What are Sentinel Landscapes?
Sentinel Landscapes are working or natural lands important to the Nation’s defense mission – places where preserving the working and rural character of key landscapes strengthens the economies of farms, ranches, and forests; conserves habitat and natural resources; and protects vital test and training missions conducted on those military installations that anchor such landscapes.
The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Defense (DoD), and the Interior (DOI) established the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding in 2013. The Partnership is a nationwide Federal, state, local and private collaboration dedicated to promoting natural resource sustainability and the preservation of agricultural and conservation land uses in areas surrounding military installations. Agencies from the three Departments coordinate the Partnership at the national level through the Sentinel Landscapes Federal Coordination Committee (FCC).
The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership seeks to recognize and incentivize landowners to continue maintaining these landscapes in ways that contribute to the nation’s defense. Where shared interests can be identified within a Landscape, the Partnership coordinates mutually beneficial programs and strategies to preserve, enhance or protect habitat and working lands near military installations in order to reduce, prevent or eliminate restrictions due to incompatible development that inhibit military testing and training.
Since the initiation of the Partnership in 2013, the FCC has designated six locations across the United States as Sentinel Landscapes. For information on the six Sentinel Landscapes, select the Explore option below or from the main menu.
Priorities, engagement, and accomplishments differ dramatically across the six Sentinel Landscapes. Despite these differences, all locations fulfill the three core requirements for a Sentinel Landscape as defined by the FCC. To become a Sentinel Landscape, the FCC requires that a proposed Landscape have:
- An anchor military installation with a military mission that benefits from compatible land uses outside of the installation’s boundaries;
- A defined landscape associated with the anchor installation where Federal, state, local, and private programs and efforts can be coordinated to support voluntary conservation and landowner involvement; and
- Articulated goals and outcomes that promote and sustain compatible land uses for military operations while providing tangible benefits to conservation and working lands within the defined Landscape.
What is the value of the Sentinel Landscape designation?
The designation of a Sentinel Landscape has a number of benefits for the anchor military installation(s) and the conservation and working lands—and local communities—that fall within the Landscape. Though no dedicated funding necessarily accompanies designation, individual partner agencies may choose to provide program-specific funding or give priority consideration in existing funding processes to landowners within a designated Landscape. Additionally, a designation will lead to improved recognition at the local, state, and national level for projects within a Landscape. Improved coordination across different resource priorities within a Sentinel Landscape also provides an opportunity for participating agencies and organizations to better target their collective resources and possibly develop new technical and financial assistance options tailored to address local needs.