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.
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 training type, location, and time of year.
- Trained lookouts are posted to look for marine mammals before, during and after training events. All sightings of marine mammals are reported to the appropriate watch station, and adjustments are made to avoid any animals sighted.
- Aerial surveys are also conducted for training exercises that involve aircraft before the training exercise 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 in areas designated as critical habitat for protected marine species.