Area: Southwest, Southeast New Mexico
Location: multiple (see links)
Type of Project: Dept. of Defense (DoD) Readiness and Environmental Integration Program (REPI)
Date Completed: ongoing
In New Mexico, NMLC is proud to have completed 4 conservation easements totaling 59,552 acres on the following properties under the REPI Program:
Melrose Bombing Range/Cannon Air Force Base
Conservation Benefits of Protecting a Military Installation’s ‘Buffer Zone’
There are so many factors that come into focus when we look at the decline of species across the globe. One of the most deleterious of all is urban sprawl and the associated habitat fragmentation that accompanies it. Whether due to roads and powerlines, rooftops or parking lots, these altered landscapes quickly become uninhabitable for a large percentage of our native species.
Interestingly, our military bases are increasingly becoming some of the most important holdouts for our vegetative, fish, and wildlife communities. At first, this might seem counter-intuitive, but when you realize that our secured military installations represent vast, relatively unfragmented habitats, protected by high security and with little public access – it makes sense.
To curtail the encroachment of development that might pose an increased risk and liability associated with ongoing military training and testing, Department of Defense (DoD) established a unique program called Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI). Through REPI, the DoD is authorized to enter into cost-sharing agreements with state and local governments and conservation organizations to promote compatible land uses and preserve habitats near, or ecologically related to, military installations and ranges. These REPI-funded efforts are directed at sustaining our nation’s military mission as well as species conservation through cooperative land use planning
Bringing these federal dollars to New Mexico ranchers to compensate them for the protection of these private lands through the REPI program will serve to perpetuate critical military training and testing missions that are so vital to our national security as well as our state’s economy. At the same time these efforts will serve to benefit our important native grasslands from fragmentation and help sustain a myriad of species including lesser prairie chicken, mule deer, pronghorn, elk, desert bighorn sheep and several species of bats, to name a few.