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Posts made in: 'Environment' (14) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 14

July 26, 2013 at 1:18pm

7th Infantry Division cares about sustainability at JBLM

U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Hector Meneses, 7th ID sustainment section sergeant major, explains the importance of accountability of Army resources during a sustainment course for junior leaders at JBLM. Photo credit: Sgt. James Bunn

You skip along blissfully through life, never questioning the cause and effect of each moment. The word "sustainability" was merely a metaphor for "something hippies care about." Now that you have arrived in this world of helmets and Stryker fighting vehicles, you know the truth. Sustainability is damn important, sir.

What if you devoted three hours to something like origami? To working out? To learning about sustainability? You'd be the most responsible, buffest paper folder this world has ever seen.

Junior leaders with the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division did just that, minus the paper folding and bench presses. Sgt. James Bunn of the 17th Public Affairs Detachment has the story:

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - During a sustainment course for junior leaders July 23, U.S. Army soldiers with 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division learned that being an Army professional is about more than overcoming an enemy combatant.

Whether a $400 helmet or a nearly $4 million Stryker fighting vehicle, every soldier is responsible for valuable military equipment.


July 18, 2013 at 12:36pm

A red river runs through Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Oh, so many option to go with the latest news release from the Washington State Department of Health. Are vampires living at Joint Base Lewis-McChord? Is JBLM celebrating some sort of Russian holiday? Will a soldier be caught red-handed?

Apparently none of the above is true. A red dye will be injected into treated wastewater next week at JBLM's wastewater plant then monitored in a state health department study.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:


June 7, 2013 at 3:52pm

Joint Base Lewis-McChord wins $3.5 million for prairie habitat

Rep. Denny Heck  - who represents The 10th Congressional District, which contains all of Joint Base Lewis-McChord except the Yakima Training Center - is a proud peacock today. In fact, it's safe to say the entire Joint Base Lewis-McChord has reason to party, albeit with recyclable materials. JBLM was awarded $3.5 million today by the DOD's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program. Let's read the release Rep. Heck sent us:

Washington - 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.


April 24, 2011 at 5:05am

JBLM reforestation project replants 120 acres with more than 80,000 seedlings

Ramon Segundo, a planter with Ramos Reforestation, pulls a 2-year-old Douglas fir out of his bag while reforesting a 30-acre section of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., Out of their own good will, many people plant trees on Arbor Day or Earth Day, wanting to give a little something back to the environment. 

But for 14 men working last month on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, or JBLM, tree planting is a big part of their everyday job.

The men, planters with Ramos Reforestation, worked in a line formation planting more than 20,000 seedlings spaced eight feet apart on the 30-acre tract of clear-cut terrain. The project took these professional green thumbs less than a half day.

Bearing canvas bags full of Douglas fir, Western Red cedar and Ponderosa pine seedlings, the planters made their way across the South Perry plot that looked more like a moonscape then a forest. The 30 acres were logged in 2008 because laminated wood rot had targeted the plot's Douglas fir. Clear cuts of this size are rare on JBLM.

Every spring Nancy Benson, a JBLM Public Works Forestry Branch forester, works with the planting contractor to ensure all logged land is properly reforested.

"We're reforesting this because you just don't cut trees and leave (the area bare)," Benson said. "This is forest ground we're supposed to be providing or maintaining cover for the troops and if we just left this 30-acre area and waited for these trees to naturally seed in, it wasn't going to happen. I mean it would really take a very long time - if it happened at all."

According to forest practices rules established by the Washington Department of Natural Resources, reforestation must take place within three years of a clear cut.

This year, Benson's records show more than 83,000 trees were planted on 120 acres across the installation.

More than half of JBLM's 90,000 acres are considered forestland and from that 1,500 acres of Douglas fir are harvested each year. In 2010, timber sales on JBLM exceeded $3 million. According to Benson, some of that revenue goes back into the timber program and a percentage goes to Thurston and Pierce counties for roads and schools.

Before a tree can even be planted, Benson said the process of growing them from seed is even more complex. 

