by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico has a rich and storied history. Its relationship with the United States Army dates to the Spanish-American War with the creation of the Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry, commanded by Brigadier General James Anderson Buchanan. In the last century, the site has evolved from a training camp into an Army Reserve-funded installation that is home to 59 Department of Defense Reserve units and over 26,000 Soldiers, Civilians and Family members. To ensure its mission resilience, Fort Buchanan is planning for the future with Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning.

Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning is a long-term, holistic process that bolsters an installation’s extant planning efforts. The process results in a strategic plan that supports current and future mission requirements; safeguards human health, improves quality-of-life; and enhances the natural environment. Most installation strategic plans cover three to five years, but Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning covers 20 to 25 years and incorporates elements such as energy and water security; solid waste management; and sustainable development.

Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning was first implemented in the Army at
Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2000. Numerous installations, National Guard sites and community organizations in the United States, Europe and the Pacific have since instituted the process. Fort Hunter Liggett and Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, California were the first Army Reserve-funded installations to complete the process in the summer of 2018.

Fort Buchanan is a perfect candidate to pursue Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning because the post continually strives to improve its operations, services and resilience. “The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate is pleased to have Fort Buchanan serve as one of the pilot sites for Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning because we know that its commitment to excellence will only strengthen the program’s benefits for the entire Command,” said Heather Brown, Army Reserve
Strategic Readiness Team Lead. “Fort Buchanan’s collaboration and comprehensive evaluation of each step in the process will allow the Army Reserve to develop the best possible path forward as it relates to strategic planning for our installations, Readiness Divisions and Mission Support Command.”

The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate and Fort Buchanan have cultivated Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning efforts since June 2018. Senior leaders including Robert Maxwell, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Resource Management and Materiel for the Office of the Chief of Army Reserve, and Major
General Scottie D. Carpenter, Deputy Commanding General of the Army Reserve, have participated in planning sessions. Stakeholders throughout Puerto Rico and federal agencies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency have been involved in the process, as well.

Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will focus on Fort Buchanan’s challenges and threats, such as natural disasters and financial constraints. At the same time, the process will accentuate the installation’s strengths, such as its modernized infrastructure and bilingual workforce.

According to Colonel Guy D. Bass, Fort Buchanan Garrison Commander, secure resources and accessible assets translate into continued resilience for a post on a rather isolated island. “The unique geographical location of the installation, being ‘an island within an island,’ impacts our existing mission readiness capabilities that require resources away from the United States mainland and affects our response time to support our potential customers – both [in the] Department of Defense and [outside of the] Department of Defense – located on and off post,” explained Colonel Bass. “Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will assist Fort Buchanan by defining its needs, missions, customers and requirements that will help sustain the installation for years to come.”

Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will thoroughly address Fort Buchanan’s four long-term priorities, identified at the installation’s Long-Term Priority Setting Session in October 2018: 1) a world-class training complex, 2) high-performance sustainable facilities, 3) an organization of choice and 4) mutually beneficial strategic partnerships. A world-class training complex will meet current and future military training requirements. High-performance sustainable facilities will fulfill mission and readiness requirements with the energy, water and fuel capacity to sustain continuous operations for at least 30 days. An organization of choice will promote a healthy, resilient and ethical workforce and encourage the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of its team members. Finally, mutually beneficial strategic partnerships between Fort Buchanan, federal entities and community agencies will build on a shared culture of pride and trust to support responsible resource use throughout the region.

Fort Buchanan’s resulting Strategic Sustainability Plan will map a long-term planning horizon; engage key stakeholders; create a culture of sustainability; establish a system of governance; track short-term, measurable action plans; and identify resources. By the end of the year, the post will have a well-developed vision for its future: “a resilient installation that will synchronize all available resources such as its workforce, infrastructure, land and energy security,” said Colonel Bass.

“My hope for Fort Buchanan, as a result of participating in the Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning process, is that it has a plan that speaks specifically to its needs and challenges,” Brown added. “By identifying long-term visions and developing measurable action plans to meet its goals, every step along the way is a step towards a more resilient Fort Buchanan.”

