Defense grant will protect +2,200 acres in Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Bay Journal (Chesapeake Bay Region) reports
that the REPI Program awarded $1 million to help protect 2,259 acres of forest,
wetlands, and farmlands along the Nanticoke River in Maryland. Not only do the
lands have a high diversity of plants and animals, but the area is also important
to the Patuxent Naval Air Station because they are part of its Atlantic Test
Range. Protecting the lands from development will reduce noise and safety
concerns in the test range, as well as prevent future restrictions or delays in
training and testing.
Conserving prairies and protecting military training. Ag Weekly (Great Falls, MT) reports that the
Sentinel Landscape pilot project at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) will study
the impacts of managed grazing on native prairie plant communities in western
Washington. The goal of this project is to preserve agricultural lands, while
restoring and protecting more than 2,600 acres of public and private prairies.
At the same time, the project will reduce restrictions to military training
activities on JBLM lands.
Nearly 200 acres of St. Mary’s land preserved. The Gazette (Gaithersburg, MD) reports that three forested properties totaling almost 200 acres were preserved south of Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Each of the three properties is protected by a permanent conservation easement that prohibits development. The Navy, through the REPI Program, contributed to the deal. The goal is to prevent encroachment on the base by protecting lands near the installation and beneath essential airspace where a variety of vital test and training operations occur.
DoD Announces Readiness, Environmental Protection Awards. Defense Department officials today
announced the 2014 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Challenge
award winners, in which 11 finalists competed to help to sustain military
readiness and protect critical test, training, and operational missions. Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland best
demonstrated the spirit of the program to promote innovative land conservation
solutions that benefit military readiness, neighboring communities, and the
environment while helping installations reduce and avoid restrictions. These
projects go above and beyond in providing significant benefit to the military,
the taxpayer, and the environment. “DoD’s ability to conduct realistic live-fire training
and weapons system testing is vital to preparing warfighters and their
equipment for real-world combat,” REPI Program Director Kristin
Thomasgard-Spence said. “There is a direct relationship between realistic
training and success on the battlefield.”
Longleaf Pine Making Comeback in Northwest Florida. The Foster Folly News (Washington County, Florida)
reports that the Longleaf Stewardship Fund is providing grants to local
projects that will help restore native longleaf pine and help protected
wildlife. The announcement was made as part of a five-year anniversary
celebration for America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative held in Washington,
D.C. The grants include two projects in Northwest Florida: one will benefit the
gopher tortoise, protect native wildlife, and support the natural resources and
encroachment protection goals of Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City; and
the other will support the natural resources and encroachment protection goals
of Eglin Air Force Base by expanding potential off-base habitat for protected
species, including the flatwoods salamander.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and Southern Company announced $3.38 million in grants to further restore the longleaf
pine ecosystem as part of a five-year anniversary celebration for America’s
Longleaf Restoration Initiative. Fifteen projects across eight states will
receive funding for projects that will ultimately restore more than 11,800
acres and enhance over 116,000 additional acres of longleaf pine habitat, while
leveraging over $3.8 million in additional funds from grant partners. "DoD supports longleaf stewardship because it helps maintain important buffers around our bases and affords us greater flexibility to carry out critical military training. In other words, when we protect and restore longleaf pine forests near our bases, we enhance military readiness," said John Conger, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations & Environment." This year, DoD funds will be leveraged 8 to 1 and result in more than 92,000 acres of restored or enhanced longleaf pine habitat. I appreciate the contributions of the NFWF to this important national security requirement and am happy to partner with them to preserve and restore longleaf pine forests around our bases."