Letter from the Director
Since the REPI Program’s inception in 2003, we’ve grown from a handful of partnerships to a multi-faceted program that utilizes a suite of tools to plan for and mitigate encroachment. This evolution has been entirely driven by the innovative ideas our installations and partners have pitched to make their buffer projects and protection against encroachment stronger. Together, we’ve worked with them to put in place funding mechanisms outside of the annual proposal process like the REPI Challenge, make REPI funds available as match for other federal land protection programs, and establish partnerships with other agencies and national entities that facilitate information sharing. Now, we have more ways than ever before to work with our partners and mitigate encroachment on a larger scale.
We’ve created a number of resources to ensure that our installations and partners are aware of these tools and options: primers, fact sheets, webinars, websites, a GIS mapping tool, and this quarterly newsletter. In this edition of the newsletter, we intend to unpack our toolbox and outline everything we have available to help you, as well as answer the most commonly asked questions posed to our office, like: “What is the difference between buffer projects, the REPI Challenge, and Sentinel Landscapes?” You will also find our suggestions for where to seek information about policies, programs, and issues that fall outside of REPI’s purview.
Even if you’re an old hand at REPI buffer projects, are currently working to implement a Sentinel Landscape, or have helped us write one of our primers, I encourage you to take the time to review again everything we have to offer. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or ideas to share. Your feedback is valued and heard.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday,
What's the Difference? Explaining Buffer Projects, the REPI Challenge, and Sentinel Landscapes
One of the most common questions the REPI office receives is about the differences between REPI buffer projects, the REPI Challenge, and the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to briefly describe each component so that when new colleagues or partners join you, explaining these differences can be as easy as handing them this newsletter. (Pictured above: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signing the Camp Ripley Sentinel Landscape Statute into law, 24 September 2015).
REPI Buffer Partnership Projects:
You may know these as “REPI projects,” “buffer projects/partnerships,” “encroachment partnerships” or “encroachment agreements,” or the “Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB).” Despite the variety of names, the commonality among all is that each of these projects invokes DoD’s authorities to address external land uses that may affect our training, testing, or operational missions. Most commonly, these projects rely on the authority of 10 U.S. Code § 2684a to enter into agreements to limit encroachments and other constraints on military training, testing, and operations. Through this authority, DoD is able to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships with eligible entities – states, political subdivision of states, local governments, or private conservation organizations – to “buffer” our installations
by protecting land with our partners, which reduces encroachment threats to the military mission, while conserving working landscapes and natural resources. Additionally, for projects that specifically address natural resource issues that affect mission activities, DoD has expanded authorities under the Sikes Act (16 U.S. Code § 670 c-1) to provide for the maintenance or improvement of natural resources located off of military installations. While the Sikes Act primarily addresses management of natural resources on the installations through the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans, the authority to expand natural resource efforts beyond the installation boundaries may help broaden the landscape to help balance mission and conservation priorities. Any of these efforts begin at the local level, where DoD installations identify encroachment concerns and develop partnerships, which
become buffer projects once an agreement is put in place. The REPI Program administers all uses of the 2684a authority, and also provides funding for buffer projects, including those which may rely on the Sikes Act authority. The Military Services (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy) develop individual policies and requirements for their agreements, and also provide funding for their projects. There are currently 80 REPI buffer projects across all of the Military Services in 28 states.
Every year since 2012, a portion of REPI’s funds for buffer projects have been set aside for the REPI Challenge to award to innovative partnerships, or those projects which most significantly benefit the military mission or exceptionally leverage partner cost-share. REPI Challenge projects are encouraged to solve encroachment issues through methods beyond land acquisition and easements, and the Challenge invites ideas that take into account strategies for partner buy-in and sources of funding that have never been approached before. The REPI Challenge is an opportunity for the REPI program to catalyze innovation and most effectively leverage its investment through a competitive proposal process; and for installations and partners to implement larger and more complex projects by securing a larger amount of funding than is provided to a typical REPI project in a given year. Between
$5-$10 million has been set aside each year for the REPI Challenge.
