DOD Announces 2013 REPI Buffer Program Challenge Award winners

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Defense Department officials announced June 10 the selection of two winning partnership projects, in the states of Florida and Washington as part of its "Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Challenge." The REPI Challenge will provide projects at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with $5 million total in funds to advance innovative, cost-sharing buffer partnerships.

The $5 million awarded to the two projects attracted $25.75 million in outside partner funds that together will be able to protect more than 23,500 acres of valuable habitat that buffers the two installations.

The REPI Challenge advances the mission of DOD's REPI program by encouraging larger projects that can leverage more outside funding. Since 2003, the REPI program has supported partnerships with conservation organizations and state and local governments to protect 264,000 acres of buffer lands at 66 installations in 24 states.

The 2013 winning REPI Challenge projects are:

* Lewis-McChord's partnership with the Center for Natural Lands Management, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Thurston County, the state of Washington, and private landowners to preserve and restore critical prairie habitat, which will reduce on-base training restrictions.
* Eglin Air Force Base's partnership with the state of Florida, the Trust for Public Land and a private landowner to preserve prime open space and habitat, which will protect vital flight training routes.

For more information about REPI and the REPI Challenge, please visit

(Courtesy of Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) )