March 27, 2020 – The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 directed the Department of the Navy to provide a report to the congressional defense committees by March 20, 2020 on real-time sound monitoring at no fewer than two Navy installations on the west coast. Pursuant to this directive, the Navy will conduct real-time noise monitoring of aircraft-in-flight at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, WA and at NAS Lemoore, CA.
The Navy will rely on American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Acoustical Society of America guidance to undertake the monitoring effort. During monitoring periods, the Navy team will place at least 10 Sound Level Meters (SLM) at pre-determined locations “along and in the vicinity of flight paths” as directed by the NDAA. The Navy will also work with local elected officials and other Federal agencies when identifying SLM monitoring locations to ensure community concerns are addressed by the noise monitoring effort. There are no plans to conduct public meetings.
According to Lucian Niemeyer, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, “The Navy values the outstanding community support which allows our military forces to conduct realistic training for our Nation’s security.” Niemeyer added, “We want to make sure our noise monitoring effort is comprehensive and that the data collected meets the intent of Congress and addresses local concerns.”
The Navy will submit a status report to the congressional defense committees by December 1, 2020 and continue monitoring through the summer of 2021. The final report will include the results of such monitoring, a comparison of such monitoring with noise contours developed as a part of this effort and with previously developed noise modeling, and an overview of any changes to the analysis and modeling process that have been made or are being considered as a result of the findings of monitoring.