JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CAMP BULLIS, Texas –
The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership recently announced the designation of the area surrounding Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis as a Sentinel Landscape, a decision that could have a major impact on the viability of the installation in the years to come.
With the rapid northward expansion of the City of San Antonio recent years, the additional development has begun to affect the invaluable field training and maneuver areas vital to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and the multi-service medical training taking place there.
“Both night-time light pollution and the displacement of endangered species onto the installations nearly 28,000 acres have already contributed to the need to impose limitations or modifications to the training missions,” said Michael Waldrop, director, JBSA-Camp Bullis.
Thanks to the new designation, more resources will be available to willing landowners to help ensure military training operations can continue unimpeded, but it will be a team effort.
More than 40 organizations now comprise the Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape Partnership, a locally-led partnership that will focus on conserving natural resources, strengthening military readiness, and bolstering agricultural productivity around JBSA-Camp Bullis.
“Collaborative work will especially focus on supporting private landowners with technical and financial resources that align with their stewardship goals,” said Daniel Oppenheimer, Land Program manager for the Hill Country Alliance and CBSL coordinator. “Thoughtful land stewardship provides rippling benefits, not only for the private landowner, but for society and future generations. Land stewardship can help mitigate drought, flood, and wildfire threats while sustaining compatible land uses around Camp Bullis.”
Landowners whose property falls within the Sentinel Landscape boundary may also be eligible for priority consideration for easements, grants, and assistance programs.
The commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio, Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller, is excited for the future of JBSA-Camp Bullis under the new designation.
“I am very grateful for the efforts of our community partners who waded through the complicated process of applying for the designation,” she said. “We recognize their tireless effort to safeguard the training grounds which are so crucial to our country’s military readiness.”
Moving forward, Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape consortium will work toward its six goals, which are in line with the seven federal mission priorities for Sentinel Landscapes.
Goal 1 – Increase long-term sustainability of Camp Bullis by addressing encroachment risks
Goal 2 – Build Community Resilience to Climate Change
Goal 3 – Maintain and improve agricultural productivity
Goal 4 – Increase the viability of threatened, endangered, and at-risk species
Goal 5 -- Promote installation resiliency through water quality and quantity protection, and reduce the risk of wildfires
Goal 6 -- Support or expand access to public recreation opportunities
One of the partners involved in the CBSL is the Alamo Area Council of Governments, a long-time supporter of JBSA.
“AACOG is proud to be part of the Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape team,” said Diane Rath, AACOG’s executive director. “The opportunity to protect vital military missions, support the ranchers and farmers of the Texas Hill Country, and conserve natural resources in cooperation with so many Federal, state, and local agencies, nonprofits, and landowners is an honor. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with JBSA and the CBSL team.”
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Real Property Ron Tickle said the DOD is proud to support the growth of Sentinel Landscapes Partnerships, noting that landscape designations leverage DOD funding and programs to protect missions at key DOD installations and ranges, protecting essential testing and training operations, enhancing resilience to climate change, and preserving the nation’s natural resources and working lands.