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Highlights
Why the United States Needs SURTASS LFA
SURTASS LFA Systems Description
Key Facts
Enviromental Impact Analysis
Scientific Research
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SURTASS LFA
SURTASS LFA
Research into potential environmental impact played a major role in the development and testing of the SURTASS LFA system. The Navy spent more than $16 million conducting scientific research (click HERE to learn about the Scientific Research) into the effects of low frequency underwater sound on humans and animals and developing an environmental impact statement (EIS). 

Five principles guided the development of the Navyís SURTASS LFA Sonar Environmental Impact Statement  
  • Conduct a study on the potential effects of low frequency sound on marine life and human divers
  • Maintain scientific rigor throughout the study
  • Use an independent scientific team to review and edit the statement
  • Preserve an open process with public engagement
  • Ensure funding is available for scientific research to address critical data gaps and to furnish a meaningful and understandable document to the public
Analytical Process
  • Literature review and determination of data gaps
  • Scientific screening of marine animal species for potential sensitivity to low frequency sound
  • Scientific research on the effects of low frequency sound on humans in water
  • Scientific research on the effects of low frequency sound on marine mammals
  • Development of a method for quantifying risk to marine mammals
  • Analytical acoustic modeling of representative cases for the deployment of SURTASS LFA sonar
  • Estimation of marine mammal stocks potentially affected
  • Estimation of potential effects on fish and sea turtles stocks
  • Establishment of mitigation and monitoring to reduce potential effects to a negligible level

The SURTASS LFA Sonar Environmental Impact Statement was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Presidential Executive Order 12114. 

Highlights of the process included: 
  • July 1996 Notice of Intent to prepare the SURTASS LFA Sonar Environmental Impact Statement published in Federal Register

  • August 1996 - Public scoping meetings (Los Angeles, CA; Norfolk, VA; Honolulu, HI)

SURTASS Low Frequency Active (LFA) Public Information Briefing, cover page.
  • January 1997 - Public Information Meeting, Washington, DC
  • February 1997 - SURTASS LFA Scientific Working Group Established

  • February 1997 - Scientific Working Group Meeting #1 held to determine critical data gaps that need to be addressed to evaluate the potential effects of low frequency sound on the marine environment

SURTASS Low Frequency Active (LFA) Briefing, cover page.
  • May 1997 - Public Meeting, Boston, MA

Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) logo.

  • July 1997 to November 1998 - Diverís Studies conducted by Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) to study the bioeffects of low frequency underwater sound on divers

Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA
  • October 1997 - Scientific Research Program public review, Monterey, CA

 

  • November 1997 - Scientific Working Group Meeting #2

  • February 1998 - Scientific Research Program public review, Hawaii

SURTASS LFA EIS Outreach Meeting, brief cover page.
  • June 1998 - SURTASS LFA EIS Outreach Meeting, Washington, DC

 

  • June 1999 - NSMRL issued interim guidance for operation of low frequency underwater sound sources in the presence of divers

Draft OEIS/EIS; report cover.
  • July 1999 - Draft OEIS/EIS completed with inputs from Low Frequency Sound Scientific Research Program, modeling, and Diver studies

 

  • August 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Outreach Meeting, Washington, DC
  • August 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Open House, Los Angeles, CA
  • August 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Open House, Miami, FL
  • September 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Open House, Honolulu, HI
SURTASS LFA EIS Open House, Boston, MA, brief cover page.
  • September 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Open House, Boston, MA
  • September 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Public Hearing, Norfolk, VA
  • October 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Open House, Seattle, WA
SURTASS LFA EIS Public Hearing, San Diego, CA; brief cover page.
  • October 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Public Hearing, San Diego, CA

 

  • October 1999 - SURTASS LFA EIS Public Hearing, Honolulu, HI
  • October 1999 - 90-day comment period on Draft OEIS/EIS ended
  • August 2000 - Completed successful testing of the High Frequency Marine Mammal Monitoring (HF/M3) Sonar
January 2001 - Final OEIS/EIS
  • January 2001 - Final OEIS/EIS published 

 

  • Final Record of Decision (ROD) signed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Environment) on July 16, 2002, with notice in the Federal Register on July 23, 2002.
  • Supplemental environmental analyses have been conducted as required since the initial EIS/OEIS was completed. Please refer to the Files to Download page for further information about these documents.

           

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| Highlights | Why the United States Needs SURTASS LFA |
| SURTASS LFA Systems Description | Key Facts | Environmental Impact Analysis |
| Scientific Research | Preventive Measures | Public Involvement |
| Frequently Asked Questions | Diver Studies | Terminology |
|
Glossary | Files to Download | Contact Us |
| Home |

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