Rheingrafenstein Local Training Area
Rheingrafenstein was a 200-acre local training area outside of Bad Kreuznach on Kuhberg Hill. As announced by DOD in 2000, the Rheingrafenstein Training and Storage Area known as Kuhberg near Bad Kreuznach and the Quirnheim Missile Station near Mannheim were returned to host nation officials. The Rheingrafenstein Training and Storage Area was closed, following the announcement in February 2000 that the U.S. Army would cease operations in Bad Kreuznach, but it was retained for possible use as a training area again in the future. U.S. Army officials since determined other local training areas are sufficient and that the Kuhberg is excess.
There were two units on the training area - the 102nd Signal Battalion and the Regional Contracting Office, Bad Kreuznach. A recreation center and campground in the training area which were operated by the Bad Kreuznach base support battalion staff also closed. The 102nd Signal Battalion's headquarters element relocated to Hanau. The remainder of the battalion - that is, the Bad Kreuznach Regional Service Center (RSC) - relocated to Wiesbaden with additional manpower spaces authorized. These additional spaces upgraded Wiesbaden's community service center to a regional service center to meet any increased future requirements. The Regional Contracting Office, Bad Kreuznach - part of U.S. Army Contracting Command, Europe, continued operations until the Bad Kreuznach community closes out. Once this office closes, a new, smaller contracting office will be established in Baumholder to provide services in the area. It will be a permanent sub-office of the U.S. Army Contracting Center in Wiesbaden.
The program to protect and enhance habitats of threatened and endangered species at Rheingrafenstein started in 1994. Rheingrafenstein is surrounded by forests controlled respectively by the City of Bad Kreuznach, the State of Rheinland-Pfalz, several private owners, and the Federal Forest Service. The training area consists of several different local habitats that have developed over the years. Increased numbers of species (insects, butterflies, spiders, and plants) listed in the German "Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species" can be frequently observed as a result of this project.
Training with tracked and wheeled vehicles at the Rheingrafenstein Training Area resulted is a continuous requirement for soil erosion control. Erosion control plantings with the Training and Operation Office (S2/3) of the 410th BSB and the Federal Forest Service are conducted jointly with the Federal Forest Service and costs are shared, resulting in significant cost savings for the U.S. Army. This program has been ongoing since 1987, resulting in the planting of over 10,000 trees and shrubs at a total cost of approximately $400,000 (of which $200,000 was Federal Forest Service funds). Overall, the 10-year program resulted in significant annual maintenance cost savings. At the beginning of the program, annual maintenance costs were approximately $30,000 per year. Annual costs by 1997 were $2,000 per year.
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