| Environmental assessment of a marine geophysical survey by the R/V Marcus G. Langseth in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, February-March 2012 - :6295 | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
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Environmental assessment of a marine geophysical survey by the R/V Marcus G. Langseth in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, February-March 2012
  • Published Date:
    2011
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Environmental assessment of a marine geophysical survey by the R/V Marcus G. Langseth in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, February-March 2012
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  • Corporate Authors:
    United States, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration., Office of Program Planning and Integration, ; Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory ; National Science Foundation (U.S.), Division of Ocean Sciences ; ... More ▼
  • Description:
    "Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (L-DEO), with research funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), plans to conduct a marine seismic survey in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a commonwealth in a political union with the U.S., during February-March 2012. The survey will take place in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and in International Waters in water depths >2000 m. The seismic study will use a towed array of 36 airguns with a total discharge volume of ~6600 inĀ³. NSF, as the funding and action agency, has a mission to 'promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense...'. The proposed seismic survey is part of a research proposal recommended for funding by an expert review panel. It will provide data integral to advancing scientific understanding of the water cycle within subduction-zone systems, where the basic building blocks of continental crust are made and where Earth's great earthquakes occur, which is thought to be the primary controlling factor in both arc-crust generation and megathrust seismicity. L-DEO is requesting an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) from the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to authorize the incidental, i.e., not intentional, harassment of small numbers of marine mammals should this occur during the seismic survey. The information in this Environmental Assessment (EA) supports the IHA application process and provides information on marine species that are not addressed by the IHA application, including birds, sea turtles, invertebrates, and fish. The EA addresses the requirements of the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Executive Order 12114, 'Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions'. Alternatives addressed in this EA consist of a corresponding program at a different time, along with issuance of an associated IHA; and the no action alternative, with no IHA and no seismic survey"--Abstract (page vi-vii).

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