REPI News

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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.

May 2022

Conservation Finance Network (New Haven, CT) reports that two parcels of land within a one-mile buffer around Fort Harrison were protected from development through strong partnerships that included the REPI program, Fort Harrison, and the Prickly Pear Land Trust.  These spaces became two parks that provide access to the outdoors in a variety of ways.  The REPI program is a tool used by the Department of Defense to protect land around military bases.  Through Fiscal Year 2021, the Department of Defense protected almost 830,000 acres of land, leveraging a total of $1.18 billion, including partner contributions.
 

How the Military Works With Local Communities to Combat Climate Change. The Pew Charitable Trusts' (Washington, DC) latest "After the Fact" podcast episode, entitled "Ocean, People, Planet: A Wildlife Refuge On The Brink," explores how a changing climate is threatening the economic livelihood, biodiversity, and cultural heritage of the area as Harriet Tubman's ancestral home.  The episode is centered on Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, highlighting the inspiring story of a successful partnership for climate resilience among leaders working to protect coastal habitats and oceans, the intersection with national defense, and the legacy of Harriet Tubman.  In addition to the podcast, Pew released a Q&A interview with Kristin Thomasgard, the program director for the Defense Department's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program, about the Department's role at the intersection of national security and conservation.

April 2022

Florida Daily (Tallahassee, FL) reports that North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) will be working together with the U.S. Navy and the city of Jacksonville to conserve land around military bases.  The Jacksonville City Council recently approved an agreement to add NFLT to a multi-year encroachment protection agreement between the entities under the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program.  The REPI program works to protect environmentally sensitive and agriculturally significant lands located near military installations.  The bases included in this agreement are Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Outlying Landing Field Whitehouse, Naval Station Mayport, and the Pinecastle Range Complex in the Ocala National Forest.
 
Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, WA) reports that the Great Peninsula Conservancy will celebrate the opening of the new Misery Point Preserve this month.  The project was funded through grants, including a $1 million grant from National Coastal Wetlands, a $600,000 state grant, and $300,000 from the Navy's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program.  
 
E&E News (Washington, DC) reports that the White House Council on Environmental Quality announced the America the Beautiful Challenge, combining $440 million in taxpayer funds with private and nonprofit contributions to bolster conservation programs over five years.  Managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the initiative will streamline the federal grant application process by offering states, Tribes, territories, local groups, and non-governmental organizations the opportunity to apply for multiple grant programs through a single application.  This includes $25 million of funding from the Department of Defense through the REPI program to support Sentinel Landscapes and promote military installation resilience.  The REPI office will distribute the $25 million over five years and start contributing funds in fiscal year 2023.
 
The Herald-Times (Bloomington, IN) reports the designation of the newest Sentinel Landscape, covering 3.5 million acres near military installations.  The Southern Indiana designation will protect the missions at four Department of Defense installations: Naval Support Activity Crane, the Lake Glendora Test Facility, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training Center, and the Indiana Air Range Complex.  The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership aims to connect landowners within the landscape boundary to state and federal programs for opportunities to help them sustainably run their land in ways that also support the military bases near them. 
 
Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, New Mexico) reports that the New Mexico Land Conservancy and the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program recently acquired one of the nation’s largest conservation easements at Armendaris Ranch in southern New Mexico, protecting 315,000 acres of land owned by billionaire media tycoon Ted Turner.  The ranch land supports more than 500 vertebrate species, per a report from the Land Conservancy, including multiple listed for federal and state protections.  The conservation easement was partially funded through REPI Challenge funding recipient White Sands Missile Range, a fully instrumented open-air range critical to DoD's testing mission.
 
WUSF Public Media (West Central, Florida) reports that Florida state officials recently approved the purchase of 17,000 acres of land that are necessary connectors to support wildlife migrating through the state.  The acquisition includes seven parcels of land that are part of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Among the parcels includes the Todd Clemons Family, LLC Ranch, a conservation easement that will preserve the numerous creeks on the property that contribute to the flow of the Kissimmee River and provides a habitat for a population of sandhill cranes.  This project will be funded in part by a grant from the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative, a program in partnership with the Avon Park Air Force Range's Sentinel Landscape program.
 

DoD program protects climate landscapes and military bases.  E&E News (Washington, DC) reports that the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership’s effort to strengthen military readiness while addressing climate change.  The Partnership expanded by 50 percent this year with the addition of 12 million acres at new landscapes in Florida, Texas and Indiana.  These landscapes include military installations that are at risk of encroachment and incompatible land uses that increase the risk of storm surges, flooding, and drought.  The Partnership leverages funding and programs to protect the missions at these military installations while enhancing resilience to climate change and preserving our nation’s natural resources and working lands.

