WASHINGTON -- The Department of Defense recently announced the winners of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards Program for 2018. DOD recognized three Army installations for cultural resources management in the large installation category, environmental quality in the non-industrial installation category, and natural resources conservation in the small installation category.

"These awards demonstrate the Army's meticulous environmental stewardship of our cultural and natural resources in support of our warfighting readiness mission. Congratulations to all winning installations and their efforts leading a more sustainable future that is positioning our Army to meet the demands of 2025 and beyond," said Mr. Jordan Gillis, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installation, Energy, and Environment.

CAMP RIPLEY, MINNESOTA

Camp Ripley, the Minnesota Army National Guard's premier training site, always has emphasized the connection between conservation and training sustainability. The installation includes more than 300 historic and prehistoric sites ranging from archaic sites along the Mississippi to the remains of Fort Ripley, a frontier cavalry fort listed on the National Register. It also is home to several Works Progress Administration-era buildings, a one and a half mile dry-laid stone wall, and the "Valhalla" Governor's lodge.

Camp Ripley's Cultural Resources Management Program balances the military mission with the preservation of cultural treasures through innovation, communication and outreach.

The team completed a methodologically consistent, comprehensive record of all archaeological sites on its 54,000 acres, maintained in the installation's digitized CRM data library. This allows Camp Ripley to proceed with virtually all needed military operations without further survey requirements.

The installation's biannual Archaeology Day, which includes informational topics about Camp Ripley's history and pre-history, cultural resources and a hands-on flint knapping demonstration for staff and Soldiers ensures those who work on the installation understand the national treasures in their care.

FORT HOOD, TEXAS

Leading the way in environmental quality, Fort Hood, Texas stands out as a champion in reducing waste, ensuring environmental compliance, implementing the Environmental Management System, promoting community relations within the Greater Fort Hood Area, and streamlining environmental analyses.

The installation's environmental quality program is a collaborative effort between garrison directorates, military units and tenants, Cen-Tex Sustainable Communities Partnership, Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates, the Central Texas Council of Government, and community stakeholders.

Serving as a model program for others to emulate, Fort Hood has created a variety of policies, programs, and projects that balance mission readiness and environmental stewardship across the installation. With the support of military and civilian leaders, Fort Hood is implementing best practices in support of the Net Zero philosophy, building a framework to facilitate change and improving relationships with stakeholders.

Exceeding goals is the norm for Fort Hood employees. They exceeded their Qualified Recycling Program goals by selling more than 10 million pounds of recyclable materials and exceeded their Sustainability in the Next Decade energy and water goals through installation of a 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic array and 50-megawatt wind power generation off-site. Their water conservation efforts are expected to have a lifetime water cost savings of $5.197 million, with a simple payback in 4.07 years.

Fort Hood's environmental teams conducted 2,330 environmental assistance visits, 425 formal assessments, 432 courtesy assessments, and trained 8,710 individuals during the last two years. Their outreach efforts through Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Eco-Harvest, City of Killeen Geographic Information Systems Day, National Night Out, Fort Hood Earth Day, City of Gatesville Earth Day, Earth Day Texas, and America Recycles Day reached nearly 140,000 individuals during the awards period.

HAWAII ARMY NATIONAL GUARD

Though the Hawaii Army National Guard's statewide installation is small, the natural resources conservation challenges in a tropical environment are huge.

Keaukaha Military Reservation contains 229 acres of lowland wet forest, an increasingly rare ecosystem in Hawaii, as well as endangered Hawaiian hawks and Hawaiian hoary bats. At Kekaha Firing Range, the natural resources conservation team must manage endangered Niihau panic grass and a threatened sand dune habitat. The seasonal wetlands on Ukumehame Firing Range attract endangered bird species, several of which are also present at the Regional Training Institute.

Throughout the Hawaii Army National Guard training sites, the most consistent challenge has been invasive and non-native species that continually threaten precarious ecosystems and impede training access. The Guard's multi-faceted invasive species management program achieves holistic benefits at the ecosystem level and creates training access. With training land at such a premium, every acre matters.

Through the Army National Guard's efforts, eradication of miconia has been achieved; more than 5,000 long-thorn kiawe plants and about 4,000 albizia also have been eradicated by removing mature seeding plants and then removing the seedlings to eliminate the seed base.

Last year, Hawaii Army National Guard's natural resources conservation program integrated a new technique into its invasive-species arsenal, introducing goat and sheep grazing as a cost- and resource-effective approach to invasive species eradication. That project slashed the use of herbicides and safeguarded sensitive habitats from adverse maintenance impacts; at the same time, this technique has re-opened large sections of Keaukaha Military Reservation for training.