The Joint Region Marianas has suspended the Realistic Urban Training Exercise (RUTEX) at Tanguisson Power Plant following the discovery of native endangered species during a pre-survey of the area planned for the scheduled exercise.
JRM said the training will continue as planned, however specific training originally planned for the Tanguisson area will be relocated.
“With the exercise scheduled to start in that area in the next few days there was not sufficient time to ensure our activities would not disturb the local endangered species,” said Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, JRM commander.
It was not clear what species were found in the site of the suspended training.
“While the training is very important, it was determined that if time did not allow for proper mitigation that relocating the training was the best option.”
The military drill, which began on Jan. 8 will run until Jan. 20.
While the majority of the annual training activities will occur on Anderson Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam, Navy officials say the critical components of the 13-day training entail the use of civilian properties at Tanguison Power Plant, Agana Water Treatment Plant and the adjacent buildings including the Sirena Plaza in Hagatna.
Earlier this week, Gov. Eddie Calvo agreed to RUTEX after getting reassurances from JRM that the exercises would not include the use of small arms marking system rounds during off-base training.
“The administration recognizes the importance of the RUTEX military exercise for the readiness of the Marines and civilian law enforcement,” a press release from Adelup reads.
George Charfauros, homeland security advisor, said Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense will continue to work with DoD, federal, and local participants to coordinate this annual joint exercise.
JRM also announced the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 will conduct underwater detonation training at the Piti Floating Mine Neutralization Site Jan. 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
EODMU-5 will detonate one 1.25 lb. explosive at the designated deep water UNDET location approximately one mile north of Cabras Island, 1-2 ft. below the water’s surface.
EODMU 5 performs underwater detonation training to develop the skills needed to be ready to rapidly respond to operational missions and unexploded ordnance support on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The Navy said it conducted a multi-year environmental analysis. The National Marine Fisheries Service, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act, granted the Navy authorization to conduct underwater detonation training.
“The Navy is a committed environmental steward and employs protective measures to safeguard marine resources,” JRM said in a press release.
“For the safety of personnel and marine life, the area will be visually cleared by divers and by lookouts on the surface before, during and after the exercise. All activity will cease temporarily if a person or marine life is seen in the area.”