By MC2 Amanda Cabasos
NAS Jax Public Affairs

NAS Jax and NS Mayport received Environmental Excellence Awards presented by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) during the Mayor's Environmental Awards Luncheon at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens on March 6. 

The award recognizes the team efforts in successfully preventing violations and improving environmental compliance and sustainability at the local naval facilities. 

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said, "This is a real important award. You know we pride ourselves on working with all of our stakeholders in our community to make Jacksonville a better place to live, work and raise a family - and the environment is one of them. 

"We like to make sure that people can enjoy our natural resources. We have the largest urban park system in the country, but we want it to be the best. Having more access to the river and our naturally pristine parks is important, so this award speaks volumes about our partnership and commitment to make Jacksonville the best place to live, work and raise a family."

The base leadership of U.S. Navy facilities located in Jacksonville established the Northeast Florida Environmental Compliance Partnering Team in 2002.

The vision for this team was, "the Navy and regulatory community working together to achieve environmental excellence and accomplish individual organization missions."

The Northeast Florida Environmental Compliance Partnering Team has met quarterly for more than 11 years to continuously develop and maintain a working relationship that identifies and executes new solutions for the Navy to help improve compliance with environmental regulations, while ensuring the protection of public health and safety. 

FDEP Assistant Director Jim Maher said, "FDEP enthusiastically celebrates our progressive and innovative partnership with the U.S. Navy facilities in Northeast Florida. The NAS Jax and NS Mayport installations' commitment to environmental excellence and sustainability have yielded record compliance rates and resource conservation. Their leadership provides an example for assisting our progress with the St. Johns River and throughout the region." 

The team includes representatives from NAS Jax, NS Mayport, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast, the FDEP's Northeast District, the St. Johns River Water Management District and the City of Jacksonville.

NAS Jax Commanding Officer Capt. Roy Undersander said, "It's a real honor to receive this award, but this one is particularly special because we did not start this project with the intent of wining an award," he said proudly. "We started the project because it was the right thing to do. It was true recognition by the FDEP of our efforts to work with different agencies. It has truly been a successful relationship between our Navy and other agencies to cut down on a number of compliance issues." 

He concluded, "It's a win-win situation because the Navy has accomplished its mission, as well as being a good steward of the environment - and a good neighbor to surrounding communities. Thank you."