2020 Watershed Success Stories
Achieving Water Quality & Habitat Improvements with Forest Buffer Restoration
In FY2020, Fort Indiantown Gap (FTIG) (PA) created 7.5 acres of forest buffers and enhanced nine acres of existing riparian areas. The removal of dead plants and invasive species from the existing buffers created open space for the expansion of trees and associated habitat into an adjacent mowed field. The project contributes to FTIG’s goals to maintain natural areas for military training, improve habitat and streams, and enhance the visual landscape.
Restoring Streams to Improve Water Quality
To reduce pollution and comply with its MS4 permit requirements related to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, Fort Detrick (MD) restored 3,200 feet of Shookstown Creek. The restoration re-aligned the stream channel to accommodate a wider floodplain. The old channel will receive storm water from two nearby wet ponds, creating a treatment train to increase pollutant reductions and increase storage capacity before it enters the main creek. The project treated an equivalent of 62 impervious acres, making a significant contribution to Fort Detrick’s TMDL and MS4 permit goals.
Incorporating BMPs in Parking Lot Project Requirements
In FY2020, NSA Mechanicsburg (PA) implemented a new stormwater requirement for parking lot projects completed at the installation. New projects must now include a bioretention facility to treat stormwater from the parking area. When an existing lot is repaved, it must be retrofitted to ensure stormwater from the lot is treated by a nearby stormwater BMP. The new bioretention facilities will reduce nutrient and sediment loads in support of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.
Breaking Ground for Better Wastewater Treatment
In FY2020, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) (VA) began construction of a new wastewater treatment plant, which will increase the installation’s industrial wastewater treatment capabilities, effectiveness, and resilience. Technological improvements will reduce the plant’s use of water from the City of Portsmouth The addition of a parallel treatment train will more effectively treat the waste streams generated at NNSY, protecting water quality downstream in the Elizabeth River.
Restoring Historical Habitats
Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) (PA) partnered with the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) to re-establish habitat for the native Northern Bobwhite quail. This goal is part of the LEAD INRMP, and since 2017, 800 acres of habitat have been established with funding from the PGC, the Army, and non-governmental partners. While the installation plans for the first reintroduction of quail to occur in 2023 or 2024, the newly created habitat has improved conditions for other species, including pollinators, such as the Monarch butterfly.
Managing Invasive Phragmites along Waterways
In FY2020, Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE)-Langley (VA) treated 80 acres of wetlands along the Back River as a part of a multi-year effort to manage the invasive species, Phragmites australis. Phragmites can displace natural wetland plants, destroy wildlife habitat, and create fire hazards that can threaten flight operations in upland areas. By treating phragmites, JBLE-Langley has prevented disturbance of flight operations, protected essential habitat for 14 important fish species in the Back River, and helped protect corridors for the landward migration of wetlands in response to changes in tidal inundation.
Promoting Shoreline and Oyster Restoration by Leveraging Volunteers
Oyster Restoration by Leveraging Volunteers Volunteers installed more than 500 oyster castles near the NSA Hampton Roads Lafayette River Annex (VA) in the summer of FY2020. The project will support nearby oyster restoration efforts, prevent erosion of the adjacent shoreline, protect nearby wetlands, and contribute to NSA Hampton Roads’ climate resilience. The project is also an example of a successful partnership between DoD, the Elizabeth River Project, and the National Environmental Education Foundation.
Improving Stormwater Infrastructure to Benefit Streams and Wetlands
Fort A. P. Hill (VA) replaced 12 drainage culverts at the end of their design life in FY2020. The infrastructure improvements re-established stream flow to the installation’s 6,291 acres of wetland and allowed passage for local fish species. The culvert program also prepares the installation’s infrastructure to handle future climate conditions, particularly increased flooding and water flow. These efforts contribute to the objectives of the installation’s INRMP and Watershed Management Plan.
Limiting Encroachment and Conserving Land
In FY2020, Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) (MD) protected 2,146 acres of forest, agricultural land, wetlands, and shorelines through the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB). The protection of this land limits development within APG’s high operational noise area, supporting mission and Chesapeake Bay restoration goals. Additional benefits of this land conservation include the protection of Bald Eagle habitat, Maryland Critical Areas, forests, and wetlands.
Preserving Prime Agricultural and Forest Land
MCB Quantico (VA) partnered with Stafford County to purchase 32 acres of land known as the Beach property. The site includes 28 acres of prime agricultural land and Soils of Statewide Importance, as well as a 1.7-acre Critical Resource Protection Area. The property includes a tributary to Aquia Creek, which drains to the Potomac River.
Partnering to Protect Virginia’s Northern Neck
The Navy partnered with Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the Northern Neck Land Conservancy to obtain easements for land adjacent to the NSF Dahlgren (VA) Potomac River Test Range. The land parcels, totaling 1,128 acres, comprise farmland, forest, and surface waters. The purchased easements provide valuable habitat for flora and fauna and eliminate the potential for encroaching development along Virginia’s Northern Neck peninsula.
Protecting Land on a Large Scale
The ACUB Program at Fort Indiantown Gap (PA) protected 483 acres of land through five projects in FY2020, including the final portion of the 8,000-acre DeHart Reservoir project. The DeHart Reservoir project is the largest ACUB project completed at an Army National Guard garrison. These easements maintain unrestricted aviation training north of the installation, preserve riparian areas and wildlife habitat, and protect a drinking water source for the City of Harrisburg.
Educating Hikers, Anglers, and Hunters
NWS Yorktown (VA) installed educational signage at the installation’s fishing lakes and hiking and nature trails to educate visitors about the environment. A total of six signs were placed at the entrances of the installation’s 6-mile nature trail and at three lakes: Jones Pond, Cheatham Lake, and Penniman Lake. The signs contain information about the local environment, the area’s common flora and fauna, and conservation efforts to provide a more interactive experience for visitors.
Promoting Safe and Sustainable Hunting Practices
Approximately 5,000 hunting and fishing visits occur at Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) (PA) each year. These trips include annual hunts for the Wounded Warriors organization and Hunt of a Lifetime, an event for children with life-threatening illnesses. Each year, LEAD provides a presentation about the hunting program, hunting safety practices, and information on the LEAD natural resource program. Coordination among the directorates at LEAD ensures the hunting program does not impact the installation’s mission.
Using Volunteers to Make an Impact
Greenbury Point at NSA Annapolis (MD) is a training and recreation site for midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and personnel at NSA Annapolis. In FY2020, volunteers from the Midshipmen Action Group’s participated in two clean-up events at Greenbury Point where a total of 69 midshipmen removed approximately 110 lbs of garbage and 374 lbs of invasive species/debris. The volunteers also installed an interpretative sign at the nearby Pipsissewa Trail with information about barred owl, loblolly pine, and local invasive species. The two FY2020 events took place before COVID protocols were established.
Educating Communities on Sustainable Practices
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) (VA) is committed to environmental sustainability. Visitors can tour the installation’s rain gardens that protect water quality. In FY2020, the installation’s outreach was expanded to include a series of YouTube videos highlighting the importance of native plant species, the benefits of rain gardens, tree populations, and ecologically conscious landscaping. The videos can be found on the ANC YouTube page at this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdviiwqQHHUePZglBHXFvPw/videos
For success stories prior to 2020, please visit the DoD CBP Annual Progress Reports page.