National Environmental Policy Act - The set of Federal regulations passed in 1969 that serves as the basic national charter for protection of the environment; it requires that, for every action that may have an impact on the environment, at least three alternatives be considered, one of which must be "no action"
This fact sheet is part of a series of fact sheets to address community concerns and answer questions on environmental issues associated with the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR). Terms identified in bold are defined in the glossary.
habitat the place or environment where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives and grows
state-listed, species that are listed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife as being either threatened, endangered, or of special concern, and protected under the Mass. Endangered Species Act
endangered a species threatened with extinction
threatened, having an uncertain chance of survival
special-concern, any plant or animal species which has been documented as suffering a decline that can cause an adverse response
biodiversity, biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals
Points of Contact
MA National Guard Environmental and Readiness Center
MA National Guard Environmental and Readiness Center Natural Resources Dept.
Environmental Management Commission
For More Information
Some websites of interest include:
Endangered Species at Camp Edwards and the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR)
The Environment of Camp Edwards and the MMR
Camp Edwards has diverse habitats, some of which are unique to Cape Cod. Camp Edwards and the MMR contain the largest pine-barrens north of the renowned New Jersey Pine Barrens. Much of the southern portion of Camp Edwards contains grassland habitats, which are inhabited by grasshopper- and vesper sparrows and upland sandpipers, each a state-listed species.
The MMR has been used for military training purposes since 1911. The area has been used for military training maneuvers, operations, maintenance, and support. Development on the MMR has historically included barracks, parade grounds, runways, and other training facilities. Past military training has had both positive and negative impacts on what are now endangered species habitats through disturbances such as clearance of large tracts of land for training purposes. However, as military training operations have changed at Camp Edwards and the MMR, much of the land has reverted to forests and fields.
What Endangered Species Live at Camp Edwards and the MMR?
These organisms fall into four broad groups:
Protection of Endangered Species at Camp Edwards and the MMR
The Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE) also complies with all applicable State and Federal endangered species regulations. For example, rare species surveys are conducted before fieldwork is started. The results of these surveys, as well as a detailed project description, are made available to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as part of an environmental site review. For projects that occur on Massachusetts Army National Guard properties, a "Record of Environmental Consideration" is submitted to the E&RC's Natural Resources Department. For instance, AFCEE does not perform any disruptive activities in the native grassland fields at MMR between April 30 and August 15 because of potential harm to ground-nesting birds. Also, nesting surveys are done before collecting groundwater samples to avoid crushing nests.
The Coast Guard Air Station also follows similar steps on its projects. Prior to starting, Air Station Cape Cod performs what is called a "Natural Resource Determination", which assesses which natural resources, including endangered species, may be impacted, if at all. It also spells out what will be done to minimize or prevent any impacts. This determination is then included in the Environmental Assessment Check List that is done according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
As mentioned above, fire management is an on-going research area at Camp Edwards and the MMR. Wildfires are a natural and necessary part of the ecology of Cape Cod, particularly for the pine and scrub oak barrens habitats. Without fire, scrub oak barrens would grow into pitch pine-oak forest that would not support many of the rare animals currently found on MMR. Also, suppression of wildfires has resulted in a significant buildup of vegetation, or fuels, susceptible to burning. This makes the potential danger from uncontrolled wildfires even greater. Through careful planning with government and non-profit environmental agencies, prescribed fire is used as a management tool to maintain the biodiversity of Camp Edwards and the MMR, thereby protecting the treasure trove of flora, fauna, and endangered species that we all strive to protect.