Arsenal's cultural resources program, Fort Indiantown Gap's natural resources team take top honors for fiscal 2007
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Army installations making strides in historic preservation and sensitive species protection earned two Department of Defense Environmental Awards for fiscal 2007.
In Alabama, the U.S. Army Garrison Redstone Arsenal's protection of local history resulted in the DoD Environmental Award for Cultural Resources Management.
In Pennsylvania, the natural resources conservation team at Fort Indiantown Gap, a National Guard installation, garnered the award in the Natural Resources Conservation, Team category for their protection of the regal fritillary butterfly.
Responsible for nearly one thousand archaeological sites, Redstone's cultural resources staff developed a comprehensive survey to identify every single one. They then entered an innovative programmatic agreement with the Alabama State Historic Preservation Office allowing the capture and preservation of cultural details and representative samples for each site. The resulting detailed documentation of Redstone's cultural history removed obstacles to mission support activities.
"Redstone Arsenal's work to develop a programmatic agreement and implement creative mitigation strategies through consultation is to be highly commended," said Kelly Yasaitis Fanizzo, a specialist with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
The installation also hosts volunteer archaeological excavations and coordinates school field trips to its outdoor classroom built around a full-size replica of a Late Mississippian Period wattle and daub house. Redstone's community outreach and education programs highlight the garrison's cultural resources management program.
More regal fritillary butterflies live on Fort Indiantown Gap than anywhere else east of the Mississippi. The Pennsylvania state species of concern exists on post because of the installation's grassy ranges, but those grassy ranges provide the Army's only live-fire, maneuver training site in the state.
To accommodate the installation's unconventional residents without interrupting training, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's natural resources team restricted mechanized training on 219 acres of their habitat.
The restricted areas were then designated as virtual mine fields. "That way," said John Fronko, environmental program manager for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, and leader of the natural resources conservation team, "we are still able to maintain realism and meet our training doctrine requirements at the same time."
Another solution to keep the regal fritillary butterfly off the endangered species list is transplanting a colony of the regal fritillary butterfly elsewhere in the state. The Gap's natural resources team is working with The Nature Conservancy to introduce the butterfly at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
In addition to the regal butterfly, the natural resources team manages 96 other state species of concern on 17,000 acres of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the state, including forest, grassland, scrubland, savanna, and wetlands.