Pinging In the Pool

WASHINGTON (CN) – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration plans to allow the Navy to add acreage to its sonar
research and testing area within its Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Keyport Range Complex, in Washington State, which could harass sea mammals.

The agency states that due to its planned mitigation and
monitoring regulations, the number of mammals affected is likely to be
lower than the Navy’s estimate, and that it expects none of the animals
to be killed or injured.

The level of harassment envisioned would include: “disruption of
natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration,
surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where
such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered.”

NOAA has proposed to allow sea mammals to be harassed the
indicated number of times in the next five years: Harbor porpoise
56,415; Northern fur seal 220; California sea lion 570; Northern
elephant seal 70; Harbor seal (from inland Washington waters) 27,340;
and Harbor seal (from Oregon and Washington Coast) 505. NOAA assumes
that all Harbor porpoises exposed to 120 decibels of sound change
behavior patterns, whereas a scale can be used to measure the likely
harassment to the other marine mammals.

~ by fredfelleman on July 13, 2009.

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