Managing Endangered Species on Military Lands 
                       By: L. Peter Boice 
     The Department of Defense (DoD) is the third largest federal 
land managing agency in the United States, managing over 25 
million acres of land on over 425 major military installations. 
DoD uses these areas to maintain mission readiness.  Marine and 
estuarine environments are used to test vessels and submarine 
tracking equipment, evaluate missile weapons, hold shock trials 
on new ships and carry out training exercises.  Airspace is used 
to train pilots and test fighter planes as well as air-based 
weapons systems.  Combat training exercises, munitions testing, 
and deployment of weapons systems are conducted on land 
     DoD lands are found in many different habitats across the 
country and contain rich and varied natural and cultural 
resources.  Limited access due to security considerations and the 
need for safety buffer zones have protected these resources for 
decades from development and other potentially damaging uses. As 
a result, DoD installations contain some of the finest remaining 
examples of rare native vegetative communities such as old-growth 
forest, tall-grass prairies and vernal pool wetlands. 
Approximately 220 different federally listed species are known to 
occur on at least one DoD installation-the highest known density 
per acre of threatened and endangered species found on any 
federal lands.  Many candidate species may be found on lands 
under DoD control.  More than 200 installations provide habitat 
for at least one candidate or listed species. 
     DoD embraces its stewardship responsibilities for these 
valuable resources.  However, underlying any management decision 
affecting DoD lands is the fact that these lands must first be 
managed for the continued use of military training and testing-a 
situation quite different from that of "traditional" land 
management agencies. This is manifested in DoD's three-part 
conservation goal, which is to support the military mission by: 
1) providing for sustained use of its land, sea, and air 
resources, while protecting valuable natural and cultural 
resources for future generations;  2) meeting all legal 
requirements, for example, of the Endangered Species Act; and, 
3) protecting compatible multiple use of these resources.  The 
challenge for DoD is to balance the need to maintain its access 
to air, land, and water resources for current military training 
with the need to protect and manage these resources for all 
desired long-term uses. 
               Conflicting Management Requirements 
     Given the complexity of its management challenge, DoD has 
experienced occasional conflicts between the military mission and 
its legal mandate to protect threatened and endangered species. 
During the past decade, approximately 15 installations have 
needed to modify or restrict military training or testing to 
comply with the Endangered Species Act.  Required changes have 
included actions such as modifications to training schedules, 
the temporary closing of specific areas, restrictions on the 
types of activities permitted, and improved environmental 
awareness training for troops using sensitive areas.  Although 
these modifications have not been without cost, DoD has 
established a good working relationship with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. 
Consultations have, consequently, resulted in solutions which 
generally meet both mission and species' needs. 
     Management of threatened and endangered species is likely to 
become a greater challenge for DoD for a variety of reasons. 
First, the number of species requiring protection will probably 
increase.  Second, as military installations close and weapons 
systems become more sophisticated, demands for use of remaining 
training grounds will increase.  Third, the lands surrounding 
many military installations have experienced rapid development 
over the past 50 years, resulting in many DoD lands becoming 
"islands of protection" in "seas of development."  Lastly, there 
is substantial pressure on all federal lands, including DoD, to 
shoulder an increasing share of the responsibility to protect 
dwindling habitats and species.  For these reasons, DoD is 
looking to develop regional partnerships that encourage shared 
responsibility for protected species management and recovery, 
which could reduce the potential for future restrictions on 
military operations. 
                    DoD Ecosystem Management 
     DoD is adopting an integrated, ecosystem-based approach to 
conservation that allows the military greater flexibility in 
managing its lands.  Rather than be tied to the limited objective 
of protecting individual endangered species, DoD prefers to 
emphasize the overall protection of existing groups of plants and 
animals.  Emphasizing protection of ecosystems results in 
continued high quality management and care, and a more cost 
effective means of providing resource protection.  Successful 
management in this fashion will ultimately release DoD from 
inflexible regulatory demands occasionally associated with 
protection of endangered species. 
