Military Training: Implementation Strategy Needed to Increase Interagency Management for Endangered Species Affecting Training Ranges

GAO-03-976 Published: Sep 29, 2003. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2003.
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Highlights

Military lands provide habitat for more than 300 species that must be protected under the Endangered Species Act and many other species that may become endangered. In some cases, military installations provide some of the finest remaining habitat for these species. However, Department of Defense (DOD) officials stated that protection of endangered species may result in land-use restrictions that reduce the military's flexibility to use land for training. GAO was asked to examine the (1) extent to which DOD and other nearby federal land managers in the region are managing cooperatively for endangered species affecting military training ranges and (2) factors that can limit cooperative management for endangered species on military training ranges.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
To hold DOD and other federal land managers accountable for implementing regional interagency cooperative efforts for managing endangered species affecting military training ranges, Congress may wish to consider requiring the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture to jointly report each year on their efforts to manage cooperatively for endangered species affecting military training ranges and share the burden of land use restrictions.
Closed – Implemented
On the basis of a particular concern, Congress has required reports on efforts to manage endangered species affecting military training ranges. For example, the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Secretary of Defense to establish a task force--comprised of representatives from the military, state and federal wildlife agencies, and wildlife and environmental interest groups--to explore ways to resolve conflicts between military training and protection of endangered species at the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Arizona. In addition, the act required the Secretary of Interior to prepare, in consultation with the Secretaries of Agriculture and Defense and with others, a report on the water use management and conservation measures at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and Sierra Vista subwatershed.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly develop and implement an interagency strategy that includes a systematic methodology to identify opportunities for cooperative management efforts, funding sources, science and technology sources, and goals and criteria to measure success.
Closed – Implemented
To address our recommendation, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture developed an interagency action plan for endangered species management affecting DOD lands. Among other items, this action plan also includes an interagency strategy to identify opportunities for cooperative management, funding, science and technology, and goals and criteria to measure success. Designated representatives from each of the departments approved the plan in November and December of 2005.
Department of Defense To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly develop and implement an interagency strategy that includes a systematic methodology to identify opportunities for cooperative management efforts, funding sources, science and technology sources, and goals and criteria to measure success.
Closed – Implemented
To address our recommendation, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture developed an interagency action plan for endangered species management affecting DOD lands. Among other items, this action plan also includes an interagency strategy to identify opportunities for cooperative management, funding, science and technology, and goals and criteria to measure success. Designated representatives from each of the departments approved the plan in November and December of 2005.
Department of the Interior To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly develop and implement an interagency strategy that includes a systematic methodology to identify opportunities for cooperative management efforts, funding sources, science and technology sources, and goals and criteria to measure success.
Closed – Implemented
To address our recommendation, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture developed an interagency action plan for endangered species management affecting DOD lands. Among other items, this action plan also includes an interagency strategy to identify opportunities for cooperative management, funding, science and technology, and goals and criteria to measure success. Designated representatives from each of the departments approved the plan in November and December of 2005.
Department of Agriculture To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly develop a comprehensive training program for federal land managers, to include senior executives, regional, and on-site staff to identify and implement opportunities for interagency cooperation.
Closed – Implemented
To address our report recommendations, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture established a joint working group and developed an interagency action plan for endangered species management affecting DOD lands. Among other items, this action plan also includes an interagency strategy to identify opportunities for cooperative management, training, funding, science and technology, and goals and criteria to measure success. Also, DOD developed its web based Defense Environmental Network & Information eXchange (DENIX), which contains a detailed calendar that provides users information on upcoming events such as training courses, seminars, and conferences on environmental stewardship including endangered species management across DOD, Federal government, private sector, and international sites. DENIX also contains links to the Interior Department's list of natural resource management training courses and to the Agriculture Department's training programs. In addition, the USGS has created "The National Biological Information Infrastructure" on the web, which allows land managers to easily share information within and across agencies and organizations. The data repository provides information about threatened and endangered species research and monitoring efforts, as well as training conferences for land managers, researchers, and others.
Department of Defense To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly develop a comprehensive training program for federal land managers, to include senior executives, regional, and on-site staff to identify and implement opportunities for interagency cooperation.
