Successes


  • The Conservation Conveyance

    Problem

    In the wake of four Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds in the 1980s and 1990s, leadership in the Army and the Navy were frustrated at their seeming inability to dispose of certain properties closed by BRAC or other actions. This resulted in needless Operations & Maintenance expense to the services and the frustration of potential recipients who were willing to take the land.

    Solution

    Marstel-Day developed the “conservation conveyance” concept after identifying that these lands held significant natural resource value, had little development potential and often had clean-up issues left over from military operations. Marstel-Day identified that many of the “orphaned” BRAC properties had significant natural resource and habitat values, making them unlikely or difficult to transfer using traditional methods available to the Services. After investigating the situation, Marstel-Day formulated a potential policy that would allow for the no-cost transfer of such lands to willing non-profit entities and local park districts, if they agreed to hold the land in perpetuity for conservation use. When the Army and Navy successfully secured legislative language implementing the suggestion in the FY2003 National Defense Authorization Act, this policy became known as the “Conservation Conveyance Program.” The conservation conveyance statute, Title 10 U.S. Code § 2694a, allows DoD to convey land to a state or local agency or nonprofit conservator, with the right for the initial transferee to reconvey it to another qualified entity, subject to Department approval of the transferee and the terms of the transfer. A related statute also authorizes DoD to provide environmental cleanup funds to recipients to perform or monitor cleanup remedies, which can include funds to purchase environmental insurance to support them. Therefore, a nonprofit conservator would be eligible to take title to the property; perform the cleanup and habitat restoration work; and subsequently either hold title to the property or re-convey it to a state or local agency, or a non-profit who will hold the land permanently when this clean-up work is completed.

    Result

    In only five years, the Conservation Conveyance Program became the second largest property disposal authority used to dispose of surplus land under the DoD BRAC Program, transferring 23% of all BRAC lands. The Army has used this program to convey over 63,000 acres of land at Sierra Army Depot, California and Camp Bonneville, Washington to nonprofit conservators. Marstel-Day’s conservation conveyance work has provided a means for nonprofit conservators and public conservation agencies to work together to own and manage and conserve natural resources in creative ways that exploit their respective strengths and resources, and it has solved an important dilemma that once faced DoD and the services. When coupled with other creative tools, such as the Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement (ESCA), once intractable problems have now found themselves subject to solution – and resources, such as the endangered wandering skipper butterfly in the environs of Sierra Army Depot have benefited from remediation strategies that actually enhance and sustain habitat. These tools, which are now only available to the Department of Defense and the military services, would be very useful for all other government Departments and agencies seeking to dispose of excess property.

  • Disposal of Camp Bonneville Via Conservation Conveyance

    Problem

    Camp Bonneville, WA, was a 3,840-acre Army firing range on the BRAC 1995 closure list. Eleven years later, the old range was still on Army property books and portions were desired by the FBI to use as a firing range. Clark County, WA, was interested in the Camp for green space and parks, since the state required a percentage of acreage to be protected from development. The Army wanted to conclude the property transfer, but had been unable to reach agreement with any party that seemed interested in the acquisition of the Camp.

    Solution

    Marstel-Day joined the Bonneville Conservation, Restoration, and Renewal Team (BCRRT), which sought a conservation transfer of the property. Marstel-Day’s analysts and negotiators were able to assess the situation, develop transfer recommendations, assist BCRRT in the negotiations, and help to secure a successful transfer of the Camp to Clark County, which in turn transferred the site to the BCRRT for remediation. Marstel-Day joined the prospective acquiring team of non-profit conservation entities, a major engineering firm, a prominent munitions remediation firm, and a local civil engineering and environmental firm to get the deal done. The County selected the team through a competitive process and renewed its efforts to acquire the property for public purposes using the “conservation conveyance” property transfer mechanism previously developed by Marstel-Day. This mechanism permitted the Army to transfer the land to the non-profit acquisition team as long as it would be used for conservation and recreation in perpetuity. Marstel-Day opened lines of communication with and among local government (Clark County), state environmental regulators (Washington Department of Ecology), the United States Army, insurance providers, and the property acquisition team members. Over 18 months, Marstel-Day provided expert advice and strategic recommendations to virtually all the stakeholders, which removed roadblocks, recalibrated embedded paradigms and expectations, and generally secured a shared vision of a cost-effective, fixed-price and timely conservation conveyance for productive reuse.