Sentinel Landscapes Partnership: The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership between the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and the Interior
was established in recognition that the interests of the three agencies overlap in a number of areas across the country, and that efforts undertaken by the agencies in these places should align and leverage one another accordingly. Where working or natural lands provide tangible benefits to the testing, training, and operational missions of military installations, the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership is looking to recognize and incentive landowners to continue maintaining these landscapes in ways that reduce, prevent, or eliminate restrictions that inhibit a base commander’s ability to carry out the mission. Just as any other location, designated Sentinel Landscapes still apply for funds through established processes like the REPI buffer or REPI Challenge process, but through the process of becoming designated they muster exceptional partner and community support that coalesces
around the military, natural resource, and agricultural assets of the landscape. For more information please visit www.sentinellandscapes.org.
REPI Online Tools
REPI Story Map: The REPI office is excited to introduce the REPI Story Map, pictured at right, which is the latest in a series of tools to help better communicate the history, importance, and successes of REPI to a variety of audiences. Beginning with Fort Bragg and the challenge of the Red-cockaded woodpecker in 2003, the Story Map lets a viewer travel the country and through a number of installations that have mitigated encroachment through traditional REPI buffer projects, innovative REPI Challenge projects, and new Sentinel Landscapes Partnerships.
The REPI Story Map runs for about 3 minutes, and simply needs an internet connection to show. The next time you need to speak to a new partner, state or local government, a community, or Congressional representatives, consider using the REPI Story Map to give context and background to your presentation.
The REPI Story Map is available at http://www.repimap.org/storymap/ and will be updated on an annual basis to reflect new achievements.
REPI Interactive Map: We introduced you to the new REPI Interactive Map, formerly referred to as the REPI Web Mapping Application, in the summer 2015 newsletter. Version 2.0 of this tool has been rolled-out and now gives users the capacity to view and map multiple layers of GIS data on top of REPI project and DoD installation locations, including US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Critical Habitat information, NatureServe’s Endangered Species by Ecoregion and County layers, and Congressional district boundaries.
Use the REPI Interactive Map to aggregate data on acres preserved through REPI projects, find total REPI or DoD investment in a region, state, or area, and access many of the fact sheets discussed in this newsletter. A detailed user guide is under development and will be available soon, and more data layers will be added to the web mapping application in the coming months. Keep checking back for updates, and in the meantime, please contact us at [firstname.lastname@example.org] with your questions or feedback on this new tool.
The REPI Interactive Map can be accessed through the REPI website or directly entered at www.REPImap.org.
www.REPI.mil: Throughout this newsletter, we have provided links to pages on www.REPI.mil that host fact sheets, reports, webinars, and other sources of information for our partners and installations. In an effort to make the website more useful to you, we have updated and added features to the Project List and Partner List
pages, allowing for easy navigation.
Other recent updates include the addition of a REPI FAQ page, a buffer partnership benefits page, and dedicated pages for the REPI Challenge, REPI State Fact Sheets, and REPI GIS Map.
We are always happy to hear feedback or suggestions for our website. Use the Contact Us page to get in touch!
www.SentinelLandscapes.org: This website is the source of information, news, and resources for the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership. Find factsheets about the Partnership and a explore a map of current designated landscapes, download the Memorandum of Understanding between DoD, USDA, and Interior, and read what the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior as well as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment have to say about the benefits and importance of the Partnership.
REPI Informational Resources
REPI's extensive primer, fact sheet, and outreach material collection is available for download on our website, and some materials are available in hard copy format. Please contact the REPI office for details if you are interested in obtaining hard copies of any of the following materials, like the primer shown at right.
