The Navy is committed to balancing our mission with our environmental stewardship responsibilities. Our partnerships with federal, state, and local agencies; federally recognized tribes; and nongovernmental organizations enable us to sustain the Navy mission and promote Navy environmental stewardship programs (on land and at sea) in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
Click on the titles to learn about the key Navy initiatives pertinent to the Northwest Training and Testing Supplemental EIS/OEIS.
Collaborating with Hood Canal Coordinating Council (HCCC) and Member Governments on Conservation Priorities in Hood Canal, Watershed Management Planning, and Policies for Economic and Ecosystem Sustainment
The HCCC works in partnership with its member counties and tribes, state and federal governments, organizations, and citizens to advance a shared regional vision to protect and recover Hood Canal's environmental, economic, and cultural wellbeing. The Navy is an ex-officio non-voting member of the HCCC Board and worked with HCCC to establish an In Lieu Fee program for Compensatory Mitigation to provide higher-quality, more successful mitigation options in Hood Canal.
Website: Hood Canal Coordinating Council
Hood Canal Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration
The Navy has a multi-year partnering agreement with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), The Trust for Public Land, and Jefferson Land Trust for the conservation and protection of sensitive ecosystems and working lands throughout Hood Canal. The Encroachment Protection Agreement has been in effect since 2011. The agreement is funded in part by the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program and Navy funding. Partners also contribute funds or seek grant funding from other sources. The goal of the partnership is to leverage funding and the efforts of individual partners to collectively expand conservation efforts. The Navy’s primary focus for this agreement is mission sustainment and buffering around the Dabob Bay Range Complex and Hood Canal Military Operating Areas. Due to the habitat values and conservation potential in the area, partners have many overlapping areas of interest. In addition to preserving pristine scenery and the Navy’s ability to operate in the area, the conservation efforts that result from the partnership also benefit many wildlife species native to the area and benefit local communities and economies through preservation of recreation lands and working farms and forests. Since the partnership was initiated, the partners have protected more than 12,000 acres of land around Hood Canal and additional transactions are in progress. Within these working forest areas, riparian corridors along the Duckabush and Dosewallips rivers are fully protected with a conservation easement to protect habitat for salmonid recovery. In addition to these forest areas, 25 transactions have been completed to date in the Dabob Bay Natural Area, fully protecting 763 acres through the Navy/Department of Natural Resources partnership. The partners applied for designation of Hood Canal as a Sentinel Landscape in 2017.
Cooperating with the Washington DNR to Establish Restrictive Easements Protecting 7,285 Acres (4,804 Acres Along Jefferson County Shoreline and 2,481 Acres Along Kitsap County Shoreline) of Aquatic Lands in Hood Canal from Incompatible Development
In addition to the REPI/Encroachment Protection Agreement work, the Navy and Washington DNR have worked cooperatively to establish restrictive easements to protect 7,285 acres of aquatic lands in Hood Canal, including 4,804 acres along the Jefferson County shoreline and 2,481 acres along the Kitsap County shoreline. Many of the Navy's required operations, such as research, development and evaluation testing, and training occur on ranges or military operating areas in the Hood Canal. These areas are crucial for military readiness and national defense because they provide the realistic and secure environment necessary to safely conduct operations, training, and testing. The restrictive easements over DNR-owned bedlands in the Hood Canal protects the ranges from incompatible development that would limit the Navy's ability to effectively use the range and continue operations. The entire 7,285 acres is designated critical habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed salmonid species. In addition, the protected area includes high value habitat like eel grass and shellfish beds. This easement is presently the largest aquatic lands easement in the world.
Partnering with the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council (KRCC) and Local Jurisdictions to Improve Mission Sustainment for the Navy to Promote Robust, Healthy Communities for the Local Jurisdictions
The Navy is an ex-officio member of the KRCC Board and a member of the KRCC Transportation Policy Board and KRCC Land Use Technical Advisory Committee. The Navy coordinates with the KRCC member local jurisdictions on land-use planning policy, transportation improvement planning, and economic sustainment.
Website: Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council
Maintaining Strong Relations with Federally Recognized Tribes of Western Washington by Forming the Northwest Navy Tribal Leadership Council
The Commander, Navy Region Northwest formed this annual collaborative forum to promote a spirit of cooperation among tribal leaders and Navy senior leadership to identify solutions to issues of mutual concern, build trust, share knowledge, and improve communication. The Navy and the tribes maintain open dialogue on issues such tribal fishing concerns, installation access for tribal shellfish harvesting, Navy environmental planning projects, training and operations, natural and cultural resource management, and effective consultation processes.
Teaming with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to Protect the Marbled Murrelet and Its Nesting Habitat
Since 2012, the Navy has collaborated with USFWS and WDFW and provided funding to support: 1) Annual winter density surveys of the nearshore environment, and 2) Expanding surveys to include summer density surveys in Puget Sound and winter density surveys in Washington’s offshore in 2017. As a separate effort, forest stands on Northwest Navy installations are evaluated for marbled murrelet suitable nesting habitat. As suitable habitat is identified, occupancy surveys are conducted.
Participating in the Puget Sound Federal Task Force for Puget Sound Recovery
Given the national significance of the Puget Sound ecosystem and its importance to millions of people who depend on it for economic, cultural, and environmental benefits, the Puget Sound Federal Task Force (PSFTF) provides an important management resource to help protect this valuable estuary ecosystem.
