Navy says Ritidian live fire range will 'safeguard' the environment and protect cultural res
On the heels of protests organized by the environmental group Protehi Litakyan-Save Ritidian, the Navy and Marine Corps are emphasizing that the plan for the live-fire training range complex at Northwest Field on Andersen AFB includes strict measures to protect cultural and natural resources and to restore 1,000 acres of land on Guam.
Last week Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific awarded a $78 million firm-fixed-price contract to Guam-based Black Construction Corp., for the design and construction of the live-fire training range complex on 700 acres of Department of Defense property at Northwest Field. The range complex is to include multiple live-fire training ranges and supporting structures. This project also provides for the rehabilitation and widening of Route 3A from Potts Junction to the entry control point of the range complex.
“Following extensive work to meet the DoD mission, while focusing on responsible use of natural resources and protection of cultural resources, the Marine Corps is pleased to see this contract awarded,” said Officer in Charge of Marine Corps Activity Guam Colonel Brent Bien. “We are committed to Guam, and our forward presence here will play an essential role in strengthening the military’s ability to maintain regional security and protect the nation’s interests in the Pacific.” With the July 2017 favorable biological opinion for the Marine Corps relocation written in consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Department of the Navy is committed to restoration efforts focusing on recovery habitats for threatened and endangered species. To satisfy this commitment, the Navy has agreed to restore an acre of land for every acre that is to be developed. The landscape-level measures are designed to return the area to its previous state before the introduction of invasive plant and animal species. In total, the DoN plans to restore 1,000 acres.
“This deliberate focus on protection and restoration is consistent with our commitment to the One Guam and Green Guam pillars set forth by the Secretary of the Navy in the Marine Corps relocation to Guam,” said NAVFAC Marianas Commanding Officer Capt. Stephanie Jones. “These efforts are absolutely vital to support the construction of the range complex.” The Navy will construct fencing in 307 acres of Northwest Field designed to prevent the passage of wild pigs and deer thereby ensuring protection of native plant species. Additionally, invasive plant species will be removed and native species planted in their place. Long-term monitoring will take place when restoration is complete.