The U.S. Army’s mission -- to defend our nation, our people and our land -- is enhanced when we protect the natural resources on our installations, including threatened and endangered plants and animals.
Readiness training for multi-domain operations and high-intensity conflict requires access to realistic natural landscapes, ecosystems and environmental conditions that Soldiers may experience during combat. Natural environments are also important for testing new systems and equipment under realistic conditions. For these reasons, natural resources are viewed by the Army as strategic assets that are critical to the Army’s warfighting readiness and modernization missions.
In recent years, the Army's efforts to improve endangered species habitat and increase populations have resulted in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downlisting the red-cockaded woodpecker from endangered to threatened, and the removal of the black-capped vireo from the endangered species list.
The Army has also entered into conservation agreements that can lead to the improved status of species such as the gopher tortoise, the Louisiana pinesnake and others. The Army, along with its partners at the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is working to support the recovery of these and other species on Army properties.
"The Army has always believed that wise management of its entrusted natural resources is a benefit to both the Army mission and the stewardship of its lands," said Dr. David Guldenzopf, director for environmental quality at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. "When an installation recovers endangered species populations, the military capabilities of thousands of acres of Army training landscape improve significantly. Sustaining natural landscapes and ecosystems ensures training and testing realism, makes certain natural infrastructure assets remain viable and accessible, and conserves and protects endangered species and their habitats."
The Army will continue to manage threatened, endangered and at-risk species in support of Army mission requirements and species-recovery needs, and will continue to work with its partners to support and contribute to the recovery conservation of these species. Going forward, Army wildlife management efforts are being adapted to ensure endangered species habitats remain resilient in the face of climate change.
The Army is committed to further improving its tools and processes -- including education, training, policy and guidance, partnerships, and reporting -- to better manage and conserve natural resources.
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