[MARMAM] NOAA announcement on sonar

Jasny, Michael mjasny at nrdc.org
Tue Jan 19 14:52:08 PST 2010


Dear All,

 

Today NOAA announced a new initiative to potentially mitigate harm from
U.S. Navy mid-frequency sonar, and from other sources of ocean noise as
well.  

 

The announcement, which comes in a letter from Dr. Lubchenco (NOAA
Administrator) to Nancy Sutley (Chair of the White House Council on
Environmental Quality), is available at
www.nrdc.org/media/docs/100119.pdf.  

 

The letter specifies that NOAA will conduct a series of workshops (1) to
learn more about marine mammal "hotspots," particularly through
available predictive habitat models; (2) to develop a plan for assessing
the cumulative environmental impacts of sonar, oil exploration, and
other sources of intense ocean noise; and (3) to improve marine mammal
monitoring on the Navy's ranges.  Based on the results of these
workshops, the agency will consider additional measures to reduce harm
from sonar, in future rulemakings and authorizations under the MMPA. 

 

In addition, the agency expresses an interest in conducting
comprehensive, multipurpose surveys for marine mammals and sea turtles;
and it notes its participation in ongoing negotiations over sonar
mitigation between the Navy and NRDC.  

 

NOAA puts a good deal of emphasis in the letter on habitat
identification and avoidance, stating that "Protecting important marine
mammal habitat is generally recognized to be the most effective
mitigation measure currently available."

 

It's worth noting, of course, that today's announcement is only a plan
and not a prescription, and much will depend on what happens over the
next year.

 

Cheers,

Michael

 

 

 

Michael Jasny

Senior Policy Analyst

Natural Resources Defense Council

4479 W. 5th Avenue

Vancouver, BC  V6R1S4

tel. 604-736-9386

mob. 310-560-5536

fax. 310-434-2399

 

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