Vista Applications for Military Installations

Putting installations in a landscape contextUS

About This Project

NatureServe and its state natural heritage programs worked with military installations in Arizona, Florida, and Oregon to pilot the use of Vista for Department of Defense (DoD) natural resource management. A recorded webinar is available to view a presentation on this project. To achieve the objectives, the project team worked with the natural resource staff of the three installations to select a sample of high priority species that are imperiled and of concern due to the fact that these species could impact military activities (hereinafter “at-risk species”). The project team created predictive distribution models for these at-risk species before integrating the predictive modeling results with many land use and land management data layers into NatureServe Vista. Vista is specifically designed to support a regional analysis of land use and land management effects on species conservation goals. This analysis provided information on the degree of impact each land use could have on each at-risk species, leading to the identification of areas of conflict and areas of mitigation opportunities. Based on the vulnerability assessment results, the team was able to work with DoD staff to determine where threats or opportunities for recovery are located in and around the installations. We conducted follow up work with Eglin AFB to integrate a future scenario of urban growth and sea level rise and demonstrated Vista’s planning capabilities to support on- and off-base conservation planning and mitigation.


The overall goal of this project was to demonstrate standard methods for identifying known and potential locations of high priority at-risk species occurring on and around three DoD installations (Eglin Air Force Base, Boardman Navel Weapons Systems Training Facility, and Fort Huachuca Military Reservation), assess these areas for potential impacts to these species, and then make recommendations for conservation and mitigation based on these assessments.


Military installations face many challenges that impact their ability to carry out their military mission. An increase in land use and development, water resource constraints, climate change impacts, and declining species and associated ecological systems are impacting Department of Defense (DoD) inside and outside their installation boundaries. Increasingly, a regional, multi-stakeholder approach to planning and land management is the only way to continue to preserve lands for military training and testing activities. To address species protection requirements at this regional scale, the military needs to know where species occur and how they are doing on and off military lands. In addition, knowing where at-risk species potentially occur or could be restored is critical to the long-term success of balancing military and natural resource needs.