Naval training plans concern locals - Noise, environmental issues on Silver Strand

A Navy landing craft moves through the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean and toward the beach. Precision is required because the surf zone can be demanding.

During the training operation in southern Coronado last week, members of a 300-person Navy team responsible for moving combat troops and equipment from ship to shore and providing them with logistic support controlled the landing craft.

“It’s a realistic training environment, and by practicing in these conditions, we can get better and better at it,” said Cmdr. Todd Perry, commanding officer of Beachmaster Unit 1.

To meet heavier training demands, the Navy is proposing ramping up activity at the Silver Strand Training Complex, including more helicopter flights, firearm discharges and use of sensitive land. That has some residents and environmentalists worried about what it will mean to neighborhoods, delicate bird habitat and vernal pools.

The Navy is studying the environmental effects of increased use of the 540-acre site where land, beach and offshore wartime training has been conducted for more than 60 years.

According to a draft environmental impact statement, the Navy proposes to increase the frequency of training activities to 5,343 from 3,926 annually. The Navy hopes to increase the number of helicopter sorties to 2,200 from 778 a year and firearm discharges to 1,400 from 150. It plans to use, with some limitations, the nesting areas of endangered birds and allow training on foot over vernal pools when dry.

While some proposed changes may occur immediately, most would happen over the next several years.

The Navy is looking for public comment on its plan; it has the final say on how it addresses the effect of the increased training.

“The amount of extra training they’re proposing would be quite noticeable and really change our quiet neighborhood,” Imperial Beach resident Jeff Foster said. “If it makes a big impact on the peace of the neighborhood, it won’t be a desirable place to live.”

Read the entire Union Tribune article here.


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Tags: community, military, navy

Comments are closed for this blog post

Comment by Michael Vaughan on February 24, 2010 at 8:46am
'Bout time the military quit letting that unique training resource go to waste! In today's world, beach assault capability is going to be used much more frequently to go after those who would destroy civilization. Our amphibious forces in the Navy and Marine Corps need this vital place to train for that mission. Those few times such training might produce noise are the price we pay to maintain "the peace of the neighborhood". In fact, they insure that we even HAVE a neighborhood.
Comment by MIKE GAPP on February 24, 2010 at 1:55pm
Hoo-Yaughh! to poster Michael Vaughan's comments.

I don't believe that the habitats mentioned were even there until the Navy and Army Corps of Engineers filled it in anyways.

The Navy is directly repsosible for bringing back the Terns and the Burrowing Owls, and many other lesser-known organisms, Just as the Marines have done up north.

The pick-and-choose NIMBY greenies need to go, not the Navy or USMC IMHO - They forget why they are allowed to complain in the first place. You are here (at least here in Coronado) because of the Navy, not the other way around.

If you stop training like this, our warriors are going to die because of insufficient training, and the war is going to last longer than needed. I think you are all better than to allow that happen, friends and brethren.

Take the long view.

This is War.


Thanks for your consideration.

Mike Gapp
Comment by anne pilgrim on February 24, 2010 at 9:29pm
I'm sorry, I didn't realize Iraq, Afgahnistan, or even Iran had a coast that necesitated the kind of training Navy is talking about conducting. No one is talking about getting rid of the training, but help me understand why we need to expand it?

Resort to name-calling if you like; but I'm sorry, the estuary, the terns and the burrowing owls were here LONG before ANY of us were here; by filling in the strand much of their habitat was destroyed; so by your own words the Navy and the Army Corps of Engineers are responsible for destroying their habitat.
Comment by MIKE GAPP on February 24, 2010 at 10:53pm
Miss Pilgrim -

Please check your history - the strand wasn't there above water until we made it. It's artificial, and darn good artificial habitat. Civiilans, not military, destroyed all the lovely habitat that you cherish, the military just did something about it by replacing some of it.

To tell you the truth, I think we are going to see that the wildlife is pleasantly undisturbed because the areas will be secured tighter. No one wants to see wildlife suffer. Life adapts. Ospreys are on the bridge - that wasn't there before, nor were peregrines. I was here when all these organisms were introduced to Coronado BTW.


