With $2 billion in new construction scheduled for Fort Bragg over the next three years, due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) and other expansion initiatives, developable land is in high demand. With widespread presence of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker in the woods surrounding Fort Bragg's urban area, however, the installation must reuse existing developed land.
The prevalence of previous environmental contamination on portions of the installation presents challenges to the process. Fort Bragg must rely heavily on its Installation Restoration Program (IRP) to efficiently and effectively restore these contaminated areas for mission-critical construction.
"Fort Bragg's decade-old IRP continues to rise to the challenge of increasing external pressures with the successful removal of 1,100 non-compliant underground storage tanks, 50 of which were removed in the last two years alone," said Paul Wirt, environmental management branch chief. "Additional remediation included 93 of the installation's 104 identified solid waste management units. These are only a few of the environmental restoration efforts that have returned 675 acres of 'developable real estate' to Fort Bragg's inventory."
The IRP's unique achievements are crucial to military readiness, as the restored acreage will return to Fort Bragg's limited inventory as viable training land, suitable living quarters and critical training facilities for the impending influx of Soldiers. The benefits extend beyond the installation boundaries to pave the way for the Department of Defense as a whole, as Fort Bragg's restoration goals and lessons learned are shared regionally through regular stakeholder briefings, community outreach events and local media interaction.
Implementation of a variety of management programs - whether alone or in combination, proven or innovative - form the nucleus of Fort Bragg's continued dedication to the pursuit of returning useable land to the installation.
Fort Bragg collaborated with the Army Environmental Command and a military contractor in the development of a performance-based contract that will save the Army an estimated $2.5 million in comparison to standard acquisition practices. Additionally, Fort Bragg saved more than $1 million and reduced remediation time by eight years at two solid waste management units by implementing a more efficient and cost-effective alternative remediation technology.
The IRP expedited cleanup of the future U.S. Army Forces Command headquarters and 4th Brigade Combat Team complex sites to ensure on-time completion of these two critical BRAC projects totaling approximately $600 million.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for the Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Tad Davis recognized Fort Bragg for the Army's most outstanding environmental restoration effort in fiscal year 2008. This award is part of the Secretary's annual Environmental Awards Program and represents the highest honor in the field of environmental science conferred by the Army.
"The Army is committed to protecting the environment at installations here and overseas," said Davis. "In fact, as the winners of our environmental awards demonstrate, the Army is getting more and more sophisticated in its use of environmental technology and sustainable practices. We're becoming a greener shade of green."
An independent panel of judges made up of professionals from federal, state and Army organizations recommended Fort Bragg for the Secretary of the Army environmental award. "Fort Bragg demonstrates how an installation's environmental restoration program working with other internal offices can expedite construction projects required by the base realignment and closure act," stated Dennis Druck, Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards judge and environmental scientist with the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine.