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.
All stories prior to 2020 are archived by year under "News."
Hartford County Purchases Nearly 350-acre Belle Vue Farm, Which it Plans to Turn Into Public Park. The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD) reports that Hartford County purchased a 347-acre farm with plans for it to become a public park. This land will be added to two established parks to create 1,250 acres of contiguous land including 2.5 miles on the Chesapeake Bay coastline. With the help of the Hartford Land Trust and the Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Army Compatible Use Buffer program, the county was able to purchase this land which will also act as a buffer between developments and the military instillation.
NC Water, Land Projects Awarded $14.6M. Coastal Review (Newport, NC) reports that the North Carolina Land and Water Fund awarded $14.6 million in grants to fund 39 projects in North Carolina. The funds will help protect 6,710 acres that will preserve 102 rare plant species, animal species, and natural communities. According to the grant breakdown, 9%, or about $1.3 million in grants went to military buffer projects as well as more funding for military-related projects and the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point’s living shoreline.
How the City of Baxter, in Minnesota Lakes Country, Added 638 Acres of Woods to its Footprint. MinnPost (Minneapolis, MN) reports that 638 acres of land between the city of Baxter and nearby Minnesota National Guard base, Camp Ripley, was acquired by Baxter. This was made possible through funding from The Conservation Fund, Minnesota's Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund, and the REPI program. This acquisition helps prevent encroachment on Camp Ripley’s training area to ensure readiness while offering more land for recreational use for residents and tourists in the area.
Lakefront Property Protected Near Camp Ripley Benefits Communities and Environment. Brainerd Dispatch (Brainerd, MN) reports that The Conservation Fund and the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund helped purchase 55 acres of land along the Kramer Lake from Minnesota Power then donated the land to Sylvan Township. This land is located within the Camp Ripley Army Compatible Use Buffer area, which is a critical component of the 805,000-acre sentinel landscape that protects the military installation. The Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape provides critical ecological conservation and public recreation space while protecting the installation’s training mission capabilities.
Alliance Meeting Highlights Opportunities For Regional Growth With Defense Investment Briefing From Senator Todd Young and Plans For Expansion At WestGate@Crane Technology Park. WBIW (Odon, IN) reports that U.S. Senator for Indiana Todd Young offered a brief on the senate version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act which includes support for an investment of $25 million for the REPI program. This funding would be used to help the U.S. Department of Defense partner with state and local governments to enter into agreements to fund land acquisitions for easements for land surrounding military installations.
Partnership Aims to Bolster Military Readiness, Protect Environment. DoD News (Washington, DC) reports that the 2020 Sentinel Landscapes Accomplishment Report has been published. This report summarizes the work accomplished along the seven locations designated as sentinel landscapes, all of which host at least one high-value military installation. The article highlights the Georgia Sentinel Landscape, a 6-million-acre landscape that advances National Defense Strategy priorities through acquiring an 11,000-acre parcel known as Cabin Bluff which is adjacent to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. This sentinel landscape also protects forests which house at-risk species and defends against erosion through protecting tidal marshes.
Cabin Bluff Purchase Recognized by DOD. The Brunswick News (Brunswick, GA) reports that over 16,000 acres of Cabin Bluff in Coastal Georgia was protected last year, contributing to the Georgia Sentinel Landscape's strategic goals. The article cited the 2020 Sentinel Landscapes Accomplishment Report highlighting the $141 million in U.S. Department of Defense funds, $223 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds, $169 million in state funds, $15 million in local funds, and $80 million in private funds over the past year. The protection of Cabin Bluff permanently protects the land from incompatible development that would intervene in the military’s ability to deploy nuclear submarines. The program also protects Coastal Georgia’s longleaf pine uplands, maritime forest, and saltwater marsh and increases climate change resilience along the shoreline.