"I'm sorry, I didn't realize Iraq, Afgahnistan, or even Iran had a coast that necesitated the kind of training Navy is talking about conducting. No one is talking about getting rid of the training, but help me understand why we need to expand it?. "

It does.

But that's not really an appropriate question, we have to be ready to react anywhere.

Amphibious landings and operations are possible along the Tigris and Euphrates, as well as in large lakes and seas inside of and around Iran and many other countries. Venezuela. Libya. Many African countries and riverine inner objectives. Northern Korea. All of Southeast Asia and Australia, where asistance might be needed. And more.

This is the idea.


I didn't get a chance to go to the Gulf, I got sent to countries where all there was was water and jungle - it was called the Drug War back then, I don't know what they call it now, but our soldiers, airmen, coasties, marines and sailors all still need expertise that can be had by training at North Island and NAB Coronado - not just for warfare, but for humanitaran aide. I presume that you know about Haiti. Guess where a lot of those guys trained, that have come to the rescue? If the well-trained guys are all in Haiti, where are the reserves? Where did they train?

If the wildlife gets threatened, we will do something about it. I understand your concern, but I also know what we can do something about it.

If we allow troops to die (and they will if they don't train hard enough) because our sunsets are jeopardized, we deserve what the Terrorists are ready to hand us IMHO. I am sure that you don't think that is equitable.

I hope what I have said brings some clarity to the situation.

Respectfully,

Mike Gapp
Comment by Vicky Lambert on February 25, 2010 at 5:38pm
This isn't a patriotic issue, rather one of shared resources. As an aside for those into history, the Notice of Intent (NOI) which started this process was issued back on August 6, 2001...

At the Navy's presentation last night in the Community Center, the position they put forward was that by increasing the amount of training available here, the local (San Diego) personnel would not have to be sent elsewhere for training. This means that Navy personnel would be able to "sleep in their own beds" at night (their terminology), and that families would not be pulled apart during training. A convenient, family oriented and economically sound plan... for the Navy. As mentioned above, SSTC is a great facility, so why not use it to it's fullest extent?

But the ramifications of the plan are multiple and on many different levels and they need to be evaluated carefully . I'll let others talk about species and environmental impacts. And the realtors can talk about property values... What is obvious is that this plan will impact each of us living here from Coronado to IB. The amount of daily traffic will increase across the bridge, through the City and down the Strand. I am hoping that the City Engineering Team is working with the Navy to comprehend how this would/could work (hey, how about a tunnel?!). Per the EIS, the noise levels won't increase, however, the number of noise incidents/exposures will increase with the increased number of helicopter flights, shots fired, etc. -- so it won't be louder, just more often. Pollution will increase, etc. etc.

Don't get me wrong, I love living next to the Navy -- heck we are probably in the safest place in the world wedged between NASNI and SSTC-N and SSTC-S. But this is our home, and we'd like to be able to sleep in our own beds too, preferably without earplugs. Aside from citizens' comments, I would advocate that the Navy work with the cities of IB and Coronado to develop a better balanced plan that protects our ability to enjoy our homes while maximizing the Navy's facilities.

The Navy is accepting comments through March 9 on their website, where the Draft EIS can be downloaded:
www.silverstrandtrainingcomplexeis.com. Be warned, it is over 800 pages. A copy is also available at the Coronado Public Library.
Comment by MIKE GAPP on February 25, 2010 at 9:33pm
"This isn't a patriotic issue, rather one of shared resources. As an aside for those into history, the Notice of Intent (NOI) which started this process was issued back on August 6, 2001..."

i think something important might've happened the following month though, to change expectations.

9-11-01.

The tunnel has been proven to be a dangerous ineffective plan already. i think fairies are about as good as it's going to get.


It is upsetting to have more racket, I agree. I don't see an acceptable alternative offered yet.

Mike Gapp
Comment by anne pilgrim on March 1, 2010 at 5:46pm
"Please check your history - the strand wasn't there above water until we made it. It's artificial, and darn good artificial habitat. Civiilans, not military, destroyed all the lovely habitat that you cherish, the military just did something about it by replacing some of it." But if you add more noise, oil/fuel leaking from more helecopters and jets, all that work will have been for naught.

