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									             CASE STUDY: INTEGRATED NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLANS
               AS A MEANS OF IMPLEMENTING STATE WILDLIFE ACTION PLANS



Summary

Early experiences suggest that the Department of Defense’s Integrated Natural Resource
Management Plans provide a very useful mechanism for implementing key components of State
Wildlife Action Plans. The early successes highlighted below result from visionary leadership
and perseverance by key staff/contractors at the Department of Defense and the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service and by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The ability of DoD to
make resources available through the Legacy Resource Management Program has also been
critically important. Regional workshops have been essential to these successes and offer a
model for ways in which other mission-oriented federal agencies could approach integrating
State Wildlife Action Plans into their land management activities.

Discussion

As required by the 1960 Sikes Act and 1997 amendments to the Act, the Department of Defense
(”DoD”) cooperates with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and state fish and wildlife
agencies to develop and implement an Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan
(“INRMP”) for every military installation with significant natural resources. In total, this
comprises approximately 30 million acres of land and waters that are managed under the Sikes
Act.

To implement the cooperative approach mandated by the Act, DoD, FWS and the Association of
Fish and Wildlife Agencies agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding on January 31, 2006
(copy included). This MOU describes the purpose of INRMPs as follows:

       INRMPs provide for the management of natural resources, including fish,
       wildlife, and plants. They incorporate, to the maximum extent practicable,
       ecosystem management principles and provide the landscape necessary for the
       sustainment of military land uses. INRMPs allow for multipurpose uses of
       resources, including public access necessary and appropriate for those uses,
       provided such access does not conflict with military land use requirements.
       Effective partnering among the DoD, the FWS, and the States, initiated early in
       the planning process at national, regional, and the military installation levels, is
       essential to the development and implementation of comprehensive INRMPs.
       When such partnering involves the participation of all parties and synchronization
       of INRPMPs with existing FWS and State natural resource management plans, the
       mutual agreement of all parties is achieved more easily. Consistent with the use of
       military installations to ensure the readiness of the Armed Forces, the purpose of
       INRMPs is to provide for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources
       on military lands. Thus, a clear understanding of land use objectives for military
       lands should enable the DoD, the FWS, and the State to share a common

INRMP/SWAP Case Study                      Page 1 of 7                             March 24, 2008
           understanding of land management requirement while preparing and reviewing
           INRMPs.

DoD has developed extensive materials concerning the preparation, implementation and
updating of INRMPs. These materials can be accessed through DoD’s “DENIX” web-based
portal at https://www.denix.osd.mil/portal/page/portal/denix/environment/NR/INRMP and
include:

          DoD INRMP Implementing Guidance

          Handbook: DoD Resources for INRMP Implementation

          Report: Best Practices for INRMP Implementation

          Course: Best Practices for Developing, Reviewing and Revising INRMPs

          INRMP Template

          Conservation Metrics

          Handbook: Conserving Biodiversity on Military Lands


According to the most current data available,1 in FY 2006 DoD spent approximately $117.1
million developing, updating and implementing INRMPs. FY 2006 Defense Environmental
Programs Report, Appendix G, Figure G-13 at p. G-7. All of the existing INRMPs, with the
schedule for updates, are listed in Figure G-14 of Appendix G at pp. G-7 - G-24 (copy included).
DoD reports that 100% of the INRMPs are current, although the Navy and Marine Corps are the
only services that have developed quantitative metrics for evaluating INRMP effectiveness.2

Although neither the Sikes Act nor the DoD-FWS-AFWA MOU mention State Wildlife Action
Plans (“SWAPs”), SWAPs have become essential tools in the cooperative process required by
the Act. DoD, FWS and AFWA have highlighted the usefulness of SWAPs in this regard and
developed pilot projects for INRMP-SWAP integration through a series of SWAP/INRMP
regional workshops. To date, the following workshops have occurred:




1
 The FY2007 Report is complete and will be released through DENIX in the very near future. Interview with
Kimberly Fleming, March 20, 2008.
2
    Interview with Kimberly Fleming, March 20, 2008.


INRMP/SWAP Case Study                              Page 2 of 7                                March 24, 2008
          Southeast (May 2006, Atlanta, GA) – NC, SC, GA, FL

          Southwest (December 2006, Phoenix, AZ) – CA, AZ, NV, UT

          Southern Plains (May 2007, Albuquerque, NM) – TX, CO, NM, OK

          Mid-Atlantic (November 2007, Arlington, VA) – MD, DE, PA, NJ, VA, DC


Summaries of these regional workshops are available at http://www.swap-
inrmpworkshops.net/prior_workshops.html. A Northeast (ME, MA, VT, NY, RI, CT, NH)
regional workshop is scheduled for June 2008, in Boston. DoD plans to conduct at least one
additional workshop, perhaps in the Midwest or the Pacific Northwest.3

In addition to identifying key issues in SWAP-INRMP coordination, the workshops have
identified specific pilot projects and DoD has all but guaranteed it will contribute Legacy
Resource Management Program funds to support these projects. The regional workshops
conducted to date have identified the following potential pilot projects:

                         SOUTHEAST POTENTIAL SWAP/INRMP PILOT PROJECTS

      1. Invasive Species : Identify areas/potential sites for habitat conversion to clear invasive
         species in South Carolina while not hindering native species.

