Protecting Our Seas
Environmental Outreach Program and Interactive Exhibit
Stewards of the Sea Menu

Protecting Our Seas

The Navy implements protective measures before, during, and after military readiness activities to reduce potential impacts to marine species. Protective measures are required during training exercises and testing events, such as precision anchoring drills, use of sonar, non-explosive and explosive bombing, gunnery and missile firing, and mine countermeasures and mine neutralization activities.


City at Sea

Thousands of hard-working Sailors live at sea for months at a time. So how does the Navy manage this "City at Sea" in an environmentally responsible manner?

Let’s see what it takes to operate this massive, floating neighborhood without putting plastics used by Sailors during the course of daily living into the sea.

  • Sailors sort all of their trash in order to separate plastic from other waste streams such as paper, metal, and biodegradable items.

  • All plastics are brought to the ship’s waste processing room where they are run through a shredder, which breaks them into smaller pieces and reduces volume.

  • Plastics are then put into a powerful machine that simultaneously compresses and melts them into a solid disk, further increasing the volume reduction.

  • Disks are placed in odor barrier bags and transferred to a supply ship or held in storage until the ship returns to port.​

The Navy uses the best available science to develop protective measures in collaboration with federal environmental regulators. The measures vary between activities, and are tailored to the activity type, location, and time of year. 

  • Trained lookouts are posted to look for marine mammals before, during and after activities. All sightings of marine mammals are reported to the appropriate watch station, and adjustments made to avoid any animals sighted.

  • Aerial surveys are also conducted for activities that involve aircraft before the activity begins. 

  • Sonar power settings are either reduced or shut down when marine mammals are sighted within designated distances to avoid impacts to the animals.

  • Additional measures are put in place in select sensitive areas and areas designated as critical habitat for protected marine species. 


 
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