March 2022

The Economic Impact of Land Use Protection.  Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (Little Falls, MN) reports that since its inception in 2004, Camp Riley's Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program has been working to maximize compatible land use in order to sustain the military mission.  Camp Ripley's ACUB program has received over $43,480,810 from the U.S. Department of Defense's REPI program and the Army National Guard.  In 2022 alone, ACUB has received $500,000 in REPI funding, which will be used for conservation easements with already enrolled interested landowners; combined with the $2.2 million in funding, the State is already providing over 200 interested landowners.  In 2016, Camp Ripley was federally designated as a Sentinel Landscape, representing a formal partnership between the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Interior to further advance sustainable land management practices around the military installation and ranges.

Exploring Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program.  The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) (Ashburn, VA) reports that the Department of Defense's REPI Program is a strategic resource, not only for NRPA members but for the Biden Administration as it reaches its goal to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and freshwater and 30 percent of U.S. Ocean areas by 2030.  The REPI Program offers a unique opportunity for NRPA members to apply for the program for various resources, thereby increasing the parklands and green spaces they can provide for their communities at a fraction of the standard cost.

Federal Designation Goes to Millions of Southern Indiana Acres.  News and Tribune (Southern Indiana) reports the designation of a new Sentinel Landscape covering 3.5 million acres near military installations.  The Southern Indiana designation will protect the missions at four Department of Defense installations: Naval Support Activity Crane, the Lake Glendora Test Facility, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training Center, and the Indiana Air Range Complex.

Read more about the Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape:

‘Conservation win’: County included in land-protection program.  Reported by Daily Journal

Editorial: Atterbury area conservation aids landowners.  Reported by The Tribune

Federal recognition to advance conservation and military readiness around Camp Bullis.  The San Antonio Express-News (San Antonio, TX) reports on Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape’s efforts to strengthen military readiness, promote natural resource conservation, and increase agricultural productivity.  Thousands of military personnel train each year on the 28,000 acres at Camp Bullis, part of Joint Base San Antonio.  The base has 266 mission partners and about 2,000 people train there every day.  REPI is a key partner by providing support to limit development and land use conversion that could restrict military training and testing. 

Decorated Utah National Guard general retires after 36 years of military service.  KSL News (Salt Lake City, UT) reports that Utah National Guard Brig. Gen. Tyler B. Smith retired after 36 years of military service.  Smith worked to protect the training and environmental vitality of Army Garrison Camp Williams by securing water rights and protecting boundaries through the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program and the West Traverse Sentinel Landscape.

$1.5 trillion spending bill includes millions to protect Hawaiʻi’s environment and wildlife.  Maui News (Maui, HI) reports that the $1.5 trillion federal spending bill passed for Fiscal Year 2022 includes a significant amount of funding to protect Hawaiʻi’s environment with $75 million designated for REPI.

Read more about REPI funding In Hawaii:
Federal spending law to protect land, ocean resources important to Hawaii.  Reported by Star Advertiser (Honolulu, HI) 

Easement conserves 315,000 acres at southern NM ranch.  The Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) reports The New Mexico Land Conservancy, and the Department of Defense (DoD) recently doubled the acreage of its 115 conservation easements from 340,000 acres to 655,000 acres at Armendaris Ranch in southern New Mexico, making it one of the largest in the country.  The conservation easement was partially funded through REPI Challenge funding recipient White Sands Missile Range, a fully instrumented open-air range that is critical to DoD's testing mission.

Check Out These Victories for Old Growth Forests Worldwide on International Forest Day.  Good News Network (Manassas, VA) reports as part of a partnership between the Defense, Interior, and Agriculture departments of the U.S., 11,000 square miles of farms, forests, and wildlife habitat around Eglin Air Force Base will be protected by the Northwest Florida Sentinel Landscape.

Fort Hood wins national conservation award.  Fort Hood Sentinel (Fort Hood, TX) reports The National Military Fish and Wildlife Association recognized the Fort Hood Natural Resources Management Branch as award winners for the Natural Resources Conservation Management Model Program category at a ceremony in Spokane, Washington for efforts to strengthen military readiness, while working to conserve and sustain wildlife, plant species and habitat.

Gov. Ron DeSantis eyeing $40 million conservation deal.  Orlando Weekly (Orlando, FL) reports that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet are expected to consider nearly $40 million in land deals that would help keep more than 17,000 acres from future development.  A $2 million grant from REPI could help pay for a $2.26 million acquisition of 932 acres near the Avon Park Air Force Range in Okeechobee County.

Read more:

DeSantis, Cabinet Eye Conservation Deals?  Reported by Southeast AgNet Radio Network (Pensacola, FL)

Fort Huachuca collaborates with government, non-governmental organizations through the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership.  Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (Fort Huachuca, AZ) reports that Fort Huachuca and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence hosted partners of the Fort Huachuca Sentinel Landscape for an opportunity to gather and view on-the-ground projects, as well as discuss future projects and partnerships.  These partners used the meeting to identify research and academia that can make Fort Huachuca more climate resilient and preserve vital mission capabilities for ongoing Army modernization.

High Ranking Defense Official Explains Why Salt Marsh Is Critical for Military and Communities.  The Pew Charitable Trust (Washington, DC) interviewed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment and Energy Resilience Richard Kidd on his work with the South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative and REPI to protect shorelines, military installations, and wildlife by conserving a million acres of coastal habitat from North Carolina to northern Florida.

