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Environmental Restoration and Munitions Response

Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

Munitions pile at Vieques

From the mid-1940s until 2003, the Navy and allied forces tested weapons and conducted other military training activities on the eastern part of Vieques Island, within the 15,000-acre Vieques Naval Training Range, as well as offshore.The installation was then transferred to federal and local agencies for reuse, while the Navy retained the responsibility for high priority cleanup and restoration.

Since 1999, Jacobs has provided continuous support for the Navy’s environmental and munitions response programs on Vieques Island.

We're responsible for investigation and munitions response quality assurance for more than 20,000 acres of land and underwater area potentially containing munitions.

Key Facts

15K

land acres and 12K underwater acres being restored following more than half a century of impacts from Navy and allied forces training

100K+

munitions items destroyed to date

Jacobs is proud to support the Navy's remediation efforts in Puerto Rico. The team's innovative strategies for addressing the impacts of decades of military training are creating a safe environmental footprint for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Jan Walstrom
Jacobs Global Environmental Market Director and Global Environmental Solutions, Senior Vice President & General Manager

Award-winning restoration on land and under-the-sea

Helicopter over Vieques Island
Diver at Vieques
Surveying overlooking ocean
Surveying

Our services on Vieques Island include:

  • Developing munitions removal standard operating procedures.
  • Establishing and monitoring performance metrics for munitions response removal contractors.
  • Developing and maintaining a web-based munitions GIS system to monitor the progress of the munitions response program.
  • Characterizing the impact of more than a half-century of military training on the former training range, assessing human health and ecological risks and explosive hazards, and developing appropriate remedial actions.

Additionally, we’ve implemented a continual process improvement cycle, resulting in estimated cost savings for the Navy in the millions of dollars. Our team is also harnessing the latest technologies, such as:

  • Remotely operated equipment to remove bombs and vegetation in an area containing a high density of very sensitive sub-munitions to provide safe access for munitions removal contractors.
  • Remotely operated equipment along beaches to remove munitions below water that to date have been inaccessible by manual removal.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles to safely monitor munitions detonations, environmental resources, personnel and other aspects of munitions cleanup.
  • Underwater remotely operated vehicles and geophysical equipment to identify munitions on and beneath the sea floor.
  • Advanced geophysical classification systems to not only detect, but differentiate subsurface munitions from innocuous metallic debris.

In 2018, the Environmental Restoration Team at Vieques received the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) award, the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) award and the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) award for the cleanup efforts in Vieques, part of which is now the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge houses a variety of natural resources, including subtropical dry forests, lagoons and coral reefs, and endangered species such as sea turtles, manatees and brown pelicans.

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