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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BL53 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Designation of Critical Habitat for Nassau Grouper Under the Endangered Species Act 

This rulemaking will designate critical habitat for the threatened Nassau grouper pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specific occupied areas under consideration as critical habitat for this species include approximately 2,352.27 sq. kilometers (908.22 sq. miles) of marine habitat located in waters off southeastern coast of Florida, Puerto Rico, Navassa, and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). For this critical habitat designation, the incremental costs of the rule are anticipated to be limited to the additional administrative effort required for section 7 consultations to consider impacts to the critical habitat. We have contacted the Departments of the Navy, Air Force, and Army as well as the U.S. Coast Guard requesting information related to potential national security impacts that may result from the critical habitat designation. Based on information they provided, national security impacts are not expected to arise as a result of this rule. NMFS also contacted the Department of Defense (DoD) to determine if any areas controlled by the DoD coincide with any of the areas under consideration for critical habitat, and none were found that would result in not designating critical habitat pursuant to section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the ESA.  This rule is consistent with existing critical habitat regulations in the application of the ESA.

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 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 223    50 CFR 226   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1533   
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
NPRM  Judicial  Settlement agreement must submit the proposed rule to the Federal Register by this date.  12/30/2022 
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  10/17/2022  87 FR 62930   
NPRM Comment Period End  12/16/2022 
Final Action  12/00/2023 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Kim Damon-Randall
Director, Office of Protected Resources
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1315 East-West Highway,
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone:301 427-8400