[Federal Register: October 22, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 204)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 60316-60324]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018 -AJ23

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Federal 
Protection Status from Two Manatee Protection Areas in Florida

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
withdraw two areas in Florida from those designated as federally 
established manatee protection areas. We are proposing this action 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), and the 
Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA). The areas we 
propose to withdraw from designation are manatee refuges, in which 
watercraft operators are required to operate at slow speeds throughout 
the year. Specifically, the sites are the Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge in 
Sarasota County and the Cocoa Beach Manatee Refuge in Brevard County. 
Manatee protection would not be diminished under this proposal because 
the sites will remain protected under State law.

DATES: We will consider comments on the proposed rule if received by 
November 21, 2003. See additional information on the public comment 
process in the ``Public Comments Solicited'' section.

[[Page 60317]]

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any 
one of several methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information by mail to the 
Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Attn: Proposed Removal of Federal Protection Status of Two 
Manatee Refuges, 6620 Southpoint Drive, South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, 
Florida 32216.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments to our Jacksonville Field 
Office, at the above address, or fax your comments to 904/232-2404.
    3. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to manatee@fws.gov. For directions on how to submit electronic comment 
files, see the ``Public Comments Solicited'' section.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Hankla, Peter Benjamin, or Jim 
Valade (see ADDRESSES section), telephone 904/232-2580; or visit our 
Web site at http://northflorida.fws.gov.



    The West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) is federally listed as 
an endangered species under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) (32 FR 
4001), and the species is further protected as a depleted stock under 
the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361-1407). The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus 
latirostris), a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Domning and 
Hayek 1986), lives in freshwater, brackish, and marine habitats in 
coastal and inland waterways of the southeastern United States. The 
majority of the population can be found in Florida waters throughout 
the year, and nearly all manatees use the waters of peninsular Florida 
during the winter months. During the winter months, most manatees rely 
on warm water from industrial discharges and natural springs for 
warmth. In warmer months, they expand their range and are occasionally 
seen as far north as Rhode Island on the Atlantic Coast and as far west 
as Texas on the Gulf Coast.

Watercraft Collisions

    Collisions with watercraft are the largest cause of human-related 
manatee deaths. Data collected during manatee carcass salvage 
operations conducted in Florida from 1978 to 2002 indicate that a total 
of 1,145 manatees (from a total carcass count of 4,545) are confirmed 
victims of collisions with watercraft. This number may underestimate 
the actual number of watercraft-related mortalities, since many of the 
mortalities listed as ``undetermined causes'' show evidence of 
collisions with vessels. Collisions with watercraft comprise 
approximately 25 percent of all manatee mortalities since 1978. 
Approximately 75 percent of all watercraft-related manatee mortality 
has taken place in 11 Florida counties: Brevard, Lee, Collier, Duval, 
Volusia, Broward, Palm Beach, Charlotte, Hillsborough, Citrus, and 
Sarasota (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) 
2003). The last 5 years have been record years for the number of 
watercraft-related mortalities. From 1998 to 2002, 409 watercraft-
related manatee deaths were recorded (36 percent of all watercraft-
related deaths documented during the 1978 to 2002 period) (FWCC 2003).

