The NTC and Its Environment
Fort Irwin is located about 37 miles northeast of Barstow, Calif., in the Mojave High Desert. The installation consists of more than 1,200 square miles of desert lands, hills and mountains. A wide variety of wildlife and vegetation communities are supported by distinct landscape features such as washes, gullies, rock outcroppings, cliffs and talus slopes, dunes, caves, springs and seeps. The installation is also home to two federally listed endangered species, the Desert Tortoise and Lane Mountain Milkvetch.
The Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division is charged with ensuring the immediate protection and long-term sustainability of this alluring landscape. Sustainability, in simple terms, is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
This objective requires creating an enduring, mutually respectful balance between the needs of ecosystems and the economic, or “mission,” needs of the people within them. Fort Irwin uses an environmental management system to assist in meeting our environmental goals of sustainability and protection of the environment.
Our EMS works to comply with ISO 14001:2004. The Environmental Division, Directorate of Public Works, Building 602, is the central point to contact for environmental-related questions. A few of the key environmental programs you should be aware of are described below.
Fort Irwin’s Natural Resources Program manages more than 755,000 acres of the Mojave Desert. Through implementation of the Mojave Desert Ecosystem Program and collaborative participation in the multi-agency California Desert Managers Group the Natural Resources Program is able to protect and enhance natural resources on the installation using adaptive watershed, landscape and ecosystem approaches. The program, implemented through an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan, has shown exceptional leadership and innovation in protecting wildlife and conserving resources in the Mojave Desert.
Fort Irwin is proud of the rich cultural heritage found within its boundaries. Excavations and surveys have uncovered many periods of Mojave Desert history. Fort Irwin’s Cultural Resources Program is engaged in systematic
on-going archaeological surveys and inventories of cultural resources within installation boundaries. This program, which identifies, evaluates, protects and manages eligible historic properties, is leading the way in cultural resource management and has made significant contributions to our understanding of life in the Mojave Desert. As a reminder, it is against federal law and Army regulations to collect archaeological or paleontological material on federal lands. If you find something, please leave it in place and inform the proper authorities. They might even name the discovery after you!
All of Fort Irwin’s water is ground water pumped out of three water basins: Irwin, Langford and Bicycle Lake. Our water source is limited. We ask that all residents and others on Fort Irwin please conserve water and take measures to not contaminate the water or the soil on post. Water quality data is available online. Please visit our website at www.irwin.army.mil/COMMUNITY/ENVIRONMENT/Pages/WaterQualityRpt.aspx for more information about the water on Fort Irwin.
In October 1994, the National Training Center established and began operating a PM10 (Particulate Matter 10 microns in size) monitoring network. The network consisted of seven operational monitoring stations strategically placed on the boundary of the NTC. PM10 is a mixture of materials that can include smoke, soot, dust, salt, acids and metals. Particulate matter also forms when gases emitted from motor vehicles and industries undergo chemical reactions in the atmosphere.
The purpose of the PM10 monitoring network is to monitor fugitive emissions of PM10 that result from Army activity such as training maneuvers conducted on unpaved dirt roads. These measurements aid the Installation in determining if federal and state air quality standards are being met and what type of mitigation measures may need to be employed.
Fort Irwin has its own landfill, compost facility and recycling center. Managing this volume of solid waste is a labor intensive and costly proposition. Although it’s necessary for some items, land filling is by the far the least cost-effective method of disposition. When all of the various costs of operating a landfill are included the cost to dispose of one ton of trash equates to $178. Of the remaining options, recycling presents the most beneficial choice. Recycling that same ton of trash only costs $78. That is a $100 per ton savings. In addition, money is returned to the installation from the sale of the recyclable commodities. This revenue is deposited into the Qualified Recycling Program (QRP) account.
Across the installation, containers are provided for the separation of trash from mixed recyclables. Please support our recycle program by depositing your waste in the appropriate containers. More information on what materials are recyclable can be obtained by calling the installation recycling center at (760) 380-4226.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND WASTE
Fort Irwin’s hazardous materials and hazardous waste is managed through a program called the Hazardous Substance Reduction Programs. This program provides life cycle management of all hazardous substances except medical and radioactive. The program has a goal of reducing the generation of hazardous waste and maximizing the recycling or reuse of suspected waste items.
A majority of items taken to the Pollution Prevention yard, or P2 yard, for disposal gets recycled or reused. This program also provides funds to the QRP account. Additionally, this program also serves the community by providing household hazardous waste and electronic waste disposal services.
These are just a few of the installation’s many environmental programs. If you would like to volunteer, learn more, or just have questions, call us at (760) 380-5044. We’re here to help you to do your part in managing and sustaining Fort Irwin’s precious environmental resources. Remember, Fort Irwin’s environmental success depends on everyone.