“Ultimately, Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning will maintain Fort Buchanan’s relevance; bolster their ability to adapt and respond to challenges; and create conservation-minded Soldiers, Civilians and Families that comprise a truly resilient force,” said Paul Wirt, Chief of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate’s Sustainment and Resiliency Division. “The process will also garner support for sustainability efforts at all levels of the Army Reserve and its communities, and it will increase our success in implementing sustainable practices Command-wide.” Wirt noted that Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning supports the Army Triple Bottom Line of Mission, Environment and Community, as well as the Army Communities of Excellence program.

Fort Buchanan has some unique challenges, but the installation’s ambitious goals, innovative programs and engaged residents secure its status as a model of readiness and resilience for the Army Reserve. The best, though, is yet to come. The entire region is ready to guide the future of the installation, and they are eager to see the fruits of their labor. Integrated Strategic and Sustainability Planning ensures that Fort Buchanan will be the “Sentinel of the Caribbean” for another century of successful service.

Army Reserve Director of Public Works Lauded for Career Achievements

The United States Army Reserve is proud to announce that Greg Vallery, Director of Public Works at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, has won the 2018 Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Individual Exceptional Performance.

Jordan Gillis, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, and Brigadier General Joy L. Curriera, Director of Operations at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, presented the awards during a ceremony at the Energy Exchange in Cleveland, Ohio.

With 16 years of experience in Army energy and water programs, Vallery has served as Director of Public Works at Fort Hunter Liggett since 2014. He is the driving force behind the initiatives that have achieved a 30 percent energy use intensity reduction between fiscal years 2003 and 2015 and a 57 percent water use intensity reduction between fiscal years 2007 and 2015 for the Installation. Vallery has been instrumental in establishing Fort Hunter Liggett as a Net Zero Energy and Waste site with projects such as a multi-phase eight megawatt solar photovoltaic array and microgrid system, as well as a gasifier that will convert solid waste to energy. These efforts are improving the energy and water security at Fort Hunter Liggett, increasing the dependability of utility services, enhancing the resilience of facilities and leveraging renewable resources to meet Department of Defense sustainability goals.

Vallery has also received two awards from the Federal Energy Management Program: the FEDS Spotlight Award in 2017 and the Career Exceptional Service Award in 2018.

63rd Readiness Division Energy Manager Honored for Service

Rickey Johns, Energy Manager at the United States Army Reserve’s 63rd Readiness Division, received a special commendation from Mr. Robert Maxwell, Army Reserve Chief Financial Officer and Director of Resource Management and Materiel, for his storied career.

Johns has been an asset to the Army for most of his life. After 43 years, he retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 from the Arkansas National Guard. He served as the Arkansas National Guard’s Facility Management Branch Chief and the state Energy Manager for 23 years. Johns joined the 63rd Readiness Division’s energy team in the fall of 2012.

Maxwell lauded Johns for his innovative approach to energy and water management. Johns and his team have pursued initiatives such as a Building Energy Monitor Program; a Division-wide energy education and awareness campaign; an Enterprise Building Control System; and a phase change material pilot project. In 2016, the Division received a Secretary of the Army Award for Energy Efficiency and Energy Management, Small Group.

Maxwell said, “[Johns’] dynamic, positive and personable demeanor as the 63rd Readiness Division Energy Manager resulted in countless partnerships, having significant impacts in the areas of energy and water security.”

Johns has been an integral component of the Army Reserve, emerging as a leader in energy security across the federal government. His untiring work ethic and dedication to excellence have measurably contributed to the overall success of the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate mission, and his example of selfless service to our Nation is worthy of emulation.

Army Reserve Hosts Annual Workshop for Energy and Water Professionals

At the Huntington Convention Center on the banks of beautiful Lake Erie, professionals from across the country gathered for the United States Army Reserve Energy and Water Manager Training Workshop.

The Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate (ARIMD) presented the workshop in conjunction with the United States Department of Energy’s 2018 Energy Exchange in Cleveland, Ohio in late August.

