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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Government exercises will be conducted at Navy base’s Anaheim Bay this week – Orange County Register

An oil spill exercise and a Navy safety drill, including the use of mock machine-gunfire, will be held in Anaheim Bay, near Seal Beach, this week.

The two drills by government agencies could likely include loud noises, especially on Friday, Sept. 22, during a security drill at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, officials said. An oil spill drill planned for Tuesday, from 8 to 10 a.m., will close the bay, including the public boating channel, which typically see several hundred boats a day passing between the ocean and Huntington Harbor.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will deploy booms across the bay during the drill preparing for an offshore spill making its way toward Huntington Harbor and the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge. The floating plastic barriers protect against spreading surface oil and can keep it away from sensitive areas.

The test is part of the department’s Sensitive Site Strategy Evaluation, a statewide program ensuring the effectiveness of oil spill response strategies near sensitive coastal and estuarine resources. The wetlands at the Navy base are one of 600 environmentally sensitive sites identified along California’s coast.

Once the testing is done, officials from the department’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response will evaluate and make recommendations to modify and improve the local strategy, officials said.

On Friday, the Navy’s harbor patrol will be using blank machine-gun fire during a drill that mimics a base attack.

“They don’t always use blank amo, so we didn’t want the public to think live amo was being used at the bay,” said Gregg Smith, spokesman for the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, about the public notice released ahead of Friday.

That exercise will not require the bay to be closed off because the public boaters’ channel no longer goes through the center of the harbor. The civilian channel was shifted when work on the base’s new ammunition pier got underway.

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