Navy plans homeport updates for three Nimitz-class carriers

By Linda Hersey / June 9, 2023 at 12:40 PM

The Navy has announced plans to undertake a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) as it seeks to update homeport facilities at Naval Air Station North Island in California for three Nimitz-class aircraft carriers that support the Pacific fleet.

NAS North Island is part of Naval Base Coronado and spans 2,800 acres. Berths for the aircraft carriers are on the northeast side of North Island, in San Diego Bay.

Improvements will enable three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to simultaneously port at North Island “for more intermittent, nonconsecutive days per year,” according to a Navy notice published June 9.

Plans would allow for electrical upgrades to extend off base along the utility corridor in Coronado, the Navy said on a website that details the project for the public.

“The presence of three aircraft carriers may include all three NAS North Island-homeported aircraft carriers or two NAS North Island-homeported aircraft carriers and one transient aircraft carrier,” the notice said.

NAS North Island also provides port facilities for visiting or transient aircraft carriers, according to the Navy’s notice.

The Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers also may berth at NAS North Island after deployment on the West Coast, according to the notice.

There are no plans for more aircraft carriers to be homeported at NAS North Island.

An original 1999 environmental impact statement expected a need for three aircraft carriers to be in port simultaneously for 13 days per year. A 2008 SEIS increased the duration to 29 days per year.

“Because of the number of variables involved with predicting aircraft carrier berthing requirements, the Navy plans to analyze the impacts of an anticipated need for three aircraft carriers to be in port simultaneously for an average of 180 intermittent, nonconsecutive days per year,” the Navy said.

The Navy’s announcement triggers a 45-day process for public comments on the scope of the proposed SEIS. The comment period runs from June 9-July 24.

The Navy will hold three informational meetings in the community scheduled for June 27-29. Information will be available online, with meeting announcements published in local newspapers.

The Navy is in the initial stages of the process. Preparation of a draft SEIS is expected to take place in 2023-2024, with a second public comment period expected next summer.

Development of the final SEIS would follow in 2024-2025. A record of decision is expected in spring 2025.