PMRF wins Navy environmental awards for conservation

Representatives of the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Mana will be in Washington, D.C., June 5 to accept an award from the Chief of Naval Operations naming it one of the best installations in the U.S. Navy for environmental and cultural stewardship.

Vice Adm. William Burke, deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics, in February announced PMRF a winner in two of the 2011 CNO Environmental Award programs — one for Natural Resources Conservation-Small Installation, and the other for Natural Resources Conservation-Team, states a release from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF).

The small installation category recognizes excellence in facility-wide stewardship and the creation and implementation of conservation projects and programs.

The team award recognizes Navy professionals responsible for implementing the multi-agency reviewed Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan.

“I am extremely proud of the PMRF team being recognized with the Natural Resources Conservation awards,” said Capt. Nicholas Mongillo, commanding officer of PMRF.

“With seven miles of coastline and access to millions of miles of ocean for range requirements, PMRF understands the importance of preserving this precious resource and the need to partner with those who share that understanding,” Mongillo said.

Mongillo said local outreach is important.

“We reach out to the local community, as well as to include them, to understand their concerns, to listen to their recommendations and learn from them and their traditions,” he said.

“To be recognized with these awards was truly a team effort, and we are dedicated to the continued proactive stewardship of Barking Sands and the deep history and importance of the surrounding area.”

PMRF has established itself as the world’s largest, fully-instrumented range in the world.

PMRF partners  with Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha, a local native Hawaiian charter school, and the National Tropical Botanical Garden to develop and maintain a living, educational display of the four major habitat types, or biomes, which existed on the Mana Plain prior to modern times.

Sailors, civilians, and contractors, in partnership with some of the schools, participated in significant beach cleanups on World Oceans Day in June 2011 and on the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept. 17, 2011.

PMRF’s Laysan Albatross “Surrogate Parenting Program” is a partnership that began with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

The program has continuously improved to the point where relocated bird and egg transfers need to be placed on private lands due to overcrowding at the Kilauea refuge.

PMRF’s partnership now includes private land owners, encouraging their efforts to build predator-proof acreage suitable for the development of new colonies of Laysan Albatross far from the airfield at Barking Sands.

“We could not accomplish our goals as one of the Navy’s best installations as stewards of the environment without forging successful relationships through cooperative conservation with organizations and programs outside the gate. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a long-lasting, pro-active educational environment which promotes stewardship of both the land and the Native Hawaiian culture,” said John Burger, PMRF’s range complex sustainment support team environmental coordinator.

PMRF was announced as the 2008 CNO Environmental Award winner for the Cultural Resources Management-Installation category in 2009. In 2010, PMRF was recognized for the Navy’s Natural Resources Conservation-Individual category for 2009.

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