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NOAA invites public comment on the draft 2015 U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan
NOAA Ship Fairweather is one of two NOAA ships conducting hydrographic surveys in the U.S. Arctic.
NOAA Ship Fairweather is one of two NOAA ships conducting hydrographic surveys in the U.S. Arctic.

NOAA invites public comment on the recently released draft 2015 edition of the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting plan. The plan, a major effort to improve Arctic chart coverage that is inadequate for modern needs, was originally released in 2011. Comments are due by midnight, October 1, 2015.

“Maritime challenges are increasing in the Arctic. As multi-year sea ice continues to disappear at a rapid rate, vessel traffic in the Arctic is on the rise,” said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA's Office of Coast Survey. “Given the lack of emergency response infrastructure in remote Arctic waters, nautical charts are even more important to protect lives and fragile coastal areas.”

For the first time, the U.S. Arctic Nautical Charting Plan provides information about existing, recently added, and proposed new electronic navigational chart coverage in U.S. Arctic waters. Additionally, it provides information about progress on publishing new Arctic charts and specifications for eleven proposed new charts.

The proposed new charts outlined in the plan will complement existing chart coverage. Seven of the charts will fill gaps in medium-scale chart coverage from the Alaska Peninsula to Cape Lisburne at the edge of the North Slope. Other larger scale charts will provide for safer passage though the Etolin and Bering Straits and for entry into harbors such as Barrow, the northernmost town in the United States.

For information on how to provide written comments about this latest edition, see the Federal Register Notice.

July 14, 2015

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