During years of pine cone abundance, Benson and her crew use a cherry picker to hoist themselves up into the tops of pine and fir trees. From there they harvest cones with the intention of using the seed inside them to plant baby trees. But first they have to see if the seeds are worth collecting.

"Just because there are cones, doesn't mean there's seed in (them)," she said. "You have to sample the cones to see if there's any good seed in it and then collect it if it's worth collecting."

Benson gives the cones to David Gerdes, the owner of Silvaseed, a Roy, Wash., based commercial forester, who sends the seeds to Oregon State University for testing.

The OSU researchers perform germination tests to determine the seeds' purity.

"This information is very valuable in terms of the percentage of how much of that seed is going to actually grow into trees," Benson said, with more than 60 percent of the trees planted this year coming from seed collected on the base.

"(JBLM) is the only place in Western Washington where Ponderosa pine grows natively, so it's very interesting and important to collect seeds from the specific location out here on the (installation) in order to provide the right genetics to the ground," Gerdes said.

Silvaseed grows most of the seedlings used in Benson's reforestation efforts, and stores the seed collected from JBLM at its facility.

The commercial forester estimates that the company grows 60,000 trees per year for JBLM. The seedlings spend their first two years at the Silvaseed nursery before being planted on JBLM.

Prior to planting at the South Perry site, Benson worked with Soldiers from the 18th Engineer Company, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division to block access from the main roads to stop people from using the cleared land as an illegal dump site. After the planters finished their work, she placed brightly colored signs around the site to warn those walking through the area of the newly planted, fragile trees.

People are among the obstacles that hinder reforestation efforts, along with wildlife and the elements. 

"It's challenging. (JBLM) is not easy ground," Benson said. "It's very shallow, rocky, dry soil and it's really hard for trees to get enough moisture and then grow through a Scotch Broom that comes in and grows three feet taller than the tree does."

And if the trees don't survive?

"I'll take stocking surveys after this growing season and then three growing seasons from now to see if they've made it," Benson said. "And if they don't, then you start all over again."    

Filed under: Environment,

April 20, 2011 at 8:06am

JBLM wins BIG environmental award

The Department of Defense has announced the winners of the 2011 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards. 

            A panel of judges representing federal and state agencies, academia, and the public has selected the following installations, teams, and individuals as the winners of this year's awards:

            Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
            Sustainability - Non-Industrial Installation

            The Exchange Corporate Sustainability Program, Army and Air Force   Exchange Service, Texas
            Sustainability - Individual/Team

            U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, Germany
            Environmental Quality - Overseas Installation

            Sustainable Painting Operations for the Total Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
            Environmental Excellence in Weapons Systems Acquisition - Small Program

            88th Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Directorate, Environmental Branch, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
            Cultural Resources Management - Installation

            Cultural Resources Management Team, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
            Cultural Resources Management - Individual/Team

            Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
            Environmental Restoration - Installation

            Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
            Natural Resources Conservation - Large Installation

            Defense Supply Center, Richmond, Va.
            Environmental Quality - Industrial Installation

            Each year since 1962, the Secretary of Defense has honored individuals, teams, and installations for their outstanding achievements to conserve and sustain the natural and cultural resources entrusted to the Department of Defense.  A ceremony honoring the 2011 winners is planned for June 8, 2011, at the Pentagon.

            For more information on 2011 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards, please visit . 

Filed under: Environment,

April 19, 2011 at 6:32am

JBLM's 20/20 vision

What do you call a community of walkable neighborhoods with identifiable town centers connected by great streets on an Army installation? At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, it's called "sustainability."

And it's Joint Base Lewis-McChord's vision for the future - a vision resulting from Fort Lewis's initial sustainability workshop, held in 2002. It was there leaders made a commitment to stakeholders to help ensure a better tomorrow by changing the way they did business. The installation's commitment led to the creation of five planning goals that remain the framework for Joint Base Lewis-McChord's vision of a sustainable community.

Today, Joint Base Lewis-McChord remains true to its commitment despite the challenges of increased training needs, additional maneuver units and rapidly increasing development inside and outside of the installation fence line. 