Primers: REPI’s primer series is intended to facilitate communication and action for specific topics and audiences. To date, REPI primers include the following:
• Collaborative Land Use Planning: A Guide for Military Installations and Local Governments
• Commander’s Guide to Community Involvement
• Commander’s Guide to Renewable Energy
• Commander’s Guide to Understanding and Supporting Working Forests
• The Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program Buffer Partnerships: A Guide for State, Local, and Private Partners
• Outreach for Mission Sustainability: Working to Balance Military and Civilian Community Needs
• Working to Preserve Farm, Forest, and Ranch Lands: A Guide for Military Installations
• Working with Conservation Districts: A Guide for Military Installations
• Working with Land Trusts: A Guide for Military Installations and Land Trusts
• Working with Local Governments: A Practical Guide for Installations
• Working with Regional Councils: A Guide for Installations
• Working with State Legislators: A Guide for Military Installations and State Legislators
Let’s take a look at one of the primers in greater depth.
A “Commander’s Guide to Understanding and Supporting Working Forests,” published in partnership with the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities in 2014, explains the benefits of protecting working forests around military installations and ranges, outlines the trends of forest-loss occurring around the U.S., and describes cost-effective ways for commanders to support silviculture in their area.
For example, some of the suggestions for commanders in the primer include:
• Partnering with TIMOs (timber investment management organizations) and REITs (real estate investment trusts) to encourage well-managed, productive timberlands around baes.
• Give preference to local forest products in procurement decisions.
• Secure funding to protect working forests and other lands through conservation ballot measures.
For each of these suggestions, the primer goes into greater depth with precedents and examples of case studies where these have been successful strategies for base commanders. Additional resources and references are suggested in the primer to help commanders gather further information.
Primers are available on the REPI website here.
State Fact Sheets: Our partners asked us to help them communicate the economic impact of military installations and REPI projects, so we compiled a new series of REPI state fact sheets. Each fact sheet provides an overview of DoD spending in that state, a comparison to national defense spending levels, a background of the REPI Program and REPI investment in buffer partnerships within the state, statistics on acres managed by the military within the state, a map of installation locations, mission information for the major installations, and key REPI partners.
All of the information found within these fact sheets is collected, vetted, and produced by OSD and the state. Main sources of information for each fact sheet include the Office of Economic Adjustment’s “Defense Spending by State Fiscal Year 2014” report, OSD’s “Base Structure Report, FY 2014,” state-produced economic trend reports, and REPI’s annual “Report to Congress,” explored in detail later in this newsletter. Additional resources used to write the fact sheets are cited on the second page of each.
These fact sheets will be updated on an annual basis to reflect the updated information in each of the corresponding yearly reports listed above. The REPI State Fact Sheets are available here.
Buffer Partnership Project Fact Sheets: Each distinct REPI buffer partnership has a fact sheet outlining the mission, encroachment threat, and buffer partnership solution. Additional details on fact sheets include a list of partners, contact information for the installation Public Affairs Office (all installations) or Community Plans and Liaison Officer (Navy and Marine Corps installations), and statistics on number of acres preserved, transactions completed, and partner cost-share.
Fact sheets are updated on an annual basis after the close of the federal fiscal year in order to reflect the achievements of the partnership over the last year. Project fact sheets are approved by Service Headquarters and DoD Public Affairs before being released to the public.
Fact sheets are available on the REPI website. Want to quickly identify the partners on a project without downloading the fact sheet? Be sure to check out the website's project list!
REPI Challenge Fact Sheets: Winning REPI Challenge projects are highlighted in fact sheets released with the announcement of the annual award. These fact sheets detail the exceptional projects, partner contributions, REPI investment, and achievements of each project. REPI Challenge fact sheets are available here.
Other REPI Program Fact Sheets: Interested in other general REPI Program fact sheets? Find the following here, including:
• Funds as Match Fact Sheet: The REPI statute now allows the recipient of REPI funds to use these dollars as the match or cost-sharing requirement for any conservation program of the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior. The Funds as Match Fact Sheet, available here, details how this works and how it’s been very successful at Vandenberg AFB in Santa Barbara, California.
The REPI office encourages all partners and installations interested in utilizing this authority to get in touch with us; as this ability is relatively new we are learning that coordination between DoD and USDA or Interior at local and Headquarters levels is the best way to implement the funds as match authority.
