To ensure adaptability in managing training operations while minimizing impacts on watersheds, the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to identify activities that contribute to non-point source pollution and strategically locate and schedule operations. In addition, decision tools are needed that provide information to articulate trade-offs between alternative management actions and resultant impacts and/or benefits to training ranges or adjacent downstream water bodies.

This project was designed to achieve an improved understanding of processes contributing to non-point source pollution from DoD training activities in arid and semiarid regions and to develop impact assessment and decision tools for improved management.

Technical Approach

A set of decision tools, process models, and geographic information system (GIS) databases was assembled, linked, and integrated as an adaptive management framework to minimize constraints on training exercises while ensuring protection of watersheds. The decision tools can assist in optimizing the design and implementation of operations, management plans, and policies in the face of uncertainties. They are supported by state-of-the-art GIS and distributed hydrologic process and overland erosion/transport models linked to tailored remotely sensed and conventional databases. Military training activities that are non-point sources of pollution were identified using sequences of remotely sensed images to detect change at the pixel level, such as a loss of vegetation, and isolate probable conditions (training activities or range fire) contributing to the change. The level of impact was quantified in the form of hydrologic model input parameters, enabling the quantity and quality of non-point source runoff from alternative operations to be estimated. The practical utility of the adaptive management framework for managing training operation environmental impacts in arid and semiarid regions was demonstrated at the Yakima Training Center, Washington.


Use of this adaptive management framework will facilitate more effective, streamlined, and integrated operational and environmental planning at military bases in arid and semiarid regions. Improved management of training lands will help maintain sustainable training facilities and protect water quality and the natural resource base while avoiding violations of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and other regulations. (Project Completed - 2007)