A recent report details efforts by the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture to strengthen military readiness and protect the environment. The 2020 Sentinel Landscapes Accomplishment Report was published on August 26, and reviews projects carried out during fiscal year 2019.
According to William Jordan Gillis, the assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, national security is not strictly about military readiness, but also includes food security, water security, and environmental security. Instead of addressing challenges unilaterally, the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Interior must find holistic, integrated solutions.
The Sentinel Landscape Partnership was founded in 2013 by the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Interior. Together with state and local governments and non-governmental organizations, the partnership works with private landowners to advance sustainable land management practices around military installations and ranges. This is accomplished through voluntary government assistance programs that support defense, conservation, and agricultural missions.
As recorded in the report, the partnership’s projects attracted nearly $670 million in funds from DoD, USDA, Interior, state and local governments, and private donors. These funds were used to permanently protect over 467,000 acres of land and enrolled 2.3 million acres of land in technical assistance programs.
One of the projects highlighted in the report involves a conservation easement on an 11,000-acre parcel adjacent to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. The acquisition of the property prevents the development of the land, ensures the installation’s ability to deploy nuclear submarines into the Atlantic Ocean. The project also increases the area’s resilience to climate change by protecting the tidal marshes that defend against erosion by absorbing storm surge, flooding, and rising sea levels.
For more information about the Sentinel Landscapes report, please follow the links below.
Partnership Aims to Bolster Military Readiness, Protect Environment, DoD News
2020 Sentinel Landscapes Accomplishments Report, Sentinel Landscapes Partnership