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.

March 2024

The Appeal-Democrat (Yuba Country, CA) reports that Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust, in partnership with landowners, California Strategic Growth Council’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program, the California Department of Conservation, and the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program, finalized a conservation easement that will protect 952 acres in Yuba County, California. With a long history of farming and ranching and an established military community around Beale Air Force Base, conserving the Magnolia Ranch property will preserve agricultural land, protect wildlife habitats, and promote compatible land use around Beale Air Force Base.
The Air Force Public Affairs Office (Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas) reports that the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) is spearheading multiple installation resilience projects that support military readiness as climate change uncertainties threaten to disrupt operations. These projects are executed by AFCEC’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program and funded by cost-sharing partnerships between the Air Force and Federal, state, or local entities. “REPI is a Department of Defense program that funds off-base conservation or resilience projects,” said Shawn Rose, AFCEC REPI Chief. “The partnerships help installations optimize project funds and resources to preserve military capabilities and protect local ecosystems.” The Air Force has used over $117 million in DOD REPI Program funds and $110 million in partner funds to protect 151,483 acres and promote compatible land use. The Air Force currently has several active projects funded through the REPI Program that continue to work to facilitate environmental conservation and the military mission.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (Seattle, WA) announced over $1.8 million in grants across ten projects under the Killer Whale Conservation Program, which is a partnership between Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, the U.S. Navy by way of the Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection (REPI) Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. With more than $1.7 million in matching contributions from grantees, for a total conservation impact of more than $3.5 million, the projects will work in the Puget Sound to increase food sources for killer whales by restoring essential salmon habitats.
State, Feds Work to Protect Areas Near Military Bases in Wildfire-Prone Pinelands
The Sandpaper (Burlington County, NJ) reports that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Forest Fire Service, and local officials have partnered with Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the Warren Grove Range on three wildfire resilience projects in the Pinelands of Bass River State Forest.  Funded through the Department of Defense’s REPI Challenge, the projects aim to promote wildfire resilience and protect properties adjacent to the bases by implementing prescribed burns to create fuel and firebreaks.  Since 2020, New Jersey’s Forest Fire Service has received nearly $1.7 million from the REPI Challenge to support wildfire resilience projects that have created or maintained 33 miles of firebreaks and fuel breaks near the two installations.

February 2024

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (Honolulu, HI) reports that in partnership with Army Garrison-Hawaiʻi, was awarded a $2.24 million grant as part of Fiscal Year 2024 REPI Challenge funds to support reforestation, agroforestry, and native seed projects on 511 acres of Wahiawā lands near Schofield Barracks.  This important project will focus on replanting a native Hawaiian forest to buffer the culturally significant site, contribute to overall watershed resiliency, and plant disease and death-resistant plants.  In collaboration with community partners, this project aims to implement sustainable land use practices and preserve cultural knowledge at the site, as well as benefit the long-term sustainability of the Department of Defense’s mission.
The Two River Times (Middletown, NJ) reports that Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF), Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Earle, Monmouth County, and local townships have partnered to purchase and conserve 255 acres of land in Colts Neck.  Through REPI Program funding, this project will establish a permanent easement to prevent development from encroaching on the installation and protect natural habitats, farmland, and open spaces.  Increased development around NWS Earle has created risks that negatively impact military training and threaten wildlife.  The naval station contains one of the largest wooded areas in Monmouth County, which is now permanently preserved through the easement and will promote military readiness, installation resilience, and protect critical wildlife.
Hoosier Ag Today (Zionsville, IN) features how the 3.5-million-acre Southern Indiana Sentinel Landscape (SISL) is leading conservation efforts in the state to support sustainable rural and woodland use and military missions and training.  Having recently received funding from the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program, the SISL continues to build partnerships with conservation agencies in support of their work increasing sustainable farming practices, restoring forestland, and ensuring military readiness around Camp Atterbury and the Crane Naval Facility.
The Post and Courier (Beaufort County, SC) features how the nationwide Sentinel Landscape Partnership promotes compatible land use on properties surrounding military installations while also supporting local conservation goals.  The 2.2-million-acre South Carolina Lowcountry Sentinel Landscape (SCLSL) that is anchored by Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, and the Naval Support Facility Beaufort has continued the work that the REPI Program began there in 2006.  That important work includes managing land encroachment issues, improving wildlife habitats, building climate resilience, and protecting critical land around the bases.  Most recently, the SCLSL was awarded REPI Challenge funding toward the $35 million purchase of Gregorie Neck, which will protect high priority land along training routes for military jets.
The Post and Courier (Beaufort County, SC) reports that Gregorie Neck, a massive 4,400-acre track of undeveloped waterfront property in Jasper County, South Carolina, has been bought by The Nature Conservancy after being awarded a $6 million grant as part of Fiscal Year 2024 REPI Challenge funds.  As part of the largest undeveloped wetland ecosystems on the Atlantic Coast, Gregorie Neck will be placed under a conservation easement with Beafort-based Open Land Trust and will bridge conservation efforts from the Savannah River Basin to the Ace Basin to significantly limit development, which has been an intense threat to the area in recent years.  The acquisition of this property will help to prevent incompatible development near the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and permanently protect water quality and wildlife for over 13 miles of river frontage.

January 2024

The Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (College Station, Texas) reports that the DOD REPI Program recently announced over $141 million in grants through the new America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC).  The 74 new grants will support projects that conserve, restore, and connect habitats for wildlife while improving community and installation resilience across 46 states and three U.S. territories. The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) partners with the REPI Program to support the dual mission of military readiness and environmental sustainability in Texas. The REPI Program has contributed over $5.2 million to seven ATBC projects in the state, including $723,000 to the Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape in San Antonio.
Pacific Daily News (Hagatna, Guam) reports that nearly 100 volunteers removed at least 7,000 pounds of trash and replaced invasive species with native trees to clean up and beautify the 1000 Steps trail in Guam.  In coordination with the Guam Department of Agriculture, the event was organized by Tåno, Tåsi, yan Todu, a non-profit organization working with local communities to restore and protect ecosystems across the Marianas. This project was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, with funding support from DOD’s REPI Program as part of the Joint Region Marianas REPI initiative.   “Removing the invasive African tulips and replacing them with native species is one of many things we can do to support our rich and unique limestone forests,” said Christine Fejeran, Chief of the Guam Department of Agriculture Forestry and Soil Resources Division.
The Highlands News-Sun (Sebring, Florida) reported that the DOD’s REPI Program announced recipients for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 REPI Challenge. Through the FY 2024 REPI Challenge, the REPI Program contributed $704,000 to Archbold Biological Station to support fire management for enhanced resilience in the Avon Park Air Force Range Sentinel Landscape, including an ecosystem restoration team to build regional capacity for fire management within the Sentinel Landscape. In addition to the DOD REPI Program funding, Archbold received $312,000 in grant funding through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s America the Beautiful Challenge to support this regional fire management effort.