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    Environmental preservation fundamental to fleet readiness

    California Sea Lions

    Photo By Nichole Susanka | California Sea Lions gather on the beach at San Nicolas Island. (U.S. Navy photo by...... read more read more



    Story by Nichole Susanka 

    Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division

    With more than 276 battle force ships and submarines, 140 auxiliary ships, and approximately 200 installations to support these assets, the Navy is responsible for being a good steward of the environment. That commitment is demonstrated by a variety of programs which minimize, and in some cases, eliminate the ecological footprint of naval operations worldwide.

    At Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD), Environmental Program Manager, Maggie McDonald, continues this commitment by leading a rigorous program focused on maintaining environmental compliance while ensuring the command’s ability to support the fleet.

    The upside of her job is getting to protect baby sea turtles and the multitude of wildlife throughout the United States. The challenging part is staying abreast of continuously evolving county, state, and federal requirements for not only Port Hueneme, but anywhere NSWC PHD’s personnel impact the earth.

    “When we visit detachments and other areas where we operate,” explained McDonald, “we have to apply those program requirements to wherever our people are. That’s the difference with environmental; we don’t focus on the buildings, we focus on the people and how they affect the world around them.”

    To ensure compliance, McDonald and her team conduct annual assessments at Port Hueneme, its detachments, and several additional areas across the country where NSWC PHD employees conduct business.

    “OPNAV [Office of the Chief of Naval Operations] requires that we do an assessment every year,” said McDonald. “I meet with program managers and their environmental coordinators to determine if an assessment is needed. It is their responsibility to tell me if the environmental aspects are great enough for us to consider them.”

    For example, NSWC PHD will be expanding its footprint with a new facility in Mayport, Fla., scheduled for completion by June 2018. McDonald recently visited the site with a department representative to determine the extent employee operations could affect the surrounding area. Her initial review is just the start of what will eventually turn into a complete assessment, covering a total of 18 program requirements, including air quality, hazardous waste, hazardous materials, storm water, drinking water, natural resources, and cultural resources—to name a few.

    “The new Florida facility may increase our environmental footprint, depending on how many ships come in,” she explained. “They also have these little sea turtles that need special lighting, so that needs to be considered. There are all sorts of considerations that need to be reviewed. I just make sure that I do a thorough assessment of all our programs to ensure they are being properly executed.”

    While sea turtles are important, McDonald notes the significance of keeping the Environmental Office informed when conducting operations.

    “We have a plan to ensure we are legally squared away,” she said. “If someone paints, works with hazardous materials, or conducts machinery that emits anything into the air, we ask that they keep us in the loop so we can verify requirements are being met and documented, resulting in continuous support to the fleet.”



    Date Taken: 09.06.2017
    Date Posted: 09.06.2017 13:44
    Story ID: 247241
    Location: PORT HUENEME , CA, US 

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