and discussed under                endangered status. These guidelines,                  levels. With the loss of sea-ice habitat
                                                 Factor E is a threat to the Pacific walrus              titled ‘‘Endangered and Threatened                    and the projected associated population
                                                 now, or is likely to become a threat in                 Species Listing and Recovery Priority                 decline, and because subsistence
                                                 the foreseeable future.                                 Guidelines,’’ address the immediacy and               harvest is expected to continue at
                                                    In summary, we identify loss of sea                  magnitude of threats, and the level of                current levels, we concluded that
                                                 ice in the summer and fall and                          taxonomic distinctiveness. The system                 subsistence harvest would have a
                                                 associated impacts (Factor A) and                       places greatest importance on the                     population-level effect on the species in
                                                 subsistence harvest (Factor B) as the                   immediacy and magnitude of threats,                   the future. Because harvest is occurring
                                                 primary threats to the Pacific walrus in                but also factors in the level of taxonomic            at sustainable levels now, but may
                                                 the foreseeable future. These                           distinctiveness by assigning priority in              become unsustainable in the foreseeable
                                                 conclusions are supported by the                        descending order to monotypic genera                  future due to the projected population
                                                 Bayesian Network models prepared by                     (genus with one species), full species,               decline, we have determined the
                                                 USGS and the Service. Our Factor D                      and subspecies (or equivalently, distinct             magnitude of the threat of subsistence
                                                 analysis determined that existing                       population segments of vertebrates).                  harvest is considered to be moderate,
                                                 regulatory mechanisms are currently                        As a result of our analysis of the best            and not high.
                                                 inadequate to address these threats.                    available scientific and commercial                      Under our Guidelines, the second
                                                 These threats are of sufficient                         information, we assigned the Pacific                  criterion we consider in assigning a
                                                 imminence, intensity, and magnitude to                  walrus a Listing Priority Number (LPN)                listing priority is the immediacy of
                                                 cause substantial losses of abundance                   of 9, based on the moderate magnitude                 threats. This criterion is intended to
                                                 and an anticipated population decline                   and imminence of threats. These threats               ensure that species that face actual,
                                                 of Pacific walrus that will continue into               include the present or threatened                     identifiable threats are given priority
                                                 the foreseeable future.                                 destruction, modification or curtailment              over those species for which threats are
                                                    Therefore, on the basis of the best                  of Pacific walrus habitat due to loss of              only potential or species that are
                                                 scientific and commercial information                   sea-ice habitat; and overutilization due              intrinsically vulnerable but are not
                                                 available, we find that the petitioned                  to subsistence harvest. In addition,                  known to be presently facing such
                                                 action to list the Pacific walrus is                    existing regulatory mechanisms fail to                threats. We have determined that loss of
                                                 warranted. We will make a                               address these threats. These threats                  sea-ice habitat is affecting the Pacific
                                                 determination on the status of the                      affect the entire population, are ongoing,            walrus population currently and is
                                                 species as threatened or endangered                     and will continue to occur into the                   expected to continue and likely
                                                 when we prepare a proposed listing                      foreseeable future. Our rationale for                 intensify in the foreseeable future.
                                                 determination. However, as explained                    assigning the Pacific walrus an LPN of                Similarly, we have determined that
                                                 in more detail below, an immediate                      9 is outlined below.                                  subsistence harvest is presently
                                                 proposal of a regulation implementing                      Under the Service’s Guidelines, the                occurring and expected to continue at
                                                 this action is precluded by higher                      magnitude of threat is the first criterion            current levels into the foreseeable
                                                 priority listing actions, and expeditious               we look at when establishing a listing                future, even as the Pacific walrus
                                                 progress is being made to add or remove                 priority. The guidelines indicate that                population declines due to sea-ice loss.
                                                 qualified species from the Lists of                     species with the highest magnitude of                 Because both the loss of sea-ice habitat
                                                 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife                      threat are those species facing the most              and subsistence harvest are presently
                                                 and Plants.                                             severe threats to their continued                     occurring, we consider the threats to be
                                                    We reviewed the available                            existence. These species receive the                  imminent.
                                                 information to determine if the existing                highest listing priority. As discussed in                The third criterion in our guidelines
                                                 and foreseeable threats render the                      the finding, the Pacific walrus is being              is intended to devote resources to those
                                                 species at risk of extinction at this time              impacted by two primary threats; the                  species representing highly distinctive
                                                 such that issuing an emergency                          loss of sea-ice habitat, and subsistence              or isolated gene pools as reflected by
                                                 regulation temporarily listing the                      harvest. The main threat to the Pacific               taxonomy, with the highest priority
                                                 species under section 4(b)(7) of the Act                walrus is the loss of sea-ice habitat due             given to monotypic genera, followed by
                                                 is warranted. We determined that                        to climate change. Sea-ice losses have                species and then subspecies. The Pacific
                                                 issuing an emergency regulation                         been observed to date and are projected               walrus is a valid subspecies and
                                                 temporarily listing the species is not                  to continue through the end of the 21st               therefore receives a lower priority than
                                                 warranted for this species at this time,                century. The loss of sea-ice habitat,                 species or a monotypic genus. As
                                                 because the threats acting on the species               while affecting individual walrus or                  discussed, the threats affecting the
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                                                 are not immediately impacting the                       localized populations, does not appear                Pacific walrus are of moderate
                                                 entire species across its range to the                  to be currently resulting in significant              magnitude and imminent. Accordingly
                                                 point where the species will be                         population-level effects. However, the                we have assigned the Pacific walrus an
                                                 immediately lost. However, if at any                    modeled projections of the loss of sea-               LPN of 9, pursuant to our guidelines.
                                                 time we determine that issuing an                       ice habitat and the associated impacts                   We will continue to monitor the
                                                 emergency regulation temporarily                        on the Pacific walrus are expected to                 threats to the Pacific walrus, as well as
                                                 listing the Pacific walrus is warranted,                greatly increase within the foreseeable               the species’ status, on an annual basis,
                                                 we will initiate this action at that time.              future, thereby resulting in significant              and should the magnitude or the


