News

$5 million possible for land protection in Southeast

New York, NY - January 20, 2012 - The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) may provide up to $5 million in additional FY12 funding for land transactions in the States of Georgia (Forts Benning, Stewart, and Gordon only) and Florida (Eglin Air Force Base and Camp Blanding only) that limit incompatible development in the vicinity of these military bases or relieve current or anticipated environmental restrictions on military testing, training, or operations.

This pilot program is designed to encourage conservation at greater scale, and ideally, the use of new and diverse sources of funding. Innovative partnerships that bring new ways of thinking to the REPI process are strongly encouraged; governments, corporations, private investors, and conservation groups are welcome to participate in this process. 

REPI helps fund partnerships between the Military Services and private conservation groups and state and local governments to address the need for compatible land use and conserved natural landscapes in support of military readiness. REPI has a long and successful history of partnerships in Georgia, Florida, and around the country. However, the challenges of conserving the large acreages necessary to adequately buffer military bases threatened by near‐term incompatible development remain daunting. For this reason, the REPI staff now seeks proposals that will help accelerate land conservation efforts through innovative partnerships and financing.

In particular, the REPI program seeks to harness the creativity of the private sector to access and leverage unconventional sources of funding, attract additional philanthropic sources, and take advantage of market‐based approaches to secure the most land at the least cost. Select installations in the states of Georgia and Florida have been identified as potential locations for this pilot program. This pilot program may also advance the goals of the Partnership for Southern Forestland Conservation, of which DoD is a founding member.

It is being administered by the US Endowment for Forests and Communities, with assistance from Peter Howell, Executive Vice President at the Open Space Institute.

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