For the past 20 years, Envirologic has been involved in a unique project at the Fort Custer Training Center (FCTC) located in Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties, Michigan. The FCTC was built in 1917 for military training during World War I and was named after Civil War cavalry officer General George Armstrong Custer. The facility trained or demobilized more than 100,000 troops during World War I; 300,000 troops during World War II; and 17,000 troops during the Korean War. The FCTC today operates as a year-round training facility for the Michigan National Guard, as well as other branches of the armed forces, primarily from Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.
The FCTC spans over 7,500 acres, more than 90 percent of the land existing in an undeveloped condition. The FCTC also contains a wide range of diverse habitats and is home to many threatened and endangered species. It is therefore important to balance the training activities that take place there with the management and preservation of the site's natural resources. In 1998, the FCTC retained Envirologic to assist in initiating and implementing the Land Condition Trend Analysis (LCTA) program, later re-established as the Range Training Land Assessment (RTLA) program, to monitor the condition of natural resources associated with areas used for training activities.
Envirologic has implemented the FCTC's RTLA program since it was first incorporated. From late summer to early fall, when vegetation is fully developed, an Envirologic biologist and support field staff are on site to collect a variety of ecological data. Long-term plots of land across the FCTC are surveyed to document vegetative, soil, topographical, and disturbance characteristics. Resulting data allows for the tracking of land and natural resource changes, which can be used to help in resource management decisions, such as land rehabilitation efforts, revitalization of prescribed burn areas, natural recovery of degraded lands, and control of invasive species in high-quality natural areas. The FCTC also relies on Envirologic's experienced team of scientists to develop land management recommendations and strategies.
Depending on the FCTC's yearly objectives, Envirologic completes additional projects that support land and natural resource stewardship. One such project involving invasive species management originated in response to the presence of several thorny, invasive species (including black locust and common buckthorn, among others). These problematic plants negatively affected training areas and hindered navigational ability, both important components of training exercises at the facility. Envirologic is currently conducting additional sampling and analysis to provide more information to natural resource managers and military training staff.
Over the past 20 years, Envirologic has become a trusted member of the Fort Custer Training Center's environmental management team. Throughout our long partnership, the FCTC has seen many successes, including receiving a Secretary of Defense Award for environmental stewardship. Envirologic provides annual services to the FCTC on an as-needed basis, tailoring our assistance to best fit their goals of compliance and preservation while utilizing limited federal resources. This project is just one example of a unique Ecological Service the Envirologic team provides. Find out more on our website.
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fort custer training center • fctc • environmental management • invasive species • land management • resource managment •