To the Editor,
Regarding the July 15 KDM article on the cause of the recent whales deaths: Just because there have been no dead whales discovered since the Navy’s Northern Edge Training Exercise in June does not rule out the possibility that the Navy may have been testing harmful sonar previous to the exercise.
The Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility in Behm Canal off Ketchikan is the Navy’s “primary” acoustic engineering measurement facility in the Pacific Northwest for research, development, test and evaluation activities. Activities include, but are not limited to, active sonar and explosives munitions.
The Navy stated that underwater acoustic sources and underwater detonations impact marine mammals (See 2014 NWTT DEIS/OEIS available online.)
The Navy is allowed to conduct acoustic tests from this facility from May 1 through Sept. 15 annually.
It’s possible that a pod of whales were feeding near the source of the Navy’s acoustic testing but even if it were true; don’t expect the Navy to admit it.
Beginning in October 2015 Navy activities will increase in the Alaska training study area. Those activities will include development, testing of new vessels, aircraft and weapons systems.
To the detriment of marine mammals, they don’t understand the Navy’s “restricted” areas in the Gulf of Alaska.
— Carolyn Heitman