Noman’s Land, the tiny island off Chilmark that was used for decades as a bombing range, will remain closed to the public as an unstaffed wildlife refuge, and minimal further efforts will be made to remove unexploded munitions there, according to a decision issued this month by the U.S. Navy.

Instead, the federal government will rely on better signage, a public awareness campaign and enforcement of restrictions on access to protect public health and safety.

The decision, announced by the Navy and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, concluded years of study and followed a mixed reaction when first proposed for public comment in the fall of 2020. The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) was among those urging the Navy to conduct a full cleanup of the site, while others, including Island naturalist Gus Ben David, lobbied for leaving Noman’s alone.

“Oh, thank God. That’s wonderful news,” said Mr. Ben David, on learning of the decision on Thursday.

In a 190-page Record of Decision released last week, the Navy detailed three possible approaches that were considered to address the Island’s risk to public health and safety, ranging from complete removal and neutralization of ordnance to doing nothing, before settling on a middle option, known as Alternative S2.

“The risk of harm to public safety will be managed with the use of institutional controls restricting unauthorized access to the island, public awareness of the island’s access restrictions and dangers, and enforcement of access restrictions through surveillance, citations, and fines for violations,” the report concludes, adding that the situation will be reviewed in five years.

While acknowledging some community sentiment for a full cleanup of the island and the water surrounding it, the report said that option “was deemed impracticable because it would result in damage to habitat and loss of wildlife, if implemented.”

In a commentary for the Gazette that was cited in the Navy report, Mr. Ben David said he visited Noman’s frequently in the 1970s and 1980s and called the variety of wildlife there “extraordinary.”

“It is a migratory bird stopover for the ospreys, eagles and peregrine falcons that frequent our shores. It has probably the largest and healthiest spotted turtle population in the commonwealth — along with two other species of turtle,” Mr. Ben David wrote. “There are four species of reptiles, including garter snakes, extraordinary for their greenish-blue coloration. Virginia rail nest there along with white egrets and Leach’s storm petrels.”

Located 2.7 miles south of Chilmark, Noman’s is a 628-acre glacial moraine, about a third of which is covered by cranberry bogs and dotted with shallow ponds. It was once settled by native American Indians and used by them and others for fishing and small game hunting.

Starting in 1943, the Navy took control of the island for air-to-surface bombing and gunnery target exercises, a practice that continued on and off until 1996. In 1998, ownership of Nomans was transferred from the Navy to the Fish and Wildlife Service, though the Navy retained responsibility for remediating the damage to it.

Historical records indicate that Navy SeaBees would clear unexploded ordnance from the island twice a year, according to the report, and between 1998 and 2014, some 377 tons of ordnance and metal debris was removed from the island.

In its Record of Decision, the Navy said it based its assessment using criteria in the federal Superfund act aimed at protecting public health, safety and welfare, and considered multiple factors in weighing the three alternative approaches.

Based on various studies, the Navy concluded that the island posed no chemical or radiological risks and that the primary risk — of unexploded munitions — would be minimized by continuing to keep the public out.

The document estimated that a full cleanup of the site, which would include removing vegetation from the Island and excavating and clearing any unexploded ordnance on land or in the surrounding waters would cost about $31 million, much of it upfront. Implementing Alternative S21 is expected to cost about $11 million over 30 years.

The plan calls for dealing with unexploded munitions when required, updating and replacing signage, launching a public awareness campaign, including training and pamphlets, and monitoring and enforcing restricted access to the island and the surrounding waters.

Currently, it is illegal to access the island without permission from Fish and Wildlife, which can cite trespassers and enforce fines.

The Record of Decision is posted on the Chilmark town website.