Paul Wirt, Chief of the Facility Policy Division of ARIMD, opened the workshop with remarks about the Army Reserve’s contributions to Army-wide energy and water resilience. He honored the Army Reserve’s newly minted Certified Energy Managers, as well as two award winners. Greg Vallery, Director of Public Works at Fort Hunter Liggett, received the Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Individual Exceptional Performance. Rickey Johns, Energy Manager at the 63rd Readiness Division, received a special commendation from Robert Maxwell, Army Reserve Chief Financial Officer and Director of Resource Management and Materiel, for his dedicated service to the energy program.

Judith Hudson, Chief of the Facility Policy Division at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, then addressed the attendees. She inspired them to view their energy and water initiatives through a “lens of resilience.” “Ask yourself: what are your critical missions, and how can you support them through the activities that you are doing in energy and water?” she said. She alluded to the Army’s need to be ready in the face of natural disasters. “When the hurricane hits, how you are going to enable your Soldiers to complete their missions?” she asked, stressing the importance of assured access to energy. Hudson also urged the teams to “challenge assumptions,” so they are constantly aware of potential impediments to energy and water security and solutions to those concerns.

In the following briefings, several energy and water professionals from ARIMD and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory discussed topics such as the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program; Energy Savings Performance Contracts; the Enterprise Building Control System; and the Resource Efficiency Manager Program. Anibal Negron, Energy Manager at Fort Buchanan, offered a presentation on the state of his Installation’s energy and water projects in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the Caribbean island in the fall of 2017.
Representatives from Installations and Readiness Divisions also participated in breakout groups, where they discussed their visions for a resilient Army Reserve.

Wirt closed the workshop with some words of encouragement, reminding the teams that the Army has lauded the Army Reserve’s energy and water programs as some of the most robust in the Department of Defense, the federal government and even the nation. “Go out and continue to leverage partnerships with your colleagues in the field … with utility service providers … with the national labs … with the Corps of Engineers,” he said. “Seek opportunities to conserve … to improve … to secure our energy resources. You have the power. Let’s work toward resilience now, so we can continue to be the most outstanding energy and water program – and the most outstanding fighting force – in the Department of Defense.”


Story by Francisco Mendez and Anibal Negron, Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works

In 2011, the Department of the Army created the Net Zero Initiative and selected Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico as one of the Net Zero Water pilot Installations. The Net Zero Water Strategy balances water availability and use to preserve a sustainable water supply for years to come. Since the Army designated Fort Buchanan to pursue Net Zero Water, the Installation has implemented many projects to reduce water consumption – from high efficiency water devices to well water irrigation systems and from rainwater harvesting systems to potable water distribution system renovations. With these initiatives, Fort Buchanan is striving to reduce its water consumption by 26 percent by 2020.

To reach that goal, the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) proposed, through an Installation Technology Transfer Program (ITTP) project, the construction of the first Net Zero potable rainwater harvesting system with a solar powered pump for Fort Buchanan. The project will demonstrate the technical feasibility and cost benefit of producing potable water from harvested rainwater at an Army Reserve location.

The Fort Buchanan Directorate of Public Works and CERL selected the Installation’s Welcome Center as the project demonstration site. The Welcome Center houses many regular employees and also receives many daily customers among Soldiers, Civilians, Contractors and Families.

The annual potable water demand of the facility is estimated to be 55,000 gallons, which can be collected by harvesting rainwater from sections of its roof.

The fully automated filtration and quality sensing systems provide constant monitoring capabilities of the system’s performance for collected and produced potable water. Its solar powered pumps ensure that the production of potable rainwater does not increase the energy demands of the site. Altogether safe and self-sufficient, the system will aid Fort Buchanan in achieving the Net Zero Water goal by increasing its renewable resource harvesting.

This approach also supports the Army’s Net Zero Installations Policy, encouraging Installations to offset freshwater resources with alternative water sources to enhance water security. Similarly, the Army continues to seek opportunities to reuse or recycle water to increase the beneficial use of each gallon of water. Harvesting rainwater onsite can help to offset the supply of purchased water and increase Fort Buchanan’s water security.