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                                                                       Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                            7675

                                                 imminence of the threats change, we                     addition, in FY 1998 and for each fiscal                 Congress identified the availability of
                                                 will revisit our assessment of the LPN.                 year since then, Congress has placed a                resources as the only basis for deferring
                                                                                                         statutory cap on funds which may be                   the initiation of a rulemaking that is
                                                 Preclusion and Expeditious Progress
                                                                                                         expended for the Listing Program, equal               warranted. The Conference Report
                                                    Preclusion is a function of the listing              to the amount expressly appropriated                  accompanying Pub. L. 97–304
                                                 priority of a species in relation to the                for that purpose in that fiscal year. This            (Endangered Species Act Amendments
                                                 resources that are available and the cost               cap was designed to prevent funds                     of 1982), which established the current
                                                 and relative priority of competing                      appropriated for other functions under                statutory deadlines and the warranted-
                                                 demands for those resources. Thus, in                   the Act (for example, recovery funds for              but-precluded finding, states that the
                                                 any given fiscal year (FY), multiple                    removing species from the Lists), or for              amendments were ‘‘not intended to
                                                 factors dictate whether it will be                      other Service programs, from being used               allow the Secretary to delay
                                                 possible to undertake work on a listing                 for Listing Program actions (see House                commencing the rulemaking process for
                                                 proposal regulation or whether                          Report 105–163, 105th Congress, 1st                   any reason other than that the existence
                                                 promulgation of such a proposal is                      Session, July 1, 1997).                               of pending or imminent proposals to list
                                                 precluded by higher-priority listing                       Since FY 2002, the Service’s budget                species subject to a greater degree of
                                                 actions.                                                has included a critical habitat subcap to             threat would make allocation of
                                                    The resources available for listing                                                                        resources to such a petition [that is, for
                                                                                                         ensure that some funds are available for
                                                 actions are determined through the                                                                            a lower-ranking species] unwise.’’
                                                                                                         other work in the Listing Program (‘‘The
                                                 annual Congressional appropriations                                                                           Although that statement appeared to
                                                                                                         critical habitat designation subcap will
                                                 process. The appropriation for the                                                                            refer specifically to the ‘‘to the
                                                                                                         ensure that some funding is available to
                                                 Listing Program is available to support                                                                       maximum extent practicable’’ limitation
                                                                                                         address other listing activities’’ (House
                                                 work involving the following listing                                                                          on the 90-day deadline for making a
                                                 actions: Proposed and final listing rules;              Report No. 107–103, 107th Congress, 1st
                                                                                                         Session, June 19, 2001)). From FY 2002                ‘‘substantial information’’ finding, that
                                                 90-day and 12-month findings on
                                                                                                         to FY 2006, the Service has had to use                finding is made at the point when the
                                                 petitions to add species to the Lists of
                                                                                                         virtually the entire critical habitat                 Service is deciding whether or not to
                                                 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
                                                                                                         subcap to address court-mandated                      commence a status review that will
                                                 and Plants (Lists) or to change the status
                                                                                                         designations of critical habitat, and                 determine the degree of threats facing
                                                 of a species from threatened to
                                                                                                         consequently none of the critical habitat             the species, and therefore the analysis
                                                 endangered; annual ‘‘resubmitted’’
                                                                                                         subcap funds have been available for                  underlying the statement is more
                                                 petition findings on prior warranted-
                                                                                                         other listing activities. In some FYs                 relevant to the use of the warranted-but-
                                                 but-precluded petition findings as
                                                                                                         since 2006, we have been able to use                  precluded finding, which is made when
                                                 required under section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of
                                                 the Act; critical habitat petition                      some of the critical habitat subcap funds             the Service has already determined the
                                                 findings; proposed and final rules                      for proposed listing determinations for               degree of threats facing the species and
                                                 designating critical habitat; and                       high-priority candidate species. In other             is deciding whether or not to commence
                                                 litigation-related, administrative, and                 FYs, while we were unable to use any                  a rulemaking.
                                                 program-management functions                            of the critical habitat subcap funds to                  In FY 2011, on December 22, 2010,
                                                 (including preparing and allocating                     fund proposed listing determinations,                 Congress passed a continuing resolution
                                                 budgets, responding to Congressional                    we did use some of this money to fund                 which provides funding at the FY 2010
                                                 and public inquiries, and conducting                    the critical habitat portion of some                  enacted level through March 4, 2011.
                                                 public outreach regarding listing and                   proposed listing determinations so that               Until Congress appropriates funds for
                                                 critical habitat). The work involved in                 the proposed listing determination and                FY 2011 at a different level, we will
                                                 preparing various listing documents can                 proposed critical habitat designation                 fund listing work based on the FY 2010
                                                 be extensive and may include, but is not                could be combined into one rule,                      amount. Thus, at this time in FY 2011,
                                                 limited to: Gathering and assessing the                 thereby being more efficient in our                   the Service anticipates an appropriation
                                                 best scientific and commercial data                     work. At this time, for FY 2011, we do                of $22,103,000 based on FY 2010
                                                 available and conducting analyses used                  not know if we will be able to use some               appropriations. Of that, the Service
                                                 as the basis for our decisions; writing                 of the critical habitat subcap funds to               anticipates needing to dedicate
                                                 and publishing documents; and                           fund proposed listing determinations.                 $11,632,000 for determinations of
                                                 obtaining, reviewing, and evaluating                       We make our determinations of                      critical habitat for already listed species.
                                                 public comments and peer review                         preclusion on a nationwide basis to                   Also $500,000 is appropriated for
                                                 comments on proposed rules and                          ensure that the species most in need of               foreign species listings under the Act.
                                                 incorporating relevant information into                 listing will be addressed first and also              The Service thus has $9,971,000
                                                 final rules. The number of listing                      because we allocate our listing budget                available to fund work in the following
                                                 actions that we can undertake in a given                on a nationwide basis. Through the                    categories: compliance with court orders
                                                 year also is influenced by the                          listing cap, the critical habitat subcap,             and court-approved settlement
                                                 complexity of those listing actions; that               and the amount of funds needed to                     agreements requiring that petition
                                                 is, more complex actions generally are                  address court-mandated critical habitat               findings or listing determinations be
                                                 more costly. The median cost for                        designations, Congress and the courts                 completed by a specific date; section 4
                                                 preparing and publishing a 90-day                       have, in effect, determined the amount                (of the Act) listing actions with absolute
                                                 finding is $39,276; for a 12-month                      of money available for other listing                  statutory deadlines; essential litigation-
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                                                 finding, $100,690; for a proposed rule                  activities nationwide (i.e., actions other            related, administrative, and listing
                                                 with critical habitat, $345,000; and for                than critical habitat designation).                   program-management functions; and
                                                 a final listing rule with critical habitat,             Therefore, the funds in the listing cap,              high-priority listing actions for some of
                                                 the median cost is $305,000.                            other than those needed to address                    our candidate species. In FY 2010 the
                                                    We cannot spend more than is                         court-mandated critical habitat for                   Service received many new petitions
                                                 appropriated for the Listing Program                    already listed species, set the limits on             and a single petition to list 404 species.
                                                 without violating the Anti-Deficiency                   our determinations of preclusion and                  The receipt of petitions for a large
                                                 Act (see 31 U.S.C. 1341(a)(1)(A)). In                   expeditious progress.                                 number of species is consuming the


