NMFS Seeks Comment on Critical Habitat Revision for Southern Resident Killer Whale

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published its 90-day finding on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity to revise the critical habitat designation for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) Distinct Population Segment under the Endangered Species Act. The Petition asked NMFS to revise the current critical habitat to include inhabited Pacific Ocean marine waters along the West Coast of the United States that constitute essential foraging and wintering areas. Additionally, the petition requests that NMFS adopt protective in-water sound levels as a primary constituent element for both currently designated critical habitat and the proposed revised critical habitat.

NMFS finds that the petition to revise critical habitat, viewed in the context of information readily available in our files, presents substantial scientific information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. NMFS is initiating a review of the currently designated critical habitat to determine whether revision is warranted.

To ensure a comprehensive review, NMFS solicits scientific and commercial information pertaining to this action.  Such information must be received by NMFS June 24, 2014.

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


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