Closed – Implemented
To address our report recommendations, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture established a joint working group and developed an interagency action plan for endangered species management affecting DOD lands. Among other items, this action plan also includes an interagency strategy to identify opportunities for cooperative management, training, funding, science and technology, and goals and criteria to measure success. Also, DOD developed its web based Defense Environmental Network & Information eXchange (DENIX), which contains a detailed calendar that provides users information on upcoming events such as training courses, seminars, and conferences on environmental stewardship including endangered species management across DOD, Federal government, private sector, and international sites. DENIX also contains links to the Interior Department's list of natural resource management training courses and to the Agriculture Department's training programs. In addition, the USGS has created "The National Biological Information Infrastructure" on the web, which allows land managers to easily share information within and across agencies and organizations. The data repository provides information about threatened and endangered species research and monitoring efforts, as well as training conferences for land managers, researchers, and others.
Department of the Interior To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly develop a comprehensive training program for federal land managers, to include senior executives, regional, and on-site staff to identify and implement opportunities for interagency cooperation.
Closed – Implemented
To address our report recommendations, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture established a joint working group and developed an interagency action plan for endangered species management affecting DOD lands. Among other items, this action plan also includes an interagency strategy to identify opportunities for cooperative management, training, funding, science and technology, and goals and criteria to measure success. Also, DOD developed its web based Defense Environmental Network & Information eXchange (DENIX), which contains a detailed calendar that provides users information on upcoming events such as training courses, seminars, and conferences on environmental stewardship including endangered species management across DOD, Federal government, private sector, and international sites. DENIX also contains links to the Interior Department's list of natural resource management training courses and to the Agriculture Department's training programs. In addition, the USGS has created "The National Biological Information Infrastructure" on the web, which allows land managers to easily share information within and across agencies and organizations. The data repository provides information about threatened and endangered species research and monitoring efforts, as well as training conferences for land managers, researchers, and others.
Department of Agriculture To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly create a centralized or easily accessible source of information on cooperative management efforts that includes elements such as lessons learned, best practices, and agency contacts for federal land managers.
Closed – Implemented
In response to this recommendation, the departments established a joint working group and created the "Threatened and Endangered Species Document and Data Repository," which allows federal land managers to easily share information within and across agencies and organizations. The data repository provides information for DOD-relevant threatened and endangered species research and monitoring efforts, as well as other research information, to researchers, land managers, policy makers, and others. The data repository also has cross references to other related databases to reduce redundancy. The department is currently creating a link to the repository from the department's centralized environmental website, DENIX, so that people will be able access the repository if they visit DENIX. The repository can be found at http://dodtes.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt.
Department of Defense To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly create a centralized or easily accessible source of information on cooperative management efforts that includes elements such as lessons learned, best practices, and agency contacts for federal land managers.
Closed – Implemented
In response to this recommendation, the departments established a joint working group and created the "Threatened and Endangered Species Document and Data Repository," which allows federal land managers to easily share information within and across agencies and organizations. The data repository provides information for DOD-relevant threatened and endangered species research and monitoring efforts, as well as other research information, to researchers, land managers, policy makers, and others. The data repository also has cross references to other related databases to reduce redundancy. The department is currently creating a link to the repository from the department's centralized environmental website, DENIX, so that people will be able access the repository if they visit DENIX. The repository can be found at http://dodtes.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt.
Department of the Interior To encourage cooperative management for endangered species affecting military training ranges, the Secretaries of Defense, the Interior, and Agriculture should jointly create a centralized or easily accessible source of information on cooperative management efforts that includes elements such as lessons learned, best practices, and agency contacts for federal land managers.
Closed – Implemented
In response to this recommendation, the departments established a joint working group and created the "Threatened and Endangered Species Document and Data Repository," which allows federal land managers to easily share information within and across agencies and organizations. The data repository provides information for DOD-relevant threatened and endangered species research and monitoring efforts, as well as other research information, to researchers, land managers, policy makers, and others. The data repository also has cross references to other related databases to reduce redundancy. The department is currently creating a link to the repository from the department's centralized environmental website, DENIX, so that people will be able access the repository if they visit DENIX. The repository can be found at http://dodtes.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt.

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