    Result

    Camp Bonneville was transferred on October 3, 2006 via a conservation conveyance to Clark County with an Army Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement to cover cleanup, insurance for cost overruns, interim property management, and long-term institutional controls and monitoring. Clark County immediately conveyed the property to the BCRRT non-profit conservation team for interim ownership and environmental cleanup under a fixed-price cleanup agreement with the County. The property will be conveyed back to the County in three to four years for use as a state park and wildlife conservation area once the cleanup is deemed suitable for such uses by the Washington Department of Ecology.

  • Net Environmental Benefits Assessments (NEBA)

    Problem

    At many closed Army bases, proposed clean-up actions threatened endangered species and essential habitat upon which they relied. Determining how to do remedial actions that met human health and safety concerns while preserving significant natural resources became a significant policy driver. USEPA, sought to understand the success of its CERCLA program from a resource standpoint.

    Solution

    Marstel-Day proposed using an analytical methodology – the Net Environmental Benefit Assessment or NEBA – originally developed by US EPA and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, but which had not been utilized by the services and which had not been used by EPA for such assessments. The Army Base Realignment and Closure Office (DA BRAC) requested that Marstel-Day conduct NEBAs for Camp Bonneville, WA; Fort McClellan, AL; Fort Ord, CA; and the Savannah Army Depot, IL. The purposes of the NEBA were to (1) provide an initial framework from which DA BRAC could understand the suggested risks and the value of potential remedial alternatives, and (2) assist it with the development of a cleanup and transfer approach at the property that would provide the greatest net natural resource benefit to the public while appropriately managing potential site risks.

    USEPA requested that Marstel-Day evaluate currently available ecological and economic benefit metrics to assess their potential to assist the EPA in demonstrating the benefits of site cleanup. At Two sites we are evaluating the pre- and post-cleanup data associated with the sites to quantify the net ecosystem service benefits associated with final remedies selected for site restoration and reuse. The evaluation is intended to provide a clear comparison of each selected metric’s ability to clarify ecological and economic tradeoffs associated with alternative cleanup scenarios and to seek to maximize the strengths of available approaches into an ecosystem service accounting framework that is flexible and can be integrated into on-going USEPA processes (e.g., CERCLA).

    In the end, these analyses produce an “integrated results” profile for the studied remedial alternatives, a hypothetical example of which is below.

    Result

    Decision makers and regulators are better equipped to make remedial selections that protect both health and human safety as well as environmental resources such as wetlands and riverine ecosystems upon which many endangered or threatened species rely for survival.

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    Army BRAC NEPA

    Problem

    The Army must close 12 major Army installations by 2011 under BRAC 2005. Eight installations required the prompt preparation of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation in order to meet this schedule.

    Solution

    Based on Marstel-Day’s past performance and ability to perform the task, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tasked the firm with simultaneously preparing eight NEPA documents for these closing bases, and gave follow-on assignments based upon outstanding performance. Marstel-Day mobilized a team of more than 30 BRAC NEPA experts across the U.S. to prepare Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) or large Environmental Assessments (EA) for the following closing installations:

    C.E. Kelly, PA
    Fort Eustis, VA
    Fort Gillem, GA
    Fort McPherson, GA (EIS)
    Fort Monroe, VA
    Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, KS

    Lone Star Ammunition Plant, TX
    Red River Army Depot, TX
    Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant, CA
    Sebeille Manor/Selfridge Army Activity, MI
    Umatilla Chemical Depot, OR

