Sustainable Fort Rucker
Sustainable Fort Rucker
 : : Environmental & Natural Resources Division, Directorate of Public Works (DPW) : :

MISSION: In order to sustain the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker's training, readiness, and quality of life needs, we will provide the guidance, actions, and customer assistance necessary to comply with all environmental laws and regulations, prevent pollution where possible, protect and conserve vital natural resources, and continually improve our operations.

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Land Management


 

The Fort Rucker Land Management Program is actively involved in the development, improvement, maintenance and conservation of all real estate acreage within the boundaries of the installation.  Maintenance and improvement practices include the care and development of all turf areas, landscape trees and shrubs, agricultural out leases, soil stabilization, drainage and many other natural resource management functions.
Primary objectives of the Land Management Program are to conserve, manage and maintain all installation lands with proven scientific methods, procedures and techniques to facilitate the installations training mission.  Technical land management skills, experience and professional qualifications enable Fort Ruckers’ Land Management Program to support all aspects of land use involving training land, forestry, wildlife, agricultural, urban and aquatic.

Soil Resources:

Soil erosion, due to both wind and water, is a major concern on Fort Rucker because of the highly erodible soils found throughout the entire installation.  Fort Rucker soils are very fragile deep sands situated generally on moderate to steep slopes. Periods of extended drought often weaken vegetative ground covers while tropical heavy rains can cause massive soil movement during a single rainfall event.  Maintaining low turbidity levels in surface waters and maintaining environmental compliance with State and Federal Storm Water Laws can be difficult without detailed Conservation Planning and Best Management Practices being implemented throughout all land disturbing activities.

Rotorwash:

Rotorwash is a devastating erosion problem that is commonly found on all Fort Rucker aviation training sites.  This problem is caused from the act of continuous low altitude hovering that is required in the training of student pilots. It can be described as using a giant sand blaster to destroy all surrounding vegetation and it usually creates large holes in the ground.  Continuous use of these training sites can create major safety and environmental problems in a very short period of time.  There are more than 100 Remote Training Sites across the southeast (in addition to the airfields) that are leased lands and privately owned that must be maintained and managed to prevent and rehabilitate these rotorwash problems.  Enhanced vegetation fertility, site closure for recovery and the use of #4 Dolomite Rock have proven to be the most effective in combating rotorwash.

Gully Erosion:

Concentrated storm water runoff from airfields and asphalt generates high energy, turbulent discharge waters following major storm events.  The fragile nature of the existing sandy soils makes outfall stabilization difficult; therefore, requiring extensive conservation planning and management practices be implemented for long term outfall protection. Conservation practices as Sediment Retention Ponds, Energy Dissipation, Lined Channels, Drop Inlets and other measures are usually required to stabilize major head cutting gullies.  Numerous head cutting gullies have been repaired and are still being discovered across the installation.

Sediment Control Plan:

Within the Areal Gunnery Range Complex (AGRC), there is approximately 13,000 acres of land that is heavily duded with live un-exploded ordinance.  With the live ordinance being on the surface and being sub-surface, the act of restoring the land completely is not possible.  Therefore a series of water and sediment retention ponds were planned and constructed on all the major drainage outfalls within the AGRC.  The heavy sediment loads that were once leaving the AGRC through the surface stream flow are now being captured and stored.  This conservation planning and action has resulted in the turbidity reduction of all exiting stream waters to now reach compliance with Alabama water quality regulations.  These retention ponds have large sediment storage capacities and are currently providing quality habitat for fish and numerous wildlife species.

Conservation Architecture:

Recognizing the limitations and positive attributes of all Fort Rucker lands is most critical in achieving a quality environmental balance.  Utilizing a Bio-Diversity concept in conservation planning enables construction, training, forestry and wildlife to become blended with all being equally recognized for impacts.  The Cantonment Perimeter Security Plan was developed and implemented considering the natural ecosystems as defensive measures that resulted in the reduction of approximately 25 miles of chain link fence.  Maximum advantage was taken to utilize natural wetlands, existing right of ways, cable barriers, creeks and impassible access points in reducing the total linear footage of security fence to be needed.  In doing so, a tremendous maintenance requirement was eliminated, wildlife travel corridors were undisturbed, wetlands were protected, woodlands were preserved and the total project cost was greatly reduced.

Technical Assistance:

The Fort Rucker Land Management Program is on call for any service that may require land to operate.  From the Equestrian Center or Parade Field to the Firing Points or Remote Training Sites, the Land Management Program will provide technical assistance and response in a timely manner.  
 

Contact Information

Land Management POC
(334) 255-9363
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