                    Mojave Desert Initiatives 
     DoD is embracing the principles of ecosystem management on a 
regional scale in California's Mojave Desert, DoD's premier 
training and testing region.  The area houses several major 
installations, including the Army's National Training Center at 
Fort Irwin, Marine Corps Ground Combat Center at Twenty-Nine 
Palms, Edwards Air Force Base, and Naval Air Weapons Center at 
China Lake.  DoD conducts most of its large-scale unit training 
exercises and major weapons testing at these installations.  DoD 
also protects many important natural and cultural resources in 
the desert, including the endangered desert tortoise (Gopherus 
agassizii), and has significant interest in the region's long- 
term sustainability. 
     To more effectively coordinate resource management goals and 
activities and provide for resource protection in the Mojave 
Desert, DoD has teamed with the Department of the Interior to 
collectively manage these lands.  This collaborative effort 
allows each department to survey and inventory its lands, control 
soil erosion, and prepare management plans that recognize 
political boundaries but address biological integrity across 
these boundaries.  An ecosystem approach will help DoD land 
managers and trainers better assess the quality of their lands, 
determine future uses, assess impacts beyond installation 
borders, and conserve areas that are rare and unique or harbor 
protected species.  The Mojave Initiative will also provide DoD 
greater flexibility in the use of the Mojave for military 
                     Biodiversity Initiative 
     The Biodiversity Initiative, a two-year collaborative effort 
with The Nature Conservancy and The Keystone Center, is designed 
to enhance biodiversity management on DoD lands.  The first 
product of this effort is the creation of the DoD Biodiversity 
Management Strategy, which covers three aspects of biodiversity 
   * a policy framework for managing biodiversity on DoD lands, 
including suggestions for improving current policies and 
programs, and for integrating mission planning with biodiversity 
   * an iterative, model management process designed to be a tool 
for making management decisions and developing integrated 
management and annual work plans for biodiversity conservation on 
DoD installations; and, 
   * measures of success that can be used to monitor biodiversity 
conservation in the context of military readiness. 
     A second outcome of the initiative is the DoD Commander's 
Guide to Biodiversity which provides military commanders with a 
succinct description of why biodiversity conservation is 
important for DoD and the nation.  Lastly, the Biodiversity 
Handbook for Natural Resources Managers provides practical 
information for use by DoD's managers.  This initiative has 
increased the visibility of sound natural resources management in 
the Department of Defense. 
                 Supporting the Military Mission 
     The support of installation commanders and military trainers 
is essential to the effective protection of threatened and 
endangered species on military lands.  Because commanders control 
most local funding and land use decisions, DoD is placing 
increased emphasis on explaining to them how conservation 
activities directly support training and readiness.  The key 
message is that protecting and maintaining the resources on 
training lands is essential for their continued use and makes 
good business sense.  For example, sound resource management 
helps maintain natural landscapes for realistic military training 
now and in the future, and helps keep DoD in compliance with 
environmental laws. 
     The Army's Integrated Training Area Management (ITAM) 
program is a premier example of how the conservation program 
directly supports training uses.  The ITAM program integrates 
military training, testing, and other mission requirements with 
the condition of the land and its ability to support mission 
requirements.  It avoids unnecessary and irreparable damage to 
vital training ranges, and provides accurate assessments of land 
conditions and wildlife habitat to managers and commanders.  ITAM 
has resulted in significant savings and increased mission 
carrying capacity at many Army training sites.  Although an 
environmental conservation program, ITAM was transferred from the 
environmental managers to those charged with operations and plans 
in FY 1995.  With ITAM at their disposal, installation commanders 
can be assured that their mission is not hindered and that proper 
land management will accompany continued intensive training. 
(The ITAM program is described in more detail in the last section 
of this article.) 
     Another important conservation program which supports the 
military mission is the Bird Air Strike Hazard (BASH) program. 
BASH is aimed at minimizing collisions between military aircraft 
and birds.  DoD has established monitoring stations across the 
country to determine population trends.  Additional data come 
from DoD's network of state-of-the-art weather surveillance radar 
sites.  Next-generation radar (NEXRAD) detects birds during 
migrations and provides information about their numbers, general 
direction of flight, and altitude.  Knowledge of where birds 
travel, nest, and feed helps DoD avoid problem areas, and 
therefore saves lives and avoids the destruction of valuable 
airplanes.  This is not a small problem - from January 1992 
through June 1993, the Navy alone reported 27 major mishap bird 
strikes that cost an estimated $98 million. 
