Wetlands and erosion studies in support of military training, Camp Shelby Training Site, Mississippi, USA
David M. Patrick, Suzanne A. Boyd, 2001. "Wetlands and erosion studies in support of military training, Camp Shelby Training Site, Mississippi, USA", The Environmental Legacy of Military Operations, Judy Ehlen, Russell S. Harmon
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Interdisciplinary geologic studies at Camp Shelby Training Site, located in southern Mississippi, have supported military training requirements as well as natural resources conservation on this 134 000-acre National Guard facility by delineating Go and No Go areas for tank maneuver corridors, and by identifying causes of erosion. No Go areas include intermittent and perennial streams, wetlands, slopes in excess of ten percent, and critical habitats. Go and No Go areas were identified and delineated in the field, with the No Go areas clearly marked on the ground by painting the trees if the corridor was wooded or with fence posts if the corridor had been cleared. When it was necessary for a maneuver corridor to cross a stream or wetland, crossing sites were identified, and permits were obtained from the Corps of Engineers. A two-category hydrogeomorphic classification of wetlands was developed that consisted of bottomland and upland wetlands. Bottomland wetlands are further classified as riparian if adjacent to stream channels, or backswamp if they occur in stream valleys distal from the channel. Upland wetlands were classified as either side slope when they occur on valley walls or upland flat if they occurred on the upper portions of slopes. The wetlands classification scheme was found to conform to the lithostratigraphy of the training site; for example, bottomland wetlands are associated with the fine-grained sediments of the Hattiesburg Formation (Miocene) whereas the upland wetlands were associated with perched water tables in the coarse-grained Upland Complex (Pliocene-Pleistocene). These relationships, in turn, contributed to the development of an updated and enhanced geologic map of the training site. The outcrop patterns of the Hattiesburg and Upland Complex were found to correlate with the locations of critical habitats, including those of the gopher tortoise, red cockaded woodpecker, and the Louisiana quillwort. Evaluations of upland and channel erosion in the impact area did not reveal adverse conditions from range firing. Localized erosion was, however, commonly associated with unsurfaced roads. Most channels appeared relatively stable; however, certain ones exhibited knickpoints that were slowly migrating upstream and are the subject of ongoing study.
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Military geology comprises research and practical efforts directed toward providing geological input for military construction, civil works projects (e.g., dams, navigable waterway maintenance), remediation of polluted military facilities, terrain analysis, sustainability of training lands, mobility prediction, and site characterization activities. Land use sustainability issues, base closures, and heightened levels of environmental awareness by the general public have introduced new challenges for using, maintaining, cleaning, and restoring lands that have served as military installations for decades. In this volume, the legacy of military operations and their impact on the terrain and geology, particularly from an environmental viewpoint, are considered by geologists of diverse lands and backgrounds. This book, a companion volume to Military Geology in War and Peace (Reviews in Engineering Geology, v. 13, 1998), emphasizes current research and applications of engineering geology principles and practice to modern day military problems, many of which are environmental in nature.