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Environmental Program Areas » Natural Resources

Watch KITV's news coverage on snail reintroductions in 2012

The USAG-HI Natural Resource Program (NRP) oversees compliance with the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the Sikes Act. The goal of the program is to effectively balance the requirements of the Army's training mission with it's natural resource responsibilities. Of the 400 federally listed threatened and endangered species in Hawaii, the NRP is responsible for managing over 100, including plants, snails, birds, bats, insects and their critical habitat. All of these species are only found within the Hawaiian Islands, many only on a single island, some restricted to certain mountain ranges on an island, and many only on Army lands on Oahu or Hawaii Island. The endangered plants managed by the NRP represent some of the planet's rarest - some having less than 50 individual plants left in the world. Through its efforts, the NRP has helped save 2 species from going extinct!

Read an article about the Cyanea plant saved from extinction, or listen to the
Hawaii Public Radio story HERE

NRP applies an ecosystem-based approach to managing its training lands to ensure species and the habitat to support them are restored and protected now and in the future. The program grows both endangered and common native plant species and outplants over 2,000 of them back into the wild each year.

Listen to the Hawaii Public Radio story about restoring Kahanahaiki
Valley HERE

To accomplish the daunting task of managing so many critically endangered species, the Army has developed a unique approach to partnering with other land managers across land ownerships lines and political boundaries. USAG-HI has developed "Implementation Teams" (IT) for Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA), Makua Military Reservation (MMR), and the remaining Oahu Training Area (Dillingham Military Installation (DMR), Kawailoa Training Area (KLOA), Kahuku Training Area (KTA), Schofield Barracks East Range (SBER) and Schofield Barracks West Range (SBWR)). The teams consist of expert biologists from the leading conservation agencies and landowners in Hawaii. Partners include the University of Hawaii, Honolulu City and County Board of Water Supply, Forest Service, State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, US Geological Survey Biological Resources Division, Navy, Marines, Air Force, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii Plant Extinction Prevention group, Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, USFWS Refuges, and many private landowners. NRP realized that it would take a veritable "Army" of conservationists to stabilize so many endangered taxa and was the first to use this outside-the-box planning method to pull such diverse groups together.

Read the Honolulu Advertiser article:
"Environmentalists, Army Join Forces
on Preservation."

The purpose of each group is to work together as a team to develop "Implementation Plans" (IPs) that precisely describe the management actions necessary to stabilize the Army's species. The value of working with these experts is that the Army has biologically sound management plans for its endangered species.

The basis of the IPs (The Army has 3) are the Army Ecosystem Management and Sustainability Principles and the 2003 PTA, 2003 Oahu, and 2007 and 2008 MMR Biological Opinions (BOs). The concept of species and ecosystem stabilization is a new concept not currently used anywhere else within the US to deal with critically endangered species and their habitat. Stabilization is based on all threats being controlled for a predetermined number of plant or animal populations (normally 3-5) and achievement of 3-5 populations with a predetermined number of individuals of various size classes. The idea is that by achieving stabilization, the Army has effectively moved the species from existing in a state of jeopardy to a state of stability.

Read the Hawaii Army Weekly article:

"Fire Threatens Flower."

The greatest threat to the species caused by military training is fire. Hawaii's sensitive ecosystems are not evolved to exist with frequent fires, therefore, when natural areas burn, aggressive invasive grasses are able to invade and take over. Once taken over, it is almost impossible, with current technology, to take the native forest back. For this reason, NRP has worked cooperatively with USFWS and the Army's Wildland Fire Program to minimize and mitigate the impacts of Army caused fires on natural areas. Smoking is only allowed in designated areas and there are very strict restrictions on the types of ammunition that can be used under the different burn indices (BI). It is every soldier's and staff member's responsibility to be familiar with the policy regarding use of different ammunition on the different ranges and within the different BIs.

If a fire is caused by unauthorized use of ammunition on a range, training could be stopped indefinitely and the soldier or staff responsible for starting the fire can be held personally liable for a fine of $50,000 for each individual endangered or threatened species impacted by the fire (i.e. 10 individuals=$500,000 fine).

