Representatives from the offices of Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA), Kristin Thomasgard-Spence of Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment)/Basing Directorate, and John Housein of the U.S. Army Environmental Division, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management visited the Garrison to see how the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program is being utilized. Organization representatives from the Conservation Fund, Trust for Public Land, Virginia Outdoors Foundation, And the Nature Conservatory were also present.
Fort A.P. Hill integrates environmental quality, biodiversity, conservation and ecosystem management in daily operations. The Garrison works collaboratively with Federal agencies, State agencies and non‐profit organizations to gather funds to purchase conservation easements and fee simple ownership from willing landowners.
Funds have also been obtained with the help of the Virginia National Defense Industrial Authority and the federally appropriated Realignment and Closure program. Through these partnerships, valuable habitats and ecological resources, as well as the historic and rural character of the neighboring landscape, have been permanently protected. Under these protections are wetland and aquatic habitats, which benefit water quality and lends to the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The Army Program strives to preempt incompatible development near Fort A.P. Hill. As a Regional Training Center, the Garrison strives to work with community partners to mitigate operational factors that would affect both the Post and the public.
The undeveloped land that has been protected by the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program to date includes more than 3,000 acres of wetlands, 20 miles of streams, 10,000 acres of riparian forest buffer, 3,000 forested acres and more than 6,000 acres of open lands in production for agricultural products which also provide habitats for a variety of game and nongame species including bobwhite quail and woodcock whose populations have been on the decline due to habitat loss.
Fort A.P. Hill was recently awarded the 2017 Governor's Environmental Excellence Gold Award because of its dedication and continuing success of executing the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program.