                     Multi-Service Projects 
     Although many endangered species issues are installation- 
specific, some are best addressed by a coordinated, multi-Service 
effort.  This is best demonstrated on Guam.  The Air Force, Navy, 
Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, Department of 
the Interior, Department of Agriculture, and many others have 
joined forces to control the brown tree snake (Boiga 
irregularis), an invasive species.  The snake has wiped out 
almost all of the native birds of the island, as well as many 
indigenous reptiles and bats.  It also causes costly power 
outages by climbing power lines, and its mildly venomous bite is 
a serious threat to infants and young children. 
     DoD has sponsored a major research initiative on the brown 
tree snake, with technical assistance from the Department of the 
Interior.  A major focus has been the development and testing of 
snake exclusion areas which could, if successful, permit the 
reintroduction of certain species currently extirpated from the 
island.  Other efforts include work on an effective trap design 
for capturing snakes, the testing of attractants that maximize 
trap success, the testing of fumigants that kill stowaway snakes 
in cargo, and monitoring of snake populations.  Educational 
materials are also being developed for and disseminated to 
military and civilians associated with cargo handling, as well as 
other interested individuals. 
     DoD has taken an active role in developing overall goals and 
guidelines for management of the Department's lands.  Natural 
resource managers within each sector of the military (e.g., Army, 
Navy, Air Force, Marines) face many of the same issues as 
traditional land management agencies, with the added requirement 
that they must integrate these issues with military mission 
requirements.  The degree to which they succeed can be critical 
to DoD's ability to continue essential training and testing 
activities on its land, air and water resources.  The following 
articles look at specific land management efforts on Army and 
Navy held lands, and the next issue of the Endangered Species 
UPDATE will cover efforts for Air Force and Marine installations. 
                         U.S. NAVY LANDS 
     The Navy manages 182 installations on more than 2 million 
acres of land.  These facilities are found in 25 states, as well 
as in Puerto Rico, Guam, and other western Pacific islands. 
Installations near wetlands, riparian areas, and coastal areas 
contain a substantial number of listed and candidate species. 
Those located near urban centers, more than half of which are 
less than 1000 acres, are also subject to significant outside 
     More than 100 different listed species are known to occur on 
at least 92 Navy installations.  To help manage these species and 
important ecological areas, the Navy manages five recognized 
ecological reserves and six formally designated critical 
habitats.  Each year the Navy invests directly more than $3 
million for the protection of these threatened and endangered 
     Not surprisingly, the Navy's endangered species management 
program tends to focus on marine and coastal species.  Protection 
of these species is vital to ensure the Navy's compliance with 
the ESA, and thus its continued access to ports, access routes, 
and test areas. 
                       Manatee Protection 
     At Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, the Navy has 
mounted a major effort to protect the West Indian manatee 
(Trichechus manatus).  After a Navy tugboat accidentally hit a 
female manatee and her calf swimming near Kings Bay in 1990, the 
navy initiated a project to design a propeller guard for its 
powerful C-tractor tugs.  These specially designed vessels are 
used to handle submarines during arrival and departure.  The goal 
was to protect manatees from being pulled into the powerful 
propellers.  When the first guard was installed in 1991 it was 
found to not only be effective in protecting manatees, but also 
in improving the efficiency of the tug.  Similar guards have been 
installed on all tugs and other small vessels in the bay. 
     The Navy has also developed additional protective measures 
at Kings Bay.  Places in and near Kings Bay where manatees are 
known to congregate have been declared as no-entry areas.  Speed 
limits have been posted.  Artificial water discharges have been 
eliminated to discourage the manatees from coming near where 
boats operate.  The Navy has also begun a manatee watch 
program to monitor the animals. 
