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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Mutual Requirements and Agreements Pertaining to the Jornada Experimental Range (Jer) and White Sands Missile Range (Wsmr) Co-Use Land Area

Location: Range Management Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
This MOA defines the responsibilities of the Supervisory Scientist, Jornada Experimental Range, and Commander, WSMR, for the cooperative use of that parcel of land that has been withdrawn from the public domain for use by both the Department of the Army (for military purposes) and the Department of Agriculture (for use as an experimental station). This parcel of land is hereinafter referred to as the Co-use Area.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
a. Approximately 80,000 acres of land, originally withdrawn from the public domain for the use of the Department of Agriculture (hereinafter referred to as the Co-use Area) was subsequently withdrawn for military purposes by Public Land Order (PLO) 833. The withdrawal of public lands contained in PLO 833, "takes precedence over but does not otherwise affect" prior withdrawals of the property for use as an agricultural experimental station. b. The JER is an Agricultural Research Service Field Station. Its mission is to develop new knowledge of ecosystem processes as a basis for management and remediation of desert rangelands. c. WSMR's mission is to provide quality test, evaluation, research, and other technical services to the Army and Department of Defense Acquisition programs. d. In the performance of its mission, WSMR has used the Co-use Area as a safety fan area for conducting its testing mission and to assess land condition through periodic ecological monitoring at specific points to provide data to understand cumulative impacts at other ecological environments within the administrative boundaries of WSMR. WSMR has no current plans to use this parcel for other purposes. However, WSMR reserves the right to change the nature of its use of the Co-use Area if necessary to meet mission requirements. Any change will be effected only after consultation with ARS and appropriate amendments to this or subsequent MOAs. e. The parties agree that the primary mission of WSMR must be the overriding consideration in planning and executing any and all programs in the Co-use Area, but that WSMR will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize interference with the JER's mission.


3.Progress Report:

This is a revision to a long-term Memorandum of Understanding established in 1999 to accommodate co-use of USDA lands by both the ARS and the Department of Defense - White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). The co-use lands, approximately 80,000 acres, were established in 1952 with expansion of WSMR physical boundaries. The revision to the prior MOU was required because of new research activities by the ARS within the co-use area involving the use of unmanned aircraft for assessing and monitoring landscapes. This research activity acquires imagery that needs to be reviewed by WSMR prior to release and use by the scientific community. This agreement specifies the process for the review and release. Department of Defense, WSRM, and the ARS unit had frequent email and telephone communication and discussions addressing monitoring activities. These co-use lands have been critical to several research components of this unit, including livestock management practices, development of land health assessment technologies, and application of UAV technology for grazing and non-grazing land monitoring. During 2013 a second field archeology school was conducted by New Mexico State University on a large site of occupation from 800 – 1200 AD. Analyses of findings from this field school are pending.


Last Modified: 12/25/2014
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