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Environmental Assessment: Parachute Training at Pad5/Ellington Drop Zone Fairchild AFB, Washington

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336th TRG- Survival School has demonstrated a need for a new area to conduct parachute exercises and has proposed the new jump site to be located south of their compound facilities on Fairchild AFB. 3361 h TRG has used a site owned by Washington Department of Natural Resources W ADNR, Hayford Rd. NE, for the last 15 years. W ADNR s long term management goal for the area is contrary to supporting the 336th TRG s parachute activities. The area is converting from meadow to forest and W ADNR has expressed a desire to sell the property. Both of these goals are contrary to meeting 3361hTRG s needs of having a jump site free of obstacles and a jump site that can be maintained for years to support their mission. The Preferred Alternative is to dedicate a drop zone on Fairchild AFB. The location is as shown on the map in Figure 1. With this alternative, potential effects to natural resources have been mitigated by establishing an adaptive management program of monitoring, evaluation, and adjustment if necessary to avoid impact to several protected plant species and their habitat. Inclusion of this protection area within the Drop Zone is necessary to allow for adequate area to operate exercises safely. The targeted area for routine landings is well away from this designated protection area and it has been determined that use outside of the routine landing area would be only in the case of emergency. Several other alternatives were explored, Alternative 2 adjusts the Drop Zone boundary to exclude the plant protection area and Alternative 3, is the No Action Alternative, and Alternative 4 purchases W ADNR land. Alternative 2 is not preferred as boundary adjustment includes a higher incidence of hard obstacles such as structures, power poles and fences which present a safety hazard to the parachutists.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Environmental Health and Safety

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