NEWS | Feb. 4, 2021

AACOG-led consortium seeks Sentinel Landscape status for JBSA-Camp Bullis

By Lori A. Bultman 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis sits astride the Southern Edwards Plateau on the Northwest edge of San Antonio. This gem of JBSA is vital to military training and readiness as it provides a rugged tactical training area in this Texas Hill Country landscape essential to the training of all military services’ combat medics and Air Force security forces.

In an effort to protect and sustain JBSA-Camp Bullis’ mission, the Alamo Area Council of Governments, or AACOG, is leading a consortium of 16 partner organizations seeking to have the area recognized at Federal and state levels as a Sentinel Landscape. 

Building a consortium of federal agencies, state and local governments, and non-governmental entities, and gaining Sentinel Landscape status will leverage complementary resource conservation efforts to sustain endangered species, water quality, and military training in the area, which is something Larry Dotson, AACOG Compatible Use Program manager, believes will greatly advance common land use objectives by opening the potential for additional funding sources.  

“Each of our 15 partners brings a unique perspective to the table,” Dotson said. “From the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District to the Hill Country Alliance to Texas A&M University to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, our diverse group is working together to assemble a competitive application for Federal Sentinel Landscape designation” 

Leaders at JBSA also support AACOG's effort to protect the area.  

“The lands at JBSA-Camp Bullis are an integral part of our training mission at Joint Base San Antonio,” said Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander. “Protecting the area will help maintain military readiness while also protecting the natural resources and wildlife located there.”  

Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis encompasses nearly 28,000 acres, of which approximately 22,000 acres are invaluable to field training and maneuvers for Fort Sam Houston and multi-service medical training.  

In contrast, the area is also home to several endangered species, including the golden-cheeked warbler, a small songbird that migrates thousands of miles from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico every March to breed and nest exclusively in central Texas, including on the lands of JBSA-Camp Bullis. 

Sentinel Landscape status might also mitigate the issue of increased light pollution in the area, which negatively affects military training.  

Over the last few years, as northern San Antonio has grown, the light pollution at JBSA-Camp Bullis has become a concern during military training operations, and the designation of the area as a Sentinel Landscape could help lessen that concern.  

If the area receives the Sentinel Landscape designation, an integral part of the coalition will be the participation of private landowners, who could voluntarily support the designated lands by adopting and maintaining sustainable land management practices around the installation and ranges, without giving up their development rights. Landowners whose property falls within a sentinel landscape boundary may also be eligible for priority consideration for certain programs.  

Those interested in learning more can view the interactive landowner resources tool, which provides information on the federal and state assistance programs that offer tax reductions, agricultural loans, disaster relief, educational opportunities, technical aid, and funding for conservation easements.