REPI News Roundup

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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 2023

Okeechobee News (Okeechobee, Florida) reports that the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), Archbold Biological Station, and Conservation Florida were awarded roughly $1.4 million in grant funding for a groundbreaking collaborative project to enhance wildlife habitat in the Northern Everglades as part of the America the Beautiful Challenge.  This funded collaboration by Conservation Florida, UF/IFAS, and Archbold Biological Station will focus primarily on long-term climate resilience within the Avon Park Air Force Range Sentinel Landscape (APAFRSL) through stewardship and research.  The $1.4 million project will conduct new research on DeLuca Preserve, a 27,000-acre property representative of the working rangelands within the APAFRSL, monitoring the measurable impact of climate-smart land management.  Through coordinated partner efforts with willing landowners, this project aims to ensure the longevity and sustainability of natural lands.
Clay Today (Fleming Island, Florida) reports that the North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) and its partners have been awarded $15,243,902 by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service through its Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  NFLT is committed to promoting conservation activities that protect Camp Blanding from the threat of encroaching development and partners with the military installation through the Army’s DOD’s REPI Program, which provides funding for protecting land surrounding the Camp Blanding training center. Camp Blanding is in the heart of the Corridor to Coast initiative (C2C) that extends through the Northeast and Central Florida region to the east coast and includes a “critical linkage” within the Florida Wildlife Corridor and Ecological Greenways Network, the Ocala to Osceola wildlife corridor.  The funding will support C2C by conserving working farms, forests, and natural buffer lands that provide ecological benefits to the region.

November 2023

The Colorado Springs Indy (Colorado Springs, CO) reported that three conservation groups announced they would partner in a phased multi-year project to purchase and conserve 11,900 acres of open spaces and agricultural lands that buffer or serve as training areas for Colorado Springs-based military institutions.  The three groups are The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, and Palmer Land Conservancy.  With support funding from the DOD REPI Program, these partnering organizations aim to work with local military bases to conserve wildlife habitat and agricultural land critical for Air Force Academy training.  Due to the increased risk of encroachment, Air Force pilot training and proficiency is threatened since the skies and a remote runway on the property are critical military training areas.  Conserving these key lands will limit encroaching risks that negatively impacts military training operations, while protecting critical wildlife habitat and ensuring agriculture remains a vital part of the region’s economy.
KEYT-TV (Santa Barbara County, CA) reported that the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and The Nature Conservancy have partnered with Vandenberg Space Force Base to execute a $15 million conservation easement over the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve.  Financial support has come through the DOD REPI Program, which helps to nearly double the 24,341-acre nature preserve’s easement.  The ecological richness of the Preserve provides scientists with a rare look at how wildlife and natural systems can adapt unfettered to climate change, sea level rise, and other pressing issues for California and the world.  The Nature Conservancy hosted over 200 scientists from more than 40 institutions and 1,150 local students, detailing the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.  The new partnership will allow them to continue developing unique learning opportunities for the local community and facilitate the broader study of increasingly rare pristine natural environments into the future.
The Environment Energy Leader (Blairsville, GA) reported that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced 109 grants in total of $144 million that support resilience for coastal communities and habitats for wish and wildlife across the U.S.  The grants are awarded in partnership between the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF), NFWF, NOAA, DOD, and private partners.  Grant funding is provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Congressional appropriations, and private partnerships, adding to the 27 projects supported by $44.7 million from the Inflation Reduction Act.  The DOD REPI Program will invest $15 million towards 11 coastal resilience projects through NCRF, with $5.5 million going toward two projects in Hawai’i that promote healthy and resilient coastal and watershed areas for communities.  As coastal regions grow especially vulnerable to climate change-related extreme weather and sea level rise, the REPI Program demonstrates the DOD’s commitment to solutions that advance and promote installation and climate resilience across the country.

September 2023

The Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) reported that representatives from Marine Corps Base Hawaii's Environmental Compliance and Protection Division and the REPI Program gathered alongside elected officials and local leaders during a town hall to address mutual concerns regarding the impact of invasive species on the Windward side of Oahu.  The REPI Program is a vital component of the Marine Corps’ holistic encroachment mitigation strategy that can be used to combat detrimental impacts of invasive species and other environmental conditions that threaten MCBH’s ability to perform mission requirements that are critical for national defense.  This unique partnership program supports cost-sharing agreements between the Department of Defense, Marine Corps, state and local government, and private conservation organizations.  The REPI Program seeks to implement as many projects as possible, extending our resources to community partners and collaborating on shared natural resource challenges that can negatively impact the community or operational readiness.
The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation (WBWF) is collaborating with landowners, the Army National Guard, and other environmental organizations to protect Fort Barfoot in Virginia and Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania through the Army’s Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program. The Army needs bases and training lands for military exercises, training, soldier skill testing, and other operations.  Training restrictions, costly workarounds, and compromised training realism can result from incompatible development surrounding the installation and from threatened and endangered species on the installation.  Title 10, Section 2684a of the United States Code authorizes DOD to form agreements with organizations like the WBWF to limit encroachments and other constraints on military training, testing, and operations by establishing buffers around installations.  The ACUB program allows these installations to work with the WBWF to encumber off-post land to protect habitat and buffer training without acquiring any new land for Army ownership.  This partnership preserves high-value habitat and limits incompatible development in the vicinity of military installations.  Establishing buffer areas around Army installations limits the effects of encroachment and maximizes land inside the installation that can be used to support the installation's mission.

