Navy Requests LOA for Keyport Range Complex Extension
On July 3, 2008, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service provided public notice that the U.S. Navy has applied to NMFS for a five-year Letter of Authorization for the incidental harassment of marine mammals incidental to the research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) activities within the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex Extension. The Navy wants the LOA to cover the period September 2009 through April 2014. If granted, the LOA would be issued under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex Extension is centrally located within the Northwest Range Complex in Washington State. It has extensive existing range assets and training capabilities. The NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex Extension is composed of Keyport Range Site, Dabob Bay Range Complex (DBRC) Site, and Quinault Underwater Tracking Range (QUTR) Site.
In its LOA application, the Navy explains:
"While there are no non-acoustical impacts, the RDT&E activities may expose certain marine mammals that may be present within the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex to sound from mid- and high-frequency acoustic sources. Mid- and high- frequency acoustic sources and other acoustic sources are used by NUWC Keyport for many purposes including underwater communication, mapping the seabed, torpedo countermeasures, and detecting submarines, inert mines, and obstacles."
The Navy's application further explains that "the mission activities conducted within the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Keyport Range Complex and the associated proposed extensions that could result in Level B harassment and possibly Level A harassment."
Public comments are due to NMFS by August 4, 2008.
Click here to read Federal Register notice of Navy's LOA application