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Natural Resources guide to outdoor recreation

By Senior Airman Kristin High 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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Many would not notice in passing, but the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources shop plays a vital role in maintaining the environment here.

It is located in a quaint facility near Fam Camp on the east side of the base, and houses an abundance of vital information pertaining to the many hidden treasures and activities here.

"We are responsible for more than 18,000 acres of land including six lakes and 11 ponds," said Keith Harris, Natural Resources manager. "Our office manages invasive and nuisance species on base such as wild hogs or hydrilla. We also do the prescribed burns on base to prevent the buildup of forest fuels in our pine forests, which helps prevent wildfires."

The five-man shop teams up with six game wardens, assigned to the 2nd Security Forces Squadron, to monitor and control the various activities by making sure everyone has the proper training and certifications.

"Hunters and fisherman are required to have licenses to participate in any of those activities on base," Harris added.

The Natural Resources shop maintains daily liaison with local, state and federal agencies regarding all fish and wildlife enforcement matters.

"Airmen and their families, Department of Defense retirees and civilians are all allowed to hunt and fish on base," said Harris. "Anyone who is sponsored on base, along with the person sponsoring them, has to receive the proper licenses and certification through our safety courses."

The game wardens, along with the Natural Resources shop, teach safety classes for all personnel hunting on base. Classes are required for all members who have privileges to hunt unescorted on Barksdale, and are valid for three years.

The hunting seasons began in October and runs through February. Basic hunting permits are sold for $40, and entitle hunters to hunt squirrel, rabbit, quail, dove and woodcock. Endorsement stamps are $5 each, and must be purchased for deer, waterfowl, raccoon, hog and turkey.

In addition to the hunting, fishing, and many other recreational opportunities the Natural Resources shop offers, they also control the oil sites on base.

"My job is to manage oil and gas lease activities on base," said Michael Gibson, 2 CES Natural Resources biological scientist. "This includes reviewing and permitting Applications for Permit to Drill, and overseeing clean up spills to ensure environmental compliance with federal, state, and local laws."

Gibson inspects, and monitors oil and gas facilities, wells, and infrastructures daily.

"Specifically, the oil and gas aspect of my job is significant to make sure environmental compliance is achieved to protect our natural resources," said Gibson.

The Natural Resources shop offers the base many activities, along with protecting the natural resources of Barksdale. With more than 500 different species of plants and more than 200 different types of animals, including birds, mammals and reptiles, Barksdale holds many hidden treasures on the East Side.

"We make sure the natural resources on base are managed, and sustained for generations to come," said Gibson. "As a whole we make sure that recreational opportunities are available for our military members."