January 10, 2009
Munitions removed from Rabbit Island
A crew of wildlife and mammal experts along with ordnance disposal specialists from state and federal agencies removed four unexploded artillery shells on Friday that were found on Manana (Rabbit) Island last month.
The ordnance is deemed hazardous to the island’s natural resources and authorized personnel who monitor the wildlife.
On Dec. 17, contractors working for the Army Corps of Engineers found four intact 37mm artillery shells along the southern shoreline of Manana Island in tidal pools. The munitions were discovered as part of a Corps of Engineers site investigation on a formerly used defense site.
Once the munitions were found, the Corps notified the landowner, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, so that they could initiate removal. DLNR contacted Army Explosives Ordnance Disposal to coordinate the safe removal of the munitions.
Ordnance removal will be carried out by experts from the Army’s 8th Theater Support Command.
The plan is to remove the shells and transport them to an Army facility where they will be safely destroyed. If due to safety concerns the shells cannot be removed from Manana, they may be transported to a place on the islet where an on-site detonation cannot harm any marine wildlife.
In case of detonation, the blast will be funneled downward, so that the ground will absorb the explosion to minimize damage to the islet, officials said. An explosion may be heard on shore.
During these activities, a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), assisted by Division of Forestry and Wildlife will ensure that no harm is done to monk seals.