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Supporting Military Mission Resilience with Nature-based Solutions

20 April 2023

From Naval Base Ventura County Public Affairs

POINT MUGU, Calif. - A recent study, co-authored by Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), concludes resilience could be significantly increased at the coastal base by consolidating vulnerable infrastructure on higher ground and restoring wetlands, dunes, and beaches, which buffer the base from storms and absorb floodwaters.

The U.S. Navy conducted an annual coastal cleanup on the remote beaches of San Nicolas Island (SNI), the most isolated of the California Channel Islands, located sixty-five miles offshore, and South of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu. The cleanup team consisted of nearly fifty volunteer Navy Sailors and civilians assigned to NBVC and Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, who removed over two-thousand pounds of trash and debris on three SNI beaches. NBVC is a strategically located Naval installation composed of three operating facilities: Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island. NBVC is the home of the Pacific Seabees, West Coast E-2D Hawkeyes, 3 warfare centers and 80 tenants.
SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2022) – The U.S. Navy conducted an annual coastal cleanup on the remote beaches of San Nicolas Island (SNI), the most isolated of the California Channel Islands, located sixty-five miles offshore, and South of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu. The cleanup team consisted of nearly fifty volunteer Navy Sailors and civilians assigned to NBVC and Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, who removed over two-thousand pounds of trash and debris on three SNI beaches. NBVC is a strategically located Naval installation composed of three operating facilities: Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island. NBVC is the home of the Pacific Seabees, West Coast E-2D Hawkeyes, 3 warfare centers and 80 tenants.
The U.S. Navy conducted an annual coastal cleanup on the remote beaches of San Nicolas Island (SNI), the most isolated of the California Channel Islands, located sixty-five miles offshore, and South of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu. The cleanup team consisted of nearly fifty volunteer Navy Sailors and civilians assigned to NBVC and Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, who removed over two-thousand pounds of trash and debris on three SNI beaches. NBVC is a strategically located Naval installation composed of three operating facilities: Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island. NBVC is the home of the Pacific Seabees, West Coast E-2D Hawkeyes, 3 warfare centers and 80 tenants.
221006-N-AS200-1400
SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2022) – The U.S. Navy conducted an annual coastal cleanup on the remote beaches of San Nicolas Island (SNI), the most isolated of the California Channel Islands, located sixty-five miles offshore, and South of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu. The cleanup team consisted of nearly fifty volunteer Navy Sailors and civilians assigned to NBVC and Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, who removed over two-thousand pounds of trash and debris on three SNI beaches. NBVC is a strategically located Naval installation composed of three operating facilities: Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island. NBVC is the home of the Pacific Seabees, West Coast E-2D Hawkeyes, 3 warfare centers and 80 tenants.
Photo By: Ensign Drew Verbis
VIRIN: 221006-N-AS200-1400


Military installations and operations are now persistently disrupted by recurrent drought, heat waves, catastrophic wildfires, and flooding. Coastal installations also face rising seas, erosion, and increasingly powerful storms. These challenges require durable and long-term solutions to ensure the resilience of the military mission, including an important role that natural and nature-based features (NNBF) (or natural infrastructure) can play for military installation resilience (MIR) and mission assurance.

Naval Base Ventura County, located 55 miles northwest of Los Angeles along the Ventura coastline, is a critical Navy asset that allows direct access to restricted air and sea space in the 36,000 square miles of the Point Mugu Sea Range. Because of its coastal location, NBVC faces impacts from coastal erosion and wave run-up, inundation from high tides, and flooding from storm surges from the sea and from the adjacent Calleguas Creek.

These hazards are increasing in intensity, frequency, and duration and will increase further as sea levels rise, damaging the built infrastructure and natural habitats of the base. Today, the Mugu Lagoon, one the largest and most intact coastal marshes in southern California, is located largely within the fence line of NBVC. It provides significant protection against these impacts, but it too – and the level of protection it now provides - is subject to the adverse impacts of climate change.

To develop a long-term plan for resilience, the Commander of Navy Region Southwest established a first-of-its-kind partnership with TNC to assess vulnerabilities and co-develop specific recommended actions to improve base resilience and enhance natural resources and the multiple benefits they provide. Under this partnership, the team developed a body of rigorous and foundational science, amassing the best available data, adjusting the models to account for local conditions, including topography, oceanography, and river dynamics, to support the evaluation of vulnerabilities and develop a vision for long-term resilience.

The team mapped tidal inundation, storm flooding, wave run-up, erosion, and fluvial flooding for the entire base for the years 2010, 2030, 2060 and 2100, down-scaled and fine-tuned to local conditions. The team measured how hazard exposure will likely impact both built assets and natural habitats over time and developed risk scores for each individual component of the built environment including buildings, roads, utilities, and other assets.

The analysis shows that if the base stays in its current configuration—with roads, buildings and other infrastructure crisscrossing through low-lying wetlands—the installation’s frontline of beaches, dunes, marsh and mudflats would continue to erode or disappear. With projected sea level rise, many built assets will be submerged by open water. In addition, the vast majority of the natural features – and their protective functions - will also be lost. The vision recommends a suite of adaptation actions and pathways to improve the resilience of built assets, restore natural habitats, preserve base functionality, and support the military mission, including moving hard infrastructure out of hazard zones into safer grounds where possible, and restoring natural habitats and ecological processes in their place.

There is growing awareness across the Department of Defense that natural processes contribute to resilient ecosystems that, in turn, can offer long-term protection to built assets.

“Naval Base Ventura County’s work developing nature-based solutions at scale to build resilience, partnering with external stakeholders, is an excellent model of what’s possible for the Department,” said Deborah Loomis, Senior Advisor for Climate Change to the Secretary of the Navy.”

With the threat of climate change to national security, the military services must now incorporate climate considerations into infrastructure and operations planning, and comprehensively assess and manage risks associated with the impacts of a changing climate. NNBF are valuable tools in the toolbox as the military identifies long-term and durable resilience solutions.

Just as we invest in the resilience of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, investment in natural infrastructure – both on and outside of military installations - can also provide protection to military assets, surrounding communities, and provide other benefits to local economies, human well-being, and wildlife.

NBVC is home to Point Mugu, Port Hueneme, San Nicolas Island, Laguna Peak, the Pacific Coast Seabees, the West coast Hawkeyes, 3 warfare centers, and 80 tenants. It is the largest employer in Ventura County and actively protects California’s largest coastal wetlands through its award-winning environmental programs.

For more information on this topic follow the story map:

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/b389041d650f40d79e707bb1ffb36d7e

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