Oct. 16, 2009

Fort Pickett recognized for environmental excellence

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va.— Fort Pickett was one of three Virginia military installations recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia as winners of the first Virginia Department of Defense Eagle Awards for Environmental Stewardship. Representatives from the three military installations received the awards during a presentation ceremony at the State Capitol Building Oct. 14.

  2009 Eagle Award

Recipients of the 2009 Eagle Award for Environmental Stewardship stand behind the banner that each installation recognized will be able to display in their headquarters. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) For more photos, please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page.

In addition to Fort Pickett, Fort A.P. Hill and the Defense Supply Center Richmond were selected for the award. Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant, Jr. and Department of Defense Director of Environmental Management Maureen Sullivan presented the awards.

Col. Thomas P. Wilkinson, commander of Fort Pickett, accepted the award on behalf of the post. He has been in command for just over a year, and he gave credit to the staff of the Fort Pickett Environmental Office for the award.

“It was my environmental folks that kept me straight every day,” he said. “We couldn’t have done it with out you. All my accolades go to our environmental staff. We had a great year. Lets have a better year next year”

Fort Pickett is more than 42,000 acres in size and was cited for constructing a regional training institute in 2008 that included the capability of capturing and storing rainwater for use in irrigation. The Fort Pickett environmental team is responsible for creating Nottoway River macro-basin management zone, establishing buffer zones around streams and reducing hazardous and solid waste.

The Fort Pickett team is also actively seeking to acquire protection from development on 2,500 acres of land a year. They are also participants in Virginia’s Environmental Excellence Program, according to Bryant.

Fort Pickett is one of the East Coast’s premiere training facilities focused on training the Reserve Components. In recent years, it has become a mainstay to not only Guard and Army Reserve training but also to all active duty components, U.S. Air Force Reserve, allied forces and numerous federal and state agencies.

Fort A.P. Hill Garrison Commander Lt. Col. John Haefner received the award for the Caroline County-based post and Site Director Terry D. Rodwell and Col. Thomas Laffey accepted the award for Defense Supply Center Richmond.

“These award-winning military installations have shown remarkable stewardship of the natural resources entrusted to their care,” said Governor Tim Kaine in a news release. “I am confident the partnership between the Department of Defense and the Commonwealth will continue to bring environmental benefits to Virginians for years to come.”

Last December Kaine announced the Commonwealth of Virginia and Department of Defense Environmental Partnership and the Virginia Department of Defense Eagle Award. More than 20 military installations in Virginia are eligible for recognition under this environmental partnership program. Seventeen of the eligible installations participated this year.

The Department of Defense manages more than 275,000 acres in Virginia. Each military installation can submit an Installation Environmental Scorecard annually to the state for evaluation. Those military installations that demonstrate the greatest environmental stewardship will qualify for the Virginia Department of Defense Eagle Award.

Each participating military installation was evaluated by DoD personnel and staff from Virginia’s natural resource agencies on seven performance measures: biological resources, habitat protection and restoration, watershed protection and restoration, land use, environmental stewardship, conservation plans and environmental compliance. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality worked with DoD to develop this program and evaluate the results.

The first year of competition resulted in air emissions being reduced by 930 tons, hazardous waste by 268 tons, pesticide use by 564 pounds and more than 1,570 tons of materials being diverted from landfills.

“The first year’s results show the department’s strong commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Sullivan. “The military community in Virginia is committed to continuing to implement projects that will sustain the environment.”

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