In this file photo, Aerographer's Mate 3rd Class Chelsea Williams releases a weather balloon on the fantail aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) as the ship prepares to conduct "work-ups" off the coast of Southern California Jan. 17 in preparation for deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate)

PEARL HARBOR - Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s (CPF) Southern California (SOCAL) Range Complex Environmental Planning Team was one of 27 recipients of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Environmental Awards announced Feb. 16.

The team was recognized based on the success of the SOCAL Range Complex environmental planning and compliance project that allows CPF the ability to use sonar for its sea-based, sonar training mission while continuing to protect marine resources.

“Awards like these really recognize the hard work that the planning team has put in over the years to support the continuation of fleet training in Southern California,” said Alex Stone, the project team leader for the SOCAL Range Complex.

Stone led a diverse, interdisciplinary governmental and contractor team in support of one of the most highly visible, operationally critical and environmentally complex planning efforts in the Navy.

The work the planning team does is a testament to the Navy and the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s commitment to environmental stewardship and ensures that the Navy’s training has the least amount of impact on the environment possible, said Stone.

The Navy has been training for more than 40 years on the SOCAL complex, which is the principal training range for aviation, surface, submarine, amphibious and special warfare units located in Southern California and spans an area of about 120,000 square nautical miles.

Part of the planning team’s job requires completing necessary environmental planning documentation and full compliance with laws and regulations, offering the public opportunities to participate, and conducting comprehensive marine resources assessments including long-term, at-sea monitoring.

The annual CNO Environmental Awards program recognizes Navy ships, installations, and individuals or teams for exceptional environmental stewardship. The SOCAL planning team was one of two recipients of awards under the Environmental Planning Team category. Fifteen other commands in CPF’s area of responsibility received the prestigious CNO Environmental Award this year:

• Cultural Resources Management Installation Award: Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada; Naval Base Guam. • Environmental Quality Industrial Installation Award: Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, California, including Corona and Fallbrook Detachments. • Environmental Quality Overseas Installation Award: Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan; Navy Region Center, Singapore. • Environmental Quality Small Ship Award: USS Momsen (DDG 92); USS Sterett (DDG 104); USS Thach (FFG 43). • Environmental Restoration Installation Award: Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California. • Natural Resources Conservation Large Installation Award: Naval Air Station Lemoore, California; Naval Base Coronado, California; Naval Base Ventura County, California. • Sustainability Individual or Team Award: Environmental Sustainability Team, Fleet And Industrial Supply Center Pearl Harbor. • Sustainability Non-Industrial Installation Award: Naval Base San Diego, California; Naval Station Pearl Harbor.

The CNO award winners will be honored in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., June 7.