ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PROGRAMS
The Atlantic and Gulf coasts are invaluable marine habitats and the Action Proponents take an active role in their protection.
STEWARDS OF THE SEA
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, partnering with regulators and scientists, and engaging in public outreach and education. This program is instrumental in preserving the ocean environment for future generations.
NAVY MARINE SPECIES RESEARCH AND MONITORING PROGRAM
The Action Proponents must maintain operational readiness by conducting training and testing at sea. To ensure the best available science is used in compliance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Navy invests in three main programs that range from basic research to monitoring marine species. Coordination across all three programs ensures projects with the highest potential to be beneficial to the Navy receive prioritization for support and funding.
Office of Naval Research Marine Mammals and Biology (ONR MMB) Program
Supports basic and early applied research and technology development
Living Marine Resources (LMR) Program
Demonstrates and validates applied research methods and technologies
Mission: Improve the Navy’s understanding of how Navy activities may affect marine life, particularly the potential effects from activities that use sonar or explosives.
Focus areas: Hearing studies, technology development, response studies, data analysis tools and standards.
Navy Marine Species Monitoring Program
Implements validated tools and techniques to support Navy environmental compliance
PROTECTING THE NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE
The Action Proponents have taken a proactive role throughout the AFTT Study Area in the protection of the North Atlantic right whale. This includes establishing communication networks and implemented procedures to monitor, track, and avoid right whales, and participating in a number of cooperative efforts aimed at protecting them, including:
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 right whales.
Creating and managing the Right Whale Data Fusion Center, which provides a central location for multiple parties to report right whale sightings or other right whale issues.
Participating in the Southeast and Northeast Implementation Teams, which assist the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with implementation of the North Atlantic right whale recovery plan.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AT SEA
The Action Proponents are deeply committed to protecting the environment and actively strive to minimize potential effects of training and testing activities. The Action Proponents continue 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 shipboard plastic waste is discharged while at sea
Discharging solid waste in an environmentally responsible manner
These environmental stewardship programs contribute both to the success of the military mission and the preservation of the ocean environment for future generations.