The U.S. Army (Army) and FORA entered negotiations in Spring 2005 for an Army-funded Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement (ESCA) addressing “cleanup”/remediation of Army Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) on approximately 3,340 former Fort Ord acres.
In 2007, the Army awarded FORA $98M for MEC cleanup to address remnant hazard safety issues resulting from previous Army munitions training operations conducted at the former Fort Ord.
The 1997-adopted FORA Base Reuse Plan defines the reuse and recovery programs for Economic Development Conveyance (EDC) properties. The ESCA enabled MEC removal on EDC property not yet certified for transition from military to civilian use. The planned ESCA MEC remediation field activities are now complete and ESCA field teams have:
- Recovered over 4,900 munitions items and 50,000 pounds of munitions debris
- Sifted over 150,000 cubic yards of soil
- Removed residual Army cultural debris (115,000 pounds)
During these critical public safety actions, worker and public security was sustained and there were no injuries.In January 2017, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) - during their review of past Army cleanup work - asked the ESCA team to expand Seaside fieldwork to assure effectiveness of past munitions remediation work, which was completed in the summer of 2017. Once documentation of the ESCA field work and process is complete, the Army will issue proposed remedy plans and, ultimately, Records of Decision (ROD). Since the regulatory agencies have agreed that remediation is complete on the County North Munitions Removal Area (MRA) and Parker Flats Phase I properties, FORA has transferred these properties to the County of Monterey and Monterey Peninsula College.
Other ESCA properties remain closed as the Regulators review the field work documentation and develop safety controls, if needed. Until regulatory review, concurrence and site closure is received, the ESCA property is not open to the public. Regulatory approval does not determine end use. The underlying jurisdictions are authorized to impose or limit zoning, decide property density or make related land use decisions in compliance with the FORA Base Reuse Plan. Since 2007, the ESCA Remediation Program (ESCA RP) has worked with local jurisdictions and community groups to provide safe coordinated access through ESCA properties to the Fort Ord National Monument. The ESCA RP has also diligently conserved former Fort Ord ecological resources and has:
- Managed 15 threatened and endangered species on approximately 3,340 acres
- Restored 14 acres of Coastal Chaparral habitat
- Sprouted and planted more than 30,000 native plant seedlings
- Removed invasive weed species such as Ice Plant, French Broom and Pampas Grass
- Continually removed illegally dumped materials on ESCA properties
- Sponsored a Volunteer Trash Cleanup Day for 2 miles of former Fort Ord roads
- Created a system to report illegal trash dumping
- Removed dilapidated Army structures such as latrines, range towers and training structures
The ESCA team continues to actively monitor biological resources and track restoration activities on ESCA properties. The ESCA 2017 Annual Natural Resource Monitoring, Mitigation and Management Report was published in January 2018 and can be found in the Army Administrative Record. The ESCA RP provides environmental stewardship on a yearly basis for the ESCA properties through erosion control; managing trespassing and illegal dumping; and performing Army sensitive species monitoring and reporting.
Since 2007 ESCA RP’s robust community engagement and outreach program has been effective in communicating valuable information concerning; safe access, access restrictions, and corridors, program updates via Informal Community Workshops, FORA Board meetings, Army Community Information Workshops, ESCA website, newsletters, program brochures, Facebook, Twitter presence, and an ESCA Hotline.
In April 2018, the ESCA team hosted the first in a series of Land Use Control Training Workshops for the jurisdictions. These workshops will continue through 2018 and are designed to prepare the Jurisdictions for managing the ESCA property they will receive in 2019. In 2017, FORA and the Army negotiated an ESCA Amendment for FORA to provide Long-Term Management of ESCA property Long-Term Obligations and provide for Post-Closure MEC Find Assessments until 2028. In this capacity, FORA will manage the Jurisdictions and their Developer (including public utilities) UXO Construction Support requests and needs including UXO Awareness Training and acting as the conduit between them, the Regulatory Agencies and Army when their Developer Construction Support needs are reviewed. In Fall of 2017, the Army awarded FORA $6.8 million dollars to provide this long-term management.
For more information about the ESCA RP or MEC work, please visit the ESCA RP website at: foraescarp.com