August 2023

The Beaufort Gazette (Beaufort, South Carolina) reports that as a result of DOD's REPI Program, high-density housing development will be off-limits on 500 acres of land on South Wimbee Creek in the Dale area north of Beaufort. The $2.2 million conservation easement covers the 488-acre Bowers Farm, located north of a runway at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (MCAS). “Protecting Bowers Farm protects the air station’s military mission by ensuring unobstructed training for our pilots and aircrew,” said Col. Mark Bortnem, commanding officer at MCAS Beaufort.
Air and Space Force (Panama City, Florida) reports that Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) is working to protect itself from future hurricanes with nature-based coastal resilience projects. Through the REPI Program, Tyndall AFB is utilizing REPI funds to experiment with oyster breakwaters in Florida state waters beyond the base’s shoreline. REPI funding can help attract state and local government or conservation agencies to work with the Air Force on such projects.

July 2023

Jersey Shore Online (Manchester, New Jersey) reports that Mayor Robert Arace recently announced that 24.83 acres on Pasadena Road in the Whiting section of the township were made possible for preservation through the efforts of the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund Program. Preservation of this parcel enables the County to expand its Roosevelt City fuel break initiative which was a wildfire mitigation project fully funded by the Department of Defense, Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program.
Public News Service (Richmond, Virginia) reports that Virginia is the 12th state to join the nationwide Sentinel Landscape Partnership, which has goals of strengthening military readiness while advancing climate-change programs. The new Virginia corridor, which spans nearly 3 million acres, includes a new Tidewater “sentinel landscape” anchored by Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton. Marine Corps Base Quantico helms the new Potomac landscape.
Read more about the new designation:


May 2023

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (Sebring, Florida) reported that Conservation Florida, in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), has permanently protected 527 acres within the Florida Wildlife Corridor.  In collaboration with the NRCS and the Lightsey family, the land conservancy purchased a conservation easement on XL Ranch Lightsey Cove.  A conservation easement will safeguard the property's incredible habitat for Florida's rare and endangered species.  XL Ranch Lightsey Cove was deemed a Grassland of Special Environmental Significance (GSS) in Florida under the NRCS' Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, one of the first of its kind.  In addition to being a part of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, XL Ranch Lightsey Cove also lies within the Avon Park Air Force Range (APAFR) Sentinel Landscape.  The APAFR Sentinel Landscape covers almost 1.7 million acres of land and is known for its rich biodiversity and abundance of private ranches.  It's anchored by the Air Force's largest primary air-to-ground training range east of the Mississippi River, which is used by every Armed Forces branch.

April 2023

Savannah Now (Savannah, Georgia) reports that one of Georgia's oldest longleaf pine forests grows amid Ceylon Wildlife Management Area, a state-owned land on the coast between Brunswick and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.  The state of Georgia is working in partnership with conservation groups and the Department of Defense (DOD) to help protect more than 150,000 acres and could help Georgia get its first national park.  Conservation advocates and military base officials say their counterparts in other states could do more of the same.  The DOD's REPI Program and the Sentinel Landscape Partnership aim to strengthen military readiness, conserve natural resources, bolster agricultural and forestry economies, and increase climate change resilience.  The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership covers 11 landscape areas across the country, including Georgia's coastal plain, encompassing the coast and parts of Middle and South Georgia.  Georgia has 151,035 protected acres in its designated Sentinel Landscape, more than any other landscape in the program.
The Department of the Navy reported that Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River’s Environment Division was honored for Earth Day by the St. Mary’s County with a Sustainability Award for a shoreline restoration project to stop soil erosion and rebuild natural habitat areas on the Patuxent River. The NAS Patuxent River Environment Division is one of two winners this year—the Southern Maryland Sierra Club is the other. This is the first time the award has gone out to a military installation, said Molly Boron, a commission member, adding that protecting the marine ecosystem benefits civilians and military personnel alike. The NAS Patuxent River project took place from 2021 to 2022 and created a 192-mile “living shoreline” of live beds of newly planted seagrass and other plants, combined with sand and a long wall of large stones. The Department of Defense provided funding under its Readiness and Environment Protection Integration (REPI) Program, which supports land and ecosystem conservation on and around military bases. Pax River received $3.4 million from REPI for living shoreline construction and coastline stabilization last year.
Environment News Service (Washington DC) reports that the Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense are partnering to allocate $80 million through a combination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and matching funds from DOD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program to preserve green space around military installations and improve access to outdoor recreation for millions of Americans. The Departments will make the funding available to states through a competitive process that could support projects on Tribal, private, state, or local lands.
The Department of the Army (Fort Benning, GA) reports that the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning community gathered to celebrate Earth Day with a fair featuring wildlife conservation and clean water initiative interactive displays held outside of the headquarters building. The observance theme was “Invest in Our Planet,” and highlighted both the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and the 20th anniversary of the Army Compatible Use Buffer program. “The Department of Defense manages more threatened and endangered species than any other government agency,” said Kristin Thomasgard, program director for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations & Environment) in her remarks made during the event.

