Cooperatove Conservation Project

Land Restoration/Revegetation Fort Hood

Using Compost to Revegetate Military Base

Location: South-Central/South-West Region: Texas

Project Summary: Dairy compost was used to revegetate degraded training maneuver areas that caused soil erosion and water quality issues.
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Texas Water Resources Institute
Resource Challenge

The Department of the Army and the Department of Defense are keenly interested in integrating sound stewardship practices with the requirements of their training missions.  The Texas Water Resources Institute and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, working through the Rangeland Revegetation Pilot Project and in close collaboration with Fort Hood civilian and military personnel, and the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, seek to meet these needs by developing and implementing best management practices and guides for restoration of rangeland ecosystems.

The Western Range on Fort Hood, composed of roughly 67,000 acres within the military base, has been used as a training and maneuvering area for two armored divisions. Restoration of these lands serves to provide a two-fold benefit: 1) maintenance of quality training lands for military personnel, and 2) maintenance and improvement of the natural resource base.

In addition to the restoration of rangeland within the Fort Hood Western Training Area, the project removes dairy manure byproducts from the Bosque River Watershed—reducing water quality concerns there and also providing enhanced forage resources for livestock.

Examples of Key Partners
  • Texas Water Resources Institute
  • Blackland Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • Texas Agricultural Experiment Station
  • USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Fort Hood III Corps and Garrison Command
  • Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works
  • Central Texas Cattlemen’s Association
Results and Accomplishments

Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researchers and key cooperators are developing scientifically based standard operating procedures for use of composted dairy manure as a soil amendment and best management practice for restoration of drastically disturbed primary maneuver lands on Fort Hood, Texas. 

  • Soil Fertility: One year post treatment, evaluated impacts of composted dairy manure as a soil amendment to increase soil fertility.  Analysis indicates that there is an increase of soil nitrogen after application of composted dairy manure.  This initial increase is important for the establishment and vigor of seedlings applied to sites.  Soil phosphorus concentrations demonstrated little changes from application of materials.
  • Water Quality: Plot data analyzed from storm water runoff samples and compared to eight years of instream storm water.  Data collected from treatment plots show nutrient levels within the natural range of variation in comparison to samples collected from surrounding nonamended watersheds. 
  • Vegetation Response: Initial analysis of demonstration plots (2 year data set) and treatment research plots (1 year data) indicate positive response by current vegetation and seeded species to the addition of composted dairy manure, significant decreases in bareground and increases in vegetative cover.  Currently collecting third year data from demonstration plots, second year data from year 1 research plots, and 6 month post-treatment on year two research plots.

Established over 500 acres of research/demonstration treatments applying over 10,000 tons of dairy compost.

Project Contact
Dr. C. Allan Jones
Texas Water Resources Institute
1500 Research Parkway, Suite A240
College Station, TX 77845-2118
Dr. Bill Fox
Senior Research Scientist
Texas Water Resources Institute
1500 Research Parkway, Suite A240
College Station, TX 77845-2118

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