By Mario Icari, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- NAVFAC Southwest Environmental Core Compliance Program Manager Jeff Waldman and NAVFAC Southwest Natural Resources Specialist Arlene Arnold shared their experiences working temporary duty at Marine Corps facilities in Okinawa during an interview May 10 in San Diego.
Waldman and Arlene Arnold traveled to Japan this spring for 90 days in support of Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa, White Beach Facility.
"It was a great learning experience to work with the different legal drivers and site conditions for overseas installations," said Arnold.
Arnold conducted bird surveys at White Beach and the Awase Communication Station, and managed sensitive habitats and endangered birds on the installation. She documented nesting Kentish Plovers (an endangered species) for the first time on White Beach. Certain beach areas were then closed off and she worked with facility operations to find alternate helicopter approach directions to protect their nests. She also prepared project ideas and environmental projects programming requests for natural resources work on the installations.
Waldman discovered a difficult drinking water situation after lead testing revealed elevated levels at three installations. He quickly developed and distributed required printed and electronic notifications to installation tenants and the Overseas Water Quality Board. He then ordered certified lead-free replacement piping. Waldman also chose additional sites for testing as required by Japanese Environmental Governing Standards, and wrote the yearly Consumer Confidence Reports of water quality for White Beach, Awase, Marine Corps Camp Shield, and Tengan Pier.
"I will never forget the warmth and generosity of the Okinawan people," said Waldman.
Although the work was intense, Waldman and Arnold took the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Okinawan culture. Waldman stayed at the Kadena Air Force Base Shogun Inn, a 40-minute drive to his worksite in Okinawa, while Arnold stayed on a bluff overlooking the ocean and White Beach installation. Arnold also took multiple side trips to mainland Japan to observe rare and endangered bird species.