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Fort Drum Buffer Program Gets $500,000 from State.The Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY) reports that Fort Drum’s Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program received a $500,000 grant from New York’s State and Municipal Facilities grant program, which is administered by the State Dormitory Authority. The Fort Drum ACUB program is a partnership between Fort Drum, the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, and Ducks Unlimited that seeks to promote land uses around the installation that are compatible with its training mission. To date, the program has purchased the development rights on 24 properties, covering approximately 6,900 acres near the installation.
Blackwater River State Forest Gets 626 Acres of Wolf Creek Forest around NAS Whiting Field. The Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, FL) reports that 626 acres of Wolfe Creek Forest have been acquired and added to the Blackwater River State Forest. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) acquired this property near Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field by leveraging funds from the REPI program and Florida Forever program, which funds willing-seller land acquisition to protect the state’s natural resources. Protecting this property ensures the Navy’s continued ability to conduct flight operations and other military training exercises by limiting incompatible development.
Land Trust Acquires Land for Conservation Near Camp Blanding. WJXT News4Jax (Jacksonville, FL) reports that the North Florida Land Trust has acquired 624 acres of land in what is known as the triangle parcel adjacent to the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. The acquisition was funded in part through the REPI Program and the Clay County Development Authority, which secured a grant of $390,000 from the Florida Defense Support Task Force. Preserving this parcel will not only help to protect the military mission of Camp Blanding by limiting incompatible development, but also benefit several endangered species that rely on this natural habitat including the gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker, and indigo snake.
State Awards Money to Projects at Canton, Clayton, and Clarkson University. The Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY) reports that the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust received $246,250 from the State of New York to expand conservation easements on two working farms in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties near Fort Drum. The land trust has partnered with Ducks Unlimited and the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program to purchase permanent easements on properties around Fort Drum to protect the installation’s military mission from incompatible development.
Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Awards More than $3.8 Million for Projects. The Caldwell Journal (Caldwell County, NC) reports that the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund recently awarded more than $2 million to obtain conservation easements on lands that border military bases in Hyde and Bertie counties, both of which are a part of the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape. These funds were specifically set aside by the state’s General Assembly to maintain working lands as buffer zones around military bases. Two other counties within the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape, Johnston and Scotland counties also received funding from the state to protect farmland and promote agricultural enterprises.
Military Bases Serve as Safe Haven for Endangered Species. National Public Radio (Washington, DC) reports that the DoD Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program has built a large national conservation network over the past two decades through formal partnerships with environmental groups, universities, local governments, and even zoos. Using an approach first pioneered through efforts around Fort Bragg, REPI has funded 88 partnerships in 30 states to date, all aimed at helping species and habitat both on and around bases. Recently, this collaborative model expanded through the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership, an initiative between DoD, USDA, and DOI aimed at reducing incompatible development near bases through the preservation of working and natural lands. This story originally appeared on WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio on August 22, 2016.
Delaware Officials Announce Purchase of New Land for Conservation. WMDT 47 (Salisbury, MD) reports that significant milestones were met in the preservation of pristine natural habitats in Delaware through the conservation of almost 50 acres of land along the Nanticoke River. The land was acquired by Delaware from a local family and now creates an over 100-acre strip of land for conservation. The new section of land cost just over $200,000 and was paid for through contributions from the State of Delaware, federal funds, and investments from two private conservation groups. U.S. Senator Chris Coons and Governor Jack Markell praised the project for its benefits to the military, environment, and community and the partnership that led to its success.
The Birds and the Bombs. BioGraphic (San Francisco, CA) reports on the decades-long efforts of the U.S. Army and partners to protect the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) and longleaf pine habitat around one of its largest installations, North Carolina’s Fort Bragg. RCW’s preferred habitat, longleaf pine, is extremely compatible with training activities at Fort Bragg, and periodic fires set by maneuver and training activities help the ecosystem thrive. Due to Fort Bragg’s efforts to recover RCW populations and sustain longleaf pine habitats on base, biologist Jeff Walters of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University says, “The military is absolutely the best land manager in the entire Southeast.”
NAS Patuxent River-Atlantic Test Ranges Protects 5,000 Acres through REPI. Southern Maryland Online (Patuxent River, MD) reports that NAS Patuxent River and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's (NAWCAD) Atlantic Test Ranges (ATR) have achieved a major milestone by protecting 5,000 acres beneath the airspace. Since 2010, NAS Patuxent River and the Atlantic Test Ranges have been partnering with communities and conservation organizations under the DoD's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program. By maintaining compatible land use and preserving habitat where the military tests, trains and operates, REPI partnerships in this area not only protect and preserve the open land required for critical military activities, but also provide benefits to the local environment and community. NAS Patuxent River-Atlantic Test Ranges also received the Sentinel Landscape designation in 2015.
More Military Bases Join 'Sentinel Landscapes' for Readiness Enhancement. DoD News (Arlington, VA) reports that Avon Park Air Force Range, Camp Ripley, and Eastern North Carolina have joined Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fort Huachuca, and NAS Patuxent River-Atlantic Test Ranges as designated Sentinel Landscapes. The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership, which includes the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and the Interior, aims to strengthen military readiness by preserving local agriculture, natural resources, and wildlife habitat.
Land Trust Buys Acreage Near MCAS Cherry Point. The Coastal Review Online (Newport, NC) reports that the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust has purchased 302 acres of forested land along Mill Creek, near MCAS Cherry Point. In addition to its conservation value, the property provides a buffer for the military flight path that leads to the main runways at MCAS Cherry Point.
Coastal Land Trust Purchases Mill Creek Property. Havelock News (Havelock, NC) reports that the North Carolina Land Trust purchased 302 acres in rural Carteret County, approximately 10 miles from MCAS Cherry Point. The purchase would prevent development of tall structures, such as wind turbines, that could be incompatible with military air traffic from Cherry Point. Funding sources for the purchase include the Department of the Navy and partners.
LeRay Farm Added to Fort Drum Buffer Program. The Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY) reports that the development rights to a 473-acre dairy farm have been added to the Fort Drum Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB). The current owner of the property reports that the deal saved his farm. The purchase benefits the Army by preventing the development of structures that might affect training on Fort Drum.
Unusual Partnership at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Supports Endangered Butterfly and Military Mission. A PBS News Hour segment featured the unique REPI partnership at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington that is helping to alleviate restrictions on artillery range training through reintroducing the endangered Taylor's checkerspot butterfly - with some unusual help. The Washington Department of Corrections, with assistance from JBLM, the Oregon Zoo, and other partners, have set up a lab at a women's minimum security prison to breed butterflies which are then released onto protected prairie habitat. By supporting efforts to help the Taylor's checkerspot butterfly recover, JBLM will maintain current training range capabilities and gain flexibility for future training activities.
Encroachment Mitigation at Buckley AFB helps Installation’s Bid for F-35 Fighter Jets. The Aurora Sentinel (Aurora, CO) reports that encroachment buffering projects funded by the REPI Program, the Trust for Public Land, the State of Colorado, and the city of Aurora are making Buckley AFB more competitive in the application process to receive the next round of F-35 Fighter Jets. One of the four primary categories 18 installations are being ranked on in the bid to host the Air Force's newest fighter evaluates how encroachment from development and other sources impacts or threatens to impact mission capability and flexibility. The REPI project funded at Buckley AFB will ultimately create a more than 1,000-acre buffer around the installation, and not only provide permanent protection against residential and commercial development but will be open to local residents for recreational use.