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Marine Mammals Protect Washington State Naval Base

Posted to Subsea (by on December 1, 2009

Bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions will protect waterside assets in Washington State.

The U.S. Navy will install a swimmer interdiction security system at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor, Washington, that will employ teams of security personnel and specially-trained marine mammals to protect waterside assets and sailors. This action will enhance security capabilities to counter intruder threats from swimmers or divers and will be implemented in 2010.

The use of marine mammals to protect sensitive waterside areas has been proven to be reliable and effective. The Navy’s bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions are uniquely qualified for underwater sentry duty, mine clearance, and object recovery because of their exceptional sensory and diving capabilities.

An environmental impact statement (EIS) evaluated potential effects of several factors on the Navy's dolphins and sea lions, including temperature, noise, water quality, toxins and the presence of other marine mammals in the NBK-Bangor environment.  The EIS concluded that the Navy’s dolphins and sea lions are not expected to experience adverse environmentally-related effects from transfer to, and residence at, NBK-Bangor.

More information on this specialized program can be found at:

http://www.spawar.navy.mil/sandiego/technology/mammals/

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