By James Johnson, NAVFAC Far East Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Three Navy installations supported by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Far East received Fiscal Year 2015 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Environmental Awards, Feb. 24.
Commander, Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka, Japan received awards for Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation and Environmental Quality Team. Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Japan was recognized for Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation. Navy Region Center (NRC) Singapore was awarded Environmental Quality, Non-industrial Installation.
"This recognition is a great testament to the quality and dedication of our NAVFAC employees working environmental issues," said NAVFAC Far East Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin Bartoe. "The continued leadership and advocacy for a strong environmental program by our supported commanders makes this possible."
The commitment by FLEACT Yokosuka and the Public Works Department Yokosuka Environmental Division has led to 15 CNO and two Secretary of the Navy environmental awards since fiscal year (FY) 2001.
"Ensuring we are engaged in protecting our environment is critical to our operational future," said FLEACT Yokosuka Commanding Officer Capt. David Glenister. "It is not enough to have operational or warfighting capability. Wwe also need permission to operate and train both in the U.S. and overseas. We will not be allowed to use our training ranges, operate our ships and submarines, or fly our aircraft, if we cannot assure those in authority over those areas that we are not causing harm to the environment by our mere presence."
In FY 2015, FLEACT Yokosuka successfully implemented the Overseas Drinking Water Program which ensures all personnel have the highest quality drinking water available. The base also saw success from its recycling program, reduction of hazardous material usage, and preventive actions to reduce hazardous spills through education and training. Conservation programs protect firefly habitats, endangered birds and plants.
"We have one of the strongest environmental divisions in the Navy," said Public Works Officer Cmdr. Ben Miller. "Our hard working, committed staff, together with great support from our community of tenant commands, civilian population, and local Japanese host nationals, is truly what makes the Yokosuka program so successful."
FLEACT Yokosuka has robust outreach and education programs, like working alongside Department of Defense Education Activity programs, routine recognition of volunteer organizations involved with installation clean-up and improvements.
The NAF Atsugi Natural Resource Program promotes natural resource stewardship through award-winning innovative management and survey practices, and by partnering with local host nation government officials to identify and protect valuable natural resources for future generations.
Natural Resources Program Manager Stephan Lee worked toward an innovative solution to a common pest control problem. He collaborated with the local community to relocate bee hives on the installation to a local honey bee farm, at no cost to the government. The efforts helped advance President Obama's June 2015 Presidential Memorandum to promote the health of the declining honey bees.
The Environmental Division developed a first-in-the Navy lifecycle Preliminary Environmental Assessment Review (PEAR) process and tool enabling the review of more than 50,000 environmental requirements for more than 80 construction and service contracts in 2014 and 2015. Every construction, maintenance, and repair project goes through a rigorous review process for applicable natural resource requirements.
Another program highlight was the recent completion of an updated Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan based upon numerous plant, insect, fish, bird, reptile and amphibian surveys. One particularly intriguing survey focused on nocturnal mammal habits and utilized baited infrared cameras to capture the presence of wildlife over a one month period.
NRC Singapore implemented the Environmental Management System (EMS), and auditors found a Navy-wide record low of zero EMS findings during an External Quality Assessment in February 2015. In addition, the continued coordination with the Government of Singapore's National Environmental Agency in support of shipboard generated industrial waste disposal has ensured proper disposal and helped to increase the capability of ships in the Southeast Asia area of responsibility.
"NRC Singapore appreciates the opportunity to share some of its achievements from FY 2015 and looks forward to continued success in FY 2016," said Environmental Director Chantry Davis.
The CNO Environmental Awards are an annual recognition program that highlights the accomplishments of nominated ships, installations, and individuals for exceptional achievements in environmental stewardship. All CNO winners advance to the Secretary of the Navy level of competition.