Office of the Chief Information Officer &
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Peer Review Plans

 

Title and Description:
Replacement of Critical Habitat for the Western Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Steller Sea Lion -- Biological Report

Section 4 of the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires the designation of critical habitat for threatened and endangered species. It allows for the revision of existing critical habitat. Both designation and revision are required to be based upon the best scientific and commercial data available. The Draft Biological Report for Identifying Critical Habitat for the Western Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Steller Sea Lion presents information needed to determine if NMFS should replace currently designated critical habitat for Steller sea lions to account for the delisting of the Eastern DPS and to focus on identifying those specific geographical areas that meet the ESA's definition of critical habitat for the Western DPS. The intent of the report is to provide the best available information about; the geographical range of the species at the time of listing; its current range; its biology, ecology, and status necessary to identify those physical and biological features of its habitat that are essential to its conservation; whether those essential features may require special management considerations or protection; specific geographical locations where those physical and biological features are located; and whether there are unoccupied geographical areas that are essential to its conservation. This report will be considered by NOAA Fisheries in its decision about critical habitat for the Western DPS under Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act.

ID:332 Info. Type:  ISI
Estimated Dissemination Date: 5/1/2017
Contact Person: Michael Liddel NOAA Locator

Date First Posted in Peer Review Agenda: 1/29/2016
Estimated Peer Review Start Date: 11/20/2015
Review type:
Letters.

Number of reviewers:
4-10.

Peer reviewers will be designated by the agency.

Will the public, including scientific or professional societies, be asked to nominate potential peer reviewers? no

Will there be opportunities for the public to comment on the work product to be peer reviewed? yes

How and When?

NMFS intends to have the preliminary draft of this report peer reviewed prior to their release at the time of the proposed rule. The draft will be revised by the Critical Habitat Review Team in response to the peer review. The peer review report and the revised draft will be released concurrent with the release of the proposed rule. NMFS will accept comment on both the proposed rule and on the draft biological report.

Will the agency provide significant and relevant public comments to the peer reviewers before they conduct their review? no.

Primary disciplines or expertise needed in the review: 1) Conservation biology including factors that affect endangered species population vulnerability, resilience, and recovery; 2) pinniped ecology/biology, including detailed knowledge of otariids and Steller sea lions; 3) marine fisheries ecologist/biologist, including expertise on North Pacific fish communities, species, distribution, and abundance; and 4) critical habitat evaluation.

Comments on Peer Review:

Charge statement

Peer review report

Final work product: