Camp Pendleton Takes Great Steps Towards Wildlife Conservation > US Marine Corps Command > View News

April is considered “Earth Month” all over the world. The Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton honors, protects, and preserves the Earth not only on this occasion, but every day of the year. A lot of land and resources are dedicated to preserving and caring for the wildlife on board the facility.

The main force to combat land degradation and climate issues is known as the Department of Environmental Security. This department has a very diverse staff, ranging from logistical and environmental planners to 10 biologists who manage coastal, inshore and upland species throughout the base, who also implement policies to mitigate habitat loss.

“It is the job and the responsibility, that drives the organization to help manage the natural resources owned by Camp Pendleton,” said Melissa Vogt, Conservation Law Enforcement Officer in Environmental Security. “Camp Pendleton is a biodiversity hotspot. Without Camp Pendleton, all that shoreline would have been apartments and hotels.”

“For any wildlife biologist who works with threatened or endangered species, the ultimate goal is to take the animal off the list and make sure the species is doing well.” Nate Reditzky, environmental security wildlife biologist

The installation is home to 19 federally listed species and several state threatened or endangered species. One such species is the California Lease Turn, which is currently threatened with extinction. This bird lives on the California coast and is protected by the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan.

“The Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan, a combination of military, natural resource management, and outdoor recreation priorities, is a key document outlining ways to help conserve this desert habitat,” Vogt said.
“This document is given to every commander who conducts training on or near protected land to ensure the viability of the base.”

A significant amount of Camp Pendleton’s budget is devoted to conservation due to the area of ​​land that is protected. If the installation is not properly protected, Camp Pendleton may lose the rights to continue training in certain areas.

“If an acre of land is disturbed, depending on the species, Camp Pendleton may be required to loosen or even ten times the amount of land that cannot be used for training,” Nate said. Redetzke, a wildlife biologist with the Division of Highland Management, Environmental Security. “When the Marine Corps wants or is required to set up new courses, or move a course to another area, they have to complete the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act process.”

nature protection
Photograph by Lance Corporal. Natalie Espetia

Located at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Lake O’Neill is a popular fishing and camping destination and is home to a variety of wildlife on April 7, 2022. As a result of the Pendleton Department of Environmental Security’s assumption of responsibility for protecting the environment and wildlife habitat, both the mosquito trap has been reduced. The California mouse and kangaroo are from critically endangered to endangered species. Protecting endangered habitats also allows Camp Pendleton to maintain the same training environment and good training opportunities for the operational forces of the Marine Corps.

The primary objectives of NEPA are to ensure that agencies consider every aspect of the proposed project’s environmental impact, and to inform and engage the public about potential risks and their alternatives.

Through the operations of the Environmental Security Administration, Land Conservation, Conservation, and NEPA, two species aboard Camp Pendleton have been downgraded from critically endangered to critically endangered: the California poacher and the kangaroo mouse.

“For any wildlife biologist who works with threatened or endangered species, the ultimate goal is to take the animal off the list and make sure the species is doing well,” Reditzky said. “Camp Pendleton is very special. It is the quietest area between Los Angeles and San Diego. Nowhere else will there be such a vast land as this where habitats can be restored to make them more beneficial to the local ecosystem.”

As a result of Environmental Security taking responsibility in protecting the environment, Camp Pendleton can maintain the same training environment and the same high-quality training opportunities that it has for years to come. Camp Pendleton will always take measures to ensure that it does not affect the training or lives of animals that thrive in some of their only remaining habits.

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