Environmental Management Commission
The Environmental Management Commission (EMC)
ensures the permanent protection of the drinking water supply and wildlife habitat of the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve (the Reserve)
. The Reserve is 15,000 acres comprising the northern training area of Camp Edwards, the major training area for the Army National Guard Soldiers in the Northeast. The northern 15,000 acres of Joint Base Cape Cod is the largest piece of undeveloped land on Cape Cod and is home to 37 state-listed species. The Camp Edwards Training Area sits atop an aquifer that is a source of drinking water for Upper Cape Cod.
The EMC is comprised of the commissioners of the Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Its authority comes from Massachusetts Chapter 47 of the Acts of 2002
and a Memorandum of Agreement
signed in 2001.
The EMC oversees compliance with, and enforcement of, the Environmental Performance Standards
. Environmental Performance Standards are a set of standards specifically created through the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act process to protect the resources in the Reserve.
Chapter 47 of the Acts of 2002 also transferred the care, custody, and control of the northern 15,000 acres of JBCC from the special military reservation commission to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife of the Department of Fish and Game.
Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve
Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve (Camp Edwards Training Area) and the northern 15,000 acres of JBCC are public conservation land dedicated to three primary purposes:
- water supply and wildlife habitat protection,
- the development and construction of public water supply systems, and
- the use and training of the military forces of the commonwealth; provided that, such military use and training is compatible with the natural resource purposes of water supply and wildlife habitat protection.
The EMC's Role
The EMC, through the Commissioners and staff, oversees, monitors and evaluates activities in the
Reserve. The EMC ensures that all military and other activities on the Reserve are consistent with the purpose of resource protection. The EMC’s responsibility in overseeing compliance with the Environmental Performance Standards is a key aspect of their role. The EMC also coordinates with MassDEP, the Environmental Police, and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations in the Reserve. Updates on the Reserve are provided at EMC meetings and at the EMC’s Community Advisory and Science Advisory Council meetings. The advisory councils assist the EMC in their role to facilitate an open and public review of all activities on the reserve. EMC Meeting Minutes.
The Community Advisory Council (CAC)
The EMC’s Community Advisory Council assists the commission on issues related to protection of the water supply and wildlife habitat in the Reserve. The 15-member council consists of one representative from each of the surrounding towns (Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich), one resident of base housing, two representatives from the military, one representative from the Cape Cod Commission, one representative from the Upper Cape Regional Water Supply Cooperative, one representative from the Wampanoag Tribe, and five other members appointed by the governor. Meetings are held three to four times per year. CAC Meeting Minutes.
Science Advisory Council (SAC)
The EMC’s Science Advisory Council provides scientific and technical assistance to the commission as it relates to protection of natural resources of the Reserve. The Science Advisory Council, appointed by the governor, consists of scientists and engineers recognized for their expertise in the areas of public health, water protection, wildlife habitat management, and land use management. Meetings are held two to three times per year. SAC Meeting Minutes
The EMC oversees training and various monitoring activities conducted by the Massachusetts Army National Guard in the Reserve. An environmental officer is the on-base staff reporting to the EMC. The duties and responsibilities of the environmental officer are to monitor the activities being conducted on, and the uses of, the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve / Camp Edwards Training Area and the impact of such activities and uses on the water supply and wildlife habitat. The EMC has access to the training areas prior to, during, and immediately following training. The environmental officer evaluates range reports, inspection forms, logs, and other information and data regarding the ongoing activities and uses of the Reserve. The EMC evaluates whether or not a user is in compliance with the Environmental Performance Standards and provides for enforcement therein.
Monitoring and Evaluation
- The EMC determines compliance and may restrict activities in accordance with Chapter 47 of the Acts of 2002, the law relative to the environmental protection of the northern 15,000 acres of JBCC.
- The EMC performs unannounced on-range monitoring of the range users’ training to ensure the users are properly informed of range use requirements and are following prescribed procedures.
The Environmental Performance Standards
The Environmental Performance Standards are a list of requirements, or standards for performance, that guide both military and civilian users in the protection of Camp Edwards' natural and cultural resources and the groundwater beneath the Reserve. These standards apply to Massachusetts Army National Guard properties at Joint Base Cape Cod. The Environmental Performance Standards are based in large part on already existing federal, state, and Department of Defense regulations. In some cases, the protections offered by the performance standards are more stringent than those offered by other regulations.
The Environmental Performance Standards are divided into general and specific performance standards. There are 19 specific performance standards that apply to the northern training area of Camp Edwards. These specific performance standards pertain to resource management areas such as rare species and habitat management, hazardous materials, solid waste, and pest and fire management, with an emphasis on habitat and groundwater protection. The goal is to ensure the protection of the groundwater and habitat during conduct of compatible military training and civilian use activities, such as hunting.
The Annual State of the Reservation Report
The Environmental Management Commission receives a State of the Reservation Report
that provides an assessment of the results of the Massachusetts Army National Guard's environmental management programs in the Reserve as it relates to the Environmental Performance Standards. The Report also provides background information on base infrastructure and the natural and cultural resources found in the Reserve.
More information is available by contacting the EMC's environmental officer at 508-946-2871.