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Fact Sheet | Environmental Stewardship

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Navy is using best available science and methods of analysis to assess the potential environmental impacts associated with conducting naval training and testing activities within the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area, including activities that involve the use of active sonar and explosives.

Most of these training and testing activities have been previously analyzed and authorized under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and are similar to the types of activities that have been occurring in the Study Area for decades. Throughout the NEPA process, the Navy invited the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to participate as a cooperating agency in preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS).


The Atlantic and Gulf coasts are invaluable marine habitats and the Navy takes an active role in their protection. 


The Stewards of the Sea program is comprised of environmental stewardship initiatives to ensure the Navy protects the environment while successfully accomplishing its mission. These initiatives include developing clean shipboard technologies, implementing protective measures at sea, and partnering with regulators and scientists. This program is instrumental in preserving the ocean environment for future generations.


The Department of the Navy (DoN) is implementing energy savings practices and energy savings technologies on installations and in operational forces. This strategy emphasizes improving operational effectiveness while increasing energy security and advancing energy independence. Among these goals is a commitment to reform requirements-setting, acquisition, and contracting processes to incorporate energy performance criteria into decisions for new systems.

The Navy is testing technologies on ships to demonstrate energy-saving initiatives that will improve mission effectiveness. In 2009, the Navy began installing advanced meters to help the fleet commanders measure and dramatically improve control of shore energy use, making near-real-time data analysis possible. The Incentivized Energy Conservation (i-ENCON) initiative, a hands-on “Meet the Fleet” program, allows the conduct of routine meetings with ship operators to review specific fuel-saving procedures and awards ships with the most fuel-efficient operations.


The Navy has taken a proactive role throughout the AFTT Study Area in the protection of the North Atlantic right whale. The Navy has established communication networks and implemented procedures to monitor, track, and avoid right whales. The Navy participates in a number of cooperative efforts aimed at protecting right whales, including:

  • Conducting comprehensive crew training to spot whales and providing annual reminders to personnel about the right whales’ seasonal migration (generally November 15 through April 15)
  • Publicizing whale sightings through an early warning system to increase awareness among ocean users
  • Contributing funds for National Marine Fisheries Service overflights of the waters off Georgia and northern Florida to locate and relay information about migrating whales
  • Creating and managing the Right Whale Data Fusion Center, which provides a central location for multiple parties to report whale sightings or other right whale issues
  • Participating in the Southeastern U.S. Implementation Team for the Recovery of the North Atlantic Right Whale and the Northeast Implementation Team, which advise the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of efforts to recover endangered species and the implementation of the North Atlantic Right Whale Recovery Plan



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

  • Preventing the introduction of non-native species through ballast water management 
  • Ensuring no plastic waste is discharged while at sea
  • Discharging solid waste in an environmentally responsible manner
  • Conserving energy, installing new technologies, and using energy from renewable sources


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




The Navy has developed partnerships and built coalitions with other government agencies and organizations to better manage and protect natural and cultural resources and leverage limited resources.

The Navy shares common goals, objectives, and interests with environmental groups and government agencies for protecting threatened and endangered species, preserving critical habitat and open space, and promoting energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources.





Right Whale




Plastic Waste Compression


To download the graphic printable file from AFTT Phase III, please click the thumbnail below. 

Environmental Stewardship Fact Sheet

View Printable Fact Sheet