    In addition, Marstel-Day was selected to prepare NEPA documentation for the disposal of excess property at Red River Army Depot, TX, and for the realignment of Fort Eustis, VA. To execute these projects, Marstel-Day assembled an interdisciplinary team of Army BRAC NEPA experts, including biologists, air quality specialists, certified planners, economists, noise specialists, water resource specialists, coastal zone specialists, hazardous waste specialists, and facility engineers. The team reviewed and analyzed thousands of reports, maps, and data sets in order to assess the potential direct and indirect effects associated with the accelerated transfer of property, as well as other alternatives (e.g., traditional disposal, caretaker conditions, no-action, and reuse scenarios). To ensure proper quality assurance/quality control of the options, the team utilized a panel of resource-area experts to review and develop resource-specific analytical methods to ensure consistency across all projects. Throughout the process, the team worked closely with the Base Transition Coordinators, Base Environmental Coordinators, LRA representatives, installation personnel, stakeholders, and all interested parties to ensure that the EAs addressed the concerns of the community and stakeholders.

    Result

    Marstel-Day delivered and continues to deliver the required NEPA documents on schedule and on budget. As a result, USACE has assigned additional EAs and EIS to Marstel-Day. Our results demonstrate our ability to simultaneously manage a large and complex program, provide our clients with high-quality work, and respond to tight timelines.

  • Encroachment Management

    Using Open Space Preservation to Prevent Base Encroachment

    Problem

    Increasing urbanization around the nation’s military bases and training ranges continues to degrade military training and operational capabilities. As urbanization continues, the effects of encroachment will only worsen unless appropriate action is taken. DoD sought new tools to help it preserve training and operational capabilities at its installations and ranges.

    Solution

    Marstel-Day analyzed the problem confronting installations and their efforts to identify, create and implement strategies to protect themselves from the effects of urbanization and other encroachment. We identified willing partners who were interested in preserving open space and natural resource habitat and would be partners in land-acquisition strategies to establish physical buffers between an affected base and its encroaching community. These buffers would also have substantial habitat value and would complement and expand the habitat values already contained within the installation. As a result of our study and recommendations, DoD recommended and the Congress enacted legislation that allows the services to share with non-profits or local governments the costs of acquiring permanent open space lands to buffer military installations. Contained in the FY 2003 National Defense Authorization Act, this is a powerful new tool to aid in the encroachment control efforts of our military services. Moreover, it is a powerful new tool for preserving agricultural, open space, forest, grasslands and other habitat from development pressures, preserving in perpetuity this land as a resource for the environment. Following the successful enactment of the legislation, Marstel-Day has played a key role, nationwide, in supporting the Marine Corps to utilize this authority to protect their ranges and installations. We have developed site-specific Encroachment Control Plans (ECPs) at numerous Marine Corps bases in the east and southwest. These ECPs analyze the encroachment threats facing the installation; discuss with community stakeholders the issues they perceive; assess the regional economic and ecological context in which the base is sited; and develop an “action plan” for protecting the base from further encroachment. A key part of each ECP is the development of an embedded Encroachment Partnering strategy (EP). In this strategy, Marstel-Day integrates the inputs from the base and from the external stakeholders and identifies priority parcels of open space for potential acquisition as open-space, habitat buffers. The synthesis process that leads to the EP not only identifies and prioritizes parcels, its builds the potential relationships and strategies among the EP partners to achieve the mutually beneficial goals of preventing further encroachment at the base and preserving important habitat and open space for posterity.

    Result

    By developing a new and innovative strategy for preventing installation and range encroachment, Marstel-Day also created a new tool for preserving increasingly threatened open space and natural resource habitat. Through execution of ECPs and EPs at multiple bases, Marstel-Day has aided the services in preserving their operational, training and testing capabilities while also preserving important habitat, species and other natural resource and ecological values. Marstel-Day continues to work at all echelons of the DoD and services as well to enhance this program at the policy level.