Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Navy Taking Public Input On Future Training In San Diego Waters

Alex Stone, environmental planning program manager for the US Pacific Fleet, and Wayne Perryman, program leader of Southwest Fisheries Science Center, talks to KPBS reporter Amita Sharma about the future of Navy training in San Diego.

Navy Taking Public Input On Future Training In San Diego Waters


Alex Stone, environmental planning program manager, US Pacific Fleet

Wayne Perryman, program leader, Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Zak Smith, senior attorney, Marine Mammal Protection Project at NRDC


The U.S. Navy is gathering public comment in preparation for applying for an extension of its permit to do training and testing in San Diego waters. The current permit expires in 2018.

Alex Stone, environmental planning program manager at the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the same training has been done for 40 to 50 years.

“It’s really the same type of training we’ve been doing for decades, but we’re starting a new round of environmental planning,” Stone told KPBS Midday Edition. “The training has evolved, but it’s similar training in the same areas.”

The testing has been controversial because of potential risks to marine mammals. Earlier this year, the Navy settled a lawsuit by environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, for illegally harming sea mammals during training.

According the the NRDC, terms of the settlement included designating certain areas as off limits for sonar and underwater explosions, and taking precautions against potential ship strikes. The terms of the settlement only apply to the current permit period.

Zak Smith, senior attorney for the Marine Mammal Protection Project at NRDC, said 9.6 million incidents have occurred nationwide that show the training has disrupted the behaviors of marine animals.

Smith compared the training to a person who stands next to a speaker at a rock concert. He said the goal of the organization is to ensure there isn’t permanent damage to animals.

“How can we achieve the Navy training, while at the same time identifying and recognizing areas important for marine animals, and staying out of those areas,” Smith said.

The Navy held a public meeting Tuesday night in San Diego and will continue to collect input through Jan. 12. Comments can be submitted online at


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.