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                                                 7676                   Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                 Service’s listing funding that is not                    threats (high or moderate to low),                        species to endangered if we can
                                                 dedicated to meeting Court-ordered                       immediacy of threats (imminent or                         combine this with work that is subject
                                                 commitments. Absent some ability to                      nonimminent), and taxonomic status of                     to a court-determined deadline.
                                                 balance effort among listing duties                      the species (in order of priority:                           With our workload so much bigger
                                                 under existing funding levels, it is                     monotypic genus (a species that is the                    than the amount of funds we have to
                                                 unlikely that the Service will be able to                sole member of a genus); species, or part                 accomplish it, it is important that we be
                                                 make expeditious progress on candidate                   of a species (subspecies, distinct                        as efficient as possible in our listing
                                                 species in FY 2011.                                      population segment, or significant                        process. Therefore, as we work on
                                                    In 2009, the responsibility for listing               portion of the range)). The lower the                     proposed rules for the highest priority
                                                 foreign species under the Act was                        listing priority number, the higher the                   species in the next several years, we are
                                                 transferred from the Division of                         listing priority (that is, a species with an              preparing multi-species proposals when
                                                 Scientific Authority, International                      LPN of 1 would have the highest listing                   appropriate, and these may include
                                                 Affairs Program, to the Endangered                       priority).                                                species with lower priority if they
                                                 Species Program. Therefore, starting in                     Because of the large number of high-                   overlap geographically or have the same
                                                 FY 2010, we used a portion of our                        priority species, we have further ranked                  threats as a species with an LPN of 2.
                                                 funding to work on the actions                           the candidate species with an LPN of 2                    In addition, we take into consideration
                                                 described above for listing actions                      by using the following extinction-risk                    the availability of staff resources when
                                                 related to foreign species. In FY 2011,                  type criteria: International Union for the                we determine which high-priority
                                                 we anticipate using $1,500,000 for work                  Conservation of Nature and Natural                        species will receive funding to
                                                 on listing actions for foreign species                   Resources (IUCN) Red list status/rank,                    minimize the amount of time and
                                                 which reduces funding available for                      Heritage rank (provided by                                resources required to complete each
                                                 domestic listing actions, however,                       NatureServe), Heritage threat rank                        listing action.
                                                 currently only $500,000 has been                         (provided by NatureServe), and species                       As explained above, a determination
                                                 allocated. Although there are currently                  currently with fewer than 50                              that listing is warranted but precluded
                                                 no foreign species issues included in                    individuals, or 4 or fewer populations.                   must also demonstrate that expeditious
                                                 our high-priority listing actions at this                Those species with the highest IUCN                       progress is being made to add and
                                                 time, many actions have statutory or                     rank (critically endangered), the highest                 remove qualified species to and from
                                                 court-approved settlement deadlines,                     Heritage rank (G1), the highest Heritage                  the Lists of Endangered and Threatened
                                                 thus increasing their priority. The                      threat rank (substantial, imminent                        Wildlife and Plants. As with our
                                                 budget allocations for each specific                     threats), and currently with fewer than                   ‘‘precluded’’ finding, the evaluation of
                                                 listing action are identified in the                     50 individuals, or fewer than 4                           whether progress in adding qualified
                                                 Service’s FY 2011 Allocation Table (part                 populations, originally comprised a                       species to the Lists has been expeditious
                                                 of our record).                                          group of approximately 40 candidate                       is a function of the resources available
                                                    For the above reasons, funding a                      species (‘‘Top 40’’). These 40 candidate                  for listing and the competing demands
                                                 proposed listing determination for the                   species have had the highest priority to                  for those funds. (Although we do not
                                                 Pacific walrus is precluded by court-                    receive funding to work on a proposed                     discuss it in detail here, we are also
                                                 ordered and court-approved settlement                    listing determination. As we work on                      making expeditious progress in
                                                 agreements, listing actions with absolute                proposed and final listing rules for those                removing species from the list under the
                                                 statutory deadlines, and work on                         40 candidates, we apply the ranking                       Recovery program in light of the
                                                 proposed listing determinations for                      criteria to the next group of candidates                  resource available for delisting, which is
                                                 those candidate species with a higher                    with an LPN of 2 and 3 to determine the                   funded by a separate line item in the
                                                 listing priority (i.e., candidate species                next set of highest-priority candidate                    budget of the Endangered Species
                                                 with LPNs of 1–8).                                       species. Finally, proposed rules for                      Program. So far during FY 2011, we
                                                    Based on our September 21, 1983,                      reclassification of threatened species to                 have completed one delisting rule.)
                                                 guidance for assigning an LPN for each                   endangered are lower priority, since as                   Given the limited resources available for
                                                 candidate species (48 FR 43098), we                      listed species, they are already afforded                 listing, we find that we are making
                                                 have a significant number of species                     the protection of the Act and                             expeditious progress in FY 2011 in the
                                                 with an LPN of 2. Using this guidance,                   implementing regulations. However, for                    Listing program. This progress included
                                                 we assign each candidate an LPN of 1                     efficiency reasons, we may choose to                      preparing and publishing the following
                                                 to 12, depending on the magnitude of                     work on a proposed rule to reclassify a                   determinations:

                                                                                                          FY 2011 COMPLETED LISTING ACTIONS
                                                   Publication date                                      Title                                                  Actions                         FR pages

                                                 10/6/2010 ..............   Endangered Status for the Altamaha Spinymussel and                 Proposed Listing Endangered ...........        75 FR 61664–61690
                                                                              Designation of Critical Habitat.
                                                 10/7/2010 ..............   12-month Finding on a Petition to list the Sacramento              Notice of 12-month petition finding,           75 FR 62070–62095
                                                                              Splittail as Endangered or Threatened.                             Not warranted.
                                                 10/28/2010 ............    Endangered Status and Designation of Critical Habitat              Proposed       Listing   Endangered            75 FR 66481–66552
                                                                              for Spikedace and Loach Minnow.                                    (uplisting).
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                                                 11/2/2010 ..............   90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Bay Springs               Notice of 90-day Petition Finding,             75 FR 67341–67343
                                                                              Salamander as Endangered.                                          Not substantial.
                                                 11/2/2010 ..............   Determination of Endangered Status for the Georgia                 Final Listing Endangered ...................   75 FR 67511–67550
                                                                              Pigtoe Mussel, Interrupted Rocksnail, and Rough
                                                                              Hornsnail and Designation of Critical Habitat.
                                                 11/2/2010 ..............   Listing the Rayed Bean and Snuffbox as Endangered ...              Proposed Listing Endangered ...........        75 FR 67551–67583
                                                 11/4/2010 ..............   12–Month Finding on a Petition to List Cirsium wrightii            Notice of 12-month petition finding,           75 FR 67925–67944
                                                                              (Wright’s Marsh Thistle) as Endangered or Threat-                  Warranted but precluded.
                                                                              ened.



