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Florence Military Reservation
Camp Florence

Covering over 40 square mile (25,752 acres) of Lower Sonoran Desert, Florence Military Reservation (FMR) is managed by the Arizona Army National Guard in cooperation with other state and federal agencies. The Reservation is home to artillery and small-arms training ranges. Camp Florence is the main training site for the Arizona Army National Guard, primarily for weekend and two-week annual training periods. It supports squad, platoon, company, and battalion-level tactical training for artillery, aviation, cavalry, engineer, military police, maintenance, signal, transportation and explosive ordnance disposal units.

A multiple use policy allows for cattle grazing, hunting, camping, birding, and other outdoor recreation, as well as military training, on range firing and artillery shell impacts are limited to federal land on the southern part of the reservation. Artillery live-fire dates are clearly posted in advance on perimeter signs and red range flags are flown on active days.

The 2-180th FA is an Arizona Army National Guard Field Artillery battalion. Field training is conducted mostly at Florence Military Reservation. Annual Training in 2001 was conducted in two locations; Camp Navajo, near Flagstaff, Arizona; and at Florence Military Reservation.

Between 1989 and 1997, SRI worked closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the western ARNG to inventory and evaluate cultural resources for a proposed helicopter gunnery range in southern Arizona. Six separate, although sometimes overlapping, delivery orders were issued for this project over three IDIQ contracts. Over five years, SRI used these funds to survey alternatives on the Florence Military Reservation, prepare maps for the ARNG, conduct an ethnographic survey of traditional cultural properties, and attend a variety of planning meetings.

Brown and Caldwell is conducting an erosion control feasibility study at the Arizona Army National Guard's 25,750-acre Florence Military Reservation. In addition to consolidating pertinent historical data, the project involves unexploded ordinance identification and avoidance, analysis of drainage materials, modeling of drainage areas, and management/presentation of data. The company is coordinating an aerial survey of FMR, including placement and location of more than 40 control points, that will support the modeling and study. From the survey, a digital terrain map with 5-foot contour intervals will be developed. Through the feasibility study, the company will determine design and cost alternatives for erosion control methods that consider heavy metals, nitroaromatic compounds, and phosphorus. The Center for Ecological Management of Military Lands conducted comprehensive floristic surveys of Camp Florence in Arizona. Though a plant community classification was beyond the scope of the floristic survey, CEMML botanists divided the area based on observations of dominant vegetation. Camp Florence comprises 10,426 hectares (25,752 acres) approximately 64 km (40 miles) southeast of Phoenix in south central Arizona. Elevation ranges from 455 m (1,490 feet) near the Gila River, to 682 m (2,250 feet) in the foothills of the Mineral Mountains. The installation lies within the Basin and Range physiographic province, surrounded by volcanic mountains formed 5 to 15 million years ago. The alluvial valley in which Camp Florence lies is filled with more than 10,000 feet of unconsolidated to weakly consolidated silts, sands, clays, and gravels. Seventy-seven percent of the installation is represented by a general soils map, with the entire area grouped in a single complex of a gravelly loam (USDA 1972). The ephemeral water courses on Camp Florence generally drain to the south toward the Gila River. There is no perennial surface water other than artificial earthen stock tanks. The climate at Camp Florence is arid and prone to drought, with hot summers and mild winters. At nearby Casa Grande, the average daily maximum temperature is 30.4C (86.7F), the average daily minimum temperature 11.8C (53.3F). Freezing is common during winter nights, but snow accumulations are rare and mostly minimal. Average annual precipitation is 24 to 26 cm (9.4 - 10.2 inches). The rainfall pattern is bimodal. Widespread, gentle, sustained winter rains are spawned by frontal systems from the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California. Summer rains are brief, high intensity convective storms, with the moisture originating from the Gulf of Mexico. Evaporation rates are 15 to 20 times the annual precipitation. The native peoples in the area (primarily Pima, Gila, and Kohatk tribes) set frequent fires to drive game. This tended to favor grasses over less fire-tolerant woody species. With European settlement of the Gila River watershed, large numbers of livestock were introduced. This resulted in a shift from the dominance of grasses to shrubs, increased overland flow, and dropping water tables. Camp Florence is in the Sonoran Desertscrub Biome, with two subdivisions represented --Arizona Upland (on most of the installation) and Lower Colorado River Valley (on the extreme southern part of the installation).

Bird-watching opportunities are plentiful, especially in the early morning or just before evening. the site provides abundant viewing habitat along tree-lined desert washes, within dense stands of saguaro and cholla cactus, along the rolling hills of the uplands, and near cattle tanks.


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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:47:35 ZULU