Joint Base Lewis-McChord was awarded $3.5 million today by the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program. The funds will go towards efforts to preserve, restore, and manage critical prairie habitat in the South Puget Sound region, which will help preserve the environment while reducing on-base training restrictions.
The award is being leveraged almost 2½:1 by a partnership that includes the Center for Natural Lands Management, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Thurston County, the state of Washington, and private landowners.
"This award shows we have the ability to balance critical prairie habitat conservation efforts with the needs of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. It's great news for JBLM, private landowners, conservationists, and all of Thurston County. We should look towards this award and the partnership that is leveraging it as a model of future prairie habitat conservation efforts in the South Puget Sound," said Congressman Heck, who represents the district that contains Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program allows the military Services to enter into cost-sharing partnerships with state and local governments and private conservation organizations to preserve compatible land uses and conserve natural landscapes in support of military readiness. The REPI program has protected 264,000 acres of buffer land at 66 locations in 24 states across the country.