“The solar powered potable rainwater harvesting system is poised to be a best management practice for mission critical buildings,” said Anibal Negron, Chief of the Environmental Division of Fort Buchanan’s Directorate of Public Works. “These systems can provide utility services for buildings during emergency situations, at times when providing potable-quality water to buildings in support of operations can be a challenge.”

Pending the approval of the Command Group, Fort Buchanan will consider similar rainwater harvesting systems for the Installation at other designated buildings on post.

Fort Buchanan actively supports crisis management agencies – such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Army Corps of Engineers – that establish their Operations Centers on the island in the wake of disasters. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands in the fall of 2017, Installation vulnerabilities were assessed. One of these vulnerabilities was the water supply. How does Fort Buchanan acquire resources, and how safe are the resources? In either case, the Net Zero potable rainwater harvesting system with its solar powered pump should prove to be a reliable and sustainable energy and water security alternative that will support our future missions and enhance our resiliency.


Story by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Sustainability Programs


Puerto Rico has many unique – and many imperiled – natural resources. In fact, one of its most distinctive trees is also one of its most endangered trees.

Named for the red hue of its heartwood, the Palo de Rosa faces many threats. But, even the strongest storms in the island’s recent history cannot destroy the efforts to conserve the plant at Fort Buchanan, an Army Reserve-funded Installation in San Juan.

Fort Buchanan is one of the few places on Puerto Rico where the Palo de Rosa thrives, and the trees at the Installation are some of the only trees on the island that are producing viable seeds.

According to Victor Rodriguez Cruz, an environmental protection specialist at Fort Buchanan, the Palo de Rosa’s decline could be attributed to many factors.

Deforestation has decimated the Palo de Rosa’s natural habitat.

In addition, the Palo de Rosa’s reproduction cycles are erratic, at best. Biological studies indicate that the tree may be a “mast flowering” species, or one that produces an abundance of fruits in some seasons but no fruits in other seasons.

Seed dispersal is also a challenge for the Palo de Rosa. The Palo de Rosa may be an “outcrossing” species, requiring the cross pollination of individual trees. Since its populations are so limited, the pollination process can be very difficult. Furthermore, the fruits of the Palo de Rosa resemble the fruits of trees pollinated and dispersed by bats. The absence of bats, or other pollinators, can contribute to the tree’s demise.

Last fall, the Palo de Rosa encountered a different enemy: hurricane season.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September of 2017. Despite the destruction, the Palo de Rosa’s future is promising at Fort Buchanan.

On May 2, Rodriguez Cruz – with personnel from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service – conducted a post hurricane assessment of the Palo de Rosa at the Installation.

“When we first climbed the hill to assess the population, we were a bit concerned because at least 40 percent of the tree cover had fallen, and we suspected that the Palo de Rosa might have also suffered the same fate,” said Rodriguez Cruz. “Fortunately, all the mature trees were still standing.”

“Despite severe defoliation [loss of leaves] and damage to the crowns of the trees, the population is recovering,” said Omar Monsegur Rivera, a biologist with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rodriguez Cruz said that, as a tropical tree, the Palo de Rosa is a resilient species. “They were already resprouting, and we could see a lot of new growth on them,” he added.

“All trees have an innate capability of resprouting, but tropical species resprout at a much faster rate because their biome receives plenty of sunlight and water, and the soils have sufficient nutrients,” he explained.

As part of its Memorandum of Understanding with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Buchanan will continue to monitor the Palo de Rosa population, especially as the saplings and seedlings respond to the newly open forest canopy.

“We have seen an abundant germination of new seedlings in the forest floor and saplings with abundant amounts of new growth,” Rodriguez Cruz said, addressing the benefits of the open forest canopy.

On June 23, Fort Buchanan welcomed the city of Ponce’s Boy Scout Troop 514, who planted 20 Palo de Rosa seedlings that were propagated at the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources’ Cambalache Nursery from seed material collected at Fort Buchanan.

The Scouts planted the seedlings near forested habitat to connect the new trees with the known population of Palo de Rosa, providing opportunities for cross pollination and long-term monitoring.