New program looks to boost climate resilience around bases.  Coastal Review (Newport, NC) highlights the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape pilot program funded by the Department of Defense’s REPI program, Sentinel Landscapes Federal Coordinating Committee, Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The landscape is engaging in conservation and resilience efforts and is facilitating the planning and implementation of projects that address shared objectives across natural and working lands and resilience plans at local, state, regional, and national levels.  

February 2022

How The Pentagon and Partners Are Working Together to Combat Climate Change.  The Pew Charitable Trust (Washington, DC) reports how the U.S. Department of Defense and the Pentagon work together to promote climate-resilient infrastructure and military readiness.  The Sentinel Landscape Partnership, a coalition of federal agencies, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations, are working to mitigate climate change impacts by improving sustainable land and water management practices around military installations.

DEP Offers $9.4 Million to Local Governments and Organizations for Stormwater, Flood Reduction, and Water Quality Projects.  EIN Presswire (Washington, DC) reports that REPI funding will be used to assist the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Water Quality Restoration Grants Program.  The funding will target safeguarding New Jersey's watershed restoration activities, including improving stormwater infrastructure and mitigating flooding for at-risk communities. 

Camp Blanding’s Chauncey one of four new board member to North Florida Land Trust.  Clay Today (Fleming Island, FL) reports that a previous Assistant Adjutant General for the Florida Army National Guard who provided oversight of the Camp Blanding Army Compatible Use Buffer Program has been elected to the Board of Directors of the North Florida Land Trust

A military program will help protect 3.5M acres of southern Indiana and aid landowners.  The Herald-Times (Bloomington, IN) reports that over 3.5 million acres of southern Indiana are now designated as the Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape.  The landscape will protect the missions at four Department of Defense installations: Naval Support Activity Crane, the Lake Glendora Test Facility, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training Center and the Indiana Air Range Complex

Read more about the Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape:

This military program aims to protect land. Millions of Indiana acres are involved.  Reported by The Indianapolis Star.

Military program to help conserve swath of southern Indiana.  Reported by Associated Press.

Environmental initiative established around Eglin, Tyndall Air Force bases.  Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, FL) reports that 8 million acres in Northwest Florida—including the areas around Eglin Air Force Base, Tyndall Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Pensacola, and six other military installations—have been designated as a Sentinel Landscape by the Departments of Defense (DoD), Agriculture, and Interior.  The Northwest Florida Sentinel Landscape will leverage environmental efforts among federal, state, and local governments and private-sector programs across Northwest Florida.

Read more about the Northwest Florida Sentinel Landscape:

New Sentinel Landscape in Florida to Strengthen Military Readiness.  Reported by Southeast AgNet Radio Network.

Enterprise Florida Announces Designation of Northwest Florida as a Sentinel Landscape.  Reported by Enterprise Florida.

Lands around several US military bases gain protected status.  Stars and Stripes (Washington, DC) reports that the Defense Department announced the designation of three new Sentinel Landscapes in Florida, Texas, and Indiana.  These landscapes will advance initiatives to keep farms, forests, and wildlife habitats in their current states, precluding development that may be incompatible with the military mission.

Massive Snake Nearly Eight Feet Long Found in Georgia.  Newsweek (New York, NY) reports that wildlife biologists at Fort Stewart found an Eastern Indigo Snake that measured 8 feet long, just shy of a national record.  Fort Stewart is a part of the Georgia Sentinel Landscape in which aims to protect natural resources, enhance habitat for several key species, and maintain military readiness.

January 2022

Governor Abbott Announces $15.3 Million In Grants to Texas Military Communities. The Office of the Texas Governor (Austin, Texas) reported on January 11, 2022, a new round of $15.3 million in grants from the Texas Military Preparedness Commission’s (TMPC) Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG).  The grants will be distributed to assist statewide military communities to preserve, protect, expand, and attract new military missions, assets, and installations in Texas.  The City of Temple, near Fort Hood, will be receiving $5 million for a microgrid in the 2022-2021 DEAAG funding distribution.

This Beaufort County land is protected. Why Marines and conservationists are cheering.  This Island Packet (Hilton Head, SC) reports that the U.S. Department of Defense and Beaufort County have permanently protected, via a conservation easement, 2,068 acres near Beaufort which includes several miles of waterfront.  The property, known as “Oak Point,” is a peninsula on the Wimbee River in St. Helena Sound with 18 miles of river frontage north of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.  If this land was not protected, as many as 600 houses may have been built on Oak Point.

North Florida Land Trust Acquires Another 157 acres in O2O Wildlife Corridor.  News4Jax (Jacksonville, FL) reports that the North Florida Land Trust has protected 157 acres in Putnam County within the Ocala to Osceola wildlife corridor, known as O2O.  Funding for the protection of this land was provided by the Florida Defense Task Force through the Clay County Development Authority and the REPI program.  The land, which was previously owned by a timbering company, is adjacent to Camp Blanding.