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Environment / Sustainability

CEMML secures $10 million natural resource stewardship projects with U.S. Air Force

July 29, 2013

Colorado State University's Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands has secured a multi-million dollar Cooperative Agreement to provide project-based environmental restoration, natural and cultural resource management, and geospatial data collection and management services at U.S. Air Force installations around the world.

CEMML employee Aaron Gao at an U.S. Air Force substation conducting compliance program monitoring of greenhouse gasses such as sf6.The agreement will generate more than $10 million in new business for CEMML in the 2013 federal fiscal year and expand its operations by around 33 percent. The growth is expected to add over 70 new jobs to CEMML’s base of 250 full-time and 150 seasonal employees.

Projects around the world

The new business partnership allows the U.S. Air Force to acquire additional technical assistance from CEMML for its natural and cultural resource management needs on an as-needed project basis for the next five years through a series of cooperative agreements. To date, the projects include work at military bases in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, South Korea and Japan, with assignments including munitions cleanup, groundwater restoration and conservation, wildlife management, forestry, environmental education, wildland fire management planning and ecological restoration.

CEMML is a center of excellence within CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources, and is a leading global provider in research and sustainable natural and cultural resource management services on federal lands. The center employs a Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area where CEMML is conducting vegetation mapping.diverse range of environmental and compliance professionals on campus in Fort Collins, Colo., as well as an expanding staff of specialized natural resource professionals embedded at military and federal land installations across the United States and internationally. CEMML’s core services include natural and cultural resources management, resource inventory and monitoring, environmental compliance, geospatial data collection and management, community and installation sustainability, wildland fire management planning, and environmental education and professional development.

Islands of biodiversity

As federally protected areas, military installations often serve as islands of biodiversity in landscapes otherwise dominated by urban and suburban development. While many might envision tanks and barracks when they think of military installations, they are also expansive tracts of protected land that contain an CSU alumna and CEMML employee Allie Bamber at nesting area and monitoring site for snowy plover, a rare and threatened shore bird,  near Vandenberg AFB, Cali.important wealth of cultural and natural resources such as endangered species, forests, diverse plant and animal communities, undeveloped watersheds, historic buildings, archaeological sites and more.

According to a 2013 fact sheet from the Department of Defense Natural Resources Program, DoD has the highest density of threatened or endangered species of any other federal land management agency, and is responsible for managing and protecting more than 425 threatened or endangered species found on its installations. Fifteen of these species are found at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California where CEMML employees are now making substantial contributions to their management. DoD also manages over 90 National Historic Landmarks, approximately 123,000 known archaeological sites, and in excess of 200,000 historic buildings and structures.

CEMML Research Associate Catherine Nolan conducting cultural resources public outreach and education at Eglin AFB, Fla.“The DoD has been committed to being a good steward of the land and continues to ensure the sustainable management and conservation of clean water and air, endangered species, and healthy ecosystems that will continue to benefit the environment and society as a whole for generations to come,” said CEMML Director Lee Barber. “CEMML has grown over the past 25 years to be the leader in specialized environmental management for federal land, and is proud to be a part of a legacy of sustainable stewardship.”

Strong reputation

At a time of federal financial restructuring, CEMML was able to secure the new business due to its strong reputation and previous work with the U.S. Air Force and other military branches, its swift response capabilities, and its cost-effective services as a nonprofit and specialized center.

“As part of a land grant university and one of the most comprehensive natural resource colleges in the nation, CEMML is able to provide a highly trained, nimble and effective network of resources and specialists who provide state-of-science natural resources research and management services,” said Barber. “Our strong connections at CSU and with our employees on the ground give us a unique opportunity to have our finger on the pulse of both real-world issues and innovative solutions -- allowing us to be a conduit for environmental progress from education to implementation.”

For more information on CEMML visit the website.