The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment announced the Army's top environmental programs for 2020.
The Honorable Alex A. Beehler identified five installations and three teams as winners in the Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards program, the highest honor conferred by the Army in the field of environment and sustainability. The eight winners will represent the Army in the 2020 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards Program.
"Responsible stewardship of environmental resources is not only essential to Army training and readiness, but also imperative to the overall effectiveness of our military," said Beehler. "I commend our Army's environmental professionals for the stewardship they provide that ensures the Army simultaneously meets current as well as future mission requirements worldwide. Their efforts safeguard human health, improve quality of life, and also enhance the natural environment."
This year's winners demonstrated superior program management and presented a variety of environmental technical solutions that benefit and enable the mission, are transferrable to other Army organizations and installations, involve local stakeholders, and produce measurable outcomes and a positive impact.
Congratulations to the Army's 2020 award winners:
- Natural Resources Conservation -- Small Installation: Michigan Army National Guard, Fort Custer Training Center
- Natural Resources Conservation -- Individual/Team: Minnesota Army National Guard, Camp Ripley Conservation-Training Enhancement Team
- Environmental Quality -- Non-Industrial Installation: U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood
- Environmental Quality -- Individual/Team: Louisiana Army National Guard, Compliance Team
- Sustainability -- Industrial Installation: Indiana Army National Guard, Surface Equipment Maintenance Facility (SEMF) 14
- Environmental Restoration -- Installation: Massachusetts Army National Guard, Camp Edwards
- Environmental Restoration -- Individual/Team: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, Fort Rousseau Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) Team
- Cultural Resources Management -- Large Installation: U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood
The winners of this year's environmental awards stand out as examples of how environmental stewardship and sustainability play a crucial role in the Army's mission readiness. Investments that the Army makes in environmental programs and sustainability initiatives pay dividends in sustaining realistic training and testing capabilities both now and in the future.
Natural Resources Conservation -- Small Installation
The Michigan Army National Guard's Fort Custer Training Center has long been recognized for its Natural Resources Conservation program.
Encompassing 7,500 acres, Fort Custer blends excellence in natural and cultural resource management with innovation in sustainability and environmental quality to enhance and protect the training lands that support small arms, bivouac, and land navigation training as well as specialized convoy reaction and improvised explosive device training.
The center is recognized for a range of initiatives to include serving as the Army's representative in the DoD climate change preparedness pilot program, modernizing the installation's forestry and timber practices to emphasize ecological function in conjunction with adoption of the Michigan Forest Inventory System to enhance the value of forestry data, leading cooperative interagency efforts in the state to address future ecological needs and adaptations to current management strategies, and developing a sustainable solar energy program that will allow the installation to go off the grid in the near future if required.
Natural Resources Conservation -- Individual/Team
The Minnesota Army National Guard Conservation-Training Enhancement Team is composed of staff from three departments: Environmental Natural Resources, Integrated Training Area Management, and the Department of Public Works.
By working across their directorates, this team has been able to identify mission overlap and synchronize land management priorities. The team's work has helped Camp Ripley to remain at the forefront of conservation practices while sustaining over 365,000 annual man-days of training.
Among the milestones accomplished over the past two years are a new forest management plan, which has allowed the team to align timber harvest trails with maneuver trails, match accessibility needs with habitat thinning needs, and eradicate invasive species to the benefit of both Soldiers and wildlife.
Their forestry-timber program also generates $80,000 to $90,000 each year to fund conservation while expanding training ranges as needed and improving ecological health.
Environmental Quality -- Non-Industrial Installation
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood, located in the Missouri Ozarks, trains over 80,000 students each year. The highlights of the post's environmental program include exceeding DoD solid waste diversion goals for municipal solid waste and construction and demolition wastes eight years in a row. The recycling program earned $1.98 million dollars in revenue and helped avoid landfill costs of more than $3 million over the past two years.
Fort Leonard Wood developed an improved National Environmental Policy Act process using online tools and completion of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment to cover many of the on-going mission activities.
The post was also praised by Missouri officials for its outreach programs and activities including the Earth Day fair, Kid's Trout Fishing Derby, Environmental Compliance Officer Training, Environmental Quality Control Committee meetings, newcomers' briefs, multiple newspaper articles and staff assistance visits to tenant units.
Environmental Quality -- Individual/Team
The Louisiana Army National Guard's Compliance Team, composed of three regional coordinators and three specialized environmental managers, established a communication network between operators and environmental leadership necessary to accomplish real operational change.
Across dozens of readiness centers, 16 maintenance facilities, and three major training sites, the team has achieved unmatched success in compliance for the state, completing the best Environmental Performance Assessment System inspection in LAARNG history in 2018.
As an outcome of this groundwork, the team has been able to not only respond to compliance issues, but to anticipate and prevent them from happening.
Sustainability -- Industrial Installation
The Indiana Army National Guard Surface Equipment Maintenance Facility 14 has been a proving ground for new sustainability initiatives that can then be rolled out to other industrial sites throughout the state.
One of the most successful sustainability projects for SEMF 14 has been the introduction of a rechargeable aerosol system for use with a bulk brake cleaner.
While the system was acquired several years ago, it is over the past two years that SEMF 14 has been able to demonstrate the positive impacts that have accrued. Based on their example, the Indiana Army National Guard is now implementing this system in all its industrial facilities.
Environmental Restoration -- Installation
At Camp Edwards, on Joint Base Cape Cod, the Massachusetts Army National Guard is improving and increasing military training and readiness through the successful restoration efforts of the Impact Area Groundwater Study Program.
Because Camp Edwards sits on top of the sole source aquifer for Cape Cod, virtually all restoration has been driven by groundwater protection and remediation, which includes pump-and-treat groundwater treatment systems and UXO removal.
Camp Edwards has been extraordinarily successful, not only in restoring groundwater resources and addressing UXO, but also in reintroducing training capabilities and creating new training assets, particularly over the past two years.
Environmental Restoration -- Individual/Team
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District completed a remedial action at the Fort Rousseau Formerly Used Defense Site.
The focus of the project was to remove and dispose of contaminated soil from a World War II coastal landfill that was eroding into the ocean.
Accomplishments of this cleanup action include removal of 933 tons of hazardous waste and 5,157 tons of non-hazardous waste. Other items removed include 317 pounds of electronic equipment, 168 pounds of broken lead-acid battery plates, and approximately 133 tons of steel.
The remediation activities were effective in protecting, enhancing, and restoring the environment. This project significantly reduced risk to human health and the environment at a high priority site.
Cultural Resources Management -- Large Installation
The U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood Cultural Resource Management Program works closely with internal stakeholders and military organizations on project reviews in support of the military mission.
Some highlights of the program include rehabilitating the Historic Black Officers' Club, completing phase I archaeological surveys of 1,300 acres of installation lands and 330 acres leased from Missouri, hosting and participating in three tribal meetings, and updating protection protocols with a focus on type and degree of disturbance, presence of rock art and other significant features, and evidence of Archaeological Resources Protection Act violations.
For more information about the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award program, visit the U.S. Army Environmental Command's website at https://aec.army.mil/index.php/awards.