The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Marianas environmental team at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Blaz received an award from the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association for their environmental efforts at the installation.
The team outperformed to win the 2021 Natural Resource Conservation Management, Model Program/Projects Award, which recognizes resource managers and teams who further natural resource management and conservation on military installations through developing programs or projects that can serve as models for other military bases. This year’s award was exceptionally competitive due to the high number of teams nominated across the nation.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of our environmental team,” said NAVFAC Marianas Commanding Officer Capt. Tim Liberatore. “The ability to manage a conservation program during the construction of the Marine Corps’ newest base is not an easy task. Despite the technical challenges, our team of experts continue to excel in ensuring that we meet all requirements pertaining to the conservation of Guam’s protected resources. Congratulations and a job well done to this phenomenal NAVFAC Marianas group of men and women.”
With the anticipated arrival of approximately 5,000 Marines to Guam in the coming years, the team contributes significantly to the ongoing construction of the camp including oversight of a multi-million dollar natural resources mitigation and conservation program.
“We are extremely proud of our Guam Natural Resources Team and all of their accomplishments throughout the construction of Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz,” said Col. Bradley Magrath, Commanding Officer, MCB Camp Blaz. “This award is another testament to their diligence in helping to preserve Guam's habitats for posterity. The team continues to develop solutions to complex issues while innovating procedures and investing in the local community. They tirelessly collaborate with important local partners such as the Guam Department of Agriculture and the University of Guam, sharing information and taking deliberate, measured actions throughout the base construction and activation processes. We look forward to more of their inspiring work as we continue with the development of MCB Camp Blaz.”
The team’s current focus includes quality assurance inspections within construction project areas to ensure that activities stay within planned footprints to avoid disturbance to protected plant and animal species and their habitats. The team is also in the midst of increasing nursery operations to support the phased planting activities within the 1000-acre Camp Blaz forest enhancement area. Other major lines of effort over the long term include pig and deer control within the 250-acre Haputo Ecological Reserve Area as well as the 700-acre forests surrounding the Mason Live Fire Training Range Complex.
“This recognition is well-deserved by my fellow NAVFAC Marianas natural resources managers and specialists who have put in the hard work over the past year to ensure that we support responsible construction practices and deliver critical conservation services,” said Lauren Gutierrez, NAVFAC Marianas supervisory conservation specialist supporting MCB Camp Blaz. “My teammates, many of whom are from Guam, continue to be source of pride and inspiration for me. We are also grateful to our federal agency, the government of Guam, academic institutions, contractors, and non-profit partners for their support of our environmental programs. This recognition further motivates us to achieve our vision of maintaining the readiness of Marines who will call Guam home while doing our utmost to conserve the beauty and functionality of our island’s natural landscapes.”