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Santa Cruz Island (SCI)

Santa Cruz Island (SCI) is located within the Sea Range approximately 25 NM west of Point Mugu. The Navy leases a mountain top near the eastern end of the island for an instrumentation complex. The complex is housed on a ten-acre parcel and includes barracks, a power plant, fire station and a heliport. Instrumentation consists of meteorological data collection, secure VHF/UHF radio communications and data transmission, microwave relay to/from VAFB, Laguna Peak and SNI, and surface surveillance radar coverage of the Sea Range.

Santa Cruz Island, the largest of California's Channel Islands, is about 20 miles west Ventura. Most of the island is owned by the Nature Conservancy, a private organization that has purchased land in California for preservation in its natural state. The remainder is owned by the National Park Service. This is a beautiful, rugged island with an interesting history. Native Americans from the Chumash tribe are the first known inhabitants. Since Europeans reached California, Santa Cruz has seen Spanish explorers, a shipload of convicts, Californian ranchers and most recently, inclusion in Channel Islands National Park. A tour of the island offers glimpses of old wineries, olive orchards, and plenty of wide-open spaces.

One aspect of ship quieting efforts was full-scale trial measurements to pinpoint noise problems. Starting on the West Coast, new ship equipment was tested prior to installation on new construction ships at a test range called Carr Inlet, near Seattle. Around 1970 problems arose at Carr Inlet with ships running aground. Some high speed tests were moved to Santa Cruz Island, California. By 1985, Santa Cruz became too noisy, and the Navy sought a new location for conducting noise measurements on the West Coast. A location was found in Alaska where the water was very quiet. At that location, a new facility called SEAFAC was built and commissioned in 1991.

The Navy's China Lake Energy Office, California, has installed three unique photovoltaic projects on Santa Cruz Island, 8.5 miles from the mountaintop facility. These projects include a photovoltaic array that provides 139 kilowatts to a battery bank capable of holding 2.4 million watt hours. Another project is a water pump, powered by energy from the photovoltaic application, which provides water from 1,500 feet below the surface to the installation. In the initial year of the projects, the Navy saved $400,000 and expects to continue saving.


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