Auburn University and the US Army have cemented a partnership by signing a historic 10-year agreement to provide natural resource management services to eight military bases in the southeastern 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 Services Agreement (IGSA) is the first of its kind in the United States to include eight military bases.
“To implement the agreement, Dr. Vini Nathan, Auburn University interim provost, approved the establishment of the Center for Natural Resource Management on Military Lands at the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the college.
Through this collaboration, the center will provide expertise and technical resources to deliver services ranging from forest management and surveys of threatened and endangered species to surface water delineation and climate change vulnerability assessments. The center will also provide technical GIS and database support tools to manage the vast natural resources of the army bases.
For the US Army, IGSA will be a regional acquisition strategy, providing natural resource services in the southeastern states that improve efficiency and outcomes while achieving compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
“The agreement will ensure that government stewardship and multiple uses of the Army’s more than 1 million acres of military land within these bases will be maintained to fulfill the Army’s mission in the future,” said William G. Kidd, Director by G4 Facilities and Logistics, US Army Installation Management Command.
“The partnership should expand to include research and student learning opportunities as the university builds its administrative infrastructure and service capacity,” said Daowei Zhang, alumni and George Peake Jr. professor and associate dean of research at the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment who coordinate services with the military.
This collaboration, while unique in its breadth, represents another mutually beneficial alliance between Auburn University and the Department of Defense to address the critical needs and problems of the military.
“The ROTC program and Military Reach project to provide quality housing for military families, and the McCrary Institute to develop innovative strategies to counter today’s cybersecurity and infrastructure threats are just a few examples of the profound impact such a partnership can have on both institutions ‘ said Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ron Burgess, executive vice president of Auburn 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 using such government partnerships to advance its teaching, research and outreach programs for the benefit of faculty, students and citizens.
“I am confident that this newly formed partnership will enhance the Auburn experience for our students, expand transformative research, provide impactful service and engage faculty from multiple colleges and beyond,” said Christopher B. Roberts, president of Auburn University .
A signing ceremony attended by leaders from Auburn University and the US Army was held September 7 at the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment on the university campus.