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News | April 22, 2024

Reforestation Underway on NSA Washington’s East Campus

As construction continues on NSA/CSS Washington’s (NSAW) East Campus, hundreds of native trees have been planted as part of the agency’s reforestation effort.

Reforestation is the process of planting new trees in areas that have been disturbed by construction, or where there were few trees initially. The construction of East Campus required the removal of many trees that had been part of the site, in order to construct the utility infrastructure, as well as the new buildings on site.

This reforestation effort is driven by NSA’s Environmental Management System Policy, which states that the Agency is committed to the establishment and maintenance of world-class environmental, safety, and occupational health programs, and that these programs are designed to protect the environment and health of the workforce, customers, and communities.

“We believe it is important to be a good neighbor, so we worked to incorporate the requirements of the Fort Meade forest policy into our site layout and construction,” said Matthew Boren, chief of the Military Construction (MILCON) office within NSA’s Installation and Logistics (I&L) organization.

Reforestation has benefits to both the environment and to the workforce.

Environmentally, it improves and expands the natural habitat of birds and animals. A large portion of the reforestation occurred along the Midway Branch, where the reforestation trees expand the stream buffer and ensure that development does not encroach on the stream. Additionally, the trees help reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from the site, as well as improve the quality of stormwater that does leave. In turn, that protects the Little Patuxent and the Chesapeake Bay and the quality of those waters.

Reforestation replants trees in a more natural environment and in larger numbers. This is different from landscape trees, which are standalone and singular in nature and do not provide the same habitat features, or quantity of stormwater support.

To grow these reforestation areas, MILCON office partners with Occupational Health and Well-Being Services to enhance the NSAW campus, adding shade, storm water management, and improving the well-being of the workforce by creating a more relaxed atmosphere, according to Williams.

Both the reforestation areas and landscape trees require care and maintenance, from normal mulching to evaluation by an arborist. Whether it is a new tree that does not thrive or an established tree that is causing issues for the surrounding forestation, they may need to be trimmed or replaced.

I&L tries to plant a new tree somewhere close to the original spot, but in a better location, whenever one is removed.

“Our goal is to be a great place for the next generations of Agency employees,” Boren added.

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