The Department of Defense has released new guidance on managing natural resources on the more than 25 million acres of land on 425 major military installations. The guidance incorporates lessons learned from the past four years of preparing and implementing hundreds of Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans (INRMP). The INRMP is the document used by DoD to protect natural resources on its installations.
The guidance emphasizes the necessity for early coordination with all INRMP stakeholders and helps to ensure that issues are identified and resolved before INRMPs are completed. Performance metrics were also added to better monitor plan implementation.
Since 1960, the Sikes Act has required military installations to provide for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources on its lands. In 1997, an amendment to the Act required the military to prepare and implement INRMPs for each military installation with significant natural resources, and to do so in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the appropriate state agencies. The new INRMPs--with their comprehensive and holistic management approach--meet the conservation requirements of the Sikes Act and focus on the preservation and maintenance of healthy and fully functional ecosystems.
Military installations are used to conduct essential military testing and training to provide for the nation's defense. Security and safety considerations require that large tracts of land on and around DoD ranges be used as buffer zones. Over the years, these zones have sheltered many rare plant and animal species. Today, DoD manages over 300 federally listed threatened or endangered species on its lands.
The guidance for INRMP may be found at https://www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/Library/NCR/updated_sikes.html.