Rodriguez Cruz said that the partnerships between the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Boy Scouts benefit Fort Buchanan in many ways.

“We receive technical expertise from the agencies in order to be more effective in our conservation measures, and they also participate in the monitoring process,” he remarked.

And, as Fort Buchanan cultivates the Palo de Rosa, the Installation also cultivates a caring, conservation-minded community – particularly among the children, who feel that they are contributing to the protection of a species unique to the island.

“We are creating conscious environmental stewards at an early age, which is key to long-term commitment,” said Rodriguez Cruz.

Mother Nature Calls in Ecological Loan on Earth Overshoot Day

This year, Earth Overshoot Day is Wednesday, August 1. Earth Overshoot Day is the date when humans have used more natural resources than our planet can renew in one year through activities such as overfishing our oceans, overharvesting our forests and emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than our ecosystems can absorb.

By the end of 2018, humans will use 1.7 Earths, and Earth Overshoot Day is earlier and earlier every year.

Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biological capacity (Earth’s supply of ecological resources that year) by humanity’s ecological footprint (humanity’s demand for natural resources that year) and then multiplying that number by 365, or the number of days in one year.

Earth Overshoot Day is an estimate, not an exact date. Humans cannot determine with 100 percent accuracy the day we will bust our ecological budget. However, every scientific model used to account for nature’s supply and humanity’s demand shows a consistent trend: we are well over our resource budget. Our debt is compounding, and the interest is devastating.

Concerns such as erosion and pollution and events such as food shortages and droughts can have many unfortunate effects on our planet and its residents. They can harm our health, degrade our infrastructure and create civil unrest – to name only a few of their worldwide impacts.

The United States Army Reserve has a global presence, and we rely on natural resources such as energy, water and land to be ready and resilient. So, any threats to our natural resources are threats to our mission.

To protect our critical assets and “Move the Date” of Earth Overshoot Day, the Army Reserve implements numerous sustainability initiatives.

The Army Reserve promotes energy conservation, increases energy efficiency and invests in renewable energy. For instance, Fort Hunter Liggett, California generates more than 30 percent of its electricity from renewable technologies. Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico generates about 25 percent of its electricity from solar and wind power. The 63rd Readiness Division completed 21 light emitting diode (LED) projects at John Paul Gaffney Army Reserve Center in Garden Grove, California, for a projected savings of 7.5 million kilowatt hours across 3.6 million square feet of building space.

And, the Army Reserve leverages water conservation and alternative water projects to save resources. To that end, the 63rd Readiness Division has installed drought-tolerant xeriscapes to reduce irrigation at several Army Reserve Centers in California. Pilot projects at Army Reserve Centers in Grand Prairie, Texas and Savannah, Georgia harvest rainwater for vehicle wash and save an estimated 140,000 gallons and 200,000 gallons of potable water, respectively.

Here are some ways to “Move the Date” in your daily life …

Reduce your energy use. If we reduce our energy consumption by 50 percent worldwide, we can move Earth Overshoot Day by 93 days.

Set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the heating season and 78 degrees in the cooling season (where feasible in areas with high humidity) to save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.

Turn the lights off when you leave a room. Artificial lighting accounts for 44 percent of the electricity use in office buildings. And, power down and unplug electronics and appliances when you are not using them.

Replace your incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs. One compact fluorescent light (CFL) can save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide every year. LEDs reduced carbon emissions by 570 million tons worldwide in 2017. CFLs and LEDs generate as much light as incandescent bulbs, but they consume less power, produce less heat and last ten to 20 times longer than their less efficient counterparts.

Conserve fuel. If people reduce their driving activities by 50 percent worldwide (assuming that one-third of vehicle miles are replaced by public transportation and two-thirds of vehicle miles are replaced by cycling and walking), we can move Earth Overshoot Day by 12 days.

Reduce your use of hot water. Wash your clothes in cold water or warm water instead of hot water to save as many as 500 pounds of carbon dioxide every year, and wash only full loads of dishes and laundry.

