NOAA sets public hearings on Cook Inlet beluga proposed habitat

Posted: Wednesday, February 03, 2010

NOAA Fisheries is holding public hearings on proposed critical habitat areas for Cook Inlet beluga whales in Soldotna and Homer this week.

NOAA has extended the public comment period on a proposal designating critical habitat for endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales until March 3. The additional days should allow sufficient time for responders to comment while preserving the time needed for NOAA Fisheries to prepare the final rule.

Public hearings will be held at:

* Soldotna -- today, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Administration Building, 144 N. Binkley Street

* Homer -- Thursday, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, 95 Sterling Highway No. 1

Written comments, which should be identified by 'RIN 0648-AX50, may be sent to Kaja Brix, Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources, Alaska Region, NMFS, ATTN: Ellen Sebastian, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668, or faxed to 907-586-7557.

Submit electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at http://www.regulations.gov.

More information about Cook Inlet beluga whales can be found at: alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/whales/beluga.htm.

The proposed rule for habitat areas is at: alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/whales/beluga/management.htm#habitat.

-- Staff report



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