Partnership Conserves 438 Acres in Wicomico County. Naval Air Station Patuxent River Tester (Annapolis, MD) reports that a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Chesapeake Conservancy has added 438 acres of conserved land at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge to the Taylors Trail Sand Ridge Ecologically Sensitive Area. The now protected land includes upland forest, tidal and non-tidal wetlands, and habitat that will permit the restoration of native short-leaf pine. Additionally, this property contributes to the strategic goals of the Middle Chesapeake Sentinel Landscape.
Prickly Pear Land Trust Considering Purchase of South Hills Parcel to Donate to City. Independent Record (Helena, MT) reports that funds from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Army Compatible Use Buffer program will be aiding the Prickly Pear Land Trust in purchasing approximately 54 acres referred to as the Graham Property. This project will protect a portion of the land that overlaps helicopter flight paths for Fort Harrison and offers protection of public land for recreational use.
Community, Navy Work Together with Conservation Easements. Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) reports that Churchill County began their partnership with Naval Air Station Fallon through the REPI Program about 16 years ago. Since then, around 8,000 acres of private land in Churchill County has entered the program. The protection of this land has prevented encroachment due to development around NAS Fallon and promoted agriculture in the area.
Trust Adds to Salmon Creek Natural Area. Coastal Review Online (Elizabeth City, NC) reports that North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the REPI program have made it possible for the Coastal Land Trust to protect 300 acres of unique land from development. The protected land includes waterfront property along the Chowan River and expands the protection of the Salmon Creek State Natural Area to now protect almost 1,500 contiguous acres. This land is home to ecosystems and archeological history that is unique to this property, and the protection of this land has prevented impacts on critical U.S. Air Force training that may have been caused by development of the area.
Endangered Habitats Conservancy with U.S. Marine Corps, the State of California, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Preserve Montecito Ranch. Business Wire (San Diego, CA) reports that a partnership between The Endangered Habitats Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Wildlife Conservation Board, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife conserved the 955-acre Montecito Ranch near Ramona, California. On behalf of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the REPI program contributed $9 million which helped leverage $9 million funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Wildlife Conservation Board. This conservation plan will protect threatened and endangered species while facilitation training to support military readiness at Camp Pendleton.
Commissioners OK Funding to Preserve, Protect At-Risk Wildlife Habitat, Farmland. The Leader (Jefferson County, WA) reports that the Jefferson County Commissioners unanimously voted to support projects for the county’s Conservation Futures Program which includes matching funds from the REPI program. The REPI program contributed $284,130 in matching funds to preserve Ruby Ranch and $275,000 in matching funds to fund the purchase of a conservation easement along Jakeway Creek. These easements will protect farmland, forest, and wildlife habitat.
Forestland Protected Near Camp Ripley in Central Minnesota Benefits Communities and Environment. The Conservation Fund (Arlington, VA) reports that, with the help of the City of Baxter and Sylvan Township, they have acquired 718 acres of forestland within Camp Ripley’s Army Compatible Use Buffer program with REPI funding. This installation is a critical part of the Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape, which makes up about 805,000 acres around the installation. The area surrounding Camp Ripley has been proposed for conversion to residential development. Residential development surrounding the home of the Minnesota National Guard could cause noise concerns relating to Camp Ripley’s training ranges, artillery, maneuver exercises, and airfields. This protected land will be used to maintain the National Guard’s preparedness in addition to providing opportunities for recreational activities, conservation, and an outdoor classroom.
House NDAA Ensures Continuation of Encroachment, REPI Programs. Association of Defense Communities (Washington, DC) reports that a 25-year renewal of Department of Interior lands for military use at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nellis Air Force Base, Naval Air Facility El Centro, and White Sands Missile Range would be authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA would also authorize $100 million for the REPI program to protect U.S. military installations and ranges from encroachment while conserving national resources.
Powering America's Economic Recovery by Protecting and Restoring Nature. The CAP Conservation Team (Washington, DC) reports on ways that the U.S. government can help restore and protect nature. In the case of family farmers, ranchers, and private forest owners, the government can assist through programs like REPI along with other easement programs. The REPI program and other easement plans have good track records for protecting land and supporting economic development for farmers, ranchers, and private landowners.
