As the Federal fiscal year draws to a close, we sincerely appreciate the DOD Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program Office’s continued support of our REPI Partnerships. And we are especially thankful to our Army and Air Force Partners for providing CLF an additional $4,300,000.00 this month for our REPI Partnerships at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Cavazos, Texas; Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Since our last newsletter, CLF Board members and Staff participated in DOD’s Climate Resilience Workshop in St. Louis, attended the Land Trust Alliance Rally in Portland, and met with REPI Program Directors from both Army and Air Force in San Antonio. I am pleased to share with you some highlights of our REPI program partnerships, as well as introduce the newest member of our CLF team.
Military Readiness and Conservation Award Presentation
The Military Readiness and Conservation Award was established by Compatible Lands Foundation to recognize Department of Defense Leadership, REPI partners, and willing landowners, who have made significant contributions to furthering the REPI program’s mission of protecting military readiness and resilience, while preserving working lands and open space. CLF presented this year’s award to Mr. Chris Brown, Fort Campbell’s Community Planner, during CLF’s REPI Stakeholder Appreciation Reception at DOD’s 2023 Climate Resilience Workshop. For over twenty years Chris has dedicated his service towards protecting our country’s military readiness while assisting local landowners in preserving Kentucky’s working lands and natural resources. Chris’ strategic vision and leadership have been instrumental to the success of Fort Campbell’s Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) Program, with over 50 ACUB transactions completed, over $30,000,000.00 obligated, and over 9,870 acres protected. These lands are now protecting critically important Army Aviation Airfields, training lands, and firing ranges, while sustaining local farming communities in perpetuity
Fort Campbell ACUB Program
In August 2023, CLF purchased a conservation easement on a 240-acre tract of agricultural land owned by Thomas and Karen Noel. This ACUB easement helps support the training missions at Fort Campbell by limiting future developments while protecting vital agricultural land in the Hopkinsville, KY area. CLF continues to work with Fort Campbell, willing landowners, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), to protect additional buffer lands around Fort Campbell.
CLF Staff meets with Hill Air Force Base Leaders and Local Landowners
Compatible Lands Foundation staff participated in a tour of Hill Air Force base hosted by Col. Pete Feng (far right), 75th Air Base Wing Vice Commander. The tour provided stakeholders, including: local landowners, CLF, and our USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Partners, a tangible glimpse into the positive impact of this collaborative effort, highlighting the successful preservation of farmlands critical to both military operations and local agriculture. This partnership serves as a model for addressing similar challenges faced by military installations across the country, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between government agencies,
Dyess Air Force Base
CLF Team members had the pleasure of attending the Abilene Military Affairs Committee/Dyess Air Force Base Gala on August 26, 2023. The Gala celebrated the Air Force’s 76th birthday and the 70th Anniversary of the Abilene Military Affairs Committee (MAC). The Gala was attended by over seven-hundred and fifty Air Force Senior Leaders, Airmen, State, and community Leaders. The Gala highlighted the City of Abilene’s long history of supporting Dyess AFB’s critically important military mission, and its airmen and their families. “The Military Affairs Committee has been proudly serving Dyess for over 70 years and will never stop. We protect our brothers and sisters at Dyess and care about compatible land use around Dyess. Working with CLF has been wonderful”, said Gray Bridwell, Vice President, Military Affairs Abilene Chamber of Commerce. “CLF is proud to be the REPI Partner for Dyess Air Force Base, and sincerely appreciates our strong working relationship with the Abilene Military Affairs Committee”, said Joe Knott, CLF’s Executive Director.
Installation Highlight – Fort Cavazos
Although the name has changed, CLF continues to be the REPI partner at Fort Cavazos (formerly known as Fort Hood). The success of this ACUB program has continued to grow, as has the number of willing landowners participating, since CLF became the installation’s REPI/ACUB partner in 2013. An important change also took place in May when Fort Hood was renamed Fort Cavazos in honor of General Richard Edward Cavazos. General Cavazos grew up on a cattle ranch in Kingsville, Texas, and was commissioned into the Army in 1951 after graduating from Texas Technical University. He later served in combat during the Korean War where he earned a Silver Star and a Distinguished Service Cross for actions such as evacuating wounded soldiers before having his own injuries treated. Cavazos also served in Vietnam in 1967, commanding the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, which earned him a second Distinguished Service Cross for exposing himself to enemy fire while leading attacks. After ascending to the rank of four-star general, the first Hispanic American to do so, he led the U.S. Army Forces Command from 1982 to 1984.
Combined Federal Campaign
The Combined Federal Campaign
CLF Governing Board Trustee – Highlight – Jeff Crosby, Vice Chairman
Since 2015, Jeff has been the Executive Director of the Colorado River Land Trust, leading the organization on its mission to protect land throughout the Colorado River watershed. Jeff has nearly two decades of land conservation and nonprofit management experience and has worked extensively with private landowners throughout his career. Before joining the Colorado River Land Trust, he served as the Executive Director of Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust. He also worked for Land Legacy, a statewide land conservation group in Oklahoma focused on protecting critical agricultural land and water resources. Jeff has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oklahoma. Jeff’s free time is spent outdoors with his wife and daughter or on the basketball court with his son.
CLF Newest Team Member – Riley Bennett
iley joined CLF in September 2023 as an Executive Assistant. Prior to joining CLF, she served as a case manager working with individuals struggling with severe mental health diagnoses, homelessness, and similar concerns. Riley previously served in the US Army as a Behavioral Health Technician. Riley holds Bachelor of Art degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and is currently a graduate student at West Virginia University. “I am excited to have Riley on our Team. Her social science background will be very beneficial for CLF as we continue to address climate resilience through the REPI program. “, said Joe Knott.