Take a shower instead of a bath. A full bathtub uses about 70 gallons of water, while a five minute shower uses only ten to 25 gallons of water.

Reduce your food waste. About one-third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted. If we can reduce our food waste by 50 percent worldwide, we can move Earth Overshoot Day by 11 days.

Reduce your paper consumption. In the United States, paper products comprise nearly 25 percent of our municipal solid waste, and paper bills alone generate almost two million tons of carbon dioxide. Sign up for e-billing to save paper.

Choose local foods. In North America, fruits and vegetables travel an average of 1,500 miles before they reach our plates. By purchasing locally sourced food, you can reduce the emissions and costs associated with transportation. Local foods are fresher and thus more nutritious, too.

Article by Rosemarie Richard, Environmental Programs Coordinator
Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

For the Birds: Fort Buchanan Conducts Migratory Bird Surveys

In a Puerto Rican forest, a researcher watches as an amber-bellied bird soars on the wind, with only a gentle rustle of her delicate plumes.

“One bananaquit,” he notes.

The birds are common in the Caribbean islands, but each and every one is valuable to the scientists who are studying avian populations in critical – but often ignored – habitats.

In recent years, ecologists have conducted many studies on birds in temperate, urban environments. But, studies on birds in tropical, urban climates have been rare. Scientists in Puerto Rico have surveyed migratory birds in the island’s southern and eastern forests. Cities have been all but neglected – until now.

Fort Buchanan, a United States Army Reserve-funded Installation in the San Juan metropolitan area, is conducting migratory bird surveys.

Such surveys ensure Fort Buchanan’s compliance with federal, Department of Defense and Army regulations regarding avian conservation, and they protect the birds that provide essential ecological services to the island.

Victor Rodriguez Cruz, an Environmental Protection Specialist at Fort Buchanan, said that birds have many roles.

Birds pollinate our plants, and they scatter fruits and seeds, helping the forest regenerate.

Birds also control vermin such as mosquitoes and rodents. By regulating these nuisances, birds prevent the spread of pest-borne illnesses, and they control the populations that harm agricultural commodities.

Last, but not least, birds add cultural value to their communities. “Birding and nature photography are very popular these days,” Rodriguez Cruz noted. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation discovered that nearly 46 million people watch birds for recreation, and bird enthusiasts invest 36 billion dollars in such activities every year.

While birds benefit our environment and our economy, they face many threats at the hands of humans – especially habitat loss. Farmers in Puerto Rico leveled land for agriculture in the 19th century, and developers razed forests for construction in the 20th century. In fact, 11 percent of the island is now urban.

Fort Buchanan, however, remains a viable habitat for migratory birds. Even in the midst of Puerto Rico’s largest city, the Installation boasts 70 hectares of fragmented forests. The Directorate of Public Works actively manages these forest patches for endangered animals such as the Puerto Rican boa, and birds have reaped the advantages of these practices.

Fort Buchanan and the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Research and Development Center conducted their first migratory bird surveys at the Installation in March, April and October of 2016 to correspond with spring migration season, breeding season and fall migration season. They observed 60 avian species and 1,760 individual birds during those surveys.

The scientists noted Antillean grackles and bananaquits most commonly among native birds and white-winged parakeets and saffron finches most commonly among non-native birds. Surveyors also observed herons, pigeons, doves, woodpeckers, thrashers and rare West Indian Whistling Ducks.

Some of the documented birds are species of “regional conservation concern.” But, their relatively robust presence on Fort Buchanan is a testament to the Installation’s continuous efforts to protect their forest patches and the island’s unique natural resources. For instance, populations of the Puerto Rican flycatcher and the white-crowned pigeon have declined throughout Puerto Rico, but surveyors detected the birds relatively often on the post survey.

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017, Fort Buchanan initiated another round of migratory bird surveys to determine the impacts of the storm on their avian populations and their habitats. So far, Rodriguez Cruz is optimistic about their future. “Tropical forests are very resilient and tend to recover at a faster rate than other forests in other biomes,” he said. “The forest habitats on the Installation are already beginning to recover.”

