Leading the ITAM team is Art Hazebrook, who began working at FHL in 1994 as a part-time contractor with the Colorado State University, Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands.
"I went from a 160 acre study site in the Nipomo Dunes to Fort Hunter Liggett's 160,000 acres as a Cal Poly biology student," said Hazebrook. "I was overwhelmed!" With joy, that is.
Today, Hazebrook is a Department of Army Civilian with oversight on the five components of ITAM. The fifth component, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) operations is conducted by a person who specializes in geodatabases and cartography (map making).
1. Range and Training Land Assessment (RTLA)
2. Land Rehabilitation and Maintenance (LRAM)
3. Sustainable Range Awareness (SRW)
4. Training Requirements Integration (TRI)
5. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
RTLA involves the physical- and biological-based assessments used to relate land conditions to training intensity and to prescribe proper land management practices, such as vegetation monitoring which requires meticulous and continuous mapping, plotting and measuring. Information gathered through RTLA feeds TRI decision support and the LRAM project development process.
LRAM utilizes land management techniques that promote sediment control and native vegetation enhancement, such as the re-establishment of proper slope and drainage, and using a combination of hydro-mulching using native plant seed and aero-mulching with wheat straw to stabilize the soil.
They also conduct tactical concealment restoration projects, such as Valley Oak (Quercus lobata) restoration. The Valley Oak is endemic to California and is the largest oak tree in North America, with a 10-foot diameter and towering more than 100 feet. This makes the trees a valuable tactical concealment resource. In 1996, a study was conducted to determine the effects of natural and man-made fire events at FHL. This led to the Valley Oak seed collection and seedling planting efforts. Since 1996, more than 1,500 Valley Oak seedlings have been planted on approximately 500 acres.
SRA is the active promotion of sustainability and stewardship of natural resources to troops training and visitors of FHL. Such efforts help minimize environmental disturbance of training lands by providing educational tools targeting common sense solutions.
TRI is the integration of immediate and long-term military training requirements with natural and cultural resource management processes. ITAM works with just about all the garrison directorates, "making sure everybody is on the same page when it comes to training-related issues," said Hazebrook.
They have used 15 years' worth of GIS date to create the Geographic Information Supporting Military Operations (GISMO) map application, which is used by troops to perform on-the-ground training area reconnaissance.
Like all other garrison divisions, ITAM would not be able to successfully accomplish its mission without teamwork between directorates and innovative thinking. The ITAM team works closely with Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division (DPWE) and DPW Grounds and Roads Crew to execute a sustainable land management program.
"We work together to communicate environmental constraints and risks to units," said Liz Clark, DPWE Chief. "ITAM develops early planning tools, like GISMO and maps for pre-planning, while DPWE provides detailed environmental resource maps for Soldiers to use during the exercise."
ITAM is critical to the garrison mission and to the troops training at FHL because it provides maneuver land capability to support the installations' training mission requirements, while preserving the cultural and natural resources of FHL. "The best part of my job is working with the troops and getting what they need as far as GIS product or SRA products...things that will accomplish their mission," said Hazebrook.