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Environmental Sustainability Division

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Management Framework to Minimize the Impacts of Military Operations in Arid Regions

The National Research Council advocates adaptive implementation of Total Maximum Daily Load standards as the approach to making progress toward achieving water quality standards in the face of uncertainty and constant change. In arid/semiarid regions, the potential for extreme spatial and temporal variability in hydrologic conditions during land-based training exercises can directly influence the level of associated environmental impacts from non-point source pollutants such as eroded sediment, petroleum products and heavy metals. To ensure adaptability in managing training operations while minimizing impacts on watersheds, it is necessary to identify military activities that contribute to non-point source pollution and strategically locate and schedule training activities. Decision tools and associated data are needed that provide the necessary information to articulate tradeoffs between alternative management actions and resultant impacts and/or benefits to the training range or adjacent downstream water bodies.

This research is designed to achieve improved understanding of processes contributing to non-point source pollution from military training activities in arid/semiarid regions and to develop impact assessment and decision tools for improved management. Improved management of training lands will help maintain sustainable training facilities and protect water quality and the natural resource base.

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