Pennsylvania Army National Guard Serves as an Ecological Ally at Fort Indiantown Gap. U.S Army (Arlington, VA) reports that Fort Indiantown Gap’s Natural Resources Conservation (NRC) team participated in the Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program to protect its investments and preserve the nearby agriculture, forests, and wetlands of the Kittatinny Ridge. Through ACUB, NRC partnered with the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation to acquire 8,500 acres of land for conservation easement and is designing a forest management plan with The Nature Conservancy. The ACUB program is critical to Fort Indiantown Gap’s ability to carry out its mission, as it is the only live fire maneuver military training facility in Pennsylvania and is a critical habitat to numerous plants and wildlife.
522 Acres in Charles County Slated for New Wildlife Management Area. Southern Maryland Online (Annapolis, MD) reports that on February 21, the Board of Public Works unanimously approved a Maryland Department of Natural Resources acquisition of 522 acres in Charles County for the development of a new Wildlife Management Area. The acquisition was leveraged with funds from the DoD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI) and will protect ecologically-sensitive habitat such as wetlands and woodlands, while providing an excellent location for recreational activities.
How the Military Helps Protect Natural Landscapes. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog reports that following its designation as a Sentinel Landscape, Fort Huachuca and its surrounding communities have evolved into an area that supports natural resource sustainability and protects military and testing activities. One issue area that the Sentinel Landscape has focused its attention on is water; Fort Huachuca and its surrounding communities have faced a historical battle with water scarcity. Located in the Arizona dessert, water scarcity has been an ongoing concern for the Fort, with operations requiring groundwater resources to support its infrastructure and employee population. The USDA Forest Service Cooperative Forestry Program helps mitigate this challenge by providing technical assistance and support for wetlands restoration and protected species. With the help of the USDA, and through the framework of the Sentinel Landscape Partnership, the Fort has reduced its groundwater usage by nearly two-thirds. Furthermore, the Sentinel Landscape has taken strides to support working ranches and restore critical habitats surrounding the military installation.
Marines Using Leased Land as Landing Zone through Sentinel Landscape Partnership. The Bladen Journal (Raleigh, NC) reports that North Carolina Forest Service, the Naval Facilities Command, and the U.S Marine Corps designated 23 acres of land in the Bladen Lakes State Forest as landing zones for the Osprey Aircraft. Bladen Lake State Forest is a working forest, and was awarded this lease after years of collaboration between the state and the Marine Corps. This agreement supports the goals of the North Carolina Sentinel Landscape Partnership, a voluntary collaboration between farmers, woodland owners, conservationists, state and federal agencies, and military installations. North Carolina is one of two state that is piloting the Forest Opportunities for Resource Conservation and Environmental Security Program (FORCES), a voluntary program that recognizes and assists woodland owners near military bases who protect their working lands.
Navy, State, and Nonprofits Partner to Conserve Land in Dorchester County. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reports that 230 acres of family-owned farmland has recently been protected through a conservation easement using federal funds from the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program, state funds from Maryland’s Rural Legacy Fund, and private funds from the Chesapeake Conservancy. The farm, located in Dorchester County, consists of 135 acres of prime agricultural fields and 85 acres of forest in the Nanticoke River watershed-one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most pristine landscapes and an important habitat for migratory birds. The corridor of protected land is part of the greater Middle Chesapeake Sentinel Landscape, meaning that is not only preserves working and natural lands, but also protects vital test and training missions conducted by the nearby Naval Air Station and Atlantic Test Ranges.