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Joint Air Force and Navy: High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) Environmental Oversight Printable Version

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is to be a world-class arctic facility for upper atmosphere and solar-terrestrial research. HAARP is a Congressionally-mandated program jointly managed by the US Air Force and Navy. Interest in this kind of research stems from the large number of communications, surveillance, and navigation systems that have radio paths passing through the ionsophere, and from the unexplored potential of technological innovations which suggest applications such as detecting underground objects, communications to great depths in the sea or earth, and generating infrared and optical emissions. The research facility is being constructed in Gakona, Alaska, to allow access to unique ionospheric phenomena that occurs in high latitude areas. When completed the facility will be the world's most powerful (3.2 MW) and versatile of its kind. Six diesel locomotive engines operating simultaneously will power the facility. Those engines will energize a field of 180 antennas that cover approximately 50 acres. In addition to the field of antennas, there will be many diagnostic instruments ranging from large parabolic radar dish antennas to small magnetometers that measure very minor changes in the earth's magnetic field.

The Volpe Center is providing environmental compliance oversight during construction and demonstration of the HAARP facility. During this period, the Volpe Center is involved with 404 Wetland Fill and Air Quality permitting, eagle nesting concerns, gravel mining plans, EIS Mitigation Plan compliance, historical and archaeological concerns, Trumpeter Swan surveys, and construction monitoring. In addition, the Volpe Center serves on the HAARP Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) Resolution Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to ensure that the facility operates on a non-interference basis with other radio wave users and to make certain information on the project is readily available to federal, state, and local agencies and the public. This project is fundamental to the understanding and assessing potential environmental concerns related to transportation radar, communication, and navigation equipment.

Customer: U.S. Air Force ; U.S. Navy

Key Words: electromagnetic fields ; radiofrequency radiation ; NEPA ; wetland permitting, air permitting ; ecological monitoring ; environmental compliance

Mode(s): Air ; Rail ; Water

DOT Strategic Goals: Human And Natural Environment

Link to Related Subsite: HAARP Home Page

Point of Contact

Environmental Engineering Division

Paul J Valihura

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