The second greatest threat to the natural resources on Army lands is the spread of new invasive species. Non-native invasive species are a leading threat to our nation's rich biodiversity, as well as to national security, the economy, and human health. Invasive species have a direct negative impact on our ability to realistically train soldiers and cost the Department of Defense (DOD) millions of dollars each year in control efforts. By practicing common sense best management practices, we can help stop the spread of invasive species from one training area or one island to another.

Want to know More?

Read the Honolulu Advertiser Article
"Invasive species eluding military"
by Jan TenBruggencate

  • Federal Endangered Species Act (1973 as amended)
  • Sikes Act (as amended through 2003)
  • Marine Mammal Protection Act (as amended 2007)
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act (as amended 1998)
  • Federal Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (1934)
  • AR 200-1, Chapter 4-3 (13 December 2007)
  • Executive Order 13112 Deals with Invasive Species on Federal lands

» 2006

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» 2012

» 1978 Palila Critical Habitat Biological Opinion, Pohakuloa Training Area

» 1981 Pohakuloa Training Area Biological Opinion

» 1982 Biological Opinion for 25th ID Field Training Exercises at Pohakuloa Training Area

» 1983 Biological Opinion for Reconsultation on Palila Critical Habitat at Pohakuloa Training Area

» 1997 Biological Opinion on Addition of Firing Lanes at Pohakuloa Training Area Range 8

» 2003 Biological Opinion for Routine Military Training and Transformation, Island of Hawaii

» 2003 Biological Opinion for Routine Military Training and Transformation, Island of Oahu

» 2007 Reinitiation of the Biological Opinion for US Army Military Training at Makua Military Reservation, Island of Oahu

» 2008 Amendment of the Biological Opinion for Military Training at Makua Military Reservation

» 2008 Reinitiation of Formal Section 7 Consultation for Additional Species and New Training Actions at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii

» 2013 Pohakuloa Training Area Biological Opinion

USAG-HI, DPW, IMPC-HI-PWE, SOP No. 320, Natural Resource Management Program, Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA)
USAG-HI, DPW, IMPCE-HI-PWE, SOP No. 321, Natural Resource Management program, Oahu Training Areas
USAG-HI, DPW, IMPCE-HI-PWE, SOP No. 322, Endangered Species Act (Section 7) Consultations- Natural Resource Management Program

All Oahu natural resources related records can be found in the Natural Resource Program Manager's Files - Schofield Barracks West Range Building 1123.

All Hawaii Island natural resources related records can be found in the PTA Biologist's Files - Pohakuloa Training Area Building T-93.

Army Regulation 200-1 mandates that each unit commander, directorate, and tenant civilian activity appoints a minimum of one primary and one alternate Environmental Compliance Officer (ECO) at all levels of command down to company/battery size or equivalent.

The ECO course is designed to train selected personnel for Environmental Compliance Officer duties. The ECO training ranges from the environmental management of industrial maintenance processes in motorpools and hangars, inventory control of hazardous materials and spill prevention, to consideration of cultural and natural resources, and the protection of endangered species during field exercises on USAG-HI ranges. This multi-media approach is designed to ensure each unit/organization controls the impact of its activities and services on the natural environment, allowing it to not only achieve and maintain compliance with current environmental standards, but to recognize and proactively manage future issues that might impact mission sustainability.

Select "Training" from the tool bar menu to read more about HW training required for all personnel who are involved in various aspect of HW generation or handling.

  The Army has an active volunteer program. If you are interested in helping protect the native forest and exploring areas of Oahu otherwise inaccessible to the general public, please contact us at (808) 656-7741.
  About Volunteer Projects

Army Environmental Command
Big island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC)
Conserving Biodiversity on Military Lands
Coordinating Group on Alien pest Species (CGAPS)
Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station
Hawaii Conservation Alliance
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
• Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pacific Islands Regional Office
Oahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC)
Pacific islands Climate Change Cooperative
The Nature Conservancy Hawaii
Trust for Public Lands
University of Hawaii Annual Reports and Researches
University of Hawaii Botany Department
University of Hawaii Center for Conservation Research and Training
US Army Protects Critically Endangered Hawaiian Snails from Invasive Predators
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Region
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