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                                                                              Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                                                                         7677

                                                                                                               FY 2011 COMPLETED LISTING ACTIONS—Continued
                                                   Publication date                                                      Title                                                                  Actions                                      FR pages

                                                 12/14/2010 ............          Endangered Status for Dunes Sagebrush Lizard ...........                                Proposed Listing Endangered ...........                         75 FR 77801–77817
                                                 12/14/2010 ............          12-month Finding on a Petition to List the North Amer-                                  Notice of 12-month petition finding,                            75 FR 78029–78061
                                                                                    ican Wolverine as Endangered or Threatened.                                             Warranted but precluded.
                                                 12/14/2010 ............          12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Sonoran Pop-                                 Notice of 12-month petition finding,                            75 FR 78093–78146
                                                                                    ulation of the Desert Tortoise as Endangered or                                         Warranted but precluded.
                                                                                    Threatened.
                                                 12/15/2010 ............          12-Month Finding on a Petition to List Astragalus                                       Notice of 12-month petition finding,                            75 FR 78513–78556
                                                                                    microcymbus and Astragalus schmolliae as Endan-                                         Warranted but precluded.
                                                                                    gered or Threatened.
                                                 12/28/2010 ............          Listing Seven Brazilian Bird Species as Endangered                                      Final Listing Endangered ...................                    75 FR 81793–81815
                                                                                    Throughout Their Range.
                                                 1/4/2011 ................        90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Red Knot sub-                                  Notice of 90-day Petition Finding,                                   76 FR 304–311
                                                                                    species Calidris canutus roselaari as Endangered.                                       Not substantial.
                                                 1/19/2011 ..............         Endangered     Status    for   the    Sheepnose     and                                 Proposed Listing Endangered ...........                           76 FR 3392–3420
                                                                                    Spectaclecase Mussels.



                                                   Our expeditious progress also                                          statutory timelines, that is, timelines                                   a lower priority if they overlap
                                                 includes work on listing actions that we                                 required under the Act. Actions in the                                    geographically or have the same threats
                                                 funded in FY 2010 and FY 2011, but                                       bottom section of the table are high-                                     as the species with the high priority.
                                                 have not yet been completed to date.                                     priority listing actions. These actions                                   Including these species together in the
                                                 These actions are listed below. Actions                                  include work primarily on species with                                    same proposed rule results in
                                                 in the top section of the table are being                                an LPN of 2, and, as discussed above,                                     considerable savings in time and
                                                 conducted under a deadline set by a                                      selection of these species is partially                                   funding compared to preparing separate
                                                 court. Actions in the middle section of                                  based on available staff resources, and                                   proposed rules for each of them in the
                                                 the table are being conducted to meet                                    when appropriate, include species with                                    future.

                                                                                              ACTIONS FUNDED IN FY 2010 AND FY 2011 BUT NOT YET COMPLETED
                                                                                                                           Species                                                                                                       Action

                                                                                                                  Actions Subject to Court Order/Settlement Agreement

                                                 Flat-tailed horned lizard .....................................................................................................................................     Final listing determination.
                                                 Mountain plover4 ................................................................................................................................................   Final listing determination.
                                                 Solanum conocarpum ........................................................................................................................................         12-month petition finding.
                                                 Thorne’s Hairstreak butterfly3 ............................................................................................................................         12-month petition finding.
                                                 Hermes copper butterfly3 ...................................................................................................................................        12-month petition finding.
                                                 4 parrot species (military macaw, yellow-billed parrot, red-crowned parrot, scarlet macaw)5 ..........................                                              12-month petition finding.
                                                 4 parrot species (blue-headed macaw, great green macaw, grey-cheeked parakeet, hyacinth macaw)5 .......                                                             12-month petition finding.
                                                 4 parrot species (crimson shining parrot, white cockatoo, Philippine cockatoo, yellow-crested cockatoo)5 ....                                                       12-month petition finding.
                                                 Utah prairie dog (uplisting) .................................................................................................................................      90-day petition finding.