     A similar program to protect the manatee is underway at 
Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico, one of the world's 
largest and most advanced naval training ranges.  In addition to 
awareness programs, Navy resource managers and U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service biologists are working on a pilot program to use 
a satellite to provide information on manatee behavior and 
                        Whale Monitoring 
     The Navy is providing marine scientists a powerful tool from 
the Cold War for learning more about whale numbers, behavior, and 
movements.  The tool involves the Navy's formerly top secret, 
Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) a series of underwater 
listening devices on the ocean floor.  The system was built to 
track Soviet and other submarines by the sounds they make in the 
water.  In order to successfully track submarines, the Navy had 
to distinguish and filter out the underwater sounds made by 
whales.  In the process, the Navy learned to identify six whale 
species-blue (Balaenoptera musculus), bottlenose (Beradius 
bairdii), bowhead (Balaena mysticetus), fin (Balaenoptera 
physalus), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae), and minke 
(Balaenoptera acutorostrata)-by the distinct sounds each makes. 
This information was not needed to detect submarines and, thus, 
was not used at first.  Now, however, these listening devices are 
being used to study whales. 
     The Navy is also monitoring whales from the air.  An airship 
is being used to observe endangered Northern right whales 
(Eubalaena glacialis) off the coasts of Florida and Georgia, the 
mammals' only known calving area.  Information is being collected 
to reduce the potential for the right whales to be struck by 
ships or become entangled in fishing gear.  This voluntary, 
collaborative effort between federal, state, and local agencies 
and non-profit organizations is helping to protect the whale 
while allowing human activity in the area to continue. 
                 Regional Planning-San Diego Bay 
     The Navy is leading the development of an integrated, 
interagency, bay-wide management plan for one of its most heavily 
used areas, the San Diego Bay.  This effort is being undertaken 
in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the San 
Diego Port Authority, and the private shipping community.  To 
support this effort, the Navy has initiated a series of studies 
to determine what species use the bay and the status of the bay's 
natural habitats.  This information will allow the Navy to better 
plan for and integrate its in-water training operations, and 
assignment of new ships to home ports, with preservation of the 
bay's valuable but vulnerable natural resources. 
     A specific example of the Navy's management of endangered 
species in the San Diego Bay area involves the endangered 
California least tern (Sterna antillarum browni).  The Navy and 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are implementing a Navy- 
initiated agreement which helps both agencies achieve individual 
program goals and, at the same time, provides enhanced management 
for the tern.  Each year, the Navy provides a single list of in- 
water construction projects planned for piers and dredging in San 
Diego Bay, which the Fish and Wildlife Service reviews for impact 
to the terns.  Together the agencies plan specific management 
goals for least tern nesting colonies on three Navy bases, as 
well as special projects which the Navy performs to benefit the 
terns.  The Navy provides centrally-managed funds for the tern 
management and projects, rather than tying piecemeal 
mitigations to small projects.  The Navy gains the ability to 
plan its projects without delays, and eliminates the need for 
many individual informal Section 7 consultations.  The Fish and 
Wildlife Service gains better oversight of one of California's 
most endangered species.  The least tern gains intensive and 
consistent management at some of its largest remaining nesting 
sites in San Diego Bay. 
                       Old Growth Forests 
     Naval facilities are not usually located in the midst of a 
forest, but in one case, the Navy is helping to preserve one of 
the last stands of low-elevation Sitka spruce forest in the 
Pacific northwest.  In 1950, the Navy purchased land to construct 
Naval Radio Station, Jim Creek, Washington, a key communications 
line between naval shore commands and U.S. submarines at sea. 
However, the former owner retained the logging rights to the 
forest, which contains Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and 
western red cedars (Thuja plicata) 800 to 1500 years old, 250 
feet tall, and ten feet in diameter.  All but 225 acres had been 
previously logged, and in 1990 a timber company proposed to log 
Jim Creek's remaining tall trees.  Recognizing the forest's 
ecological significance and its importance to the base's water 
supply, the Navy purchased the logging rights to the remaining 
stand, thus preserving a vital piece of our natural heritage, and 
potential nesting habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet 
(Brachyramphus marmoratus). 
