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Below is local and national media coverage for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program. These news stories feature REPI partnerships that serve as an innovative way to address land use and resource challenges that threaten military readiness, while enhancing relationships with communities and preserving the environment.

Click above to view stories from different years.

December 2014

Working to prevent encroachment near Robins Air Force Base. The Telegraph (Macon, GA) reports that Robins Air Force Base is making progress in the fight against encroachment. With funding from a REPI Program grant, the state is working to prevent encroachment around the base. Robins officials worry encroachment could hurt the base’s prospects in the next round of the base realignment and closure process.

Conservation Partnership Purchases Acres on Chesapeake Bay. Southern Maryland Online reports that The Conservation Fund, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and St. Mary’s County, purchased 212 acres on the Chesapeake Bay that will provide opportunities for historical interpretation and recreational access along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, while buffering Patuxent River Naval Air Station from land uses that threaten the mission of the base. In addition, the Navy acquired a conservation easement on the property as part of the REPI Program that will limit incompatible use and protect the rural character of the landscape within the Atlantic Test Range of the Patuxent River NAS.

Land to be preserved as wildlife habitat, buffer between training and development. The Daily News (Jacksonville, NC) reports that nearly 1,800 acres of undeveloped land in Onslow County will be preserved in its natural state, thereby protecting wildlife habitat and creating a natural buffer between military training at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and surrounding development.

November 2014

REPI Grant Expands Eglin AFB Buffer. The NWF Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, FL) reports that Okaloosa County will purchase 961 acres of land that protects Eglin Air Force Base with funding from the REPI Program and Defense Infrastructure grants. “This is another example of where we have worked together with our brothers and sisters at Eglin and what we have is a win-win,” Jeff Littrell, director of water and sewer for the county, said. “If it wasn’t a win-win, we wouldn’t be doing it, and neither would they.”


October 2014

REPI Protects Lands Outside Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The Messenger-Press (Princeton, NJ) reports that the REPI Program, with the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Program, helped to purchase and preserve open space that falls within the five mile buffer of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The preservation of these lands helps the environment, preserves open space, and protects operations on the base from encroachment.

Avon Park Air Force Range Receives Funding to Protect Buffer Lands. The Ledger (Lakeland, FL) reports that the Avon Park Air Force Range received another grant to protect the public from activities at the Range and to protect the Range from the encroachment of development. Florida State Rep. Ben Albritton said, "...there is going to be growth in Florida for the next 20 years. We know that. If we can get the threat of development encroachment with the range off the table now, it will save problems in the future and protect this important defense installation."

Camp Ripley ACUB Project Wins Award. The Brainerd Dispatch (Brainerd, MN) reports that the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB) at Camp Ripley received the 2014 Lake Friendly Award. The award is in recognition of lake friendly activities by citizens and collaborations of organizations to protect the area’s water resources.

Avon Park Air Force Range Receives Another Grant to Buffer the Installation. The News Chief (Lakeland, FL) reports that Avon Park Air Force Range received another grant to purchase property to buffer the military installation. The Florida Defense Support Task Force has given Polk County $500,000 to purchase land and development rights to prevent incompatible development near the base. This grant supplements a REPI Program project.

Townsend Bombing Range Encroachment Partnering Team and Bob Barnes Win Nancy Natoli Elan Award. The Townsend Bombing Range Encroachment Partnering Team and Bob Barnes won the inaugural Nancy Natoli Élan Award for Innovation in Land Conservation. The Team and Barnes helped to conserve more than 30,000 acres essential for air training exercises.

September 2014

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.

August 2014

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.”

DoD Grants Protect Groundwater, Forests, Farmlands, and Wetlands.  The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities issued a press release stating that the 2014 REPI Challenge Program’s two new grant awards protect military readiness in Arizona and the Chesapeake Bay Region. The grant awards will help protect compatible land uses around military installations and conserve at-risk species and natural resources in support of military readiness.  “The REPI team galvanizes an impressive array of contributors and partners and supports projects that provide great benefits to natural resources, the military, and tax-payers” said Peter Stangel, Senior Vice President at the Endowment.

July 2014

MCAS Cherry Point Uses REPI Program Funds to Protect Its Mission.  The Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) reports that MCAS Cherry Point makes great use of REPI Program funding to benefit the country and Eastern North Carolina by continuing to provide the American warfighter with critical training capabilities, and through the effective management of environmentally important land.

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." 

April 2014

Land Purchase Will Benefit Regional Water Resources
WCTV in Tallahassee, FL reports that the REPI program helped to fund the purchase of a 344 acre tract of land in Bradford County, FL. The tract will establish a necessary buffer for Camp Blanding and allow the local Water Management District to construct a multi-purpose project that will provide flood protection and benefit regional aquifer levels.


Conservation near NAS Whiting Field
The Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, FL) reports that Santa Rosa County, FL is working with conservation groups and the REPI Program to possibly secure another 10,000 acres northeast of Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The purchase would help to protect Whiting Field’s mission from encroachment.

New York State Governor Announces Funding to Protect the Integrity of Fort Drum
.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $1 million in funding to protect the area around Fort Drum. The governor’s press release reports that the state will work with the U.S. Army to establish buffer areas around Fort Drum by acquiring easements on farms to prevent development outside the base that could impede training. “The land around Fort Drum is vital to the training of our nation’s military as well as the economy of the North County, which is why New York is dedicated to protecting the base,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are proud to partner with the federal government to support the expansion and preservation of the buffer zones so that Fort Drum can continue to conduct critical military exercises and provide stable, good paying jobs for thousands of New Yorkers in the North Country.”

March 2014

Fort Campbell Receives REPI Program Funds
The Fort Campbell Courier (Fort Campbell, KY) reports that the Army’s Fort Campbell is scheduled to receive $3 million through the REPI Program because it ranked first in the annual competition. The installation’s REPI proposal highlighted the importance of Campbell Army Airfield: the airfield is the installation’s primary airfield and deployment platform. The REPI funding will secure conservation easements around the airfield that will help prevent incompatible development within flight approaches and designated high noise areas. It is part of an ongoing strategy to protect the long-term capabilities of the airfield.

February 2014

Whiting Field Secures 490 New AcresThe Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, FL) reports that Naval Air Station Whiting Field recently secured more than 490 acres to use in their efforts to preserve the installation’s mission. The Navy collaborated with Santa Rosa County to secure the land through the REPI Program and the Santa Rosa County Defense Infrastructure Grant Funds.

January 2014

Newly protected lands buffer Bangor operating range. The Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, WA) reports on the Naval Base Kitsap REPI project, which enabled the Navy to expand buffer lands around the Bangor submarine base and its operations ranges. Capt. Tom Zwolfer, Naval Base Kitsap commander, is quoted in the article: “We have buffered the Navy operating ranges that are vital to our national security mission while ensuring that sustainable timber production and environmental conservation, which are good for the local economy and compatible with Navy activities, are supported along the Hood Canal.”



Avon Park Air Force Range gets aid to buffer installation. The News-Sun (Sebring, FL) and The Ledger (Lakeland, FL) ran the same article on Polk County receiving funding to aid in ongoing work to buffer Avon Park Air Force Range from encroachment by surrounding development. A State Representative highlighted the benefits of this type of partnership when he said, “The successful partnership between Enterprise Florida, the military, and the local economic development council is a paragon of effective cooperation that supports the defense industry of Florida and the economic benefits that follow.”