      2. Species at Risk: Assess and determine the most important Species at Risk for NC,
         expanding into SC as necessary.

      3. FL Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS)/ INRMP Articulation
         Project: Discuss integration of SWAPs and INRMPs in Florida, facilitate INRMP
         reviews/process under the requirements of the Sikes Act and conduct annual meetings in
         the Eglin AFB region, NAS Jacksonville region and Avon Park region.

      4. The Georgia Conservation Forum Project: Support the Southeast Regional Partnership
         for Planning and Sustainability to identify lands of mutual interest and discuss ways to
         protect partners' respective missions, with potential focus on threatened and endangered
         species, as well as species at risk (e.g., gopher tortoise).

                         SOUTHWEST POTENTIAL SWAP/INRMP PILOT PROJECTS

      1. Burrowing Owl Project: Hold burrowing owl symposium to assess each partner’s
         burrowing owl management plans and gather information about conservation measures
         currently in place.



3
    Interview with Kimberly Fleming, March 20, 2008.


INRMP/SWAP Case Study                              Page 3 of 7                        March 24, 2008
  2. The Utah Project: Develop a working group and conduct workshops to integrate and
     implement the SWAP and the multiple INRMPs in the state of Utah.

  3. The Nevada Project: Develop lists of priorities and actions for Nevada conservation
     issues on and near military installations, including the Nellis Air Force Base bombing
     range.

  4. The Southwest Cooperative Date Management Project: Create a mechanism by which
     many groups/partners can share data.

  5. Partnering Workshop for Integrating SWAPs and INRMPs – Carlsbad, CA: Create
     a workshop on integrating SWAPs and INRMPs in the Carlsbad, CA area.

               SOUTHERN PLAINS POTENTIAL SWAP/INRMP PILOT PROJECTS

  1. The Grey Vireo Project: Hold a one day, multi-state grey vireo coordination meeting to
     establish a dialogue between all parties interested in the recovery of the species to
     develop a cooperative framework to prevent federal listing of the grey vireo through
     better communication and data sharing.

  2. The Bat Project: Convene a discussion about current initiatives related to bat
     conservation, including identification of working groups and their resources, and site-
     specific threats.

  3. Wildlife Diversity Project: Plan an annual regional meeting for coordinated
     implementation of SWAPs to be attended by natural resource managers; in the long-term,
     the meetings would serve as a forum for coordinated revision of natural resource
     management plans across ecoregions.

  4. Southern New Mexico Coordination Project: Organize an informal meeting every six
     months to discuss high priority projects to share information, provide opportunities to
     create partnerships, and promote ecosystem-wide natural resource management.

  5. DoD Liaison Pilot Project: Create a pair of pilot projects in TX and NM to evaluate the
     usefulness of funding a liaison position between state game and fish agencies and DoD.

  6. Cooperative Conservation Project: Promote discussion of current and potential
     cooperative conservation tools in an effort to integrate SWAPs and INRMPs at the
     ecosystem level, focusing on DoD’s interest in working off-base on buffer encroachment
     issues and to explore DoD’s potential role in a habitat credit trading system.

                 MID-ATLANTIC POTENTIAL SWAP/INRMP PILOT PROJECTS

  1. Aquatic Invertebrates (crustaceans) Surveys: Documenting the diversity and
     abundance of native crustaceans on military installations in Virginia.



INRMP/SWAP Case Study                     Page 4 of 7                           March 24, 2008
      2. Northeast Regional and Natural Resources Database Coordination and
         Development: Capture natural resource data available through military facilities as part
         of a regional assessment of habitats and species and integrating military installation data
         into the Northeast Monitoring and Performance Measure Framework.

      3. New Jersey Species at Risk Project: Determine species at risk in New Jersey at DoD
         installations and develop management plans for prioritized habitat.

      4. New Jersey Pinelands Ecosystem Management for Fire Control: Design a
         management plan for fire control throughout the New Jersey Pinelands to identify land
         management stakeholders, their resources and interests, and design ecosystem-sensitive
         methods for fire control.

      5. Regional Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Toolkit/SWAP Integration: Collect
         currently used successful BASH management techniques and bring stakeholders together
         to propose alternative habitat management techniques and exclusionary methods that are
         in harmony with BASH objectives.