Manatee Protection Areas

    To minimize the number of injuries and deaths associated with 
watercraft, we and the State of Florida have designated manatee 
protection areas at sites throughout coastal Florida where conflicts 
between boats and manatees have been well documented and where manatees 
are known to frequently occur. Signs are posted in these areas to 
inform the boating public about restrictions and prohibitions.
    Federal authority to establish protection areas for the Florida 
manatee is provided by the ESA and the MMPA, and is codified in 50 CFR, 
part 17, subpart J. We have discretion, by regulation, to establish 
manatee protection areas whenever substantial evidence shows that the 
establishment of such an area is necessary to prevent the taking of one 
or more manatees. Take, as defined by the ESA, means to harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or to attempt 
to engage in any such conduct. Harm means an act which kills or injures 
wildlife (50 CFR 17.3). Such an act may include significant habitat 
modification or degradation that kills or injures wildlife by 
significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, feeding, or sheltering. Harass includes intentional or 
negligent acts or omissions that create the likelihood of injury to 
wildlife by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt 
normal behavioral patterns, which include, but are not limited to, 
breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3).
    Take, as defined by the MMPA, means to harass, hunt, capture, or 
kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. 
Harassment, as defined by the MMPA, means any active pursuit, torment, 
or annoyance which, (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or 
marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A]; or (ii) has the potential to 
disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing 
disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, 
migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level 
    We may establish two types of manatee protection areas--manatee 
refuges and manatee sanctuaries. A manatee refuge is defined as an area 
in which we have determined that certain waterborne activities would 
result in the taking of one or more manatees, or that certain 
waterborne activity must be restricted to prevent the taking of one or 
more manatees, including but not limited to a taking by harassment (50 
CFR 17.102). A manatee sanctuary is an area in which we have determined 
that any waterborne activity would result in the taking of one or more 
manatees, including but not limited to a taking by harassment (50 CFR 
17.102). A waterborne activity is defined as including, but not limited 
to, swimming, diving (including skin and scuba diving), snorkeling, 
water skiing, surfing, fishing, the use of water vehicles, and dredging 
and filling operations (50 CFR 17.102).
    An extensive network of manatee speed zones and sanctuaries has 
been established throughout peninsular Florida by Federal, State, and 
local governments (Service 2001). This existing structure works toward 
our goal of providing adequate protected areas throughout peninsular 
Florida to satisfy the biological requirements of the species.
    The timing and implementation of State and Federal manatee 
protection area designations have been influenced by State and Federal 
courts and by the respective agencies and their ability to effectively 
post regulatory signage and enforce measures in a timely fashion. The 
Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge was identified by both the State and Federal 
governments as an area in need of protection. Neither agency was able 
to coordinate or communicate its intent to designate because such plans 
were part of confidential legal negotiations then in progress. As a 
result, we designated this site in November 2002, and the State 
subsequently designated this site in December 2002. The Cocoa Beach 
Manatee Refuge was designated by the State in June 2002 and was

[[Page 60318]]

subsequently designated by the Service in November 2002. The Service 
pursued its designation because the State had not yet posted regulatory 
signage at the site and we wanted to expeditiously protect manatees 
using this site. Because the State has now designated and posted both 
sites as manatee protection areas, and is enforcing the protective 
regulations, and because the Service believes that State protection for 
both sites is now comparable to Federal protection, the Service plans 
to withdraw its designations at these two sites. We are not proposing 
to withdraw protections from the remaining Federal manatee refuges and 
sanctuaries at this time. In general, the State does not provide 
protection or does not provide comparable protection within the 
remaining areas.

Relationship to Manatee Lawsuit

    In Save the Manatee Club, et al. v. Ballard, et al., Civil No. 00-
00076 EGS (D.D.C., filed January 13, 2000), several organizations and 
individuals filed suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service and the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) alleging violations of the ESA, 
MMPA, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Administrative 
Procedure Act. Four groups representing development and boating 
interests intervened. Following extensive negotiations, a settlement 
agreement was approved by the court on January 5, 2001. In this 
settlement agreement, we agreed to submit a proposed rule for new 
refuges and sanctuaries to the Federal Register by April 2, 2001, and 
to submit a final rule by September 28, 2001.
    Subsequent to the Federal settlement, the FWCC voted to settle Save 
the Manatee v. Egbert, Case No. 90-00-400CIV17-WS (N.D. Fla., filed 
January 13, 2000) (the State case). That settlement, which was entered 
into by the court on November 7, 2001, calls for very similar 
protective measures in many of the locations included in our proposed 
rule. As a result of these simultaneous processes, the parties in the 
Federal lawsuit agreed to extend the April 2 deadline in an attempt to 
negotiate a means to avoid duplication of effort and better serve the 
public. Subsequent negotiations resulted in additional extensions, 
which resulted in the proposed rule being submitted to the Federal 
Register on August 3, 2001. (An advance notice of proposed rulemaking 
had been published in the Federal Register on September 1, 2000 [65 FR 
53222], and six public workshops were held in December 2000, prior to 
approval of the Settlement Agreement.) The proposed rule was published 
in the Federal Register on August 10, 2001 (66 FR 42318). On January 7, 
2002, we published a final rule designating two sites in Brevard 
County, the Barge Canal and Sykes Creek, as Federal manatee refuges (67 
FR 680).
    On July 9, 2002, the United States District Court for the District 
of Columbia ruled that the Federal Government violated the Settlement 
Agreement by failing to designate a sufficient number of refuges and 
sanctuaries throughout peninsular Florida. On August 1, 2002, the Court 
issued a remedial order requiring the Service to publish, by November 
1, 2002, a final rule for new manatee refuges and sanctuaries 
throughout peninsular Florida. On September 20, 2002, we published an 
emergency rule designating seven sites as manatee refuges and 
sanctuaries on Florida's west coast for a period of 120 days (67 FR 
59408). We submitted a final rule to the Federal Register on November 
1, 2002, designating 13 manatee protection areas in Florida, including 
the sites previously designated under the emergency rule. The final 
rule was published on November 8, 2002 (67 FR 68540).

