Naval Station Everett recently updated its five-year natural resources strategy that will guide Navy operations on base and at the Navy support complex in Marysville. The document, called the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP), includes major environmental projects that support habitat restoration; invasive plant control; and marine mammal, fish, and sea bird monitoring and studies.
The base Natural Resources Management Program supports the Navy’s commitment to environmental stewardship, compliance, and protection. Environmental staff value engagement with partners such as state and federal entities and federally-recognized tribes. Their direct feedback and approval was part of developing and finalizing the plan.
“I appreciate the excellent feedback on the draft INRMP that we received from our partners,” said base Natural Resources Manager Alicia Higgs. “Their participation in reviewing the document really contributed to the quality of the plan and the value to the Navy and our natural environment.”
These partnerships are essential for continued support of homeported Navy ships and Coast Guard vessels, as well as planning for potential support of future ships assigned to Everett.
“I am deeply grateful to Naval Station Everett’s Natural Resources Manager, Alicia Higgs, for all of her hard work and care to draft and finalize the 2023 update of the Naval Station Everett INRMP, and for working so closely with the Navy’s Sikes Act partners while she did so,” said Donald Hubner, Fish Biologist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Her efforts resulted in what is easily the most comprehensive and truly integrated INRMP I've seen in more than 15 years of reviewing INRMPs for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, both in the Pacific Island Region and the West Coast Region.”
Over the past several years, the base has cooperated on projects that benefit the environment with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Stillaguamish Tribe.
District Wildlife Biologist at Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Kurt Licence said, "The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife values the opportunity to partner with the Navy on their well laid roadmap to fish and wildlife conservation via the INRMP. Strategies and collaborations like these are critical to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems in Washington."
The updated INRMP builds on work from the last period, incorporating data from Navy-funded studies and projects with partners. Results from projects, such as the East Waterway Fish Study that began in 2020, provide data on water quality parameters and other information that helps to plan environmental permitting and timing scheduled work in the East Waterway.
The next five years will focus on managing six major elements: fish and wildlife; water resources in marine, wetland, and riparian habitats; pest management; noxious weed and invasive species; and climate adaptation planning.
Additions to the base stormwater program will contribute to improving water quality and aquatic habitat for species such as salmon, forage fish, marbled murrelets, and southern resident killer whales.
The new plan will continue survey and monitoring programs of fish and wildlife. Projects include marbled murrelet winter density surveys conducted by Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, weekly marine mammal counts by Navy staff, a harbor seal tagging study in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and Stillaguamish Tribe, and concluding the two-year East Waterway fish study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
New proposed projects include removal of invasive species to improve wetlands and buffer zones near Navy Family Support Complex Smokey Point and a survey to discover bat roosts at Smokey Point and determine whether white-nose syndrome may be a threat to them.
Looking further, the plan enhances climate resilience and adaptation informed by the most recent projections affecting the naval station and the Salish Sea. Development of a 10-year plan will address data needs, a baseline to measure changes due to climate, measures of success for future adaptation actions, and measures or actions that support ecosystem-based management in the face of changing climate conditions.
The overall goal of Navy environmental programs is to help protect natural and cultural resources, while enabling our military to train and perform national security missions.
Naval Station Everett’s new INRMP lays out plans though 2028 that meets legal requirements to be a responsible steward of public lands and targets ways to promote a healthy ecosystem for humans and wildlife.
View the updated 2023 INRMP document at https://cnrnw.cnic.navy.mil/Installations/NS-Everett/Operations-and-Management/Environmental-Support-and-Compliance/