The PSFTF is made up of nine federal agencies and cabinet departments, including the Department of the Navy. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) created a voluntary structure for coordinating and aligning the actions of the federal agencies with primary federal responsibilities and authority over key aspects of the Puget Sound and its tributaries. The PSFTF is supported by regional federal leadership and implementation teams.
The PSFTF developed a five-year Action Plan to provide a shared federal vison of a healthy and sustainable Puget Sound ecosystem and a blueprint for leveraging federal agencies and resources across diverse programs on a targeted suite of priorities. The Action Plan was developed using priorities identified in Washington State’s 2016 Puget Sound Action Agenda, local salmon recovery plans and programs, the Western Washington Treaty Rights at Risk Initiative, tribal habitat priorities, and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commissions’ “2016 State of our Watersheds” Report. The Action Plan includes more than 75 key actions to protect and restore Puget Sound, organized under seven subsections and aligned with the 2016 Puget Sound Action Agenda. Each subsection has an assigned team with a lead who coordinates the group to implement and track its actions.
The Navy is an active participant in the PSFTF. Navy staff lend their expertise to several of the subgroups. They also share Navy’s extensive science studies and reports with fellow members.
Download "Cattail Lake Restoration: From Freshwater Lake to Tidal Estuary"
Consulting with WDFW, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USFWS, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Tribes to Restore Fish Passage
The Navy continues to work with state and federal agencies and tribes to replace fish-blocking culverts managed by Naval Base Kitsap (NBK). In October 2013, the Navy completed a project to restore the Airport Tributary of the Union River, which supports Endangered Species Act-listed steelhead trout, Coho salmon, Hood Canal summer run chum, and sea-run cutthroat trout. A culvert ran under a railroad at milepost 28.24 and was found to completely block the passage of fish due to its length and small diameter. It was replaced with a tunnel under the railroad that reopened nearly one mile of stream that had been closed to fish passage since the 1940s. This project was a highly successful ecological enhancement and in 2017, although cutthroat trout are frequent visitors, a pair of Coho salmon was seen above the enhanced culvert digging a nest to lay their eggs. Since 2013, the streambed has dropped about six feet from where it was and the stream has settled into a more naturalized channel. In 2016, a project at Sturgeon Street on NBK Bangor replaced two undersized culverts with a twelve foot arched culvert, regraded the streambed and revegetated the area with native species for fish habitat. Additionally, the Navy has requested funding for projects at NBK to remove, replace, or perform maintenance on culverts to restore fish passage through undersized culverts.
Download "Naval Base Kitsap Replaces Fish-Blocking Culvert"
Partnering with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund to Mitigate Ocean Acidification
In collaboration with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund and University of Washington Applied Physics Lab, the Navy provided funds to support an ocean acidification study to determine if kelp cultivation would sufficiently mitigate effects of ocean acidification on pteropods (free-swimming pelagic sea snails) in Hood Canal and the Washington coast.
Cultivated sugar kelp. Credit: Stephen Schreck, PSRF
Hood Canal experimental kelp farm. Credit: John Mickett, APL UW
Collaborating with the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council (AC) to Protect Marine Resources
The AC was established in 1999 to provide advice on the management and protection of the Sanctuary. A community-based body, the AC, through its members, serves as a liaison to the community regarding sanctuary uses and issues, and represents community interests, concerns, and management needs to the Sanctuary. The Navy’s non-voting membership on the AC allows for collaboration on protecting the important marine and cultural resources of the Sanctuary while supporting the Navy mission.
Website: The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council
Participating in the State of Washington Offshore Marine Spatial Planning Effort
A Washington State initiative for the Pacific Coast of Washington under State Law (RCW 43.3722) requires the Washington Departments of Ecology, Natural Resources, and Fish and Wildlife; Washington Sea Grant; and State Parks and Recreation Commission to develop a draft Marine Spatial Plan with input from local, federal, and tribal governments; the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council; and other stakeholders. The State is coordinating with federal agencies, including the Navy and local and tribal governments, to draw upon the best available science and information to create an inclusive decision-making process that carefully considers the economic, military, social, ecological, and cultural uses and interests.
Website: Washington Marine Spatial Planning
Supporting the Federal Ocean Policy – Participation on the West Coast Ocean Alliance
Since the summer of 2010, the Navy has been an active participant in national ocean stewardship and marine planning initiatives established by Presidential Executive Orders. Executive Order 13840, "Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States" (June 2018), establishes a more streamlined process for federal coordination on ocean policy. Under this new Executive Order and the leadership of the Ocean Policy Committee, there is renewed focus on growing the ocean economy, prioritizing scientific research, coordinating resources and data sharing, and engaging with stakeholders. The Executive Order supports appropriate federal engagement with Regional Ocean Partnerships, while clarifying the scope of federal support for these Partnerships. Within the Northwest Training and Testing Study Area, the Navy represents the Department of Defense, participates on the West Coast Ocean Alliance, and supports the Washington Sub Regional Ocean Policy Team.
Website: West Coast Ocean Alliance
Collaborating with State and Federal Agencies to Protect Human Health and the Environment in Alaska
The Commander, Navy Region Northwest is a signatory Principal member of the Alaska Statement of Cooperation (SOC). The SOC Partnership Agreement focuses on working cooperatively to identify and respond to environmental issues and concerns in Alaska; to seek innovation, efficiency, and flexibility; and to achieve uncompromised environmental protection.
Several Navy installations and commands in the Puget Sound area are proud to have been awarded Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) environmental awards for fiscal year 2016. The CNO environmental awards program annually recognizes Navy installations, ships, individuals, and teams for their significant achievements and contributions to environmental stewardship.
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