                                                                                                                                   Actions With Statutory Deadlines

                                                 Casey’s june beetle ............................................................................................................................................    Final   listing   determination.
                                                 Southern rockhopper penguin—Campbell Plateau population ..........................................................................                                  Final   listing   determination.
                                                 6 Birds from Eurasia ..........................................................................................................................................     Final   listing   determination.
                                                 5 Bird species from Colombia and Ecuador ......................................................................................................                     Final   listing   determination.
                                                 Queen Charlotte goshawk .................................................................................................................................           Final   listing   determination.
                                                 5 species southeast fish (Cumberland darter, rush darter, yellowcheek darter, chucky madtom, and laurel                                                             Final   listing   determination.
                                                   dace)4.
                                                 Ozark hellbender4 ..............................................................................................................................................    Final listing determination.
                                                 Altamaha spinymussel3 ......................................................................................................................................        Final listing determination.
                                                 3 Colorado plants (Ipomopsis polyantha (Pagosa Skyrocket), Penstemon debilis (Parachute Beardtongue),                                                               Final listing determination.
                                                   and Phacelia submutica (DeBeque Phacelia))4.
                                                 Salmon crested cockatoo ...................................................................................................................................         Final listing determination.
                                                 6 Birds from Peru & Bolivia ...............................................................................................................................         Final listing determination.
                                                 Loggerhead sea turtle (assist National Marine Fisheries Service)5 ..................................................................                                Final listing determination.
                                                 2 mussels (rayed bean (LPN = 2), snuffbox No LPN)5 .....................................................................................                            Final listing determination.
jdjones on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with PROPOSALS2




                                                 Mt Charleston blue5 ...........................................................................................................................................     Proposed listing determination.
                                                 CA golden trout4 ................................................................................................................................................   12-month petition finding.
                                                 Black-footed albatross ........................................................................................................................................     12-month petition finding.
                                                 Mount Charleston blue butterfly .........................................................................................................................           12-month petition finding.
                                                 Mojave fringe-toed lizard1 ..................................................................................................................................       12-month petition finding.
                                                 Kokanee—Lake Sammamish population1 .........................................................................................................                        12-month petition finding.
                                                 Cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl1 .........................................................................................................................             12-month petition finding.
                                                 Northern leopard frog .........................................................................................................................................     12-month petition finding.
                                                 Tehachapi slender salamander ..........................................................................................................................             12-month petition finding.



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                                                 7678                           Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules

                                                                                    ACTIONS FUNDED IN FY 2010 AND FY 2011 BUT NOT YET COMPLETED—Continued
                                                                                                                                Species                                                                                                        Action

