Research on Seismic and Gray Whales

A special section “Seismic survey and western gray whales” in Endangered Species Research has been completed. Guest edited by Randall Reeves and Greg Donovan, this series of papers describes the monitoring and mitigation approach taken in protecting an endangered summer feeding population of gray whales off Sakhalin Island (Russia) during a seismic survey in 2010, and the results of various analyses performed on the acoustic, distribution and behavioural data collected.

A summary page with an introduction by the guest editors and links to the individual papers can be found at the following URL:

BOEM Draft PEIS for 2017-2022 OCS leasing Program

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, BOEM has announced the availability of the OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2017– 2022 Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. This Draft PEIS was prepared by BOEM to support the Proposed OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017–2022.

Comments may be submitted by May 2, 2016.

The following public meetings will be held on the Draft PEIS:

Washington, DC
April 4, 2016; Marriott Metro
Center, 775 12th St. NW., Washington,
DC 3–7 p.m.; valet parking at no charge
to meeting attendees up to 8 hours.

IAGC Criticizes Interior’s Exclusion of the Atlantic from the 5-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Plan

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors has issued the following statement on the Government’s decision not to include the U.S. Atlantic in the Government’s 5-year oil and gas leasing plan:

“Today’s announcement from the Administration that it would not include the US Atlantic in the 5-Year- Oil and Gas Leasing Program is unfortunate, not only for the oil and gas industry but more importantly for the American people.
The United States is virtually the only nation that is not exploring the resource potential of the Atlantic. The decision is short-sighted and does not take into account the energy needs of a growing economy and ensuring the energy security of this nation for future generations. In addition, it calls into question the Administration’s commitment to support a true ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to energy security.

NMFS Seeks Comment on Latest Version of Acoustic Effects Guidance

The National Marine Fisheries Service has published a document containing proposed changes to its Draft Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing.

The Guidance provides updated received levels, or thresholds, at which individual
marine mammals under NMFS’ management authority are predicted to experience changes in their hearing sensitivity (either temporary or permanent) for all underwater anthropogenic sound sources. NMFS has re-evaluated and modified several parts of the Draft Guidance and is soliciting public comment on the proposed changes. This is the third comment period on this Guidance.

NMFS must receive any comments by March 30, 2016.

Poll Shows South Carolina Voters Support Offshore Energy Production

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors has published an article that states, “Support for offshore energy production strong among SC voters, survey finds.”

This article, which is from the Palmetto Business Daily, discusses the results of a survey conducted by the Harris Poll for the American Petroleum Institute. The survey found that 67 percent of Palmetto State voters support offshore development of U.S. oil and natural gas resources.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey January 22 to January 31, 2016 among 600 registered South Carolina voters.

Click here to read entire IAGC article.

Underwater Acoustics Webinar for the International Regulatory Community: Potential Effects of Underwater Sound on Marine Mammals

We wish to remind the public that the Discovery of Sound in the Sea (DOSITS) <> Team is facilitating a free, five-part webinar series on topics related to underwater sound.

Two webinars took place in 2015.  The first reviewed science of sound concepts, the second, sound production and reception in marine animals.  These webinars, PDF versions of the webinar presentations, and other associated resources, have been archived to the DOSITS website (

The third webinar will take place on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, at 12:00 pm (U.S. East Coast time).  Dr.’s Dorian Houser and Brandon Southall will review the potential effects of underwater sound on marine mammals.

BOEM Publishes Draft EIS for GOM Lease Sale 247

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has announced the availability of a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas Central Planning Area Lease Sale 247. This Lease Sale is tentatively scheduled for March 2017. The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement provides a discussion of potential significant impacts of the proposed action and provides an analysis of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action. It also considers new information made available since the completion of earlier EISs related to CPA Lease Sale 247. The prior 2012– 2017 Gulf of Mexico EISs are available on BOEM’s Web site at http:// This Notice of Availability also serves to announce the beginning of the public comment period for the Draft Supplemental EIS.

NMFS Requests Comments on Proposed Navy LOA for Gulf of Alaska

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a request from the U.S. Navy for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to the training activities conducted in the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area Study Area from May 2016 through May 2021. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS requests comments on its proposal to issue regulations and subsequent Letter of Authorization to the Navy to incidentally harass marine mammals.

NMFS must receive any Comments and information no later than March 28, 2016.

Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice of this proposed action.