According to Rodriguez Cruz, the birds can rely on Fort Buchanan’s ambitious conservation plans for generations to come. “[We will strive to] maintain the forest patches as intact as possible to benefit the species,” he said. “And, if projects arise that may have negative impacts to those habitats, [those projects] will be accompanied by potential mitigation measures, such as reforestation, to ensure the long term conservation of our avian species.” The Installation will also protect habitats by ensuring that no pesticides or chemicals are released into the environment.

Rodriguez Cruz said that the community on and around Fort Buchanan can contribute to the efforts to protect and conserve migratory birds, too. Individuals can support local or national bird conservation programs, reduce waste, protect forests, create landscapes around their homes and limit their use of chemicals – especially pesticides. “Most importantly, our communities should become educated about the natural resources around them and the impacts of their actions on the environment,” he said.

So, if you visit Puerto Rico and hear the distinct trill of that bananaquit, listen close. Her melody may be praise for Fort Buchanan and their efforts to protect their avian communities. A verdant oasis in the middle of a bustling city, the Installation is – and will continue to be – quite literally for the birds, and that certainly gives our feathered friends a reason to sing.

Article by Jonelle Kimbrough, Strategic Communicator
Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

Interior Lighting Campaign Honors 88th Readiness Division

The United States Department of Energy has lauded the United States Army Reserve’s 88th Readiness Division with two Interior Lighting Campaign awards.

The Interior Lighting Campaign is a recognition and guidance program that encourages participants to improve lighting systems – specifically troffer, high bay, low bay and suspended linear lighting systems and controls – in their efforts to conserve energy and bolster the energy efficiency of their facilities.

As of February 2018, Interior Lighting Campaign participants have planned or completed improvements to 1.6 million lighting systems estimated to save $28 million in electricity costs and 227 million kilowatt hours of power annually.

The Army Reserve’s four Readiness Divisions and Mission Support Command are among nearly 70 participants in the Interior Lighting Campaign, which also includes cities, universities, retail companies and health care providers.

The 88th Readiness Division was one of 13 participating agencies to receive Interior Lighting Campaign honors during this year’s award cycle.

The Colonel P. Schulstad Army Reserve Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois received an award for Highest Percentage of Annual Energy Savings for Troffer Lighting Retrofits in a Large Project. Energy efficient light emitting diodes, or LEDs, replaced T-8 fluorescent lamps in 1,225 troffers in the facility. The improvements reduced energy use by 231,000 kilowatt hours, or 72 percent, for an estimated annual cost avoidance of $16,200.

The First Lieutenant Robert L. Poxon Army Reserve Center in Southfield, Michigan received an award for Highest Percentage of Annual Energy Savings for Troffer Lighting Retrofits in a Medium Project. There, LEDs replaced fluorescent lamps in 94 troffers. The improvements reduced energy use by 15,000 kilowatt hours, or 63 percent, for an estimated annual cost avoidance of $1,800.

Contractors also installed occupancy sensors throughout both facilities. The 88th Readiness Division estimates that the sensors contribute nearly 25 percent of the energy use reductions in the Army Reserve Centers.

“We predict that [these projects] will have significant impacts on our annual energy use intensity,” said Chris Jackson, Energy Manager at the 88th Readiness Division.

As a Command, the Army Reserve reduced its energy use intensity by 17.7 percent in fiscal year 2017, compared to the fiscal year 2015 baseline.

Improvements to the lighting systems at these and other Army Reserve Centers will offer additional benefits to the 88th Readiness Division as well. LEDs have longer lives than fluorescent lamps, so they will be replaced less frequently. Thus, they will reduce maintenance demands at the facilities, and they will lessen disruptions to the structures and their occupants. They will also generate less waste. Overall, the projects will support the holistic integration of sustainability into the “battle rhythm” of the enterprise.

Energy is vital to every mission in the Army Reserve. With its efforts to improve the efficiency of its Army Reserve Centers, the 88th Readiness Division is contributing to the Command’s energy conservation goals and protecting the critical resources that ensure our readiness.

Story contributed by Anne Wagner (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and Jonelle Kimbrough (Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate)