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NEWS | April 21, 2023

National Guard Honored for Environmental Programs

By Cathy Kropp, U.S. Army Environmental Command

WASHINGTON - A diverse group of individuals, teams and large and small installations competed for recognition in six installation categories and three individual/team categories in the Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards Program covering fiscal years 2020 through 2022.

The winners include two Army National Guard camps in Minnesota and Iowa, National Guard industrial facilities in Texas, sustainability programs at National Guard locations in South Dakota and Minnesota, an ammunition plant in Missouri, an archeologist in New Mexico, and a working group based in Washington, D.C. Three went on to claim awards in the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards Program.

Camp Ripley of the Minnesota Army National Guard won the Natural Resources Conservation award for large installations at the Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Defense competitions. One of the significant accomplishments recognized was their work with the Nature Conservancy and University of Minnesota in Duluth to map natural resource features identifying areas of resiliency that could aid in regional response to climate change. Camp Ripley’s Natural Resources staff also hosts an annual internship program with Central Lakes College that provides students with experience conducting wildlife monitoring surveys and vegetation management. Additionally, a new forestry viewer has been launched on Camp Ripley’s GIS platform, incorporating all past and present timber harvest data, native species, wildlife data, training requirements, and more, all developed in-house with ESRI tools.

Iowa Army National Guard’s Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center captured the Cultural Resources Management award for small installations at the Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Defense competitions. One of Camp Dodge’s most important and recognizable features is the Work Progress Administration-built limestone perimeter fence and gatehouse, comprising 99 stone pillars, which was the focus of an ambitious restoration effort completed in 2022. The wall restoration included retucking all stonework by hand and using water jets to remove the old grout so the new grout could be hand-troweled. The new grout was specially mixed, following extensive testing, to achieve a smooth consistency and color-matching to the original material. Camp Dodge’s cultural resource staff leveraged Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Funds to offset federal expenses for this project.

Bill Godby, archeologist at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, took home the Army’s team/individual award for Cultural Resources Management. Godby has been instrumental in redefining archaeological understandings of the people who lived in the Tularosa Basin more than 2,000 years ago. WSMR’s partnership with the University of New Mexico has led to expanded pottery typologies and subtypes and analysis of motif designs, agricultural strategies, and adobe construction methods. 

Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri received the Environmental Restoration award for multiple innovative optimization projects that will decrease the time and cost of remediation. One example is the thermal remediation system that will heat soil, groundwater and non-aqueous phase liquids within the waste pits to the boiling point of water to more effectively extract and treat the contamination at one site. The performance, costs and lessons learned from the various LCAAP optimization efforts were disseminated to other DOD installations.

The Texas Army National Guard won the Army’s Environmental Quality award for an industrial installation for its work at 24 field maintenance shops, two combined support maintenance shops, six-unit training equipment sites, one maneuver area training equipment site, and five TXARNG-hosted Air Force Reserve Command locations. 

In the past two years, the TXARNG has expanded its commitment to environmental quality, ramping up an integrated pest management program that has enhanced operations, reduced chemical use, slashed costs, and protected the TXARNG’s critical equipment. The training, assessments, and actions conducted by the IPMP align with the Texas Military Department’s Environmental Directive and directly protect human health; reduce environmental impacts created with pesticide use and removal of invasive species; prevent pollution through education, mechanical and cultural practices; and meets state and federal regulatory requirements.

The South Dakota Army National Guard received the Army’s sustainability award for a non-industrial installation. Over the past two years, despite many logistical challenges, the managers and environmental officers at the SDARNG’s readiness centers and training sites have made great strides in improving waste diversion and recycling. The SDARNG is on track to increase diversion rates by 5% each year for the next five years. 

The Minnesota Army National Guard was also recognized for its sustainability team, which focused on renewable energy, waste diversion and water protection at the 53,000-acre Camp Ripley Training Center and 1,500-acre Arden Hills Army Training Site. To protect water resources and the Mississippi River, the team is constructing three stormwater infiltration basins at Camp Ripley, adding to two already in operation. With this project, Camp Ripley will effectively capture 95% of all stormwater in the cantonment area. The basin construction is also part of the MNARNG’s greater plans for climate change resiliency. The basins have been designed for increasingly common large-scale rain events while also providing for future construction.

 

 

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