Coordination With State Actions

    The sites that were designated in our final rule on November 8, 
2002 (67 FR 68450), were selected prior to the disclosure of the terms 
of the proposed settlement in the State case, Save the Manatee v. 
Egbert, Case No. 90-00-400CIV17-WS (N.D. Fla). After the terms of the 
State settlement were disclosed, it became apparent that there would be 
overlap between potential State and Federal actions. However, prior to 
a final determination on potential State designations, the Service was 
required by Court Order to move forward with its final rule for the 
designation of additional manatee protection areas throughout 
peninsular Florida. We designated protection areas at these sites in 
accordance with the site selection process and criteria identified in 
our final rule (67 FR 68456) because State protections had not been 
implemented at these sites. Because the State has subsequently 
designated and/or implemented comparable measures in these areas, the 
Service believes it prudent to withdraw its Federal designations for 
the Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge and the Cocoa Beach Manatee Refuge.

Manatee Refuges Proposed for Removal

    On November 8, 2002, we designated 13 manatee protection areas in 
Florida, including the Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge in Sarasota County 
and the Cocoa Beach Manatee Refuge in Brevard County (67 FR 68450). The 
State has now designated both sites as manatee protection areas, has 
posted them, and enforces the protective regulations (F.A.C. 68C-22.026 
and 22.006, respectively). As such, both sites are currently protected 
under both Federal and State authorities. Federal and State 
restrictions are comparable in terms of areal extent, duration, and 
type (year-round, slow speed), and each should prevent the taking of 
one or more manatees. In our November 2, 2002, rule (67 FR 68450), we 
stated that ``if the State or counties implement measures at these 
sites that, in our view, provide comparable protection for manatees, we 
will consider withdrawing or modifying established designations through 
the rulemaking process.'' Because the State has now implemented 
measures that provide comparable protection, we propose to withdraw our 
designations for the Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge and the Cocoa Beach 
Manatee Refuge, and to defer to the State's regulations governing 
waterborne activities currently in effect in these areas (F.A.C. 68C-
22.026 and 22.006, respectively). We reserve the right to reinstate 
Federal measures should they become necessary. We recognize that the 
existing system of speed zones and sanctuaries has been established 
primarily by State and local governments. We also recognize the 
important role of our State and local partners, and we continue to 
support and encourage State and local measures to improve manatee 

Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge

    The federally designated Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge includes 
approximately 47 hectares (ha) (116.1 acres) in the northern Pansy 
Bayou area between City Island and the John Ringling Parkway Bridge on 
Sarasota Bay in Sarasota County, and regulates vessel traffic to slow 
speed year-round (67 FR 68450) (see Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge map). 
This refuge is located within a State manatee protection area in which 
all vessels are required by State law to operate at slow speed year-
round (F.A.C. 68C-22.026(2)(a)(4)).