March 2023

Post Guam (Northern Guam) reports that three of Guam's natural resource conservation programs are expected to benefit from the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program recent funding opportunity, totaling approximately $11.1 million. Through military and local reforestation programs, the Joint Region Marianas project will work to implement successful landscape-level feral pig control in the areas surrounding Camp Blaz. This project will support military and local reforestation programs to establish native plant species, protect endangered invertebrates, protect the integrity of groundwater recharge areas, and reduce feral pig populations to a level that decreases negative interactions with the local human population.
The Military Times (Washington, DC) reports that the Departments of Defense and the Interior announced Tuesday an $80 million investment to preserve land around military installations through the new Readiness and Recreation Initiative. As part of the joint effort, the National Park Service will provide $40 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, with DOD matching the contribution through the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program. The REPI Program secures land adjacent to military bases to serve as buffers to development, enhance recreational access, protect at-risk species, and improve resistance to impacts from climate change and severe weather events. Congress provided REPI funding with authority to be used as a nonfederal cost share match, allowing states and local governments to leverage these dollars to meet the required 50 percent match for LWCF formula grants.

February 2023

Grant Awarded for Shoreline Restoration at Quantico
Inside Nova (Washington, DC) reports that through the 2023 REPI Challenge, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission has received $286,000 towards shoreline restoration and flood mitigation projects at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Among the 13 recipients was the Northern Virginia commission for its proposal to resolve flooding and erosion issues at Quantico. The REPI Challenge project will improve the resilience of the base along with the stream and shoreline habitats of the installation’s boundary.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Trenton, NJ) reports that it will receive $995,000 from the Department of Defense (DOD)’s 2023 REPI Challenge to reduce wildfire risk in the areas surrounding Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Warren Grove Range, Naval Weapons Station Earle, and Sea Girt National Guard Training Facility. Funding will be used to construct a strategic firebreak adjacent to the Warren Grove Gunnery Range in Bass River State Forest, with project work expected to begin in April 2023. Additional REPI funds will go toward the Greenwood Triangle Forest Fuels Maintenance Project in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest and Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management area. “The Murphy Administration is grateful to our federal partners for this grant funding, which will help us mitigate the increased risk of wildfires that are one of the many adverse impacts of climate change in New Jersey,” said Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette.
Read more about REPI Challenge in New Jersey:
Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (Honolulu, HI) reports that as part of the 2023 REPI Challenge, Marine Corps Base Hawai’i has partnered with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources and other key partners to support an $8.7 million to manage invasive species and perpetuate the water resources of O’ahu by protecting and enhancing native ecosystems. The 2023 REPI Challenge in Hawaiʻi has contributed $10 million in REPI Program funds, to be coupled with $18.5 million in partner contributions. The 2023 REPI Challenge projects in Hawaiʻi will preserve and protect cultural, natural, and land resources on the windward side of Oahu and across the state near three other Hawaiʻi-based installations - Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, Pōhakuloa Training Area, and U.S. Army Garrison - Hawaiʻi.
Read more about REPI Challenge in Hawai’i:

January 2023

MauiNow (Maui, HI) reports that Congressman Ed Case announced a combined total of $10 million in federal funding from the Department of Defense (DOD) to implement four natural resource conservation projects under DOD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program. The funds will be matched with $18.5 million in private partner contributions to work towards improving coastal, forest and watershed resilience on military-utilized lands and nearby communities.
The Maui News (Maui, HI) reports that through the REPI Program, $2.9 million in federal funds will go toward increasing the resilience of endangered wildlife on Lanai, Hawai’i. These funds are a portion of a combined $10 million coming from the Department of Defense (DOD) to implement four natural resource conservation projects under DOD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program for restoration and recovery projects on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i Island.
The Airforce Times (Vienna, VA) features how the Readiness Environmental Protection Integration, also known as the REPI Program, is leading efforts to combat encroachment that can limit or restrict military training, testing, and operations at installations and ranges across the country. Congress, recognizing the impending threat of encroachment to military readiness, gave the Department of Defense authority to enter into cost-sharing agreements with state and local governments and conservation organizations to promote military readiness and prevent encroachment from development pressures. The Department achieves this through the REPI Program which prioritizes the conservation of open space and working lands near DoD bases. Each year more installations seek to utilize the REPI Program to relieve the rapidly rising pressures of nearby development.