Blue Grass Army Depot "Excels" in KY EXCEL Program
June 18, 2009
- Blue Grass Army Depot uses KY EXCEL program to improve its environmental initiatives.
- Depot environmental program includes land management, archaeology, and enviornmental management.
- Through these projects, they continue to be good stewards of the environment while maintaining the Depot's mission requirements.
BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT, Richmond, Ky. - Blue Grass Army Depot continues to "excel" in achieving major milestones with the environmental management projects it has submitted as a master member of the Kentucky Excellence in Environmental Leadership Program known as KY EXCEL.
The KY EXCEL program is Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection's voluntary environmental leadership program that allows participants to increase their environmental commitment and reduce their environmental footprint through the completion of voluntary environmental projects.
Since becoming a master member in September 2006, the Depot has partnered with federal, state and local agencies as well as universities and colleges in its environmental management system efforts to protect the environment, protect the health of the Depot's workforce, prevent and reduce pollution, comply with federal and state laws and Army regulations and conduct the installation's missions in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
"Our environmental scope is fence line to fence line on this installation. I'm extremely proud of the dedication and untiring efforts of Blue Grass Army Depot's employees to continually improve the environment, maintain compliance with environmental laws and regulations and sustain pollution prevention on the Depot's 14,500 acres," said Depot Commander Col. Joseph Tirone.
These accomplishments are in the areas of land management - prescribed burning, tree planting, enhancing habitat areas for bird species of concern and endangered plants and conducting youth hunts for land management purposes; archeology and environmental management - scrap metal recycling and implementation of International Organization for Standardization ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System.
- More than 200 personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, Kentucky Department of National Resources Division of Forestry, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Nature Conservatory, various state National Guard units, Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College have been trained and certified to conduct prescribed burns since 2003. The Depot has successfully used this training certification to conduct prescribed burns of more than 2,000 acres of land for natural resources management and fire protection purposes.
Prescribed burns are effectively used to reduce tall fescue grass and to promote and enhance the growth of native warm season grasses which produce high protein food for deer and other animals located on the installation, according to Alan Colwell, Depot natural resource specialist. It also provides nesting and habitat for several species of concern - short-eared owl, red-headed wood pecker, wood thrush, prairie warbler, cerulean warbler, Louisiana waterthrush, grass hopper sparrow and the Henslow's sparrow, he explained.
- Over the last eight years, a joint multiple-agency coordination effort has culminated in the placement and planting of more than 255,000 trees on the Depot. Recently, seedlings were purchased from Kentucky Department of National Resources Division of Forestry to plant 25,000 trees over 320 acres to assist in the growth and natural habitat of running buffalo clover, a federally-listed endangered plant species, located on the Depot.
- The Depot is partnering with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to conduct three youth hunts - dove mentor hunt, youth turkey hunt and youth deer hunt - during 2009 to promote safe hunting and to manage the carrying capacity of the land (population-to-resources ratio). The goal is to train 200 youth hunters.
The Depot has accumulated a large inventory of artifacts from archaeological research conducted through the years.
"The human history of Depot land reaches back over 10,000 years. Artifacts related to Native American hunting camps, villages and ceremonial structures have been recovered in addition to colonial era artifacts," explained Nathan White, the Depot archaeologist and cultural resource manager.
- Artifacts and archaeological expertise have been provided to the Battle of Richmond Association and Madison County Historical Society through White's efforts. Many artifacts dating back to the Civil War and the Battle of Richmond, which took place on the Depot in the summer of 1862, are now on loan to the Rogers House - The Battle of Richmond Visitors Center in Richmond for public display.
- White has provided support and assistance for Eastern Kentucky University's field school in archaeology at the Broaddus site, a Middle Fort Ancient Village site, located on Depot property. He gives lectures to schools and "living history" presentations to promote better citizen understanding of the area's cultural heritage. He also has represented the Depot during the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service Living Archaeology Weekend at Red River Gorge.
- Since May 2007, the Depot has recycled more than 13.6 million pounds of scrap metal through the Qualified Recycling Program managed by the installation's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office.
- The Depot has committed to conforming to International Organization for Standardization ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System. It has successfully implemented ISO 14001 and is assisting all Depot directorates and Depot tenant organizations in meeting all associated requirements through full ISO 14001 conformance.
By meeting ISO 14001 requirements, the Depot can use this as a management tool enabling it to identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products or services, explained Steve Van Dyke, Depot environmental protection specialist.
"Through all these projects, we continue to be good stewards of the environment while maintaining the Depot's mission requirements. Being a member of the KY EXCEL program has enabled us to foster a good working relationship with the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection," said Todd Williams, Depot environmental division chief.