The Department of Defense’ Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program helps counties mitigate the complications that arise from managing relationships with nearby military installations.
With roughly 500 counties serving as home to at least one military installation, the ground is fertile for intergovernmental cooperation on compatible land use, conservation, habitat and natural resource management and climate resilience. Maryland houses 11 military bases for every branch of the military but the Marine Corps and Space Force. Camp David, the United States Naval Academy, Andrews Air Force Base, Fort Meade, and NAS Patuxent River are just a few of these installations across the state. Relationships between county governments and these installations can be very complex, and the Department of Defense is seeking to provide resources to help manage those intergovernmental relations.
The Department of Defense’ Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program mitigates land, water and digital encroachment near installations and addresses natural resource and climate resilience concerns for surrounding communities through partnerships between and among local governments and federal agencies. REPI’s Sentinel Landscape Partnership was founded by the Defense, Interior and Agriculture departments to coordinate across 10 key landscapes for communities that host military installations.
“These are really opportunities for us to work more efficiently with the states in which they’re located, local communities, private landowners, conservation partners and others,” said REPI Program Director Kristen Thomasgard.
“We’re often working with hundreds of partners — dedicated agencies in different programs to help protect and ensure compatible land uses — farms forests, ranches, open space — helping to assist with natural resource management and then also helping to mitigate impacts from climate change and helping to ensure long term resilience of our communities and installations,” she said. The program currently has 118 ongoing projects in 35 states and territories, totaling 830,000 acres of land preservation.