• REPI Program Fact Sheet
• REPI Buffer Fact Sheet
• REPI Benefit to Military Readiness Fact Sheet
Reports to Congress: The REPI Program is required to report achievements to Congress annually on March 1st. Each annual REPI Report to Congress, available for download here, provides program accomplishments in the form of acres protected and investment made at each installation, anecdotes about successful or innovative partnerships and initiatives, and REPI’s historic funding levels. The REPI Report to Congress also gives an overview on programmatic objectives of the past year, and future focus areas.
The accomplishments reported in the annual Reports to Congress are validated by the Military Services prior to submission. These reports are the authoritative lists of investments and land protection accomplishments made by REPI, and are used to update fact sheets, the website, and other communication materials once finalized.
REPI Outreach Tools
We know that printing out a variety of fact sheets isn’t always the best way to reach an audience, therefore, we’ve developed some additional material intended to provide a high-level overview of the REPI Program, what we have to offer, and where people can turn for more information. Please contact the REPI office if you would like any of these materials.
: a high-level marketing tool with an infographic explaining why encroachment matters and information about REPI Program accomplishments, large landscape partnerships, Sentinel Landscapes, and materials available on our website.
REPI Fact Sheet Portfolio
: a compilation of all REPI buffer partnership fact sheets, REPI Challenge fact sheets, and State Fact Sheets navigable by a buffer partnership location map and several indices. The portfolio will be available for download shortly.
Helpful Resources Outside of the REPI Program
The REPI office suggests the following sites, programs, and portals for partners seeking further information about one of the following topic areas:
Species and Natural Resources
•DoD Natural Resources Program provides policy, guidance, and oversight for management of natural resources on all land, air, and water resources owned or operated by DoD. The Natural Resources web portal offers information on DoD’s natural resources initiatives, programs, presentations, and links to other DoD conservation and natural resources sites.
•DoD Legacy Resource Management Program funds high priority natural and cultural resources projects that have regional, national, and/or multi- Service benefits through the DoD Legacy Resource Management Program. The Legacy Tracker lets users download fact sheets and reports for completed Legacy-funded projects.
•The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Longleaf Stewardship Fund is a partnership between DoD, U.S. Forest service, USDA-NRCS, USFWS and private partners, including Southern Company, International Paper’s Forestland Stewards Initiative, and Altria Group, to restore and protect the longleaf pine ecosystem in the Southeast. This ecosystem is home to many rare and endangered species, like the red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise, and geographically includes many of DoD’s largest and most important installations and ranges, including Fort Bragg, NAS Pensacola, Camp Lejeune, and Eglin AFB. Partners working in the historical longleaf region should consider applying for funding from the Longleaf Stewardship Fund. More information is
• The Land Trust Alliance is a national umbrella for local and regional land trusts across the country. Find out about their capabilities and connect with them here.
Community Planning and DoD Economic Impact
•DoD Office of Economic Adjustment works with communities and installations to strategize for defense industry and asset reductions and expansions. Through the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) program, communities and installations can develop a comprehensive plan to navigate future changes together. For more information, go to the OEA website.
•DoD Siting Clearinghouse addresses rapidly increasing wind and solar energy development, which can interfere with military test, training, and operational capabilities. The Siting Clearinghouse works to protect DoD mission capabilities by collaborating with DoD Components, energy developers, and communities to prevent, minimize, or mitigate adverse impacts on military test, training, and operations. For more information about the Siting Clearinghouse, find their website here.
Policy and Legislation
•The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Military and Veterans Affairs State Legislation Database compiles legislation throughout the 50 states and District of Columbia related to military and veterans affairs. Legislation can be searched by topic, for example “Readiness” or “Energy Development,” by state, keyword, status, bill number, author, and year.
Large Landscape Partnerships
•The Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) and the Western Regional Partnership (WRP) are multi-state groups that seek to bring the military and states together to address regional issues of encroachment, species, and natural resources management. Learn more about these partnerships at www.SERPPAS.org and www.WRPinfo.org.
