US Military Bases as Conservation Spots
US Military Bases are huge plots of land by necessity for training, aircraft, military vehicles, etc. But in all of it, there have been conservation efforts that are extremely successful. Do military personnel have to worry about not stepping on an endangered butterfly? Not exactly. The bases have carefully managed conservation missions that help our military warriors live with nature.
Take for example, the Frosted Elfin butterfly that is listed as “protected” but may end up on the endangered list. On some military bases, like Fort McCoy,it’s thriving. Or the St. Francis Satyrs (butterflies) at Fort Bragg, a facility which also helped save an endangered woodpecker. There are numerous species of everything from butterflies to 4-legged creatures that actually benefit from the military’s conservation practices.
For example, the fires set across both grasslands and wetlands keep the areas open. Without that benefit, some species would perish. The Pentagon works with biologists and conservation experts to help species recover.
“In fact, bases have the highest density of threatened and endangered plants and animals of any federal lands, even more than national parks like Yellowstone. Like many bases, Bragg and Lewis-McChord are a century old. They were built when the U.S. population was a third of what it is now and before development had gobbled so much forest, beach and prairie. That makes bases a kind of biological time capsule. They’re now home to more than 425 threatened and endangered species.” Jay Price, WUNC reporter to NPR
There’s the endangered Desert Tortoise, which needed to be moved from the Marine Corps base in California. USMC airlifted 1,429 of the endangered creatures away from a live fire training that occurred in August of 2016. After they were moved, Marines worked to track them. They even had a program called TRACRS– Tortoise Research and Captive Rearing Site- that was fenced 6 acres where juvenile tortoises could grow big enough to fend for themselves before being released back into the wild.
Of course, the liberals cried that Marines were killing them instead of tracking them or airlifting them to safety. But the military has done more to save endangered species than many other programs combined.
Each year the DoD awards military installations special recognition for the great work they have done with conservation and natural resources management. So if you hear someone crabbing about the military killing endangered species, set them straight.