Conservation Benefits of Protecting a Military Installation's 'Buffer Zone'. New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) (Santa Fe, NM) reports that they have protected 59,552 acres across four conservation easement locations under the REPI program. To curtail the increased risk to ongoing military training and testing from urban sprawl near military bases, NMLC teamed up with REPI. The REPI program at four bases in New Mexico are improving safety of military training and testing missions while benefiting native grasslands and sustaining various species such as the lesser prairie chicken, desert bighorn sheep, and more.
Ron DeSantis Announces More than $722,000 in Additional Grants to Protect Florida Military Installations. Florida Daily (Jacksonville, FL) reports that a $322,500 grant was awarded to the city of Jacksonville to help alongside the $1.5 million of REPI funds for Navy installations in the area, such as Naval Station Mayport and Outlying Field Whitehouse. This funding promotes compatible land use and protects military missions from the effects of development in the area.
Delaware Announces 24th Consecutive Round of Easement Selections for AgLands Program. Delaware News (Dover, DE) reports that fund matching from the REPI program among other partners helped achieve the permanent preservation of 5,500 acres, including 63 farms and two forested parcels. Preserving this farmland helps ensure long-term access to locally grown food in Delaware.
Florida to Buy 17K Acres of Timberland. The Apalachicola Times (Apalachicola, FL) reports that 17,080 acres of timberlands have been permanently protected by the state of Florida. With the help of The Nature Conservancy, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Forever Program, and the Air Force, this land will be protected in perpetuity from commercial and residential development. This land connects St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Bald Point State Park, and Alligator Harbor Aquatic Refuge and will provide public recreational opportunities and habitat for rare and endangered species, while remaining compatible with the Air Force’s flight operations in the area. To learn more about this project, see The Nature Conservancy’s press release here.
AFCEC Consolidates Program to Maximize Lethality, Readiness. Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs (Joint Base San-Antonio-Lackland, TX) reports that the Air Force's REPI program is seeing success after being consolidated under and managed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC). Under AFCEC these past two years, the REPI program has increased partnerships and land easements, including an increase in funding from $6 or $7 million to $32 million. The REPI program also achieved its largest easement transaction to preserve 30,000 acres of critical training range at Melrose Air Force Range along with securing 480 acres of private property at Altus Air Force Base which will provide over 18,000 residents with access to multiple water wells to compensate during droughts.
TNC and Partners Protect Biodiverse Rafter T Ranch. The Nature Conservancy (Orlando, FL) reports that Rafter T Ranch, a five thousand-acre cattle ranch in Sebring, Florida, has been protected from potential development via a conservation easement. The conservation of this land was the result of a nearly decade-long effort of the Nature Conservancy in collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies including the REPI program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Additionally, the protection of the Rafter T Ranch contributes to the conservation goals of the Avon Park Air Force Range Sentinel Landscape.
Military Spending Millions to Buy Up—and Preserve—Land Around Utah’s Camp Williams. The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT) reports that federal agencies and the state of Utah have acquired a 408-acre easement to benefit the Camp Williams Army Compatible Use Buffer project. The money for this easement came from the state of Utah, the REPI Program, and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
NC Coastal Federation Acquires Land with Bogue Sound View. The Jacksonville Daily News (Jacksonville, NC) reports that nearly 77 acres of land on the Bogue Sound has been protected by the North Carolina Coastal Federation and Carteret County. Funding for the acquisition of this land was provided through the Coastal Federation, the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the North Carolina General Assembly, The North Carolina Parks and Recreational Trust Fund, and the REPI Program. The protection of this land will protect the mission at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue and allow for increased public access to the Bogue Sound.
USDA Invests Partner-Driven Projects That Protect Natural Resources in Georgia. U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (Washington, DC) reports that The Georgia Conservancy has received a Regional Conservation Partnership Program award to protect up to 1,500 acres with conservation easements. This land will then be managed to improve the longleaf pine ecosystem via prescribed fire. This project additionally contributes to the goals of the Georgia Sentinel Landscape and the Georgia Gopher Tortoise Initiative.