Progress toward the five planning goals is constantly monitored, measured and communicated. Charts posted (find out where and how often updated and how else communicated) measure success in achieving environmental management system goals, and the overall vision. 

The charts show significant progress since has been made since the first workshop. Many sustainable concepts are now ingrained in Joint Base Lewis-McChord business practices, which is why the installation was selected to receive the Secretary of the Army's Environmental Awards Program non-industrial installation award for Sustainability. The award will be presented by Ms. Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, in April at the Installation Management Command Symposium in San Antonio, Texas.

At the center of Joint Base Lewis-McChord's progress is its Environmental Regulation which includes sustainability and the requirement for an Installation Sustainability Board. In addition, the sustainability program is being infused into the lines of operation of the Health and Resiliency Promotion Board, demonstrating how sustainability can directly affect Soldier well-being. 

The Installation Sustainability Program is enabled by operational environmental management system teams and staffed by strategic cross-functional teams. It is overseen by a cross-section of senior leadership. This leadership group, chaired by the Garrison Commander, forms the Installation Sustainability Board, which keeps military and civilian leadership informed of the sustainability program progress and provides a venue for active sustainability planning and decision-making. 

With this solid foundation, strongly anchored and supported from many angles, the installation was able to build a shared vision. True to the principles of sustainability, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord program adopted a more holistic design approach that moved beyond facility construction. 

The shared planning vision developed by the Sustainable Community Team called for a sustainable community of walkable neighborhoods with identifiable town centers connected by great streets to be created in support of the mission, Soldiers and Families. This breaks with the usual planning model of urban sprawl and looks instead to utilize less land and natural resources; condense the community areas so less infrastructure is needed; and encourage families to conveniently become active members of their communities. 

To help establish this vision, the team organized focus groups, and surveys that included planning and engineering firms as well as nearly 700 stakeholders from across the installation. Building on the planning vision, the final Joint Base Lewis-McChord Master Plan incorporates specific design goals, including enhanced mission capabilities. 

The plan helps create a sustainable community by focusing development along transit corridors ensuring that pedestrians and bicyclists are given the same level of attention as automobile movement and creating neighborhood centers that make Joint Base Lewis-McChord more livable. The plan is implemented through a form-based code and regulating plans for individual parcels, rather than typical land-use zoning that tends to encourage sprawl. 

The team then developed a new measuring tool, based on 39 design principles from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Master Plan, to objectively track progress toward those goals. The neighborhood design checklist assesses if the sustainability principles are being implemented. The checklist ties into the five planning goals, encourages LEED standards, and measures the progress of the installation's achievement toward the Army's Strategy for the Environment. 

The neighborhood checklist uses metrics that allow the user to assign a numeric score for the design principles under each goal and each design principle is described with its intent. 

The hub of the Master Plan is a new downtown, consisting of mixed-use facilities that contain commercial, residential, and recreational areas. Two companies are collaborating to build this cluster of buildings: The Army Air Force and Exchange Service will build the 600,000 square foot downtown core; Equity Residential is constructing the 256-unit Town Center. 

Based on assumptions provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Washington Department of Transportation, the town center alone will result in estimated transportation costs savings of $1,500 per household, as well as an 18-million-pound reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Sustainability is about benefits, both short- and long-term - from cultivating and maintaining community goodwill to identifying better logistical practices for Soldiers and Airmen to take into operational contingencies. 

Sustainable practices ranging from waste diversion to energy conservation highlight the importance of saving Army dollars. Sustainability has applications to every installation and Joint Base Lewis-McChord sends this message through its outreach programs, participation in technical conferences and willingness to serve as a research and development demonstration site for technology innovations. 

Joint Base Lewis-McChord has been leading the way in sustainability since 2002. The goals already achieved and the goals yet to be reached promise a more sustainable, livable, and mission-capable installation in the coming years. Because of leadership's commitment, the dedication of the Installation Sustainability Program Teams and the support of community members, continued innovation and progress in sustainable development, along with achieving its vision, is assured at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.     

Filed under: Environment,

January 31, 2011 at 11:45am

JBLM wins environmental awards

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -The Army announced last Wednesday the results of the annual Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards.  Joint Base Lewis-McChord was selected as the Army winner in the Sustainability, Non-industrial Installation category.

