NEWS | Aug. 25, 2015

628th CES Natural Resource Office takes home AMC award

By Airman 1st Class Clayton Cupit 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 628th Civil Engineer Squadron received the General Thomas D. White Natural Resources Award for the large installation category, Air Mobility Command.

The award recognized the three-man team responsible for Joint Base Charleston's excellent natural resource management program.

The purpose of the General Thomas D. White award competition is to promote excellence in every aspect of Air Force environmental programs. The competition is designed to recognize the efforts of installations and individuals for environmental quality, restoration, pollution prevention, recycling and conversation of natural and cultural resources.

"We are in charge of conserving and protecting all of the natural resources on base, as well as integrating that with completion of the mission," said Terrance Larimer, 628th CES natural resources manager. "Any project out here that involves any land clearing impacts on natural resources. We review and minimize any resource impacts and make sure we are complying with all laws and regulations to facilitate getting the projects done."

The award is given every other year encompassing a two year time period.

According to Larimer, his favorite aspect of his job is being able to provide recreational opportunities to service members, their families and their friends.

"We provide many outdoor recreational activities," said Larimer. "We have an extensive hunting, fishing program and also one of the best mountain biking trail system in the low country."

More than 900 base hunting and fishing permits have been issued and visitors are welcome to apply for a permit to enjoy the program too. Additionally, there are over 24 miles of trails available to explore!

The team also operates a wild land fire protection program. According to Larimer, the team devotes significant time and resources conducting controlled burns to reduce the fuel loads in the forest.  Thus far, they have treated an astounding 1955 acres of timberland, minimizing wildlife hazard.

Aside from operating a fire protection program, the team also manages the woodlands for multiple uses.

Through timber management, 400 of 900 surveyed acres have been thinned or enhanced and  two large-scale timber harvests on 257 acres have been completed enhancing wildlife habitat and accumulating revenue for the base.

After the harvest, the team replanted longleaf seedlings throughout 235 acres of harvested land, restoring the native longleaf tree ecosystem.

Some programs require additional support. Thankfully, there are volunteers who help keep the show running.

"We have a tremendous group of volunteers that support both the hunting and fishing programs, as well as the trail program," said Larimer. "The programs couldn't function without the assistance of the volunteers. There's a passionate group of approximately 35 Active-Duty, retired military and civilian volunteers who help us accomplish the mission and this award would not be possible without their help."

The Outdoor Adventure Center on the Naval Weapons Station has trail guides and sells joint base and state hunting and fishing licenses. They are located next door to the uniform shop and across the street from The Dive. You may reach them at 843-794-2120.