Auburn University and the U.S. Army have solidified a partnership by signing an historic 10-year agreement to provide natural resource management services to eight military bases across the Southeastern region of the United States, including Redstone Arsenal and Fort Rucker in Alabama; Forts Benning, Gordon, and Stewart in Georgia; Fort Polk in Louisiana; Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Jackson in South Carolina.
The renewable Intergovernmental Service Agreement, or IGSA, is the first of its kind in the nation to include eight military bases.
“To implement the agreement, a Center for Natural Resource Management on Military Lands will be forthcoming,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the college.
Through this collaboration, the center will provide expertise and technical resources to perform services ranging from forest management and threatened and endangered species surveys, to surface water delineations and climate change vulnerability assessments. The center will also provide technical GIS and database support tools to manage the Army bases’ vast natural resources.
For the U.S. Army, the IGSA will be a regional acquisition strategy that provides natural resources services throughout the southeastern states that will improve efficiencies and deliverables while achieving compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
“The agreement will ensure the government’s management and diverse uses of the Army’s 1-plus million acres of military lands within these bases are sustained in order to accomplish the Army mission into the future,” said William G. Kidd, Director of G4 Facilities and Logistics, Installation Management Command of the U.S. Army.
“The partnership was designed to expand to include opportunities for research and student learning as the university builds its administrative infrastructure and service capacities,” said Daowei Zhang, Alumni and George Peake Jr. Professor and associate dean of research in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, who will coordinate the services with the military.
This collaboration, though unique for its breadth, represents yet another mutually beneficial alliance between Auburn University and the Department of Defense to address the military’s critical needs and issues.
“The ROTC program and the Military Reach Project to provide quality housing for military families, as well as the McCrary Institute to develop innovative strategies to defend today’s cybersecurity and infrastructure threats, are just a few examples of the profound impact such a partnership can have for both institutions,” said Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ron Burgess, Auburn’s executive vice president and a 38-year U.S. Army veteran.
As part of its land-grant mission, Auburn University’s College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment has a long history of leveraging such government partnerships to advance its teaching, research and outreach programs for the benefit of faculty, students and citizens.
“I am confident this newly established partnership will elevate the Auburn experience for our students, expand transformative research, provide impactful service and engage faculty from multiple colleges and beyond,” said Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts.
A signing ceremony attended by Auburn University and U.S. Army leadership was held on Sept. 7 at the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment on the university’s campus.
(Written by Jamie Anderson)