USA — With more than 19 miles of Mississippi River frontage, and representing one of the largest landholders in the region, the Minnesota Army National Guard (MNARNG) and Camp Ripley have long been prominent protectors of the Mississippi and its ecosystem.
Camp Ripley recently achieved a number of major natural resources conservation (NRC) goals. The installation enrolled 4,000 acres into the installation Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB), protected 18,000 more acres in support of the ACUB, developed new partnerships for ACUB funding and NRC management, and secured special legislation returning state timber revenues to Camp Ripley for its reforestation and forest management program.
Conservation activities at Camp Ripley support MNARNG’s training mission. NRC activities are closely coordinated with training needs, and staff develops mitigations when needed. The ACUB is especially important to prevent encroachment and ensure sustainable training for Camp Ripley without compromising mission and the Soldiers’ ability to train as they will be expected to fight on the battlefield.
Partnerships with state and local agencies and universities have made Camp Ripley second-to-none in the region for environmental excellence and expertise. NRC staff also conduct extensive outreach on and off the installation. There are 600 full-time personnel employed here, and nearly 7,000 others visit each year to enjoy the post’s environmental resources. Camp Ripley’s conscientious NRC management preserves the installation’s diversity for future generations and supports the Army’s triple bottom line for sustaining the environment, mission and community.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for the Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, Tad Davis, recognized Camp Ripley for having the Army’s most outstanding NRC effort at a large installation in fiscal year 2008. This award is part of the Secretary’s annual Environmental Awards Program and represents the highest honor in the field of environmental science conferred by the Army.
“The Army is committed to protecting the environment at installations here and overseas,” said Davis. “In fact, as the winners of our environmental awards demonstrate, the Army is getting more and more sophisticated in its use of environmental technology and sustainable practices. We’re becoming a greener shade of green.”
An independent panel of judges made up of professionals from federal, state and Army organizations recommended Camp Ripley for the Secretary of the Army environmental award. “Camp Ripley has brought conservation of scale to the local community as recognized by other local units of government partnering with Camp Ripley in ACUB and other community based programs,” stated Todd Holman, Director, Central Minnesota, The Nature Conservancy. “By working locally with Camp Ripley, our effectiveness as conservation organizations is enhanced. We consider it a privilege to work with the outstanding environmental resource professionals at Camp Ripley.”
Camp Ripley will go on to compete for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards this year. For details about the fiscal year 2008 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards recipients visit the U.S. Army Environmental Command’s awards page athttp://aec.army.mil/usaec/newsroom/awards00.html.
USAEC is the Army’s point organization for supporting the implementation of environmental programs that facilitate sustainable Army training and operations while protecting the environment. We provide environmental program management and technical support products and services in support of Army training operations, acquisition and sound stewardship.