Representatives from the U.S. Navy appeared before City Council on Monday to present their plans for Northern Edge, a military program of joint training exercises occurring biennially since 1975. From May 3-14 the armed forces will conduct predominantly air-focused exercises over large portions of the state, including a 42,000 nm2 area of the Gulf of Alaska deemed the Temporary Maritime Activities Area (TMAA).
Alaskan Command Public Affairs Senior Chief Petty Officer Brandon Raile gave a presentation before Council in which he stressed the strategic importance of such exercises and the need for space that only Alaska can provide. Over 50 aircraft will be conducting exercises within the TMAA from a carrier strike group in the gulf. U.S. Pacific Fleet NW/Alaska Environmental Program Manager John Mosher appeared via teleconference providing information on the measures that have been taken to mitigate environmental impact.
“We have determined that there is minimal impact on marine species from these activities, very specifically with fish,” Mosher said. “The TMAA was positioned very specifically to avoid fisheries management areas, specifically with some of the important commercial fish species — salmon, groundfish — no overlap with those fishing areas at all. There’s no mortality of fish from sonar, which is an area of our activities that gets a fair amount of scrutiny, but there is no impact to fish from sonar. With the minimization of explosives, this also helps minimize those effects on marine species.”
Mosher stressed that no restrictions on civilian or commercial navigation will be enforced within the TMAA. The armed forces last conducted Northern Edge exercises in 2019. For more information, contact NE21 Joint Information Bureau Major Michael Hertzog at Michael.Hertzog.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (907) 552-8153. For information on the environmental impact of Northern Edge, contact John Mosher at John.email@example.com or call (360) 257-3234.