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Sailors, Marine Biologists Work Together to Preserve Environment During Shark Tank Exercise

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110606-26

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Arif Patani, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND, Calif. (NNS) -- Navy Reserve Sailors from Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 1 teamed up with San Clemente Island, Calif., marine biologists June 3, to get a better understanding of the natural habitat they will be working in while participating in Exercise Shark Tank 2011.

Sailors assigned to MSRON 1 and 11 are currently training on the island as part of the month-long exercise, which focuses on multiphase expeditionary squadron level training and certifications.

"A lot of the work that we're doing now is to support the Navy not getting what's called "critical habitat" designated on the island," said Navy Region Southwest Marine Biologist Suzanne Graham. "In order for that not to happen, we are doing studies and monitoring to see what's going on in the inter tidal [zones]."

Graham added that in exchange for being proactive about managing the endangered species, regulatory agencies give the Navy the go-ahead to continue to perform exercises like Shark Tank 2011.

"This is a natural resource for every American," said Lt. Dustin Burton of MSRON 1. "It's been given to the Navy as a place to train, but at the same time it's a place where we have endemic species to the island."

The U.S. Navy trains in many diverse environments, and in order to continue training in these places the Navy must hold themselves to the same environmental standards as any other organization might.

"We're out here for Shark Tank 2011," said Burton. "But part of this evolution is helping out the biological and environmental aspect on the island; making sure that we understand the critical resources here, and how we can better protect them."

Burton said he and the other Sailors want to be the best stewards of the environment possible during the exercise.

"We want to understand and be able to take back to our troops some of the sensitivities and make sure we're not stepping on places we shouldn't be stepping on," said Burton.

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