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1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The rolling Flint Hills of Central Kansas are typified by numerous species of wildflowers, warm season grasses and gallery forests. The tallgrass prairie evolved under frequent pressure from wildfires (note the fire-scarred tree in the foreground), ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Simple, yet effective method to provide a bat roosting structure on a National Historic Register-listed building. In this example, bats that were excluded from the attic for health and safety reasons readily took to the roost structure attached to t... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The incidence of off-road vehicle damage has declined with the implementation of Fort Riley's Trail Riding Program. Designated trails were identified that have low erosion potential and provide a secondary benefit of maintaining a firebreak at no c... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A recently completed hardened stream crossing that was completed in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for protection of the Federally Endangered Topeka Shiner. Six of the 39 streams in the state of Kansas that are known to contain... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Completed Bird Viewing Station adjacent to the Custer Hill Nature Trail. Funding for the project was provided by a National Public Lands Day Grant. Construction of the station was completed by two military families for an Eagle Scout project (viewi... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Prior to settlement, the landscape of present day Fort Riley would have consisted of treeless prairie. The Fort Riley Natural Resources Conservation Team employs a variety of tools to maintain large expanses of open grassland, including an aggressi... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Partnerships are helping keep the prairie healthy at Fort Riley, Kansas, and have helped earn the installation's Natural Resource Team the FY 2013 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards Program team award for Natural Resources Conservation.

The Fort Riley NR team continuously seeks opportunities to enhance the installation's natural resources, partnering with other organizations with similar conservation goals and sharing their expertise throughout the region.

"Fort Riley has great partnerships with our Flint Hills neighbors," said Col. Andrew Cole, Fort Riley garrison commander. "Our partnerships have effectively enhanced our sustainability objectives in support of Fort Riley's mission and the well being of our Soldiers."

The team acquired $84,000 in supplemental funding and equipment from Pheasants Forever, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Remington, Eagle Claw and Quail forever. The funding was used primarily to enhance habitat and improve hunting and fishing opportunities on the installation.

Through a collaborative effort with the Fort Riley Outdoors Group, the Fort Riley NR team provided youth turkey and deer hunts for dependents of deployed Soldiers. This program received national attention and media coverage.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Fort Riley team partnered to install a water diversion structure to divert waste products from an off-post cattle holding facility, establishing a grass buffer to improve water quality for the endangered Topeka shiner.

The USDA and the Fort Riley team initiated a wildlife damage assessment for Marshall Army Airfield's wildlife airstrike hazard assessment guidance. This effort prompted nuisance animal removal and led to innovative methods to reduce potential animal strikes.

The NR team also partnered with the installation's Army Community Services and provided mentoring and NR management to nine Warrior Transition Battalion Soldiers and two military family volunteers, through the ACS Volunteer Program.

The Wildcat Creek Conservation Partnership and the Greater Prairie Chicken Partnership Coalition enabled the NR team to complete seven stream improvement projects benefitting the federally endangered Topeka shiner, develop a 20,000 acre easement protecting prairie chicken habitat, and undertake other prairie maintenance projects.

Fort Riley hosted the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism Region 2 annual meeting. Discussions and interactions with these officials have led to extended hunting seasons on Fort Riley for Soldiers returning from deployments and waiving the fishing permit fee. One particular interaction resulted in an Army Compatible Use Buffer Program partnership where the Kansas DWPT is now owner to a parcel that is land locked by Fort Riley. This allows Army use of helicopter flight routes over the area, while preserving rare bottomland forest habitat along the Kansas River.

Recognizing the need to partner with adjacent landowners, the Fort Riley NR team used the USFWS?'s Partners for Wildlife Program to create a tri-party agreement to improve the condition of private lands adjacent to the installation and control invasive eastern red-cedar. This expands the high quality habitat past Fort Riley's border.

As a member of the Wildcat Creek Work Group, Fort Riley, which owns more than 30 percent of the creek's watershed acreage, played a critical role in the creation and acceptance of a Flood Mitigation Plan and installation of an early warning system to let military families know when they are in harm's way.

Working with the US Army Central Region Environmental and Energy Office, the Riley team helped contribute to the passage of Kansas legislation directing local government agencies to collaborate with Department of Defense activities prior to executing decisions that could negatively impact military training.

"Fort Riley is an excellent example of how the Army's environmental programs, a great team of dedicated professionals, and regional communication and coordination can effectively support the accomplishment of the military mission," said David B. Snodgrass, deputy director, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, Central Region

These and other partnership help the Fort Riley NR team enhance training, improve quality of life for Soldiers and their families, and minimize regulatory encroachment, all of which result in a more sustainable training environment.

Related Links:

Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards

Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards

Fort Riley