[[Page 60319]]


[[Page 60320]]

Cocoa Beach Manatee Refuge

    The federally designated Cocoa Beach Manatee Refuge includes 
approximately 23.9 ha (59.1 acres) in an area adjacent to Municipal 
Park, just west of Cocoa Beach in the Banana River, in Brevard County 
and regulates vessel traffic to slow speed year-round (67 FR 68450) 
(see Cocoa Beach Manatee Refuge map). This refuge is located within a 
State manatee protection area in which all vessels are required by 
State law to operate at slow speed year-round (F.A.C. 68C-


[[Page 60321]]


[[Page 60322]]

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we solicit 
comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments 
    1. Reasons why any of these areas should be maintained as Federal 
manatee refuges, including any data supportive of these reasons;
    2. Current or planned activities in the subject areas and their 
possible effects on manatees;
    3. Any foreseeable economic or other impacts, positive or negative, 
resulting from the proposed removal of the Federal designations;
    4. Potential adverse effects to the manatee associated with the 
proposed removal of the Federal designations; and
    5. Any actions that could be considered instead of, or in 
conjunction with, the actions in this proposed rule.
    Comments submitted electronically should be embedded in the body of 
the e-mail message itself or attached as a text-file (ASCII), and 
should not use special characters and encryption. Please also include 
``Attn: RIN 1018-AJ23,'' your full name, and return address in your e-mail message. Comments submitted to manatee@fws.gov will receive an 
automated response confirming receipt of your message. If you do not 
receive a confirmation from the system that we have received your e-
mail message, contact us directly by calling our Jacksonville Field 
Office (see ADDRESSES section).
    Our practice is to make all comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold 
also from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable 
by law. If you wish for us to withhold your name and/or address, you 
must state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, 
we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions 
from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34270), we will seek the expert opinions of at least three appropriate 
and independent specialists regarding this proposed rule. The purpose 
of such a review is to ensure that our decisions are based on 
scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We will send 
these peer reviewers copies of this proposed rule immediately following 
publication in the Federal Register. We will invite these peer 
reviewers to comment, during the comment period, on the specific 
assumptions and conclusions regarding the proposed removal of the 
Federal designations of these manatee refuges.
    We will consider all comments and information received during the 
30-day comment period on this proposed rule during preparation of a 
final rulemaking and will refine this proposal if and when appropriate. 
Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this proposal.

Clarity of the Rule

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations/
notices that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to 
make this proposed rule easier to understand, including answers to 
questions such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the 
proposed rule clearly stated? (2) Does the proposed rule contain 
unnecessary technical language or jargon that interferes with the 
clarity? (3) Does the format of the proposed rule (grouping and order 
of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its 
clarity? (4) Is the description of the proposed rule in the 
``Supplementary Information'' section of the preamble helpful in 
understanding the proposed rule? (5) What else could we do to make the 
proposed rule easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any comments that concern how we could make this 
proposed rule easier to understand to: Office of Regulatory Affairs, 
Department of the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, 
DC 20240. You may e-mail your comments to the following address: Execsec@ios.doi.gov.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with the criteria in Executive Order 12866, this 
proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action. The Office of 
Management and Budget makes the final determination under Executive 
Order 12866.
    a. This proposed rule will not have an annual economic impact of 
$100 million or adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, 
jobs, the environment, or other units of government. A cost-benefit 
analysis is not required. We do not expect that any significant 
economic impacts would result from the removal of Federal designation 
of these two manatee refuges in Sarasota and Brevard Counties in the 
State of Florida. We do not expect any significant effects because 
comparable State protection would remain in place following the removal 
of Federal protection.
    Activities affected by the designation of manatee protection areas 
include waterborne activities conducted by recreational boaters, 
commercial charter boats, and commercial fishermen (including 
transiting, cruising, water skiing, and fishing activities). Federal 
measures in place at the Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge and the Cocoa Beach 
Manatee Refuge require boat operators to operate at slow speeds 
throughout the year. State measures require boat operators to operate 
in a comparable fashion. In removing Federal protection, boat operator 
behavior in these areas will remain unchanged. Therefore, these 
activities will not be affected by this rule, and no substantive 
economic impacts should ensue.
    b. This proposed rule will not create a serious inconsistency or 
otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency. 
This proposal is consistent with the approach used by State and local 
governments to protect manatees in Florida. We recognize the important 
role of State and local partners, and we continue to support and 
encourage State and local measures to improve manatee protection. In 
previous rule-makings, we stated that ``[i]f comparable or similar 
protections are put in place in the future, we will consider removing 
those areas from Federal protection.'' This proposed removal of Federal 
protection follows the implementation of comparable State protection.
    c. This proposed rule will not materially affect entitlements, 
grants, user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of 
their recipients.
    d. This proposed rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this rule will not have a significant economic 
effect on a substantial number of small entities as defined under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) for the reasons cited 
below. An initial/final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not 

