Natural Resources Overview
Conservation is the wise use of land and natural
resources. In our (the Army's) situation, it is stewardship of the natural
environment of training lands. It involves balancing present training
needs and long-term training site sustainability within the requirements of
public land laws.
It is in
the best interest of the Army to conserve its training lands. The lands
the Army manages are growing effectively smaller as residential
neighbors surround formerly rural facilities and as public scrutiny
increases, as installations are closed under Base Realignment and
Closure, and the Army will not be getting new lands soon.
Conservation is driven by federal,
state and local laws and guided by Army Regulations. Although
laws may apply, the primary laws that influence conservation and drive
funding at Utah National Guard (UTNG) facilities are the:
- Sikes Act,
- Endangered Species Act,
- Noxious Weed Act,
- Clean Water Act,
- Clean Air Act, and
- National Environmental Policy Act.
The primary Army regulation that directs
conservation is Army Regulation 200-3, “Natural Resources – Land, Forest
and Wildlife Management,” soon to be superseded by the revised 200-1,
draft "Environmental Protection and Enhancement."
The Sikes Act is the key law that dictates how
conservation on a military installation will get done. It prescribes that
installations will complete an Integrated Natural Resources Management
Plan (INRMP). The plan for Camp Williams was completed in 2001; a
revision is scheduled to be complete in 2006. The Camp William’s INRMP lays the groundwork for
management by describing the natural environment and land uses of the
camp. The major issues in conservation for the camp include grazing,
wildlife, wildfire, noxious and invasive weeds, land rehabilitation,
soil resources, and wetlands.
Currently, the only other UTNG
installation that requires an INRMP is the St. George Armory due to the
presence of endangered species. Until the current cycle of drought
over the last 6-7 years, two high-profile
plant species protected under the Endangered Species Act were on or
immediately adjacent to UTNG lands. These
two species and several others have been documented on all the surrounding lands.
The topics that are addressed within the following
links are those that might either affect training or be adversely
affected by training. They each include a brief discussion of the
with any available tools that might be used to more effectively plan training
events. Most topics are discussed as they affect Camp Williams, but the
concepts can be applied to training elsewhere in the state and give
background to the perspective and requirements of other government agencies. “Endangered Species” are
discussed for training at or adjacent to the St. George Armory, but
potentially apply to all training.
Natural Resources Program Areas
Threatened or endangered plants and animals are protected by the
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C.A. §§ 1531-1543). All actions,
including military training, must be evaluated as to their potential
impact on any listed species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
is the regulating agency. The Endangered Species Act has serious
personal and agency penalties and consequences when violated. State and Federal Species Lists can be
downloaded from the "Public Documents" at the right.
No federally-listed species are known at Camp Williams and continuing surveys have not found
evidence of the four
most likely species so far. Prior to the last 6-7 years of drought,
the dwarf bearclaw poppy (Arctomecon humilis) was found on the
St. George Armory site and Local Training Area. Siler pincushion
cactus (Pediocactus sileri) was found immediately adjacent to the
armory. Fencing to allow only foot traffic and aggressive
monitoring allowed the UTNG to limit management to informal
consultation with the USFWS. "Taking" (harming) a protected
species will have serious penalties to individuals and our agency.
It is important that training taking place on non-UTNG sites be
individually evaluated for potential species and impacts.
Washington County, in particular, has a number of protected species.
Protected species might be impacted by:
- Earth-moving activities and training, or
- Off-road vehicle traffic.
Wildfires are the single most significant problem at Camp Williams, and Utah in general, for the UTNG. It is critical that trainers be
aware of the factors that might start fires as they or the UTNG may be
held responsible for suppression:
- Vehicles and other mechanical operations (i.e., grading,
excavations, etc.) in light, "flashy" fuels, like cheatgrass and
- Smoking and cigarettes,
- campfires or other open flames, or
- Live fire training - small arms and artillery.
Traditional firebreaks, greenstrips,
herbicide-created fuelbreaks, and state-of-the-art mechanically- and
goat-thinned fuelbreaks are all used to reduce fire fuels and fire
hazard. More on these fire hazard reduction projects can be found
within the 2001-2006 INRMP. The Camp maintains a core of red
card-certified wildland firefighters with slide-in pumper units and
Three fire danger signs warn trainers and other installation users of
the current fire danger. Live fire training is restricted
according to the fire danger (restrictions are found on the
Camp Williams website). Trainers can save themselves trouble
by not planning risky activities during high fire danger times
using the following chart of probable monthly fire dangers for Camp Williams:
Monthly Fire Hazard Prediction Table.
Soils are the foundation for the natural environment and a primary
focus of Camp William's Integrated Training Area Management (ITAM)
program. Disturbing the natural soil
structure causes a ripple effect on vegetation, diminishing concealment
and habitat and increasing fire-prone plants, as well as creating
gullies. Planning excavation-related training for the Designated
Digging Areas will protect training area condition. Activities
that might impact soils include:
- Excavation training,
- Construction, and
- Off-road driving and maneuvering when soils are wet.
The planning level soil survey was completed and published by the
Natural Resource Conservation Service in 2001. Soil properties had
been previously described in research by Utah State University (USU) for
the UTNG in 1999. In addition, USU has completed two
research projects on soils and potential erosion at Camp Williams - the
results demonstrate that preserving vegetation cover is critical to
preventing erosion. Disturbed soil is revegetated by native,
desirable plants as soon as possible after disturbance.
Camp Williams has approximately 7.76 acres (~0.03% of total area) of water bodies, including wetlands,
regulated under Section 404 of the Clean Water
Act. A planning level wetland delineation project was completed by
the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1999. Consultation with ERM is
required for activities that either occur within wetlands or activities
adjacent to wetlands that might alter
or affect them, including:
- mechanized training,
- placement of fill material,
- ditching activities,
- mechanized land clearing, and
- most road construction.
The following Training Areas have delineated wetlands:
|- Army Garrison (along the Jordan
||- North Tickville
|- East Beef Hollow
||- Oak Springs
|- Hidden Valley
||- Prisoner of War
|- Impact Area
||- South Garrison
|- Jordan River
||- South Mountain
|- North Boundary
||- South Tickville
Camp Williams supports a wide variety of wildlife, including owls,
hawks, eagles, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcat and mule deer. Our
faunal survey was completed by Utah State University in 1996.
Breeding bird surveys, predator scent stations, and raptor banding are
conducted annually. The camp has been a host site for a cougar
population study conducted by Utah State University on behalf of the
Utah Department of Wildlife Resources as well.
Training soldiers and installation personnel should avoid contact
with wildlife. Attacks are unlikely unless provoked.
Personnel utilizing areas with rodents should use the appropriate
protection due to the possibility of hantavirus (contact the Health &
Safety Office for more information).
The principle impact by military activity will probably be related to
disrupting nesting by the golden eagles, although historically the nests
have been successful. Potential impacts include:
- Loud or continued training in nest vicinity, or
- Foot traffic and Rattlesnakes.
Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan Update