                                                 Coqui Llanero .....................................................................................................................................................           12-month petition finding/Proposed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 listing.
                                                 Dusky tree vole ..................................................................................................................................................            12-month petition finding.
                                                 3 MT invertebrates (mist forestfly (Lednia tumana), Oreohelix sp. 3, Oreohelix sp. 31) from 206 species pe-                                                                   12-month petition finding.
                                                    tition.
                                                 5 UT plants (Astragalus hamiltonii, Eriogonum soredium, Lepidium ostleri, Penstemon flowersii, Trifolium                                                                      12-month petition finding.
                                                    friscanum) from 206 species petition.
                                                 5 WY plants (Abronia ammophila, Agrostis rossiae, Astragalus proimanthus, Boechere (Arabis) pusilla,                                                                          12-month petition finding.
                                                    Penstemon gibbensii) from 206 species petition.
                                                 Leatherside chub (from 206 species petition) ...................................................................................................                              12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 Frigid ambersnail (from 206 species petition)3 ..................................................................................................                             12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 Platte River caddisfly (from 206 species petition)5 ............................................................................................                              12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 Gopher tortoise—eastern population .................................................................................................................                          12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 Grand Canyon scorpion (from 475 species petition) .........................................................................................                                   12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 Anacroneuria wipukupa (a stonefly from 475 species petition)4 .......................................................................                                         12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 Rattlesnake-master borer moth (from 475 species petition)3 ............................................................................                                       12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 3 Texas moths (Ursia furtiva, Sphingicampa blanchardi, Agapema galbina) (from 475 species petition) .......                                                                   12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 2 Texas shiners (Cyprinella sp., Cyprinella lepida) (from 475 species petition) ...............................................                                               12-month   petition   finding.
                                                 3 South Arizona plants (Erigeron piscaticus, Astragalus hypoxylus, Amoreuxia gonzalezii) (from 475 spe-                                                                       12-month   petition   finding.
                                                    cies petition).
                                                 5 Central Texas mussel species (3 from 475 species petition) ........................................................................                                         12-month petition finding.
                                                 14 parrots (foreign species) ...............................................................................................................................                  12-month petition finding.
                                                 Berry Cave salamander1 ....................................................................................................................................                   12-month petition finding.
                                                 Striped Newt1 .....................................................................................................................................................           12-month petition finding.
                                                 Fisher—Northern Rocky Mountain Range1 .......................................................................................................                                 12-month petition finding.
                                                 Mohave Ground Squirrel1 ..................................................................................................................................                    12-month petition finding.
                                                 Puerto Rico Harlequin Butterfly3 ........................................................................................................................                     12-month petition finding.
                                                 Western gull-billed tern ......................................................................................................................................               12-month petition finding.
                                                 Ozark chinquapin (Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis)4 .....................................................................................                                     12-month petition finding.
                                                 HI yellow-faced bees ..........................................................................................................................................               12-month petition finding.
                                                 Giant Palouse earthworm ..................................................................................................................................                    12-month petition finding.
                                                 Whitebark pine ...................................................................................................................................................            12-month petition finding.
                                                 OK grass pink (Calopogon oklahomensis)1 .......................................................................................................                               12-month petition finding.
                                                 Ashy storm-petrel5 .............................................................................................................................................              12-month petition finding.
                                                 Honduran emerald .............................................................................................................................................                12-month petition finding.
                                                 Southeastern pop snowy plover & wintering pop. of piping plover1 .................................................................                                            90-day petition finding.
                                                 Eagle Lake trout1 ...............................................................................................................................................             90-day petition finding.
                                                 Smooth-billed ani1 ..............................................................................................................................................             90-day petition finding.
                                                 32 Pacific Northwest mollusks species (snails and slugs)1 ..............................................................................                                      90-day petition finding.
                                                 42 snail species (Nevada & Utah) .....................................................................................................................                        90-day petition finding.
                                                 Peary caribou .....................................................................................................................................................           90-day petition finding.
                                                 Plains bison ........................................................................................................................................................         90-day petition finding.
                                                 Spring Mountains checkerspot butterfly .............................................................................................................                          90-day petition finding.
                                                 Spring pygmy sunfish .........................................................................................................................................                90-day petition finding.
                                                 Bay skipper ........................................................................................................................................................          90-day petition finding.
                                                 Unsilvered fritillary ..............................................................................................................................................          90-day petition finding.
                                                 Texas kangaroo rat ............................................................................................................................................               90-day petition finding.
                                                 Spot-tailed earless lizard ....................................................................................................................................               90-day petition finding.
                                                 Eastern small-footed bat ....................................................................................................................................                 90-day petition finding.
                                                 Northern long-eared bat .....................................................................................................................................                 90-day petition finding.
                                                 Prairie chub ........................................................................................................................................................         90-day petition finding.
                                                 10 species of Great Basin butterfly ...................................................................................................................                       90-day petition finding.
                                                 6 sand dune (scarab) beetles ............................................................................................................................                     90-day petition finding.
                                                 Golden-winged warbler4 .....................................................................................................................................                  90-day petition finding.
                                                 Sand-verbena moth ............................................................................................................................................                90-day petition finding.
                                                 404 Southeast species .......................................................................................................................................                 90-day petition finding.
                                                 Franklin’s bumble bee4 ......................................................................................................................................                 90-day petition finding.
                                                 2 Idaho snowflies (straight snowfly & Idaho snowfly)4 ......................................................................................                                  90-day petition finding.
                                                 American eel4 .....................................................................................................................................................           90-day petition finding.
                                                 Gila monster (Utah population)4 ........................................................................................................................                      90-day petition finding.
                                                 Arapahoe snowfly4 .............................................................................................................................................               90-day petition finding.
                                                 Leona’s little blue4 ..............................................................................................................................................           90-day petition finding.
jdjones on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with PROPOSALS2




                                                 Aztec gilia5 .........................................................................................................................................................        90-day petition finding.
                                                 White-tailed ptarmigan5 ......................................................................................................................................                90-day petition finding.
                                                 San Bernardino flying squirrel5 ..........................................................................................................................                    90-day petition finding.
                                                 Bicknell’s thrush5 ................................................................................................................................................           90-day petition finding.
                                                 Chimpanzee .......................................................................................................................................................            90-day petition finding.
                                                 Sonoran talussnail5 ............................................................................................................................................              90-day petition finding.
                                                 2 AZ Sky Island plants (Graptopetalum bartrami & Pectis imberbis)5 ..............................................................                                             90-day petition finding.
                                                 I’iwi5 ....................................................................................................................................................................   90-day petition finding.




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                                                                             Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 28 / Thursday, February 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules                                                                               7679

                                                                                 ACTIONS FUNDED IN FY 2010 AND FY 2011 BUT NOT YET COMPLETED—Continued
                                                                                                                         Species                                                                                                 Action

                                                                                                                                     High-Priority Listing Actions

                                                 19 Oahu candidate            species2
                                                                                (16 plants, 3 damselflies) (15 with LPN = 2, 3 with LPN = 3, 1 with LPN = 9)                                                     Proposed listing.
                                                 19 Maui-Nui candidate species2 (16 plants, 3 tree snails) (14 with LPN = 2, 2 with LPN = 3, 3 with LPN =                                                        Proposed listing.
                                                   8).
                                                 2 Arizona springsnails2 (Pyrgulopsis bernadina (LPN = 2), Pyrgulopsis trivialis (LPN = 2)) ............................                                         Proposed listing.
                                                 Chupadera springsnail2 (Pyrgulopsis chupaderae (LPN = 2) ...........................................................................                            Proposed listing.
                                                 8 Gulf Coast mussels (southern kidneyshell (LPN = 2), round ebonyshell (LPN = 2), Alabama pearlshell                                                            Proposed listing.
                                                   (LPN = 2), southern sandshell (LPN = 5), fuzzy pigtoe (LPN = 5), Choctaw bean (LPN = 5), narrow
                                                   pigtoe (LPN = 5), and tapered pigtoe (LPN = 11))4.
                                                 Umtanum buckwheat (LPN = 2) and white bluffs bladderpod (LPN = 9)4 ........................................................                                     Proposed   listing.
                                                 Grotto sculpin (LPN = 2)4 ..................................................................................................................................    Proposed   listing.
                                                 2 Arkansas mussels (Neosho mucket (LPN = 2) & Rabbitsfoot (LPN = 9))4 ...................................................                                       Proposed   listing.
                                                 Diamond darter (LPN = 2)4 ................................................................................................................................      Proposed   listing.
                                                 Gunnison sage-grouse (LPN = 2)4 ....................................................................................................................            Proposed   listing.
                                                 Miami blue (LPN = 3)3 .......................................................................................................................................   Proposed   listing.
                                                 4 Texas salamanders (Austin blind salamander (LPN = 2), Salado salamander (LPN = 2), Georgetown sal-                                                            Proposed   listing.
                                                   amander (LPN = 8), Jollyville Plateau (LPN = 8))3.
                                                 5 SW aquatics (Gonzales Spring Snail (LPN = 2), Diamond Y springsnail (LPN = 2), Phantom springsnail                                                            Proposed listing.
                                                   (LPN = 2), Phantom Cave snail (LPN = 2), Diminutive amphipod (LPN = 2))3.
                                                 2 Texas plants (Texas golden gladecress (Leavenworthia texana) (LPN = 2), Neches River rose-mallow                                                              Proposed listing.
                                                   (Hibiscus dasycalyx) (LPN = 2))3.
                                                 FL bonneted bat (LPN = 2)3 ..............................................................................................................................       Proposed listing.
                                                 21 Big Island (HI) species5 (includes 8 candidate species—5 plants & 3 animals; 4 with LPN = 2, 1 with                                                          Proposed listing.
                                                   LPN = 3, 1 with LPN = 4, 2 with LPN = 8).
                                                 12 Puget Sound prairie species (9 subspecies of pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama ssp.) (LPN = 3),                                                                 Proposed listing.
                                                   streaked horned lark (LPN = 3), Taylor’s checkerspot (LPN = 3), Mardon skipper (LPN = 8))3.
                                                 2 TN River mussels (fluted kidneyshell (LPN = 2), slabside pearlymussel (LPN = 2))5 ...................................                                         Proposed listing.
                                                 Jemez Mountain salamander (LPN = 2) 5 ..........................................................................................................                Proposed listing.
                                                    1 Funds   for listing actions for these species were provided in previous FYs.
                                                    2 Although   funds for these high-priority listing actions were provided in FY 2008 or 2009, due to the complexity of these actions and competing
                                                 priorities, these actions are still being developed.
                                                   3 Partially funded with FY 2010 funds and FY 2011 funds.
                                                   4 Funded with FY 2010 funds.
                                                   5 Funded with FY 2011 funds.




                                                    We have endeavored to make our                                       determine if a change in status is                                      Author(s)
                                                 listing actions as efficient and timely as                              warranted, including the need to make
                                                 possible, given the requirements of the                                 prompt use of emergency-listing                                           The primary authors of this notice are
                                                 relevant law and regulations and                                        procedures.                                                             the staff members of the Marine
                                                 constraints relating to workload and                                      We intend that any proposed listing                                   Mammals Management Office and the
                                                 personnel. We are continually                                           determination for the Pacific walrus will                               Fisheries and Ecological Services
                                                 considering ways to streamline                                          be as accurate as possible. Therefore, we                               Division of the Alaska Regional Office.
                                                 processes or achieve economies of scale,                                will continue to accept additional
                                                                                                                         information and comments from all                                       Authority
                                                 such as by batching related actions
                                                 together. Given our limited budget for                                  concerned governmental agencies, the                                      The authority for this section is
                                                 implementing section 4 of the Act, these                                scientific community, the subsistence                                   section 4 of the Endangered Species Act
                                                 actions described above collectively                                    community, industry, or any other                                       of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et
                                                 constitute expeditious progress.                                        interested party concerning this finding.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 seq.).
                                                    The Pacific walrus will be added to                                  References Cited                                                          Dated: January 21, 2011.
                                                 the list of candidate species upon                                         A complete list of references cited is                               Rowan W. Gould,
                                                 publication of this 12-month finding.                                   available on the Internet at http://                                    Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
                                                 We will continue to monitor the status                                  www.regulations.gov and upon request
                                                                                                                                                                                                 [FR Doc. 2011–2400 Filed 2–9–11; 8:45 am]
                                                 of this population as new information                                   from the Alaska Marine Mammals Office
                                                 becomes available. This review will                                     (see ADDRESSES section).                                                BILLING CODE 4310–55–P
jdjones on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with PROPOSALS2




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