[[Page 60323]]

Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required.
    The characteristics of the two areas (Cocoa Beach and Pansy Bayou) 
affected by this rule are described below. The economic effects 
considered include the direct effects, primarily on homeowners, and the 
indirect effects on businesses in the removal of speed zones.
    Direct Economic Effects:
    --Cocoa Beach Manatee Refuge. The Cocoa Beach Manatee Refuge is 
located along the eastern shore of the Banana River in Brevard County, 
Florida. The refuge is surrounded by water on all sides, and the 
nearest adjoining land is occupied by a municipal golf course with no 
marine facilities. Immediately to the north and south of the Cocoa 
Beach site lie residential areas composed of approximately 500 single-
family houses. Approximately one-half of the houses have boat docks. 
Residents must pass through Refuge waters in order to reach more open 
waters. Refuge waters are also used by commercial fishing guides to 
reach more open waters and by a small number of commercial fishermen 
for crabbing, which for the purposes of this analysis are considered to 
be small businesses.
    The removal of the Federal ``slow speed'' designation will not 
affect direct use activities because the State of Florida is 
implementing an identical speed limit in its place. Resident boaters 
will be able to continue passing through Refuge waters at the currently 
posted speed. Furthermore, the State allows for speed exemptions for 
commercial fishermen. Those small businesses (commercial fishers and 
crabbers, and fishing guides) with State exemptions may be able to 
reduce their time to and from fishing sites and enjoy a small benefit 
from this rule.
    --Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge. The Pansy Bayou Manatee Refuge is 
located on the northwestern shore of Roberts Bay in Sarasota County, 
Florida. Adjoining land uses are primarily residential. Approximately 
50 to 75 homes are in the vicinity of the Refuge and most of these 
residences have private docks. The city/county owns a parcel in the 
vicinity of the Refuge that is leased to a marine lab, sailing club, 
and ski club. Principal use of Refuge waters is for transit to open 
waters (i.e., traveling to and from docks out to the adjoining 
Intracoastal Waterway) and for waterskiing. A small number of 
commercial fishermen may also use the site for crabbing, and some 
fishing guides may transit the site when traveling to and from off-
shore fishing destinations.
    As with the Cocoa Beach site, the removal of the Federal ``slow 
speed'' designation will not affect residential activities. Users will 
continue to be restricted in their operations by the State ``slow 
speed'' restrictions currently in place, and State exemptions for 
fishers will remain in place. As such, residents in private homes are 
able to maintain their current activities and should experience no 
change in use of this site. Those small businesses (commercial fishers 
and crabbers, and fishing guides) with State exemptions may be able to 
reduce their time to and from fishing sites and enjoy a small benefit 
from this rule.
    Indirect Economic Effects:
    With the exception of commercial fishers and crabbers and fishing 
guides who qualify for State exemptions and may receive a small benefit 
in reduced travel time to and from fishing sites, any indirect small 
business economic effects would be limited to those activities 
supported by residents of the two sites proposed for removal and 
visitors to these sites. Since this rule deals solely with speed 
restrictions on water, it is reasonable to look at the effect of speed 
restrictions on the demand for boats in the affected areas. In a study 
by Bendle and Bell (1995), four economic models were estimated to 
determine the effect of speed zones in a county on the demand for 
boats. In each of the models the coefficient on the speed zones was not 
statistically different from zero. This indicates that the presence or 
absence of speed zones does not affect the demand for boats in Florida 
counties. In a study by Parker (1989), ``The bulk of boaters (91%) 
supported protecting the manatee even if it meant reducing the speed 
allowed on some waterways.'' These studies indicate that it is valid to 
say that a large majority of Florida residents support manatee 
protection and the presence or absence of speed zones does not 
influence the demand for boats. As a result, it then seems to follow 
that most Florida residents will not change their spending patterns 
because of the presence or absence of speed zones, and any indirect 
economic effects on small businesses will not be significant.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
    a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or 
more. As discussed above, this rule to remove Federal designation from 
two manatee protection areas may have a positive but insignificant 
economic benefit for some small businesses in the two affected 
counties. However, the substitution of State speed zones for Federal 
speed zones may very well negate any economic changes resulting from 
this rule. Without changes in recreational use patterns, the economic 
effects will be insignificant.
    b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions. It is unlikely that there are 
unforeseen changes in costs or prices for consumers stemming from this 
rule. Commercial fishers, crabbers, and guides who qualify for State 
exemptions will benefit from this rule when traveling to and from 
fishing grounds. However, the substitution of State speed zones for 
Federal ones will not affect the vast majority of boaters who use the 
two former Federal manatee protection areas.
    c. Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. As 
stated above, this rule may generate a small amount of additional 
economic activity, but these economic effects are believed to be minor 
and will not appreciably change normal operation of businesses in the 
affected counties. The commercial enterprises who qualify for a State 
exemption may receive some benefit from the reduced amount of travel 
time to business sites; however, the Service does not believe this will 
be economically significant.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.):
    a. This proposed rule will not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect 
small governments. A Small Government Agency Plan is not required. 
Removal of Federal Protection Status from manatee refuges imposes no 
new obligations on State or local governments.
    b. This proposed rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 
million or greater in any year. As such, it is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.