The Conservation Fund Receives Two USDA Awards to Protect Strategically Located Agricultural Regions in Illinois and Alaska. The Conservation Fund (Arlington, VA) reports that they have received two Regional Conservation Partnership Program awards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, one of which is going towards the Tanana River Watershed project in Alaska. This project leverages the REPI authority to protect and maintain working lands and open space near Eielson Air Force Base. This effort will help achieve watershed protection goals in the area, improving water and soil quality.
NRCS Partnership with The Conservation Fund, U.S. Air Force Invests Nearly $2.6 Million to Protect Wetlands Surrounding Eielson Air Force Base. U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (Palmer, AK) reports that The Conservation Fund has received a $1.3 million Regional Conservation Partnership Program award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service to be matched with funds from The Conservation Fund and the U.S. Air Force for a project in Fairbanks, Alaska. This project will utilize the REPI authority to protect critical wetlands adjacent to Eielson Air Force Base via conservation easements.
Protecting Open Space Around Camp Williams Benefits Nature, Agriculture, and Army National Guard Training. ABC4 Utah (Utah County, UT) reports that 400 acres of working agricultural land has been protected thanks to the efforts of The Conservation Fund, the Utah Army National Guard, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The protection of this land, which is near Camp Williams, will prevent development that could be incompatible with the military mission. Additionally, by preserving the natural land, local wildlife will also benefit.
Monday Close-up: Camp Williams Gets Funding for Land Preservation. The Daily Herald (Provo, UT) reports that almost 400 acres of agricultural land near Camp Williams has been permanently protected by a partnership between the Utah National Guard, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Conservation Fund. The protection of this land will protect Camp Williams from future incompatible development and also preserve a wildlife corridor used primarily by mule deer.
A Conservation Success Story: Protecting Utah Farmland, Wildlife and Camp Williams. Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT) reports that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that a conservation easement has been placed on roughly 400 acres of farmland near Camp Williams. NRCS has been working for three years with Camp Williams, The Conservation Fund, and the landowner to preserve this land in its current agricultural state and protect Camp Williams from the effects of potential development.
Community Partnerships Protect Forestland. The Leader (Port Townsend, WA) reports that 51 acres of land have been conserved and added to the Northwest Watershed Institute’s Tarboo Wildlife Preserve. This land was protected in perpetuity through a partnership between the Northwest Watershed Institute, Jefferson Land Trust, and the U.S. Navy. The Tarboo Wildlife Preserve is part of the larger Tarboo Creek ecosystem and serves as a refuge for salmon.
Three Rivers Land Trust Recognizes Fort Bragg Buffer Program with Conservation Award. The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC) reports that the Fort Bragg U.S. Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) Program was named the Conservation Partner of the Year at the Three Rivers Land Trust 4th annual Conservation Awards on January 31. In 2019, the ACUB program helped protect two properties with conservation easements and continued to serve as a key partner to the Three Rivers Land Trust in conserving land in Moore County, North Carolina.
Streaked Horned Larks Take Advantage of JBLM's Open Spaces. The U.S. Army reports that the federally listed, streaked horned lark is using airfields at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) to nest and forage for food. In order to protect this population of birds, the base limits training activities in areas where the birds are known to be nesting. As a designated Sentinel Landscape, JBLM works with a variety of partners to promote working lands, protect wildlife species and habitat, and ensure military readiness at the base.
NCDA&CS Joins USDA and Air Force for Historic Conservation Partnership. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) North Carolina (Raleigh, NC) reports that the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has partnered with USDA NRCS and the U.S. Air Force to acquire five conservation easements located beneath Seymour Johnson Air Force Base airspace within the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape. These easements are the first to ever use funding from these sources at the state and federal levels and the first to utilize a streamlined approach to conservation restrictions.