Overseas Army Garrison Applies GIS Technology to Manage Environmental Program

BAMBERG, Germany, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) at Bamberg, Germany, doesn't have to wonder what it has in its ecological and other environmental inventories any more now that this data is exchanged using a geographic information system (GIS). The electronic mapping tool allows 31 organizations across the garrison to share information in order to integrate efforts for greater benefit to the environment.

The garrison's environmental management division was the first activity of the USAG with a fully working GIS. The GIS includes a variety of themes that include geology, drillings, water and soil tests, surface waters, landscaping features, landscape maintenance responsibilities, cultural and archaeological resources, cultural monuments, contaminated sites, recycling points, oil water separators, hazardous waste accumulation points, hazardous material storage areas, above ground storage tanks, underground storage tanks, trees, biotopes and forests.

"By optimizing resources and implementing GIS to manage the environmental program, the garrison's environmental management division and training support center now use the biological inventory to coordinate maintenance projects," shared Wolfgang Grimm, command forester, Engineer Division, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, Europe. "Using this new system, undesired vegetation is scheduled to be removed, creating larger open areas within forests for nature conservation, military training and tank driving exercises. This is just one example of how garrison organizations are utilizing GIS to coordinate integrated programs."

Keeping the high density of the population and intensive use of the surrounding farm land in mind, Army training grounds have become ecological areas of importance. These valuable biological communities are inventoried in the USAG Bamberg GIS that monitors 152 acres of unimproved Army land.

Using GIS is part of a robust environmental quality program at USAG Bamberg that includes many successes. USAG Bamberg's environmental program addresses pollution prevention opportunities, instills a powerful recycling program, promotes the protection of public health and the environment, conserves valuable material and energy, and maintains sustainable use of Army land through the conservation of existing resources. Using a GIS, the environmental management division has implemented a maintenance program for disturbance-dependent species and their habitats.

For example, energy conservation techniques taught by the Garrison public works operation and maintenance division educated the garrison population on energy savings methods resulting in a savings of 38,000 million British thermal units which totaled $450,000 in 2007. For these efforts the division received the Secretary of the Army Energy Efficiency and Energy Management Award.

Additionally, the garrison constructed a new recycling center that is open to the surrounding community and collected approximately 3,739 metric tons of waste in fiscal year 2008. The garrison's environmental program is integrated with the local city government and was instrumental in the city receiving the "Environmental City of Germany" award.

Continual improvement of these initiatives and more is tracked by USAG Bamberg using an environmental management system, part of the overall installation management system that specifically addresses the potential risks to the environment from Army activities. This system is a tool that can help ensure that Soldiers today -- and the Soldiers of the future -- have the land, water, and air resources that they need to train; a healthy environment in which to live; and the support of local communities.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for the Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Tad Davis recognized the garrison as the Army's most outstanding overseas environmental quality effort in fiscal year 2008. The Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards represent the highest honor in the field of environmental science conferred by the Army.

"The Army is committed to protecting the environment at installations here and overseas," said Davis. "In fact, as the winners of our environmental awards demonstrate, the Army is getting more and more sophisticated in its use of environmental technology and sustainable practices. We're becoming a greener shade of green."

An independent panel of judges made up of professionals from federal, state and Army organizations recommended USAG Bamberg for the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award. "USAG Bamberg has provided a sustainable environmental quality to its personnel and surrounding community through its environmental management projects," stated Amy Potter, Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards Judge.

USAG Bamberg will go on to compete for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards this year. For details about the fiscal year 2008 Secretary of the Army Environmental Awards recipients, visit the U.S. Army Environmental Command's Web site at http://aec.army.mil/usaec/newsroom/awards00.html.

This information is provided by USAEC. USAEC is the Army's point organization for supporting the implementation of environmental programs that facilitate sustainable Army training and operations while protecting the environment. We provide environmental program management and technical support products and services in support of Army training operations, acquisition and sound stewardship.

"Sustaining the Environment for a Secure Future"

For more information on the U.S. Army Environmental Command, visit http://aec.army.mil

Web site: http://aec.army.mil/

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