Fort Stewart

Fort Stewart Fish and Wildlife Division Chief’s Childhood Love for Animals Leads to a Career in Conservation

Larry Carlisle was destined to work with animals from an early age. When he was in third grade, he waited until he was out of his mother’s sight before heading out into the desert for his daily walks to school at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.
“She told me not to walk to school in the desert, but I did it anyway because I was so fascinated by it,” Carlisle said. “I could see road runners, Gambel’s quail and horned lizards and all kinds of cacti and hummingbirds and things like that. I was just totally, totally fascinated by it.
A move to Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta, Georgia brought Carlisle to Georgia. His love for wildlife did not stop.
“I continued to be fascinated by anything in this state like gopher tortoises, swamp pines and indigo snakes,” Carlisle said.
Carlisle’s childhood fascination led him to work in the field with the Red Cockade Woodpeckers on Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield when he joined the Branch of Public Works, Branch of Fisheries and Wildlife as a Wildlife Biologist in 1994. He rose through the ranks to Supervisor in 2010 and then Branch Manager in 2019.
As a wildlife biologist, Carlisle conducted BRF cavity tree surveys, early morning banding, night roosting, preparing tree clusters for Forestry Branch prescribed burns, and Moreover. During his nearly 30 years of service here, Carlisle has steadily grown the population of BRF to its recovery point.
“In the US Fish and Wildlife Service recovery plan for the white-faced woodpecker, Fort Stewart was supposed to reach 350 woodpecker groups before we could consider this population to have recovered,” Carlisle said. “Most other facilities and most other state-owned and privately-owned properties had also grown during that time. The peak is in much better shape today than when I started working here in 1994. When I started working here in 1994, we had 150 groups. During the last breeding season, we had 612. We are well over our recovery threshold.
The steady growth of the BRF population here made it possible to drop training restrictions associated with the species in 2012. The dropping of restrictions opened up previously closed maneuvering areas. This benefited soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division who made the facility their home, increasing training opportunities.
“When we reached that recovery threshold, we removed all reflective white bands from all woodpecker cavity trees,” Carlisle said. “We removed the yellow diamond signs indicating that the designated soldiers were near a group of red cockade woodpeckers, so they didn’t have to worry that when they were there- down in a real-life training scenario, they could just walk through the woods the way they needed to.
In addition to protecting wildlife, the Fish and Wildlife branch contributes to the readiness of the 3rd Infantry Division and other Army and sister service units by working with landowners who own adjacent properties. at installation. Partnerships are codified by the Army’s Compatible Use Stamp under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program. Land is not purchased from owners, Carlisle said. Instead, conservation easements are placed on the lands of willing neighbors who ensure that any use is consistent with Fort Stewart’s mission.
“For the most part, the easements around Fort Stewart are working land easements, so the landowners continued to use their land as they did before the easement applied to it,” Carlisle said. “Whether it’s growing Vidalia onions, planting pine trees or having a hunting club, they keep doing it. These properties remain on the tax rolls so counties don’t miss out on the revenue they expect from taxes.
A recent ACUB effort underway in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Conservation Fund, the Nature Conservancy and others is to protect the Altamaha River corridor southwest of Fort Stewart by restoring an area conservation area with little or no development in the coming years to allow aerial maneuvering between Townsend Bombing Range near Darien, Georgia – operated by Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina – and the impact zone of Fort Stewart artillery.
“You could have fast movers coming in from the ocean to drop bombs in Townsend and then use that same corridor to get to Fort Stewart without blowing the eardrums of people who might be living below the flight path,” Carlisle said. .
Another project with preparedness implications is the 2010 purchase of Elbow Swamp by the Georgia Alabama Land Trust, another Fort Stewart ACUB partner, to create a wetland mitigation bank, Carlisle said. Wetland Credits are used to offset the environmental impacts of constructing new training facilities such as shooting ranges on existing wetlands. The facility already has several wetland credits saved from past range projects not built due to a lack of funding.
Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Manuel Ramirez said such efforts demonstrate Carlisle’s commitment to conservation.
“Larry and his team are deeply ingrained with their conservation partners,” Ramirez said. “Together they are working hard to protect the lands around Fort Stewart as an extension of our premier power projection platform capability to provide our nation with trained and ready forces.”
Carlisle and his team ensure that the flora and fauna at Fort Stewart-Hunter Military Airfield operate in harmony with the installation’s primary mission of training our nation’s military. Wildlife stewardship and land conservation efforts make this possible. Ultimately, however, Carlisle stressed that while the goal is to conserve the ecosystem here, he wants the public to know they can come and see the wonders of nature here.
“They just need to get a license from iSportsman,” he said. “You buy a hunting license or a fishing license or just a recreational license to pick blueberries and bird watching if people are interested in seeing how beautiful this scenery really is. Many people are surprised that this is a military installation. They think it’s just an arid landscape until they get here and realize there are so many threatened and endangered species here, so many state listed species, an ecosystem intact threadlike grasses of longleaf pines – this is very rare these days. They can come see it for themselves.

Date taken: 11.09.2022
Date posted: 11.09.2022 13:28
Story ID: 432978
Location: FORT STEWART, Georgia, USA

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