DoD Biodiversity Conservation Handbook
Chapters:Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11IntroductionCase StudiesAcknowledgements
Chapter 9: Show Me the Money

Friendly Organizations

Perimeter fence at Savannah Air National Guard Base, Georgia. Some natural resources projects can be justified also on the basis of security needs. For example, clearing of undesirable vegetation along the base perimeter is often funded using security funds, rather than environmental ones, because of the importance of maintaining an open roadway along perimeter fences for security purposes. (Photo: Douglas Ripley)

As will be seen in chapter 10, successful military land managers are wizards at forging partnerships with local, regional, and national organizations both private and public. These partnerships almost always produce sources of funding – or at least in-kind assistance that reduces the base's burden for conservation financing. But the Department of Defense is a good supplier of conservation money itself. As David Beckmann pointed out, the Legacy program itself is a valued source of funding. In early 2007, DoD announced the release of more than $7 million in Legacy funding for 69 projects.

Partnerships of another kind produce savings that allow conservation managers to free up other funds for their projects. These are the product of the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU), which provide cooperative agreements with colleges and universities to conduct multidisciplinary research in partnership with federal and state agencies. Although the overall program is overseen by the Department of the Interior, one of the participating agencies is the Department of Defense.

Research on the Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) at Naval Air Station KeyWest, Florida, must surely be one of the more interesting cases of using “Other People's” money to finance research for endangered species on military lands. Mr. Hugh Hefner, of Playboy magazine fame, financed research on this endangered species provided that the university zoologist doing the research named the rabbit after him. (Photos: Douglas Ripley)

"This is a valuable partnership for DoD," says Jane Mallory, natural resources specialist in the Legacy headquarters, "because there's an agreement [for the participating universities] to hold overhead cost ‘way below what otherwise would be charged. Instead of 40 percent or so of a project's budget going to university overhead, CESU universities agree to keep overhead down to 17.5 percent. This works out great for DoD in that more of our project money actually goes to the study at hand."4

Another community resource that can help chase down funding is a "conservation partnering team," usually comprising representatives of the installation itself, the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) field office, and state fish and game field office. Steve Helfert, who is USFWS's liaison with DoD and who is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says participants in these teams frequently are able to suggest, and find, sources of additional funding for base biodiversity conservation projects.5

Helfert is a strong advocate of seeking funding outside DoD's usual channels, or even those of the military's favorite partners, and to tailor those searches to seeking grants for specific projects. "There's never enough funding from the military chain of command, or the Fish andWildlife Service, or the states or anybody," he says. "But there are grants available – again, through the Fish andWildlife Service, through [the U.S. Department of Agriculture], through other federal entities, through quasi-governmental organizations like the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Nature Conservancy sometimes will contribute funds as well as in-kind help." The innovative military land manager, he said, will keep "a shopping list of those entities, and a record of their websites, and how to contact them – and how to apply to them for grants. There are all sorts of opportunities."

All the installation natural resources managers who were interviewed on the subject of funding agreed on two basic tenets: (1) There isn't enough of it, and there's not likely to be enough of it in the future; (2) There is money out there, waiting for an imaginative and resourceful manager to pursue and obtain it.

Proceed to: Chapter 10 - Beyond the Fenceline

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Fred Powledge is a writer and editor.

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