This summer, the Land Trust is teaming up with the US Army and Fort Gordon to preserve more of our region’s natural resources and help our troops train more effectively for their missions. The Army Compatible Use Buffer program (or ACUB) aims to preserve natural lands around the Fort for the community and provide a buffer between civilian life and the noisy activities of military training.
When Fort Gordon was established in 1941, the surrounding area was rural and undeveloped — a perfect place for a military training base. However as our community grew, the Fort has become increasingly surrounded by businesses and neighborhoods. This leaves less natural land for wildlife, puts pressure on our stream and river systems, and stresses the lives of those living close to the Fort. Weapons, aircraft, and vehicles used in training create noise, dust, and smoke, which are a nuisance to surrounding citizens. Further growth around the installation could limit the military’s ability to meet training and testing requirements, and could mean habitat loss for our local wildlife and especially endangered species.
The Land Trust and the Fort are working together to remedy this problem. By preserving the lands with high natural value around the more sensitive areas of the Fort, the Land Trust will be ensuring the future of our natural landscape in that area and giving our troops the breathing room they need to continue their training. The Fort, through the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program, is providing grant funding to accelerate land protection efforts, offering landowners in the buffer area cash for conservation easements. If you are or know a landowner around Fort Gordon we encourage you to contact our offices today. In addition to the tax benefits of conservation, there may be financial assistance for conserving your land thanks to this innovative partnership.
BENEFITS OF THE ACUB PROGRAM
• Landowners attain financial incentives and tax benefits while also preserving their land’s legacy for future generations.
• Fort Gordon achieves greater testing and training flexibility and reduced incompatible use in surrounding areas.
• The program helps to ensure the long-time viability of Fort Gordon, which provides many jobs and promotes the economy in the surrounding areas.
• The program supports the Land Trust’s efforts to promote open space and preserve land within the surrounding region.