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The Department of Defense (DOD) is committed to landscape-level collaboration and regional partnerships to further enhance our ability to manage encroachment and protect the environment. Partnering with our sister federal agencies to further the goals of landscape-scale partnerships like the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative helps advance the groundwork laid by REPI projects and other efforts. The Department continues to seek opportunities to advance the goals and objectives of the AGO Initiative. Individual buffer projects can also benefit from applying their lessons in the forum of regional partnerships. Such partnerships among DOD and other federal, state, and local agencies help reduce duplicative efforts and lead to more efficient allocation of resources and more effective application of solutions to reduce and prevent encroachment. DOD is a partner in two multi-state, multi-agency partnerships in rapidly growing areas of the United States with significant DOD land presence: the Southeast and Southwest.
The Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) brings together state environmental and natural resource officials from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi with federal agencies including DOD. SERPPAS works to encourage compatible resource-use decisions and improve coordination by leveraging its members’ problem-solving and compatible land use efforts to the benefit of regional planning, conservation, economic development, and sustainability.
Ongoing projects aimed at restoring native longleaf pine forests have been a particular SERPPAS focus. A number of installations in the Southeast are filling in the gaps of the longleaf pine ecosystem and helping ease restrictions on the full suite of testing, training, and operations. With the completion of the Range-Wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine in 2009, SERPPAS will move into the next phase of sustaining functional, viable longleaf pine ecosystems that provide ecological, economic and social values to multiple stakeholders.
The Western Regional Partnership (WRP) brings together DOD, federal, and tribal entities with state agencies from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah to advance shared strategic planning, land management, and policy goals. WRP committees focus on some of the Western region’s key and emerging issues, including sustainable land use, wildlife corridors, compatible energy development, and border management.
These issues present numerous challenges for DOD installations. For instance, restricted training airspace in the Mojave Desert in California faces potential impacts to readiness from growing development and possible energy transmission corridors that could affect supersonic flights from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and Edwards Air Force Base. Working in a regional partnership will help study and address these land use issues in a manner beneficial to all stakeholders, including other federal landholders such as the Bureau of Land Management.