Fort Bragg Pushes Environmental Efforts
At the same time it is upholding its national defense responsibilities, one of North Carolina’s largest military installations – Fort Bragg – follows an extensive environmental protection plan to ensure the fields and forests contained within the U.S. Army Base’s confines are maintained to the highest level possible.
The Environmental Division of Fort Bragg’s Directorate of Public Works contains five distinct departments that blend together to help watch over the installation’s 19 square miles.
One of those departments is the Forestry Branch, which has a multitude of duties associated with the trees at Fort Bragg.
Forest thinning is conducted on Fort Bragg in order to ensure forest health, reduce incidence and size of wildfires, manage for endangered species, and remove damaged timber. Thinning reduces competition between trees, opens up the canopy to allow for regeneration, and reduces the incidence of insect infestation.
The red-cockaded woodpecker found on Fort Bragg requires mature, open pine stands with basal area between 40 and 60 square feet per acre in longleaf stands. Forests are thinned in order to fulfill those requirements.
Timber damaged by ice storms, lightening, or insect infestation also is removed in the thinning operation.
Another department is the Environmental Management Branch, which is composed of three integrated teams committed to advancing environmental awareness and sustainability practices.
The Foundations Team supports the Environmental Division through oversight of the installation’s Sustainability Management System (SMS), environmental auditing, performance tracking, funding and overall program management, education and awareness programs, GIS support, and system support.
The Cultural Resource Management program (CRMP) began in 1995 and is staffed by a team of archaeologists, architectural historians, historic preservationists, and cultural resources specialists charged with the management of Fort Bragg’s cultural resources, including archaeological sites, historic buildings and landscapes and historic cemeteries.
The Project Review Team consists of an environmental engineer, National Environmental Policy Act analysts, and wildlife biologists. This team is responsible for supporting the Directorate of Public Works in ensuring environmental considerations are incorporated into all land use and construction projects.
Collectively, the Environmental Management Branch provides technical support and guidance to its No. 1 goal – sustainable communities.
“We’re working both on Fort Bragg and throughout the region to advance the Army’s commitment to the triple bottom line of mission, environment, and community,” Fort Bragg officials say.
“Fort Bragg’s sustainability efforts have been recognized by North Carolina, the Department of the Army, and on a national level for leadership and innovation.”
Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division
- The Environmental Compliance Branch’s mission is to support all Fort Bragg military operations and civilian activities by ensuring that the installation maintains the highest level of environmental compliance while working to prevent environmental issues from becoming training distractions.
- The Endangered Species Branch supports military training through conservation and management of the fire-maintained longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem, with emphasis on endangered and rare species.
- The Fish and Wildlife Branch’s mission is to provide Fort Bragg, Camp Mackall, and the surrounding community with safe, quality hunting and fishing opportunities, dedicated and professional fish and wildlife management, natural resources stewardship and environmental and natural resources law enforcement.
- The major goal of the Forestry Branch is to sustain the health of Fort Bragg’s forests while preserving suitable training areas for the troops. The branch’s major responsibilities include thinning overstocked woodlands, harvesting pine straw, planting trees, and wildfire management.
- The Environmental Management Branch is dedicated to environmental management and coordination through process integration. The branch supports the Army Mission by providing guidance and leadership as the visionary center of expertise in fostering sustainable communities, managing the installation’s expansive cultural and historical resource inventory, and providing support to the continuing construction efforts of Fort Bragg.