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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BI06 Publication ID: Spring 2019 
Title: Designation of Critical Habitat for the Mexico, Central American, and Western Pacific Distinct Population Segments of Humpback Whales Under the Endangered Species Act 
Abstract: This action will propose the designation of critical habitat for three distinct population segments of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act. The three distinct population segments of humpback whales concerned - the Mexico, Central American, and Western Pacific distinct population segments - were listed under the Endangered Species Act on September 8, 2016, thereby triggering the requirement under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act to designate critical habitat to the maximum extent prudent and determinable. Proposed critical habitat for these three distinct population segments of humpback whales will include marine habitats within the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea and will likely overlap with several existing designations, including critical habitat for leatherback sea turtles, North Pacific right whales, Steller sea lions, southern resident killer whales, and the southern distinct population segment of green sturgeon. Impacts from the designations for humpback whales would stem from the statutory requirement for Federal agencies to consult with NMFS, under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, to ensure that any action they carry out, authorize, or fund will not result in the destruction or adverse modification of humpback whale critical habitat. Within many of the areas we are evaluating for potential proposal as critical habitat for the humpback whales distinct population segments, Federal agencies are already required to consult on effects to currently designated critical habitat for other listed species. Federal agencies are also already required to consult with NMFS under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act to ensure that any action they authorize, fund or carry out will not jeopardize the continued existence of the listed distinct population segments of humpback whales. 
Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Regulatory 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 226   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
NPRM  Judicial  Settlement Agreement  06/28/2019 
Final  Judicial  Settlement Agreement  06/30/2020 
Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  09/00/2019 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions, Organizations  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Donna Wieting
Director, Office of Protected Resources
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway,
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone:301 427-8400