BREMERTON, Wash. – USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Sailors removed invasive vegetation along the Sinclair Inlet shoreline, just south of the Naval Base Kitsap (NBK)-Bremerton Pass and ID office, as part of NBKs Earth Day events. April 25.
As a part of the cleanup efforts participants removed trash and undesired invasive vegetation, such as scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry and butterfly bush.
“This is a project is in coordination with the state department of ecology to send volunteers from the Nimitz to clear brush, all of the invasive species while leaving the native plants in place. This creates a natural habitat for the native plants and animals,” said Charlie Escola, the Navy Technical Representative for the environmental remediation department. “These guys have done a superior job, and I do mean superior. I can’t say it enough, they’re doing a wonderful job and we really appreciate it, kudos and thanks to them.”
The invasive vegetation overtakes native plants, which provide a habitat for local fish and birds, and prevents native vegetation from growing. Volunteers spent the day removing the vegetation to improve growth and restore the natural habitat.
“We’re killing an invasive species of plants and protecting the native species within the Puget Sound area,” said Jonathan Rex Bartuzuk, a volunteer at the cleanup. “Each plant requires a certain radius to grow; the invasive plants have an accelerated growth, which interferes with the surrounding environment. It’s good to help out the community, Puget Sound needs help to take care of this naturally growing environment.”
Earth Day, first celebrated in 1970, is an annual event to honor the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about pollution. Various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. April 22 is observed worldwide as Earth Day with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.
“We’re glad to be out here helping take care of the environment for Earth Day,” said Quartermaster 1st Class Jeremy McKagan, the petty officer in charge of the cleanup. “This is an environmentally protected habitat restoration project. We’re trying to keep it as environmentally safe as possible out here.”
“Building Strength Through Stewardship” is the Navy’s theme for this year’s Earth Day, and the Nimitz Commanding Officer, Capt. Kevin Lenox, believes that being a steward for our environment is more than a one-day event.
“Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula, Naval Base Kitsap is a spectacular place for our Sailors to live and work. I’m glad we can help maintain the beauty by participating in a project like this,” said Lenox. “More than 3,000 Sailors have been welcomed here with open arms, and helping maintain the local environment gives back to the community and gives our Sailors great pride.”
Even with Nimitz underway completing its final pre-deployment training, Nimitz was still well represented with approximately 13 Sailors from the beach detachment volunteering their time to help clean the area.
“We’re basically taking out everything that isn’t native to this area, all the invasive species like the blackberry bushes that are prominent here in Washington,” said Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Brandon Norman, a volunteer for the cleanup. “We’re just making it look nice.”
The beach detachment is a detachment that allows Sailors who are transferring or separating from the Navy while the ship is underway, to stay back and take care of their preparations for transfer and separation.
Nimitz is currently underway along with its Carrier Strike Group 11, having successfully completed its final pre-deployment assessment, Composite Training Unit Exercise, April 21, and is now fully certified to deploy later this year.
Story by MC2 Vaughan Dill