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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BH95 Publication ID: Spring 2020 
Title: Revision to Critical Habitat Designation for Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales 

The proposed action would revise the designation of critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident killer whale distinct population segment, pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act. Critical habitat for this population is currently designated within inland waters of Washington. In response to a 2014 petition, NMFS is proposing to expand the designation to include areas occupied by Southern Resident killer whales in waters along the U.S. West Coast. Impacts from the designation would stem mainly from Federal agencies' requirement to consult with NMFS, under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, to ensure that any action they carry out, permit (authorize), or fund will not result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of a listed species. Federal agencies are already required to consult on effects to the currently designated critical habitat in inland waters of Washington, but consultation would be newly required for actions affecting the expanded critical habitat areas. Federal agencies are also already required to consult within the Southern Resident killer whales' range (including along the U.S. West Coast) to ensure that any action they carry out, permit, or fund will not jeopardize the continued existence of the species; this requirement would not change with a revision to the critical habitat designation.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final 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  Court settlement. Submission of proposed rule to OFR by September 6, 2019.  09/06/2019 
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  09/19/2019  84 FR 49214   
NPRM Comment Period End  12/18/2019 
Final Rule  09/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions, Organizations  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Related RINs: Related to 0648-AU38 
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