Air Force Hosts Public Meeting For Landscape Initiative

By: U.S. Air Force Email
By: U.S. Air Force Email

Press Release: U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force is proposing to use Blackwater River and Tate’s Hell State Forests (BRSF and THSF) for nonhazardous military training activities and to establish and use of up to 12 emitter sites in northwest Florida through the GRASI Landscape Initiative. The proposals would build additional regional capacity for nonhazardous training operations that can be conducted outside restricted areas. This would be accomplished through two partnerships:

  • Partnership with the State of Florida to utilize BRSF and THSF for nonhazardous activities as needed. Training activities proposed for the BRSF and THSF would be compatible with the state forests and include nonhazardous training activities that are already conducted on the Eglin AFB Range. No live munitions would be used and no substantive land disturbance or construction activities would occur. The proposal does not increase the number of military training operations within the GRASI region and shifts the training from the Eglin AFB Range to the state forests on an as-needed basis. Initially, training would occur a few times annually, and training activities would increase as the GRASI Landscape Initiative program becomes more established.

  • Partnership with Florida Forest Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for use of associated lands for placement of temporary and mobile training radar emitters.

By utilizing the GRASI landscape, the geographic scope of military training would more closely resemble that of actual combat scenarios. Ground units would be able to practice over a larger and more diverse area. Establishing new nonhazardous training areas and placing training emitters in remote locations would also improve training outcomes through better scheduling and reduce the competing demands on restricted areas. Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, the Air Force will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will assess the potential environmental consequences of the GRASI Landscape Initiative.

Public Scoping Meetings
Public scoping meetings are being held to inform the public about the proposed action and alternatives under consideration and to “scope” important issues to evaluate in the EIS. The meetings will begin at 6pm with an open house, with an Air Force presentation starting at 6:30pm, followed by an opportunity for public comment at 7pm. Your input is valuable and assists the Air Force in making more informed decisions.

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