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Army details environmental action plan

Apr 20, 2010

By Joseph Ferrare (RDECOM)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 20, 2010) -- Army officials announced an action plan to support a Chesapeake Bay Strategy at a 2010 Earth and Arbor Day celebration that saw APG earn several environmental awards.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Tad Davis made the announcement on behalf of the Army. Davis was joined by James B. Balocki, chief, Environmental Community of Practice, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Shawn M. Garvin, regional administrator, Environmental Protection Agency Region 3, to talk about the bay initiative.

Garrison Commander Col. Orlando Ortiz presided over the ceremony, which was held at APG's Top of the Bay Club, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Several environmental organizations recognized the installation for its active environmental programs. The Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service named the installation Tree City USA for the fifth year in a row, a record that earned it several follow-on accolades. The state of Maryland recognized the installation with the Maryland People Loving And Nurturing Trees Community Award.

Davis said the awards and the location made the event the perfect way to highlight the Army's Chesapeake Bay Strategy.

"We really wanted to take this opportunity in conjunction with the Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations here at Aberdeen Proving Ground. What better roll out the Army strategy for the Chesapeake Bay restoration?" Davis asked.

Why the Army needs such a strategy is obvious when you consider the Army's footprint around the Bay, he added.

"Folks say the Army's got a lot of missions out there with regard to national security, international security, what's the connection with the bay? When you think about it, that connection is huge. When you consider that there are 19 installations, over 220,000 acres of Army property that directly impact on the watershed of the bay, I would be willing to tell you that our contributions to the restoration are huge.

"And when you fold into that the contributions of the Corps of Engineers and the civil works programs in terms of lakes, rivers and dams and other things they are responsible for and consider the Army active, guard and Reserve organizations, it's a tremendous responsibility that we have," Davis explained.

The Army developed its strategy to meet that responsibility by incorporating stewardship initiatives into the service's daily activities and promoting partnerships with governmental entities, non-governmental organizations, the community and others. The strategy has five goals, which were based on the priorities established in the 2008 Chesapeake Action Plan, the Department of Defense Chesapeake Bay Strategic Action Plan, and Executive Order 13508, Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration.

Those goals are:

1. Contribute restoring and sustaining the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
2. Restore and sustain living resources and healthy habitats on Army installations.
3. Support the implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management.
4. Strengthen storm-water management practices and maintain healthy watersheds.
5. Foster Chesapeake Bay stewardship.

Davis said the Army has established a triple bottom-line concept to guide its vision for sustainability and environmental policies. It starts with the mission, he said.

"Obviously the mission of the Army is extremely important to us," he said. "But the environment is the second key principle. The third is community, both the community within our installations, but also that larger community outside our gates as well whom we partner with as we are today to support this tremendous effort.

"At the end of the day that triple bottom-line is the guiding force behind what we're trying to accomplish, allowing us to accomplish our mission, whatever it might be," Davis said.

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