I'm sorry Vicky, but hte Navy has promised things to it's civilian neighbors before. There is a curfew for Navy helicopters; but I am regularly awakened by the sound of them flying overhead. No, they are not the border patrol helecopters. I've lived down here for over twenty years, and I can tell the difference.

Sorry-but many of our warriers will stop dying when we stop invaiding countries for no other reason than to be the world's police. How much money has been spent and how many warriers have died because of one unreliable piece of information; and the chest-puffing of a military dictator? And Mr. Gapp, I'm sorry, but there were ospreys, peregrines, and many more species of birds in the south bay and the county before the military were here. They were forced out long before you or I were alive, and only now have had a chance to come back. Yes, the military have had a hand in it, but many many civilians had to work very hard to make it happen; the military did not volunteer to do this out of the goodness of their hearts.

Coronado is not the only area affected by this; all of south bay must deal with it also. Coronodians whine about the traffic on the bridge now, yet you want to add more... Don't tell me that they will live on the island, because any housing they can afford is sub-standard-worse than what I have seen in many of the poorer parts of the county--all hidden, of course, from the more well-off residents.

"If we allow troops to die (and they will if they don't train hard enough) because our sunsets are jeopardized, we deserve what the Terrorists are ready to hand us" We can keep our warriers from dying is to better train the ones we already have. And nobody "deserves" to die.

Maybe it will take "fairies" to solve this delema.
Comment by anne pilgrim on March 1, 2010 at 9:25pm
oh, and ask any local lifeguard, training in the ocean translates about as well to a river as training in a desert does to training in the jungle. Two VERY DIFFERENT environments.
Comment by MIKE GAPP on March 2, 2010 at 11:42pm
Miss Pilgrim.

I served in two services.

The first one was the USMC, the second one was in the Navy. I know about training. This is the place to train.

Marines especially actually DO do a lot of their conservation work "out of the goodness of their hearts" - you are way off base, no military pun intended. LOL.

Moreover - I am a Coronadan - 'been here for three decades, and I don't recall ever whining about traffic. I just deal with it.

Frankly, I don't even see a traffic problem, I see a whining problem, and I see a failure to economically reverse-flow Third and Fourth partially at appropriate times of the business week, but that's probably exactly what you'd expect from us selfish hard-headed military types.


Whatever.

The subject was training;

The Navy is going to train more, I guarantee it; Here.

Sorry that inconveniences you.

I bet the birds won't care. - they will probably love all the concussion grenades shocking the fish, in fact - like they do at San Clemente, etc.

So don't you worry.

LOL.

Mike Gapp.
Comment by Vicky Lambert on March 3, 2010 at 12:29am
Just want to clarify Anne's statement:

I'm sorry Vicky, but the Navy has promised things to it's civilian neighbors before. There is a curfew for Navy helicopters; but I am regularly awakened by the sound of them flying overhead. No, they are not the border patrol helecopters. I've lived down here for over twenty years, and I can tell the difference.

I think you've mixed me up with some of the others commenting here. I am in agreement that the noise level and proposed increases are not good things. In fact, we've had training exercises and gunfire for most of this evening. I hear it late at night too, and really don't appreciate it too very much. If we were ever under attack, most of us would just think it's a training exercise and search for earplugs.

I am concerned that this debate has become one of supporting warfare or not. The bottomline question is what are the impacts to the environment (and not just fairy shrimp, but the use of your patio, the beach and so on) if the Navy increases their use of their facilities. They need the feedback, and it's our right and duty to be responsible citizens and engage in this process. And the feedback they should be getting is different depending on where you live and what you do. I am hopeful that people are reading the document and asking questions, challenging, supporting or whatever. Given the light attendance at the Coronado presentation, I am concerned that it is not on folks' radar.

I personally would like to know how the Navy will close the loop with us, and more importantly if our city governments have a role in the process going forward. In the meantime, please get your feedback to the Navy. Thanks.

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