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Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Operating Principles’

Rebuilding the Everglades through Partnership

October 22nd, 2010

Kissimme birds fly around the Florida Everglades.

This week I’m in Florida at Phase II of the District Engineer Course. Much of the discussion centered around transparent communications and the value of partnerships with local communities, and state and federal leaders.  

One of the best examples of an open, quality partnership is here in Florida.  The Florida Everglades is one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. It is also the major fresh water source for southern Florida and key in the battle against flooding and drought. 

More than a century ago, the environmental benefits of the Everglades were mortgaged in favor of commercial and real estate development, destroying nearly half of the Everglades.  Now, the federal government, state and local authorities are joining together in the largest environmental restoration effort in history called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). 

This plan aims to enhance Everglades’ wetlands and associated lakes, rivers, and bays in the 16-county region of South Florida. CERP projects will capture and store much of the water currently lost to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that the biodiversity of the Everglades can be preserved and expanded. 

CERP can’t happen without the cooperation of a variety of agencies and governments. The Corps actively works with the South Florida Water Management District, the Department of the Interior, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the Everglades National Park Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management, just to name a few. 

Together, our partnership is working to restore the wetlands to the valuable natural landscape it once was through dozens of projects, including adding 55,000 acres of habitat to the Everglades system.  

Building a strong environment for our Nation through partnership…that’s a lesson worth learning! 

Van

Civil Works, Environment/Sustainability ,

Earth Day

April 22nd, 2008

The calendar says that today, April 22, marks the 38th celebration of Earth Day!

Most people don’t think of us this way, but the Corps is actually one of the Nation’s largest environmental agencies.  Taking care of and enhancing the environment is one of our major missions – a part of everything we do.  The same can be said for the sustainability ethic.  

Potential future engineers sport their new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers backpacks on the Capital Mall, while spending Earth Day at the National Sustainable Design Expo

Potential future engineers sport their new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers backpacks on the Capital Mall, while spending Earth Day at the National Sustainable Design Expo

The Army’s Earth Day theme is “Sustaining the Environment for a Secure Future.” That theme recognizes that sustainability is a national security imperative, a strategic framework, a combat multiplier and a driver for innovation.

It is not another “program of the month” only to be discussed during April or on Earth Day.  It’s much more than just an “environmental thing.”

It’s clear that sustainbility and security are connected — sustainability is all about ensuring that our Soldiers today have the capabilities needed to conduct their mission tomorrow. And the Corps’ missions support sustainability — we sustain our water resources, sustain our communities, sustain our Nation’s economic resources and sustain our national security.

We must continue to seek out opportunities to incorporate sustainability in everything we do and share our best practices throughout the Corps and the Army — not just on Earth Day, but every day!

Environment/Sustainability, Miscellaneous "neat stuff" , , ,

Our Native American Partners

March 10th, 2008

(Originally posted March 10, 2008)

This week, I had the opportunity to speak to the National Congress of American Indians, and it got me thinking about how wonderful it is to team with them, because we can learn so much from them about how to best care for our nation’s resources.
My speech to the National Congress of American Indians

My speech to the National Congress of American Indians

 In fact, we have a terrific Corps program that builds upon both the sustainability ethic and our Environmental Operating Principles, called the Native American Environmental/Cultural Resource Training.  This course, first developed in 2002, has four goals: (1) to develop a better understanding of indigenous cultural, spiritual and environmental beliefs; (2) to share the knowledge and experience of sustainable living; (3) to develop the principles and values necessary to evaluate federal agency actions concerning sustainability and environmental concerns; and (4) to find synergy in the sharing of ideas among federal agencies in the protection and preservation of the land and natural environment.

This course is as an excellent opportunity to learn cultural sensitivity, communication, flexibility, and team-building skills. It focuses on sustainable living.  During the weeklong immersion course, participants live with one of our three tribal partners, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, the Rose Bud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and the Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida. This training may not be what you immediately think of when you hear the word “sustainability” but it’s an excellent example of how we should embed this concept into our projects and activities just as our tribal teammates do.

More information about the course, as well as a link to a video about the course, can be found on our Tribal Nations Web site.  

Environment/Sustainability, History, Miscellaneous "neat stuff" , , , , , , ,