Brian Handwerk - National Geographic News
August 14, 2009
After considering several candidates, the U.S. Navy announced last week that it will build its latest submarine warfare training facility in the waters off Jacksonville, Florida. (See map.)(Related: "Right Whales Return to Former Killing Ground.")
That's because the chosen site for the Undersea Warfare Training Range is just 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the only known calving grounds of the North Atlantic right whale.
Only about 300 to 350 North Atlantic right whales remain. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the species as endangered, meaning it faces a "very high risk of extinction in the wild."
Several advocacy groups are contesting the Navy's choice, saying that the project could prove disastrous to the whales.
"For these right whales, it's hard to imagine a worse location," said Taryn Kiekow, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an "environmental action group."
The Navy counters that an environmental impact statement has already been carried out, and the site has approval from the U.S. government's National Marine Fisheries Service.
More at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/08/090814-whales-navy-war-games-submarines.html