Navy Announces EIS Preferred Alternative for Growler Operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Releases NHPA Section 106 Consultation

The Navy has identified a preferred alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzing Growler operations at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville.

Alternative 2 has been identified as the preferred alternative for force structure. This alternative establishes two new expeditionary squadrons, and adds two aircraft to each squadron that operates off aircraft carriers. This alternative adds 36 aircraft at NAS Whidbey Island. Additionally, this plan calls for nine total carrier squadrons and five expeditionary squadrons.

Scenario A has been identified as the preferred alternative for Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) distribution. Under this scenario, 88,000 total operations would occur at Ault Field, with 24,100 at OLF Coupeville. 23,700 of those operations at OLF Coupeville would be FCLP flown by EA-18G Growlers.

The operational numbers in the preferred alternative incorporate additional analysis of changes to Navy training that will reduce impacts to local communities. The reductions the Navy studied were based on two factors: the number of pilots needing training and a reduced FCLP requirement due to Precision Landing Mode, formerly known as MAGIC CARPET. Both of these factors decreased overall FCLP requirements from 42,000 presented in the Draft EIS to 29,600 annually – a 30% reduction under the preferred alternative.

No final decision has been made. The ultimate decision will be made by the Secretary of the Navy or his representative, and announced in a Record of Decision no earlier than 30 days following the public release of the Final EIS. The Navy expects the Final EIS to be released in the late summer to early fall timeframe.

Additionally, the Navy has released a document summarizing consultation efforts with respect to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) for the increase in EA-18G “Growler” aircraft and airfield operations at NAS Whidbey Island.

  • Please click here to read the Navy’s press release for the announcement of the preferred alternative and the NHPA Section 106 consultation release.
  • Please click here to read the Newspaper Notice as published in local newspapers beginning the week of June 25, 2018.
  • Please click here to read the Navy’s Section 106 consultation document.
Please go to the Current EIS Documents page to download a copy of the Draft EIS.


Past announcements can be viewed on this website by selecting the “Public Involvement” tab above or by clicking here.


The Navy has prepared a Draft EIS for EA-18G Growler airfield operations at the NAS Whidbey Island complex, Washington. The Draft EIS evaluates the potential environmental effects associated with an addition of up to 36 aircraft to NAS Whidbey Island. The purpose of the Proposed Action is to improve the Navy’s electronic attack capability and to provide the most effective force structure and tactical airborne electronic attack capabilities. Once completed, the EIS will meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) as well as all applicable state environmental regulations.

The Navy is committed to engaging the community throughout the EIS process. This website provides information about the EIS process, including previously completed NEPA studies and efforts for NAS Whidbey Island; project background; EIS project schedule; and opportunities for public involvement. Updates to this website will be made throughout the EIS process to keep you informed about the project.

Please use the buttons at the top of the webpage to navigate through the site and learn more about the proposed project and how you can participate.

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