    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this proposed rule does 
not have significant takings implications. A takings implication 
assessment is not required.


    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule does 
not have significant Federalism effects. A

[[Page 60324]]

Federalism assessment is not required. This proposed rule will not have 
substantial direct effects on the State, in the relationship between 
the Federal Government and the State, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We 
coordinated with the State of Florida to the extent possible on the 
development of this proposed rule.

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that this proposed rule does not unduly burden 
the judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 
3(b)(2) of the Order.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed regulation does not contain collections of 
information that require approval by the Office of Management and 
Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The proposed regulation will not 
impose new recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local 
governments, individuals, and businesses, or organizations.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with the criteria 
of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and have determined 
that this action is categorically excluded from review under NEPA (516 
DM 2, Appendix 1.10). An environmental assessment was prepared for the 
establishment of all 13 manatee refuges designated in November, 2002, 
including these refuges. Since the first action was not implemented, 
Federal signage has not yet been installed for these two refuges, and 
removal of Federal refuge designation will leave comparable state 
requirements in place, little or no change in the environment has 
occurred that will be reversed as a result of the removal of Federal 
refuge designation. Thus, no environmental assessment or environmental 
impact statement for the removal of Federal refuge designation is 

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and the Department 
of the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with federally recognized 
Tribes on a Government-to-Government basis. We have evaluated possible 
effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that 
there are no effects.

Energy Supply, Distribution or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and 
use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. Because comparable 
State requirements will remain in effect, this rule is not anticipated 
to result in any change in activities and, therefore, it is not 
expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, and 
use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this proposed rule is 
available upon request from the Jacksonville Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES section).


    The primary author of this document is Jim Valade (see ADDRESSES 


    The authority to establish manatee protection areas is provided by 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1361-
1407), as amended.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend Sec.  17.108 as follows:
    a. Remove paragraphs (c)(5), including the map ``Pansy Bayou 
Manatee Refuge,'' and (c)(11), including the map ``Cocoa Beach Manatee 
    b. Redesignate paragraphs (c)(6) through (c)(10) as paragraphs 
(c)(5) through (c)(9), respectively.
    c. Redesignate paragraphs (c)(12) through (c)(14) as paragraphs 
(c)(10) through (c)(12), respectively.
    d. Revise newly redesignated paragraphs (c)(10)(i)-(ix) by removing 
the words ``paragraph (12)(x)'' each time they appear and adding the 
words ``paragraph (c)(10)(x)'' in their place.
    e. Revise newly redesignated paragraphs (c)(11)(i)-(iv) by removing 
the words ``paragraph (13)(v)'' each time they appear and adding the 
words ``paragraph (c)(11)(v)'' in their place.
    f. Revise newly redesignated paragraphs (c)(12)(i)-(xi) by removing 
the words ``paragraph (14)(xii)'' each time they appear and adding the 
words ``paragraph (c)(12)(xii)'' in their place.

    Dated: October 10, 2003.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 03-26668 Filed 10-21-03; 8:45 am]