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The team receives their River Star awards at the Elizabeth River Project’s River Star Awards Luncheon on Jan. 23. (From left to right) Amy Hardy, NSA Hampton Roads Water Program Manager; Taylor Austin, NSA Hampton Roads Natural and Cultural Resources Manager; Capt. Jason Todd Lewis, Medical Service Corps, Director For Administration at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth; Virginia Governor Ralph Northam; Rachel Lanette Donegan, Environmental Program Manager for Naval Medical Center Portsmouth; Linda Hicks, NSA Hampton Roads Environmental Program Manager; Cmdr. Terra Gray, NSA Hampton Roads Executive Officer; and Lt. Cmdr. Elise Chapdelaine, NSA Hampton Roads Public Works Officer.

PORTSMOUTH, Va.

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads received three River Star Awards for environmental stewardship at their three sites at Headquarters, Lafayette River Annex and Portsmouth Annex during the Elizabeth River Project’s River Star Awards Luncheon on Jan. 23.

“I am very proud of our team for continuing to implement ways to protect our environment,” said Capt. Jonathan Kline, Commanding Officer at NSA Hampton Roads. “These awards speak volumes and show just how dedicated we are to environmental stewardship.”

The Elizabeth River Project is the non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging community involvement in protecting and restoring the Elizabeth River and her watershed. They recognize businesses and organizations around the Hampton Roads area that have voluntary pollution prevention and wildlife rehabilitation programs.

NSA Hampton Roads has been recognized as a River Star Business for 26 years total for the three annexes. Approximately 20 years at the Model Level at Portsmouth Annex, five years at the Achievement Level at Lafayette River Annex, and one year at the Achievement Level at Headquarters.

The installation received Sustained Superior Performance awards for both Portsmouth Annex and Lafayette River Annex, in which they achieved Model Level many years ago. At Headquarters, they attained Achievement Level, which is one step below Model.

“It is very exciting to receive these awards,” said Lt. Cmdr. Elise Chapdelaine, Public Works Officer at NSA Hampton Roads. “The hard work the environmental team does to sustain and improve these programs that so significantly impact our local environment is impressive.”

NSA Hampton Roads participated in various environmental projects to become a River Star business to include installation and upkeep of oyster cages at Portsmouth Annex and Lafayette River Annex; use of permeable paving at Portsmouth Annex to limit runoff pollution; voluntary native wetland planting at Portsmouth Annex and Lafayette River Annex returning some land to native growth and more naturally mitigating erosion issues; installation and annual upkeep of a Pollinator Garden at Portsmouth Annex; and high quality execution of hazardous material and waste programs to ensure neither storm water or sanitary sewers have contamination inflow from the many waste streams at Portsmouth Annex and Headquarters.

The installation is not finished yet as there are various future projects planned that will help continue to save and protect the environment.

“We just awarded an energy savings performance contract to decentralize and modernize the heating system for many of the buildings at Northwest Annex and install energy-saving water fixtures in key locations there and at Headquarters,” said Chapdelaine. “We will also be installing oyster castles at Lafayette River Annex this year, a more robust version of the oyster cages we have had that will act as a man-made reef, providing surface for oysters and other native wildlife and provide some erosion control.”

As a River Star Business, NSA Hampton Roads has documented significant achievement in wildlife habitat improvements/protection and other environmentally responsible practices and are recognized as community leaders in environmental stewardship.

“The military role in National Defense usually dominates the headlines, but awards such as the River Star are truly special to draw attention to the great work, passion, and consistency of our environmental workforce,” said Kline. “I have been amazed to learn about the extensive programs in place to ensure we minimize our environmental impacts.”

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