PMRF injuring marine mammals

SUBHEAD: NOAA okays air force tests injuring marine mammals in ocean on PMRF base.

By Juan Wilson on 9 October 2016 for Island Breath -

Image above: Airmen from the 53d's 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron ready A-10 Thunderbolts from Moody Air Force Base, to participate in the Air Force's air-to-ground Weapons System Evaluation Program known as Combat Hammer in 2008. From (

I would like to thank Rayne Raygush for alerting us to relevant entries from the Federal Register published since the last issue of The Environmental Notice that relate to military weapons testing near Kauai.

For full notice information, click on (

The article below is derived from this that notice, including details of the notification by NOAA of ongoing damage to marine mammals. This is occurring now during the month of October and November and is being conducted by the US Air Force for testing of weapons systems in the waters around Kauai.

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of Commerce Department.

U.S. Air Force 86 Fighter Weapons Squadron (86 FWS)

Notice of issuance of an incidental harassment authorization for Air Force.

Barking Sands Underwater Range Extension (BSURE) area of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Kauai, Hawaii.

This authorization is effective from October 1, 2016, through November 30, 2016.

Laura McCue, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

Law direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking (killing) of small numbers of marine mammals of a species or population stock, by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

An authorization for incidental takings (killings) for marine mammals shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting of such taking are set forth.

NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”

The US Air Force 86 Fighter Weapons Squadron plans to conduct an air-to-surface mission in the BSURE area of the PMRF. The Long Range Strike Weapons System Evaluation Program (LRS WSEP) test objective is to conduct operational evaluations of long range strike weapons and other munitions as part of operations to properly train units to execute real-world operational expectations in a time of war.

Due to threats to national security, increased missions involving air-to-surface activities have been directed by the Department of Defense (DoD).

86 FWS proposes actions that include LRS WSEP test missions of the Joint Air-To-Surface Stand-off Missile (JASSM) and the Small Diameter Bomb-I/II (SDB-I/II) including detonations at the water surface. These activities qualify as military readiness activities under the MMPA.

The following aspects of the planned LRS WSEP training activities have the potential to take marine mammals: Munition strikes and detonation effects (overpressure and acoustic components). Take, by Level B harassment of individuals of dwarf sperm whale, pygmy sperm whale, Fraser's dolphin, and minke whale could potentially result from the specified activity.

Additionally, 86 FWS has requested authorization for Level A Harassment of one individual dwarf sperm whale. 86 FWS's LRS WSEP training activities may potentially impact marine mammals at or near the water surface. In the absence of mitigation, marine mammals could potentially be injured or killed by exploding and non-exploding projectiles, falling debris, or ingestion of military expended materials.

Level B Behavioral Response could result from exposure to explosive detonations that cause disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering.

TTS is Temporary Threshold Shift that can affect how an animal behaves in response to the environment, including reactions to predators, and prey.

PTS is Permanent Threshold Shift that results from exposure to explosive detonations that is irreversible and is considered this to be an permanent injury.
Image above: Table 5 from Federal Reserve notice indicating distance between marine mammal and weapons explosion and the resulting level of damage to the victim.  From ( Click to enlarge.

Note Table 5 above indicates in the case of pygmy and dwarf whales that permanent damage could be done to an individual whale over 4 miles from an explosion and temporary damage could be inflicted almost 13 miles from an explosion. These species could even experience behavior disruption over 35 miles from an explosion.

Mortality Level A: PTS
Level B: TTS
Level B:
Dwarf Sperm Whale 0 1964
Pygmy Sperm Whale 0 0326
Frasier's Dolphin 0 010
Mincke Whale 0 012
Humpback Whale 0 039
TOTAL 0 117101

Needless to say, the US military continues its war against the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants. The damage weapons testing will do is only estimated.

These damage estimates to not include damage to non-mammals, (fish, squid, etc.) that are the prey of many whales, dolphins and seals. Those numbers are uncountable and probably have an impact on marine mammal health and levels of stress.

These estimates also do not include how unpleasant the environment becomes to these mammals as a result of ocean explosions, particularly to damaging chaotic sound nearby to animals capable if hearing across the ocean; like having a airport runway for a frontyard.

That the Navy and Air Force of the United States is making the Hawaiian Islands a place that does not welcome marine mammals, including whales, dolphins and seals is a crime against life itself.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Federal Court slams Navy Sonar 7/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DLNR responsibility for RIMPAC 7/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Oceans4Peace Pacific Pivot Panel 6/18/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ocean 4 Peace Events 6/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai and Niihau endangered 9/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Prepare for RIMPAC War in Hawaii 5/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to "take" millions of mammals 5/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: US court RIMPAC Impact decision 4/3/15
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 Impact Postmortem 10/22/1
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 in Full March 7/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: 21st Century Energy Wars 7/10/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War on the Ocean 7/3/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Voila - World War Three 7/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Pacific Pivot 6/28/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC IMPACT 6/8/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC Then and Now 5/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Asian Pivot - An ugly dance 12/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Help save Mariana Islands 11/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End RimPac destruction of Pacific 11/1/13 
Ea O Ka Aina: Moana Nui Confereence 11/1/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to conquer Marianas again  9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Pagan Island beauty threatened 10/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy license to kill 10/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Unproved Osprey on Kauai 8/21/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Sleepwalking through destruction 7/16/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa breathes easier 4/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy Next-War-Itis 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: America bullies Koreans 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Despoiling Jeju island coast begins 3/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Jeju Islanders protests Navy Base 2/29/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii - Start of American Empire 2/26/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Korean Island of Peace 2/26/12   
Ea O Ka Aina: Military schmoozes Guam & Hawaii 3/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: In Search of Real Security - One 8/31/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Peace for the Blue Continent 8/10/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Shift in Pacific Power Balance 8/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RimPac to expand activities 6/29/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War Games here in July 6/20/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Pacific Resistance to U.S. Military 5/24/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam Land Grab 11/30/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam as a modern Bikini Atoll 12/25/09
Ea O Ka Aina: GUAM - Another Strategic Island 11/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Diego Garcia - Another stolen island 11/6/09
Ea O Ka Aina: DARPA & Super-Cavitation on Kauai 3/24/09
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 - Navy fired up in Hawaii 7/2/08
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Navy Plans for the Pacific 9/3/07
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/07/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 - Impact on Ocean 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 - Whale strandings on Kauai 9/2/04
Island Breath: PMRF Land Grab 3/15/04


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