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Natural and Cultural Resources

Marine Corps training requires access to land, sea, and air. Effective, proactive management of the natural and cultural resources entrusted to the Marine Corps is a necessary tool which ensures they remain healthy and available for training. The Marine Corps is a proud environmental steward of the natural and cultural resources on Marine Corps installations and training areas.  Their stewardship is driven by supporting the Marine Corps mission and compliance with natural and cultural resources laws, regulations and policies.  Without this proactive and effective management, compliance with natural and cultural resources laws would be challenging and can lead to judicial, legislative, and executive interventions - denying the Marine Corps access to land for training and delaying mission-essential construction projects.

Marine Corps installations and training areas are rich in natural resources and a diversity of ecosystems, species and habitats.  Natural resources include, but are not limited to, watersheds, wetlands, natural landscapes, soils, forests, and associated fish, vegetation, and wildlife. The foundation for managing the natural resources on Marine Corp installations is the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP), a long-term strategic plan that balances the protection and management of an installation’s natural resources with the military mission. Through strategic and proactive natural resource management, “environmental services,” such as protection of drinking water resources, soil erosion control, and pollutant remediation are achieved, along with maintaining ecological integrity, promoting native biodiversity, conserving special status species, protecting coastal and wetland resources, and supporting the military mission. Natural resources management provides for continued realistic training environments, but also supports healthy and enjoyable installations for all of the Marine Corps through recreational opportunities. The Marine Corps must use and preserve natural resources with a long-term focus to ensure their availability to support current and future mission training needs.

The Marine Corps serves as custodian and steward of approximately 2.3 million acres of land containing a diversity of cultural resources, including archaeological sites and collections; historic buildings, structures, and objects; cultural landscapes; and resources of traditional, religious, or cultural significance to Native American tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. These cultural resources reflect thousands of years of human activity, including important developments in our nation’s history and the role of the military in that history. They embody our shared historical experiences.


The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) establishes our national policy to protect, maintain, and enhance the environment by providing a process for implementing major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. NEPA’s main objective is to foster better decision making for implementing projects and programs that could adversely affect the environment. The following regulations and directives are applicable to USMC actions.

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