Projects designed to protect the training and testing missions at Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Huachuca, Ariz., through the purchase of conservation easements that preserve water resources and the habitat of at-risk species have been named winners of the 2018 REPI Challenge. The challenge, an initiative of DOD’s Readiness and Environmental Integration program, aims to harness the creativity of market‐based approaches to promote compatible land uses, test promising ways to finance land protection and foster projects that conserve land at a greater scale than traditional efforts.
At Fort Benning, $3.7 million in REPI funds will be used by the Nature Conservancy and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to acquire a conservation easement on a 7,051-acre parcel adjacent to the post, permanently protecting the land from incompatible development. A portion of the award will be used to protect the property’s longleaf pine forest that supports a variety of threatened and endangered species, including the gopher tortoise.
At Fort Huachuca, a $1.1 million award will allow the Arizona Land and Water Trust and the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to place a conservation easement on a 1,150-acre parcel, curbing competition for scarce water resources in the San Pedro River Watershed. The award also will be used to conduct a water supply and use assessment to identify water conservation activities on the property that complement natural and working lands in the region, according to a REPI fact sheet.
Photo by Roger Naylor