The new controls are the result of an NRDC lawsuit that demanded the Navy rein in its deadly sonar before beginning two years of maneuvers near the Channel Islands of the coast of California. This area is home to five endangered species of whales.
U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper said the Navy's existing plan for protecting marine mammals was "grossly inadequate" and she ordered the Navy to take precautionary measures to protect whales from needless injury and death.
- The Navy is not permitted to use mid-frequency sonar within 12 miles of the California coast.
- Sonar is banned in the Catalina Basin, an underwater canyon with a high density of whales.
- The Navy will have to monitor, from the sea and from the air, for marine mammals before and during its sonar exercises.
- The Navy will shut down sonar if marine mammals are spotted within 2200 yards of the ship.