Join us for this online series on best practices, tutorials, and knowledge sharing on REPI partnerships that support the military mission and accelerate the pace and rate of land conservation.
We’re developing our webinar schedule for 2016! If you would like to see a certain topic, program, or case study featured on an upcoming REPI webinar, or would like to host a REPI webinar, please contact us.
If you missed the most recent REPI webinars, "NRCS and Other USDA Conservation Programs” and “Using State Planning Tools – State Wildlife Action Plans and Forest Action Plans” please visit the REPI website to view the webinar recordings or contact us for more information. Below is a sampling of some key points and lessons learned from the recent webinars.
NRCS and Other USDA Conservation Programs
• USDA’s missions under NRCS and the US Forest Service are to maintain land use in agriculture and forest. These lands are largely compatible with DoD’s mission to provide realistic training environments at each of our installations.
• NRCS and the Forest Service have numerous technical assistance programs in addition to easement programs that can help maintain productive, mission-compatible working lands.
• The Trust For Public Land is working at Vandenberg AFB to be the first location to use the new authority allowing REPI funds to be used as a match for USDA conservation programs, in this case matching NRCS Agricultural Easement Program dollars 1-to-1.
Using State Planning Tools – State Wildlife Plans and Forest Action Plans
• State wildlife action plans provide valuable information on species, habitats, and voluntary and incentive-based programs to protect private lands and restore natural habitat.
• Some states, like the Arizona Game and Fish Department, provide online tools to analyze projects and potential wildlife and habitat impacts on parcels. See what tools your state provides and how their plans link with yours.
REPI in the News
Groups Work to Preserve Habitat in Lakeside
The San Diego Union-Tribune (San Diego, CA) reports that a 410-acre swath of land in Lakeside, CA will be preserved as open space, thanks to contributions from the REPI Program and San Diego Association of Governments. The purchase will not only protect sensitive habitat for the threatened California gnatcatcher, but also prevent development from encroaching on MCAS Miramar.
Mutual Benefit: Preserving Arizona’s Military Mission and the Value of Publicly-Owned Lands
The Sonoran Institute (Tucson, AZ) released a report called, “Mutual Benefit: Preserving Arizona’s Military Mission and the Value of Publicly-Owned Lands.” The report highlights the REPI Program’s award to Fort Huachuca, stating that the “award totaled $4 million and protected 6,000 acres of grassland and 160,000 annual air operations. Moreover, the REPI award recognized the preservation of 800 square miles of airspace from electromagnetic encroachment and prevented up to 1,400 new wells from being drilled in the area surrounding Fort Huachuca.
165-Acre Acquisition in Florida
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Tallahassee, FL) announced that 165 acres will be protected outside of Whiting Field Naval Air Station in Santa Rosa County. The purchase of these acres will protect the Station from development, as well a augment a wildlife corridor and expand recreational opportunities.
Naval Shipyard Portsmouth Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School Wins REPI Award
The Portland Press Herald (Portland, ME) reported that $2 million will be used to restrict development of nearly 10,000 acres around Naval Shipyard Portsmouth SERE School. The funding will support military readiness through conservation efforts around the school.
Conservation Challenge Winners Protect Military Base Environments
DoD News reported that military installations and their partners in three states won the REPI Challenge, which DoD created to protect critical military test, training, and operational missions while supporting nearby ecosystems. For the winning REPI Challenge projects, $6.2 million in program funds leverage more than $21 million in partner funding to protect 28,050 acres at military installations in three states: Georgia (Fort Benning and Fort Stewart), Nevada (Naval Air Station Fallon), and Maine (Naval Shipyard Portsmouth Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School).
NAS Whiting Field Acquires More Land for Buffering
The Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, FL) reports that Naval Air Station Whiting Field purchased 335 acres of easements near the installation to create additional buffers around the base. Buffering through land purchased prevents new development that could be impacted by flight tracks, noise corridors, accident zones, and other military-related engagements on base. Whiting partnered with the REPI Program, Nature Conservancy, and Santa Rosa County to purchase the easements.
Happy Thanksgiving from the REPI Team!
Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.