|Completion and publication of the Fort McCoy Integrated
Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) sets the environmental
groundwork to support the installation’s training mission from 2012
Jim Kerkman, the installation forester and main author of the INRMP,
said the plan, which recently was completed, helps ensure the
installation can maximize its potential to conduct military training by
being a wise environmental steward. At the same time, the efforts help
support recreational activities at Fort McCoy for both the installation
community and neighboring communities.
A helicopter crew from the 1st
Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment drops water during a
prescribed burn at Fort McCoy. Prescribed burns are one
management tool Fort McCoy uses to support its Integrated
Natural Resources Management Plan.
The INRMP undergoes a major revision when events warrant. Kerkman
said the reason for major revisions include significant changes to the
installation’s mission requirements, its natural resources or goals and
objectives of the existing INRMP.
This revision occurred because the installation’s military mission is
moving from a focus directed toward counter-insurgency training
operations, including the use of forward operating bases, convoy defense
and reaction training, to more large-scale maneuver elements involved in
conventional force-on-force field training exercises, to include
The last major revision was in 2005. Kerkman said the INRMP will
continue to be updated on an annual basis until the next major revision
Personnel from the many sections of the Natural Resources Branch,
including program representatives from hunting, fishing, endangered
species, invasive plants (exotic species) and cultural resources,
provide input from an environmental standpoint, as does the Directorate
of Plans, Training, Security and Mobilization from a training
standpoint. Other organizations, such as the Directorate of Emergency
Services, which provides enforcement support, also provide input for the
Impacts from these activities, including prescribed burning, the
Integrated Training Area Management program, pest control, game and fish
enforcement, etc., are addressed in the plan.
Kerkman said input from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
(WDNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is incorporated into the
plan as it is being formulated. The organizations represent the state
and federal levels of the Sikes Act, which requires the compilation of
the report. Public comment on the plan also was accepted and integrated
into the report.
“Having a partnership with the state (WDNR) and the federal government
(Fish and Wildlife) helps let them know we’re doing the right things,”
Kerkman said. “The plan helps keep track of what’s been done and lets
them know how well we are implementing our programs.”
“Any input we receive helps us improve our programs,” he added, “and
promotes high-quality training lands so high-quality training can
The INRMP’s 13 major initiatives support three objectives from the
installation’s Strategic Plan: 1) Enhancing Fort McCoy’s military value
through improved training area utilization and land-use initiatives; 2)
Acquiring, effectively using and continuously conserving resources; and
3) providing well-being programs that improve the quality of life for
Soldiers, Families and employees.
Major INRMP initiatives include maintaining existing areas of oak
savanna vegetation and increasing its acreage when compatible with
military training. Kerkman said this provides excellent support for
Other major initiatives include controlling invasive/exotic plant
species and maintaining wildlife populations within land-carrying
limits. These measures help ensure the land retains and maintains native
ecosystems to support high-quality land use, Kerkman said.
“The plan helps to explain why we do the things we do to manage the
natural resources at Fort McCoy,” Kerkman said. “It provides the
framework for everything we do.”
Kerkman said the plan is integrated with the Fort McCoy Master Plan, the
Range Complex Master Plan, the Integrated Cultural Resources Plan and
other plans that address land use at Fort McCoy.
Objectives of the program are implemented in regards to the availability
of funding and manpower and mission requirements, Kerkman said.
The plan is available at the Fort McCoy public website at
Among the other data included in the plan is Section F, which includes a
listing of all the known and documented plant and animal species that
have been identified at Fort McCoy.
As of March 2012, more than 230 bird, 53 mammal, 18 reptile, 12
amphibian and 30 fish species have been identified at the installation.