NOAA's draft guidance for assessing the effects of anthropogenic sounds on marine mammals
In December 2013 NOAA released what it classifies as a "Highly Influential Scientific Assessment" of the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals. The comment period on the draft assessment extends until March 13, 2014.
From the Report
Status of NOAA's Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammals
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is developing acoustic guidance for assessing the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal species [pdf] under our jurisdiction.
Specifically, the Guidance provides acoustic threshold levels for onset of permanent threshold shift (PTS) and temporary threshold shifts (TTS) for all sound sources. It is intended to be used by NOAA analysts/managers and other relevant user groups/stakeholders, including other federal agencies to better predict a marine mammal’s response to sound exposure in a manner that has the potential to trigger certain requirements under one or more of NOAA’s statutes (e.g., MMPA, ESA, and National Marine Sanctuaries Act). Due to the complexity and variability of marine mammal behavioral responses, NOAA will continue to work over the next year on developing guidance regarding the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal behavior.
To develop these acoustic threshold levels, NOAA has compiled, interpreted, and synthesized best available information currently available on the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals, as well as developed a method for updating these levels through a systematic, transparent process. The document outlines NOAA's updated acoustic threshold levels and describes in detail how the thresholds were developed and how they will be updated in the future.