NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- For seven decades now, the Navy has been conducting sonar and ordnance testing in the Atlantic.

This week, the public gets a chance to learn about the program and to weigh in.

Since the 1940's, the Navy has conducted sonar testing, emitting low and medium frequency sound pulses into the sea, so sailors can learn how to detect enemies.

The Navy is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the potential environmental effects from the training and testing activities.

They've initiated a 60-day public comment period and scheduled five public meetings to receive comments.

Fleet Forces Command Acoustic Policy Manager Jene Nissen says the Navy works very hard to be good stewards of the maritime domain.

"Yes, animals can react to the sound that we create from our training either from the sonar or using ordnance at sea," he said. "But those missions are critical to the Navy so we need to make sure we train, but we also implement mitigation measures so that the potential for an effects are minimized down to as close to zero as possible."

The local meeting is Wednesday at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in Norfolk, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.