The Fuel Pier Replacement Project at the Naval Base Point Loma has won the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Environmental Award in the Natural Resource Conservation – Team category. This annual awards program recognizes Navy ships, installations, and people and teams for outstanding performance in promoting environmental stewardship. Derek Lerma was a key team member as the project manager and senior marine scientist in charge of construction monitoring and marine survey efforts, including implementation of protocols for marine mammals, Green sea turtles, fish, eelgrass, water quality, and sediment.
Project work included marine species survey efforts to establish baseline existing marine species densities, habitat use, and general movement patterns relative to a variety of in-water construction activities. Along with the baseline monitoring efforts, marine species monitoring occurred during demolition of the existing fuel pier, and construction of a new fuel pier. Construction monitoring:
- Occurred at multiple locations in the San Diego bay and utilized both land- and vessel-based observers.
- Required background checks for employees and subcontractors, coordination with U.S. Navy and construction personnel, use of aerial photographic images and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, and complex on-water logistics.
- Assessed the presence/absence of marine species relative to pre-, during, and post-construction timeframes, as well as the use of hydrophones to measure sound pressure levels at various distances from in-water construction activities.
During construction, sound measurements analysis included vibratory and impact pile driving to evaluate impacts to marine species and associated marine habitats. This data provided acoustic contours and aided in the development of a transmission loss model to determine the spatial extent of marine mammal “take” thresholds.
Congratulations to Derek and the rest of the team for displaying excellence in this project!