News: Protecting the land, helping Marines train
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay - For some workers aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, a typical workday is indoors, at
a desk, in front of a computer. Not many people can say part of their workday includes helping officials return a beached pilot whale to sea.
For Gordon Olayvar, a workday is anything but typical.
As the only federal conservation law enforcement investigator and officer aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Olayvar spends a lot of his time in the great outdoors.
“I think what’s very rewarding is knowing that I’m actively participating, I’m doing something to protect the environment,” Olayvar said.
The main purpose of his job is to ensure not only that the Marines are able to train, but also that the ecosystem surrounding the base and its other properties are well maintained and protected.
“His job as a federal agent is to enforce conservation laws associated with natural resources and cultural resources, which include investigating fish and wildlife crimes, interviews, interrogation and seizing wildlife that are contraband,” said Capt. Derek George, the director of the Environmental Compliance and Protection Department. Olayvar, who, as a Marine was last stationed on MCB Hawaii, previously worked as a bioscience technician with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
When he came to work aboard MCB Hawaii, Olayvar was first a bioscience technician, and eventually became a conservation law enforcement investigator and officer. He is a commissioned officer capable of arresting individuals in his jurisdiction who are found violating either Hawaii state law or the base orders.
George said Olayvar operates on all the locations of MCB Hawaii, including Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Kaneohe Bay, Camp H.M. Smith, Manana Housing Complex, Pearl City Annex, Waikane Valley, and Range Training Facility Puuloa.
Olayvar’s duties include patrolling the waters surrounding Mokapu Peninsula, and observe the Marines as they make landings with their amphibious assault vehicles, just to name a few.
He keeps his eyes out for various violations, including illegal hunting, swimming in unauthorized waters, or laying illegal nets. In recent years, Olayvar has collected a combined total of 20,000 feet of illegal netting on or around the base.
Olayvar said ultimately the goal of his job is to educate the public about natural resources and the regulations protecting them. He said units can even request that he teach classes about topics such as fishing regulations. Fishing regulations are also given out at the New Arrivals Orientation on base.
Although Olayvar’s works alone in his department, he also partners with various entities on and off base in his daily tasks, including the Provost Marshal’s Office, Waterfront Operations, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement and the U.S. of Fish and Wildlife Service.
“For us it’s another set of eyes and ears out there,” said Take Tomson, a special agent at the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement. “Our office is very small so the more people out there that we know and we trust and are extremely competent is invaluable. In some ways Gordon is an extension of our office.”
Tomson said Olayvar has helped in responding to incidents of wild animal abuse and protecting monk seals by setting up perimeters around them. Tomson said Olayvar is very knowledgeable about monk seals, which also helps the department.
Though Olayvar is currently a one-man conservation law enforcement program, George said the Environmental Compliance and Protection Department eventually hopes to add more personnel to assist him as available resources allow.
“I think having a conservation law enforcement officer is a force multiplier,” George said.
“It helps keeps us in compliance with the laws, which is a significant reason why we can train in so many locations.”
George said Olayvar’s established rapport with offices such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and NOAA Fishery Service “helps facilitate training for Marines and sailors in various locations on the island.”
The base has various regulations that Olayvar is in charge of enforcing, including wildlife regulations, which can be found at http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil/g1/adjutant/pubs/5000/BaseO_P5233.2.pdf. Olayvar said fishing regulations have also recently changed, and can be found under http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil/g1/adjutant/pubs/1000/BaseO%20P1710.1.pdf.
George said individuals who wish to report a violation should primarily contact PMO or the Environmental Compliance and Protection Department, who can respond immediately, as well as alert Olayvar.
If you would like more information about the conservation law enforcement investigator and officer, or clarification of base wildlife and recreational regulations, call the Environmental Compliance and Protection Department at 257-6920, and press “4,” or e-mail Olayvar at Gordon.firstname.lastname@example.org.
“(People) should use the resources and enjoy it,” Olayvar said. “(However) there’s a need to ensure that we’re using the resources properly, protecting it as we move along. We have a responsibility here on Marine Corps Base Hawaii to protect these resources so that we can all enjoy it for today and tomorrow.”