                     Vernal Pool Restoration 
     Vernal pools are shallow wetlands formed during the rainy 
season.  The pools at Naval Air Station Miramar, California, 
which represent 80% of the remaining pools in San Diego County, 
are home to the endangered San Diego mesa mint (Pogogyne 
abramsii), button celery (Eryngium spp.), and the San Diego fairy 
shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegoensis).  In one project, Navy 
resource managers and local scientists used aerial photographs 
and field inspections to identify sites at Miramar where vernal 
pools once existed but had been damaged before the Navy bought 
the land.  Thirty-three of the pools were then restored, by 
carefully excavating fill material without damaging the hard clay 
underneath.  Seeds, soil, and other fill material were then added 
to the restored pools.  The soils, which had been collected from 
vernal pools in an off-base area that was about to be developed, 
held seeds from the mesa mint and button celery, as well as eggs 
from the fairy shrimp.  Both seeds and eggs often lie dormant for 
months or even years awaiting the next rainfall.  This successful 
project added significant vernal pool habitat without impacting 
the military mission. 
                         U.S. ARMY LANDS 
     The Army manages nearly 12 million acres of land on 
approximately 120 major installations across the United States; 
this is almost half of the total acreage under the management of 
the Department of Defense (DoD).  In addition, more than one 
million acres of mostly state-owned lands are used by the Army 
National Guard.  The Army utilizes its land to provide realistic 
conditions for training and testing. Large blocks of land with 
varied natural terrain act as the soldiers' "classroom." 
     Because successful learning is so closely linked to the 
availability and condition of the land, the Army, perhaps more 
than the other Military Services, has needed to adapt to 
increasing pressures on these lands.  With more than 85 listed 
species known to occur on at least 63 Army installations, 
increased management requirements for protected species have 
placed greater pressure on lands where there are few listed 
species.  Additionally, changes in the military, such as more 
sophisticated weaponry, the return to the United States of many 
forces previously deployed overseas, base closures, and increased 
development pressures on adjacent non-military lands, have also 
increased the demand on the Army's remaining lands. 
               Endangered Species Management Plans 
     Each year the Army invests directly more than $7 million for 
the protection of threatened and endangered species on its lands. 
The Army specifically requires each of its installations with 
endangered animals, plants, or habitat to develop an Endangered 
Species Management Plan that protects and supports the recovery 
of these species and their habitats.  A manual, designed to 
streamline the implementation process, provides a template for 
commanders to follow when developing these plans.  The manual 
stresses the importance of having installation commanders, 
trainers, and environmental staff work together to establish and 
implement a plan. Guidelines are broken down into eleven 
different steps; examples include developing a complete inventory 
of the installation's lands and species; assessing military 
requirements and integrating them with the needs of the protected 
species; establishing monitoring programs; coordinating with the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries 
Service; and, fulfilling NEPA requirements. 
           Integrated Training Area Management Program 
     The Integrated Training Area Management (ITAM) program is 
critical to the management of natural resources at more than 60 
Army training installations.  ITAM integrates five major elements 
to provide Army land managers with a comprehensive approach to 
land management: 
  *  Monitoring land and resource conditions to develop an 
understanding of the land's ability to withstand training 
  *  Environmental awareness among soldiers to encourage 
stewardship and wise tactical use of natural resources; 
  *  Land rehabilitation and erosion control technologies to 
conserve resources and improve training realism; 
  *  Integration of training mission requirements with natural 
resource capability to optimize land use; and, 
  *  Threatened and endangered species management. 
     ITAM results in at least four long-term benefits for Army 
installations.  The program seeks to provide realistic training 
experiences which enhance Army readiness, fighting capabilities, 
and soldier safety and survivability.  It also works to avoid 
extreme environmental damage and loss of land through controlled 
land allocation and advanced rehabilitation techniques.  A focus 
on management over the long-term reduces the costs related to 
compliance with environmental regulations.  Finally, the program 
provides a credible foundation from which to make decisions about 
training requirements analyses, base realignments, and 
acquisition actions. 
     One location where ITAM has successfully been adopted is 
Orchard Training Area, Idaho.  The training area supports Army 
National Guard units from the Pacific Northwest with a year-round 
heavy armor and tank school as well as a helicopter battalion. 
