Proposed Navy Training May Include Active Sonar And Explosives

Jul 25, 2017

A 5-inch gun fires during a live-fire exercise.
Credit U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy is holding a public meeting this evening in Morehead City for proposed training and testing activities which could include the use of active sonar and explosives.  Jared Brumbaugh has more. 

The latest proposed option supports less activity within the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing area off the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.  The draft Environmental Impact Statement considers two action alternatives and one no action alternative.

“In our previous permit, and our previous analysis, we assumed that the maximum amount of training would occur every single year over the five years of the permit.”

But Gene Nissen, the Acoustics Policy Manager at U.S. Fleet Forces Command says their preferred alternative provides a more accurate reflection of the amount of routine training that’s needed.

“We accounted better for the ebbs and flows of Navy training.  That we wouldn’t be deploying the maximum number of strike groups every year.  And that we went on a more average basis on how we have to send forces overseas. 

Nissen says the draft Environmental Impact Statement outlines mitigation measures for marine mammals who may be impacted by active sonar and explosions. 

"We have an entire section devoted to marine mammals and marine species in general mitigation, chapter five of the environmental impact statement. In that chapter, we look at the types of mitigation that we've used in the past and then also any suggested mitigation that we've received through various formats and forums, and then we analyze that mitigation based on would it be effective at reducing or eliminating potential affects to marine species, marine mammals, birds, turtles.  And then also part of the law requires us to look at what would be the impact on the training itself to make sure that we don't implement mitigation that basically nullifies the effectiveness of the training."

The Navy is holding a series of five public meetings on the East Coast.  The open house style meeting in Morehead City takes place June 25th from 4-8pm at the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences.  Written comments may be submitted online or by mail by August 29th.