      6. Significance of fire-maintained communities to species of greatest conservation need
         in the Mid-Atlantic region: Use inventories from fire-maintained habitat on DoD lands
         to assess the significance of these habitat types to species of greatest conservation need
         and to identify management needs to promote fire-maintained ecosystems.

      7. Species at Risk Assessment for the Chesapeake Bay Region: Asses status of species at
         risk (tier I & II species, including G1, G2, state endangered, and others that are at risk of
         being federally listed within the foreseeable future) for the Chesapeake Bay Region.


The status of these projects is being continuously updated by DoD and the most current
information on each of them is available at http://www.swap-
inrmpworkshops.net/prior_workshops.html. As noted previously, DoD has informally committed
to support these pilot projects with Legacy Program funding and, if appropriate, other DoD
funding sources.

Although it is early to assess the results of the INRMP workshops, a number of the pilot projects
have already demonstrated significant results.4 Understandably, given the sequencing of the
regional workshops, these noteworthy examples are in the Southeastern and Southwestern U.S.
and include:

          The Georgia Conservation Forum Project (http://www.swap-
           inrmpworkshops.net/events1_seswap3_georgiacf.pdf) has resulted in a Candidate
           Conservation Agreement for the gopher tortoise. DoD Legacy Program funds and funds
           from the Environmental Readiness Service were used in support of this Forum.
4
    Interview with Kimberly Fleming, March 30, 2008.


INRMP/SWAP Case Study                              Page 5 of 7                        March 24, 2008
          The South Carolina project (http://www.swap-
           inrmpworkshops.net/events1_seswap5_scarolinaisg.pdf) has resulted in changes in
           airfield management, reductions of invasive species and improved habitat as a means of
           reducing bird strike hazards.

          The Utah Project (Bonneville Basin Conservation Cooperative; http://www.swap-
           inrmpworkshops.net/events5_swswap5_bonnevillebasin.pdf) recently received Legacy
           Program funding and is moving forward, especially pertaining to Dugway Proving
           Grounds.

          The Florida project (http://www.swap-
           inrmpworkshops.net/events1_seswap2_floridacwcs.pdf) is developing a GIS-based tool
           for pulling out specific elements of the Florida SWAP relevant to an INRMP (or similar
           planning efforts by other agencies).

In addition to the pilot projects identified through the regional workshops, additional projects for
integrating INRMPs with SWAPS have been submitted to DoD for Legacy Program funding.
DoD has identified SWAP implementation as a “highlighted item” increasing the likelihood of
Legacy Program funding. While implementing SWAPs is a priority for this funding, effectively
there is approximately $5 million available annually. With increased attention to SWAP
implementation and improved quality in submissions for Legacy Program funding, it is
becoming increasingly difficult for DoD to identify the best projects for funding.5

Besides limited Legacy Program funding, there are other challenges in maximizing the
opportunity to leverage INRMPs to implement SWAPs. Financial limitations on states that
prevent agency officials from traveling to workshops and the resource constraints on the time
available for state officials to participate are significant obstacles. Ironically, DoD’s leadership in
using SWAPs in INRMP planning has resulted in state officials devoting less time to working
with DoD and more time and attention to other federal agencies perceived to be less informed
about or committed to implementing SWAPs. DoD staff/contractors working on INRMPs
identified “getting state officials involved” as one of the primary challenges they face.

There is also a challenge related to the increasing turn-over in the federal agency workforce with
a significant proportion of the workforce scheduled to retire in the next few years. INRMP
training must be “taken on the road” to reach agency staff in the field (federal and state) and
engage future leaders early in their careers.




5
    Interview with Kimberly Fleming, March 20, 2008.


INRMP/SWAP Case Study                              Page 6 of 7                         March 24, 2008
Conclusion

The integration of State Wildlife Action Plans with the Department of Defense’s Integrated
Natural Resource Management Plans holds great promise for SWAP implementation,
coordinated management across federal and state agencies, and for leveraging available funding.
Although these efforts are relatively recent, they already yield important conclusions about the
essential components of success for federal-state cooperation in implementing SWAPs:

      Genuine desire by the mission-oriented federal agency (e.g., DoD) to take advantage of
       SWAPs and to collaborate with other federal and state agencies in identifying relevant
       SWAP components;

      Funding for the mission-oriented agency’s involvement in collaborative efforts and to
       assist other agencies (especially state agencies) with the costs of collaboration, including
       travel expenses or staff time;

      Strategic outreach to potential partners using methods such as the SWAP/INRMP
       regional workshops organized by DoD, FWS and AFWA pursuant to their Memorandum
       of Understanding; and,

      Identification of pilot projects with an ongoing collaborative process to implement
       projects and track results, and with available funding assistance such as that provided by
       the Legacy Program.




INRMP/SWAP Case Study                       Page 7 of 7                             March 24, 2008

								
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