Military land managers who are seeking partnerships may not all enjoy the good
fortune of having a Drexel University nearby. Jane Mallory feels that a successful
partnership is one that brings with it additional resources expertise, information,
maybe even money to a conservation plan. Partnerships may be established
at many levels between the installation and nongovernmental organization,
or university, or other governmental agency. What's important is the collaboration
that the partnerships foster. Such a collaboration produces "a network based
on trust and teamwork," saysMallory, and it "facilitates sharing of information."
Partnerships to avoid, she said, are those in which the potential partners "have
an agenda already, or they have their minds made up [negatively] about the Department
of Defense." Sometimes those mindsets can change, however: "It's exciting
to people to find out that DoD does conservation and natural resources
It helps, say many natural resources managers, to set forth the rules of partnerships
in writing. This is often done in a "cooperative agreement" or memorandum
of understanding. A typical agreement would explain:
- why the agreement is necessary
- why the parties to the agreement have been selected (or have selected themselves)
- the purpose of the agreement
- the responsibilities of the agreeing parties
- financial understandings: Is any partner committing to the expenditure of funds?
- an understanding of how powers are delegated and administered, how the
agreement may be modified and terminated.
An example of such an agreement, between the Department of Defense and
The Nature Conservancy, may be found at https://www.denix.osd.mil.
Steve Helfert of the Fish and Wildlife Service (see chapter 9) is a huge fan of
what he and others call "conservation partnering teams," which provide a framework
for productive partnerships. A major benefit of such organizations is that
its structure practically guarantees "very strong communication lines" among its
members. "A typical partnering team," he said, "would be a group that would agree to meet face-to-face, other than by telephone or e-mail. Meeting face-to face
could mean once a year, perhaps four times a year. An example would be the
South Texas Natural Resource Partnership. They formally meet four times a year
with a facilitator."
The South Texas group, which covers an area that contains three military installations,
takes matters a step further by making sure that installation commanders
are part of their process. "They say, 'We want to add an annual executive
briefing to our three installation commanders, to brief them on results of the prior
year: what have we been doing, what have we succeeded in, what do we continue
to do, what issues there are, what solutions.'" The result, he said, is that the conservation
planners remain linked "to that component of the military we call the
'operations training and range' part of the military command the folks in uniform
who basically are training our troops. It's very important to stay engaged and
linked with that."
In addition to creating a more formal conservation planning process and keeping
commanders involved and up to date, the teams sometimes are good sources
of ideas about how to find more money for biodiversity conservation.
How inclusive should the conservation partnership teams be? Helfert thinks
that's one of the first questions the team must tackle. "I would advocate that if
indeed there is a conservation partnering team or one in the making, then those
local folks look at their local needs. They should ask, Do we need to bring in the
county, the local school district, other local governmental entities, that may want
to be part of a new 'partnership'? It may still be that you have just a core group
of the military, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the state natural resources agency.
They may be the nucleus of that group to look at any and all particular issues and
solutions. Or sometimes the solution is to bring in more local folks as stakeholders
or part of the team."
Helfert said it would not be unusual for the partnering team to seek out local
groups, saying "You've got something we want you to bring to the table." Such
an invitation would be obvious if one of the problems facing an installation is encroachment.
The partnership team needs members "who are willing to think outside
the military fence line. They think, 'Aha, the answers to these issues, including
encroachment, obviously are going to involve outside players; I need to put on
my beyond-the-fence hat and think externally. I need to invite them in. I need to
seek their wisdom, their input, if we're really going to tackle and solve this issue.'"
Who are the best potential partners (and those most likely to help financially)?
Helfert is naturally biased toward his own organization, the U.S. Fish andWildlife
Service and for good reason. USFWS devotes a great deal of its energy to holding
conferences and workshops and publishing information of value to military
land managers, and its name comes up constantly when military land managers
are asked to name their friends. But USFWS is not a source of extensive funding.
Helfert's list also includes the other large national land management agencies,
such as the U.S. Forest Service. "They can bring in additional grant funds; they
can bring in people on the ground. Say, they have a salamander that's endangered
in the Atlantic coast area, and it's on Forest Service lands, military lands, state
lands. They effectively can be a very positive partner."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can bring in funds under its Natural
Resources Conservation Service (http://www.nrcs.USDA.gov/), which formerly was
known as the Soil Conservation Service. "Those USDA funds can go into helping
conserve fish and wildlife, endangered species, species at risk, migratory birds; the list is endless," says Helfert. Some of the large-scale regulatory programs of
the Environmental Protection Agency can be helpful in planning and financing
programs that concern water quality, watersheds, and air quality all of which
are as important on military installations as anyplace else. The Fisheries branch
of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is part
of the U.S. Department of Commerce and co-guardian, with USFWS, of the Endangered
Species Act, "is another group that we deal with, more so along the
coastal areas, that can be a very good partner," said Helfert. The Bureau of Land
Management is on his list, too. As for individual states: "I wish I could tell you
all 50 states are equal in terms of funding and conservation. But some states are
ahead of others in this respect." One way to judge state involvement is in the quality
and detail of their wildlife action plans.11
Steve Helfert uses New Mexico as a good example of a state that has an effective
partnership with the military in protecting the threatened gray vireo. Three
military ranges Kirtland Air Force Base, White Sands Missile Range, and the
Army National Guard's Camel Tracks training range now have protected areas
set aside for the migratory species. "We promote this as an example of where a
state has jumped out and said, 'We have the desire to conserve this bird,'" said the
USFWS official. "`We need to seek input from the public, from the federal agencies,
from the military, from the state agencies, from private landowners, ranchers, The
Nature Conservancy, everyone out there on the landscape where this bird occurs.'"
There are good examples of effective partnerships, said Helfert, throughout
the United States, and many of them are the product of conservation partnership
teams. "The important thing is we all like to think it's led principally by the military
because we're focusing on military land. But it also could go off the lands;
it could go around the fenceline. And the leadership may change among the partners,
depending on which initiative, which solution. But it's always going back
to the tenet that it will benefit the military."
Proceed to: Chapter 11 - Building a Strong INRMP