U.S. military Natural Resources Management program protects species in South Korea

Scientific Name: Bubo bubo Life Span: 20 years Diet: Small mammals, amphibians, insects, and birds Size: 3 feet Wingspan: 4 feet A top predator in the local food chain, they inhabit forested areas across South Korea. Owls can be seen on USAG Humphreys resting in trees. Mostly nocturnal, owls spend their active time hunting at night. The Eurasian eagle owl is one of the world’s largest owl species. It is listed as endangered and as a natural monument in South Korea. (Courtesy photo)
Scientific Name: Bubo bubo Life Span: 20 years Diet: Small mammals, amphibians, insects, and birds Size: 3 feet Wingspan: 4 feet A top predator in the local food chain, they inhabit forested areas across South Korea. Owls can be seen on USAG Humphreys resting in trees. Mostly nocturnal, owls spend their active time hunting at night. The Eurasian eagle owl is one of the world’s largest owl species. It is listed as endangered and as a natural monument in South Korea. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. military Natural Resources Management program protects species in South Korea

by Sameria Zavala
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District

Part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mission is to advocate for the health of the planet through programs and initiatives in climate change resilience, sustainability, and environmental justice. The Far East District environmental efforts are actively engaged in the Natural Resources Management program, to help protect certain flora and fauna in the local area.

Daniel Novotny, an FED biologist, follows the U.S. Forces Korea regulation, 201-1 Environmental Governing Standards, by working closely with various base environmental offices, and through contracted Korean environmental experts, to help develop and update the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans (INRMP).

“The purpose of INRMP is to survey natural resources of the base including endemic, invasive, or threatened and endangered species that may inhabit bases across the Republic of Korea,” said Novotny. “Through these surveys, we can understand a baseline of species residing on and around USFK bases.”

Once the baseline is understood, further recommendation can be provided for USFK units on how to best manage their activities, meet the mission, and prevent or minimize impacts on natural resources and species.

In the Gyeonggi-do province area, 13 protected species have been identified (either directly or evidence left behind): two mammal species, the Eurasian river otter and leopard cat; nine protected bird species, the spoonbill, bean goose, whooper swan, Eurasian sparrowhawk, Cinereous vulture, hobby, kestrel, buzzard, and Eurasian eagle-owl; one protected amphibian species, the Suwon treefrog; and one protected dragon fly species, the Libellula angelina.

The leopard cat is the only endemic wild cat species in the Republic of Korea. The Suwon tree frog is only one of two tree frog species in Korea. Its range is specifically localized to the Suwon and surrounding areas.

“Through coordination from contracted biologists and wildlife specialists, we provided various recommendations for base environmental personnel to manage their natural resources,” said Novotny.

Some recommendations include, adjusting training schedules to avoid harassing species during known breeding seasons, where their presence is more likely; creating man-made nests to give interested species a preferable location to nest away from disturbance, and foster community awareness of species, encouraging appreciation and respect for them.

FED continues the USACE environmental mission by helping to create a sustainable future for generations to come.

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