Deadline for Public Comment on NOAA’s Draft Mitigation Policy for Trust Resources Approaching

NOAA opened the floor for public comment on the draft of its Mitigation Policy for Trust Resources on May 7.

NATIONWIDE一 The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration set a July 30 deadline for public comment on its draft Mitigation Policy for Trust Resources.

The goal of the draft mitigation policy is improved conservation of NOAA’s trust resources, which include

commercial and recreational fishery resources, critical habitats, and endangered and threatened marine species, through more effective mitigation of adverse impacts.

The policy is the first and only comprehensive national policy on mitigation, it provides step-by-step guidance to mitigation without expanding the NOAA’s authority and remains in compliance with existing authorities.

The NOAA lists the purpose of the draft as a way to implement NOAA mitigation practices in a consistent, effective, and transparent manner. The NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service in conjunction with other NOAA program offices will lead a biennial review of the policy to ensure the policy is working the way it’s supposed to.

There are eight steps the NOAA will use in its decision process for recommendations and decisions on mitigation.

Apply the mitigation sequence appropriately; Employ the best scientific information available; Apply a holistic landscape and/or seascape approach; Promote mitigation strategies with high probability of success; Consider climate change and climate resilience when evaluating and developing mitigation measures; Implement mitigation that is proportional to impacts to NOAA trust resources and fully offsets those impacts; Use preservation of intact habitat as compensation appropriately, taking into account the high risk of habitat loss in many rapidly developing coastal and marine landscapes and seascapes; Collaborate with partner agencies and stakeholders.

The full draft can be read at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/document/noaas-draft-mitigation-policy-trust-resources, and public comment can be submitted to mitigationpolicy.comments@noaa.gov.

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