Whales could face naval sonar threat

Image by Flickr user TheAlieness GiselaGiardinoImage by 20080918sonar.jpg Sound plays an integral role in whale life and survival, and they don't like the sound the Navy plays. You might equate it to Richard Simmons performing at a symphony hall.

The US Navy aims to build an extended sonar training range on the Eastern Seaboard, but local and regional conservationists say it's a terrible idea. That after being denied by ocean wildlife conservationists, the Navy persistently redrafted their proposal in an effort to improve communication and navigation.

Here’s a word from the project manager:
The environmental impact study does show there are some behavioral reactions to sound. But the effects are low level and temporary. There's no permanent damage.

But in 2005 there was much speculative evidence to the contrary when 30 whales beached themselves on the coast of North Carolina shortly after high-intensity sonar blasts. Some are worried this might recur, The Post and Courier reports:
Conservationists worry that sonar and other man-made noises could be deafening and frighten the whales into lethal beach strandings and rapid surfacing.

The Navy has moved its "preferred location" of the facility from North Carolina's Outer Banks to Jacksonville, a move that has some irate as the area is an important calving ground. Should protest continue, Charleston has been cited as an alternative in both the Jacksonville and Outer Banks proposals. But, we already have our own issues with whale protection.

Scientific evidence has consistently shown that sonar devices harm whales, so unless the Navy wants the conservationists to pester them, they should renovate their agenda. The Post and Courierhas more about this disconcerting issue.