Tag Archives: Bangor

Hood Canal property will compensate for Navy construction at Bangor

Hood Canal Coordinating Council has finally found some shoreline property to compensate for environmental damage from the Navy’s $448-million Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor.

The shoreline of a 6.7-acre property to be used for mitigation of the Navy’s Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor. // Photo: Hood Canal Coordinating Council

The 6.7 acres of waterfront property — located near Kitsap County’s Anderson Landing Preserve on Hood Canal — becomes the first saltwater mitigation site in Washington state under an in-lieu-fee mitigation program. The $275,000 purchase was approved Wednesday by the coordinating council, which manages the in-lieu-fee program.

The Navy itself is not a party to the transaction, having paid the coordinating council $6.9 million to handle all the freshwater and saltwater mitigation required for the wharf project — including managing the mitigation properties in perpetuity.

The coordinating council’s in-lieu-fee program, which is overseen by state and federal agencies, allows developers to pay a flat fee for their environmental damage instead of undertaking mitigation work themselves.

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Guard dolphins generate few comments in Silverdale

UPDATE: Some opponents showed up at A Seattle hearing the next night, including activists bearing signs that said, “We will knit for dolphins.” I’ve added some information from the Los Angeles Times at the end of this entry.

In a public hearing last night, nobody stood up to protest the U.S. Navy’s use of guard dolphins and sea lions in Hood Canal.

My colleague Ed Friedrich, who wrote a story for today’s Kitsap Sun, pointed out that, unlike a “scoping” meeting two years ago, nobody came to the meeting knitting sweaters, hats or mittens for the dolphins.

According to the Navy, studies have shown that the dolphins can tolerate the cold water fairly well. To be sure, they will be asked to patrol for only a couple of hours at a time, after which they will return to a warm-water enclosure.

About 50 people showed up, and only two testified. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people chose to attend the Puget Sound-Georgia Basin Ecosystem Conference in Seattle instead of the hearing. But everyone will have another chance to testify tonight.

Judy Dicksion, who has worked as a volunteer observer of marine mammals in Hood Canal, said the Navy went out of its way to address her concerns.

Pete Schroeder, a veterinarian who specializes in marine mammals, said the Navy’s marine mammal research program is the best in the world. “These animals will be safe, and in my experience they will be happy,” he said about the guard dolphins and sea lions.

I know that a number of people have serious concerns about this program — including possible questions of morality, as demonstrated by comments on this blog.

The only other hearing on the environmental assessment will be tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. at Tyee High School, 4424 S. 188th Place in SeaTac. An open house is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a presentation and testimony after that.

It would be great to get a report from anyone who attends that hearing, and feel free to post your opinions here.

You can review the Navy’s program at the Web site called Swimmer Interdiction Security Program.

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Navy’s guard dolphins are under review at Bangor

The Navy is back to talking about using dolphins and sea lions for patrolling Hood Canal for enemy swimmers near the Navy’s submarine base at Bangor.

Navy officials say there’s really not much difference between using guard dogs to patrol a facility on land and using guard dolphins to patrol a facility on the water.

A story in today’s Kitsap Sun by Ed Friedrich indicates that the Navy is committed to carrying out some kind of “swimmer interdiction security program.” Four alternatives are up for public discussion: using California sea lions and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins; just sea lions; combat swimmers; remotely operated vehicles; and no change.

The preferred option is both dolphins and sea lions.

In one possible program, dolphins would be trained to drop a lighted buoy near an enemy swimmer. In another program, sea lions would learn to clamp a cuff on a swimmer’s leg so that the enemy could be reeled in like a big fish.

Ten years ago, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society and other environmental groups sued the Navy over its plans to deploy dolphins at Bangor. The Navy eventually agreed to withdraw the proposal until a full environmental review could be completed.

Two years ago, the Navy started through the environmental analysis, and PAWS prepared for another public campaign and possible legal action. The group’s primary objections centered on the cold water of Hood Canal, which is not the dolphins’ normal habitat, and the fact that the captive animals would never be free to swim in open waters except when on duty and under the control of humans.

For information, check Navy Web sites about the marine mammal program and analysis of the Bangor Swimmer Interdiction Security System.