The area around Orchard claims the nation's densest population of 
raptors, which are protected under the Snake River Birds of Prey 
Area, a designated protected area established in 1980.  Fragile 
land surfaces and at least one candidate plant species are also 
managed under ITAM.  As a result of ITAM military trainers are 
able to identify suitable training areas and to restrict ground 
disturbing activities to previously disturbed sites.  Training 
schedules are now adjusted to times and locations which will 
minimize the impact to the vegetation and soils in the designated 
training area. 
                  Technical Research Priorities 
     The Army is at the forefront of land-based research on 
protected species and other natural resource issues.  Priority 
issues being investigated by the Army include the impact of 
military operations on protected species, especially blast and 
helicopter noise, smoke, and obscurants, and maneuver 
disturbances; standardized inventory and monitoring protocols; 
the mitigation of DoD-unique impacts; monitoring and management 
in danger zones; and the characterization and evaluation of 
threatened and endangered species habitats.  Efforts at Fort 
Carson and Fort Bragg provide examples of how the Army is 
addressing management challenges of specific species. 
                         Success Stories 
Fort Carson 
     The greenback cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki stomias), 
a federally listed threatened species, is the only native 
Arkansas River drainage salmonid that still exists.  Fewer than 
700 pure natives to the Arkansas River remained in existence in 
1978.  Fort Carson has coordinated since 1981 with the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service and the Colorado Division of Wildlife on a 
recovery effort for the trout.  In 1981, Fort Carson filed a 
change of use for an existing water right and constructed a 
broodstock pond for rearing the trout.  Initially, 40 greenbacks 
were transported to Fort Carson's pond.  Eggs and fish from this 
pond have been used to establish reproducing populations within 
national forests.  Due to the overall success of the recovery 
program, Fort Carson now has a limited catch and release program 
for this species which is sanctioned by the Fish and Wildlife 
     In addition to the greenbacks, 34 Arkansas darters, which 
are listed as a state threatened species, were introduced into 
the same pond.  Since this initial release, Fort Carson 
biologists have established five other broodstocks from the 
original population, with no detrimental effect on military 
training.  As a result of these efforts, Fort Carson has been 
identified by the State of Colorado as the source for darters in 
the state recovery program. 
Fort Bragg 
     The Army has a number of important training bases in the 
southeast, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides 
borealis) has presented perhaps one of the most challenging 
management issues for Army owned lands.  This challenge has been 
greatest at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  In the late 1980s and 
early 1990s, Fort Bragg experienced a number of significant 
training restrictions, including the temporary closure of several 
firing ranges, because of conflicts with the woodpecker.  Bragg 
has adopted a three-fold management strategy to address these 
  *  Collaborate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to 
determine a reasonable woodpecker population goal for the Army 
base.  This goal will determine the amount of land which must be 
managed specifically for the woodpecker; 
  *  Develop an endangered species management plan; and, 
  *  Initiate a training and awareness program which will help 
all units and personnel comply with the requirements of the 
endangered species management plan. 
     In addition, Fort Bragg is working with surrounding private 
landowners to encourage the voluntary adoption of "safe harbors" 
for the woodpecker on their lands.  The landowners would be under 
no long-term obligation to protect the woodpecker, however, in 
the meantime, Bragg would benefit from a wider distribution of 
healthy woodpecker colonies. 
     The events at Fort Bragg prompted the Army to conduct a 
review of all its installations in the southeastern United 
States.  In coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the 
Army has reviewed existing endangered species management plans, 
evaluated the viability of existing populations, and developed 
standard management guidelines for the woodpecker for all its 
installations.  The guidance document provides information on 
such management tools as prescribed burns, protection of nesting 
trees, and control of understory growth. 
                        Literature Cited 
The Keystone Center. Keystone Center Policy Dialogue on A 
     Department of Defense DoD) Biodiversity Management Strategy: 
     Final Report. January 23, 1996. 
The Nature Conservancy. Conserving Biodiversity on Military 
     Lands: A Handbook for Natural Resources Managers. June 1996. 
DoD Commander's Guide to Biodiversity. April 1996. 
L. Peter Boice is Director of Conservation within the Office of 
the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.  He can be reached at 3400 
Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3400. 
Vol. 13  Nos. 7&8 1996              Endangered Species UPDATE