Environmental Stewardship Programs

Protecting the coastal and ocean areas of the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California is very important to the Navy. Some examples of the Navy’s successful environmental programs are described below.

Environmental Protection at Sea

The Navy is deeply committed to protecting the environment and actively strives to minimize potential effects of training and testing at sea. The Navy continues to implement and improve programs to reduce a vessel’s environmental footprint by:

  • Ensuring no plastic waste is discharged at sea
  • Managing solid waste in an environmentally responsible manner
  • Conserving energy by installing energy-efficient technologies
  • Using ballast water management practices to aid in preventing the introduction of non-native species
  • Adhering to a CWA program to institute uniform national discharge standards to control discharges incidental to operations of Armed Forces ships.

Environmental Protection in Southern California

For more than 70 years, the Navy has been training and testing in Southern California, and San Clemente Island is one of the Navy's primary training areas. It is also one of the most environmentally distinct coastal islands within the United States. Through mitigation measures and partnerships with conservation groups, the Navy has co-existed successfully with the sensitive island landscape.

Navy environmental protection efforts in Southern California include:

  • Implementing programs on San Clemente Island to enhance the recovery of threatened and endangered animal and plant species, which resulted in the delisting of 5 plant and bird species
  • Monitoring endangered black abalone and assessing habitat
  • Performing fish inventories to assess abundance, diversity, and biomass of fish in San Diego Bay
  • Enhancing and restoring habitats such as mudflats, river mouths, and shorelines
  • Controlling and removing invasive and predator species
  • Developing programs and materials for public education
  • Conducting San Diego Bay-wide eelgrass mapping and managing the Eelgrass Mitigation Bank
  • Investigating plankton population dynamics, productivity, and human impacts and determining food sources for endangered species that feed on plankton
  • Breeding and releasing captive birds, including the endangered loggerhead shrike, into the wild

Environmental Protection in Hawaii

The Navy demonstrates its dedication to maintaining the islands’ natural environment and in many cases improves conditions. The Navy has been recognized by the Kauai County Council and the Hawaii State Legislature for its excellence in environmental stewardship in the Hawaiian Islands. Navy environmental protection efforts in Hawaii include:

  • Supporting the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
  • Participating in the: 
    • Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Team
    • Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whale Recovery Team
    • Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Scientific Advisory Council
    • Pacific Islands Region Marine Mammal Stranding Response Network
    • Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council
  • Designating the Nohili ditch area and nearby beach as a keep-out zone to minimize disturbance to green turtles
  • Managing and eradicating invasive species, such as the coconut rhinoceros beetle
  • Instituting the Dark Skies Initiative to reduce the use of non-essential lighting and modifying nighttime operations, minimizing effects on night-flying protected seabirds
  • Testing and tapping alternative energy sources ranging from wave energy buoys in Kaneohe Bay to photovoltaic arrays at Pearl Harbor

The Navy's environmental stewardship programs contribute both to the success of the military mission and the preservation of the environment for future generations.

Monitoring, managing, and conserving the Island fox, including conducting population analysis, veterinary care, and pathology services

Rocky intertidal monitoring, including evaluating the health of the communities and monitoring ocean acidification

Implementing protective-measures protocol to prevent further erosion of approximately 33,000 square feet of protected archaeological cultural deposits