A total of five installations, one organization, two teams, and one individual will receive Army awards for their environmental and sustainability program achievements during fiscal 2010.  The Secretary of the Army's Environmental Awards represent the highest honor in the field of environmental science and sustainability conferred by the Army. These award winners will go on to compete for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards later this year.

A full list of this year's Army winners is available at .

Additionally, JBLM has won the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10 Champions of Environmental Leadership and Green Government Award in the category of waste management.

"We need to focus on managing the resources we have at our disposal," said Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations, Energy and Environment. "These winning nominations translate into Army best practices. We are managing cultural and natural resources appropriately; reducing, reusing, repurposing and recycling; and doing what it takes to make our Army sustainable."

Six sustainability teams are responsible for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Installation Sustainability Program (ISP) goals in these focused areas:  Air Quality, Water Resources, Energy, Products & Materials Management, Sustainable Community, and Sustainable Training Lands. These teams facilitate and implement projects and initiatives that move JBLM toward its installation sustainability goals.

Recent JBLM accomplishments illustrate the depth and breadth of how sustainability touches the lives of JBLM personnel and supports the military training mission:

  • Green Procurement and Green Procurement Team
  • Environmental Management System and Environmental Operating Permits
  • Waste Diversion, Recycling, Composting, Concrete/Asphalt crushing and Reuse
  • Sustainable Master Plan's holistic design approach and Town Center project
  • Sustainability Outreach and Partnerships
  • Alternate Fuels and Transportation, and Commute Trip Reduction
  • Energy Conservation via $14M energy efficiency projects
  • Habitat Restoration (forests and native prairies)
  • Stormwater Filtration System facility including a wetlands education center, increased habitat for wildlife species, and a training area for Soldiers

"The goals already achieved and the goals yet to be reached promise a more sustainable, livable, and mission capable installation in the coming years," said Paul Steucke, Chief, Environmental Division at JBLM.  "Because of the strength of leaders, the dedication of the Installation Sustainability Program Teams, and the support of our neighbors and community members, we anticipate continued innovation and progress in the sustainable development of Joint Base Lewis-McChord," he added.

November 5, 2010 at 1:19pm

Army lists impact of expansion in Washington, Colorado

DENVER -- A draft report from the Army says stationing new aviation units in Colorado and Washington state would have some significant environmental or social impacts.

The report, made public Friday, says the Army's preferred alternative is to place one combat aviation brigade each at Colorado's Fort Carson and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The report says each brigade would have up to 2,700 soldiers and up to 120 helicopters.

The report says soils at Fort Carson and its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site could be affected, but the impacts could be mitigated.

It says traffic, noise, fish and water quality could be affected at Lewis-McChord, and that Yakima Training Center, could have more wildfires and that its wildlife habitat could suffer.

Filed under: Army News, Environment,

January 13, 2010 at 10:47am

The Army's Greener Ways

Fort Lewis environmentalists travelled to Bragg this week to share how our post is dealing with environmental issues.  Click here for the story.

Filed under: Environment,

October 13, 2009 at 11:20am

Wednesday: Pump Fort Lewis Up


The Fort Lewis PAO reports;

Fort Lewis, Wash. - Fort Lewis installation and environmental officials will gather to mark the "grand opening" of the Sea-Level Aquifer Pump and Treatment system Oct. 14, at 1:30 p.m.

The Sea-Level Aquifer Pump and Treatment system (SLAPT) is the third of three systems being built to remove trichloroethylene (TCE), from groundwater beneath the northwest portion of Fort Lewis.

The system was combined with a planned expansion of the Madigan Army Medical Center cooling plant, and cost approximately $4 million.

Treated water from the system will be pumped to the cooling plant, where it will expand the plant's capacity and reduce the facility's dependence on water supplied from wells that draw from the upper (shallow) aquifer.

The additional capacity will better support the hospital's cooling
needs, and may reduce the cooling plants impact on surface water levels.

Combining the projects saved the government more than $1 million, compared to the cost of building two separate facilities.

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