Camp Shelby announced as 2021 recipient of the Service’s Military Conservation Partner Award
Eighty-nine gopher tortoises were returned to the wild at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center as part of a joint multi-agency effort to restore the population of this endangered species. It was the largest release of gopher tortoises back to the wild since the post's Head-Start program was created in 2014. A study in 2004 estimated that only 1,000 gopher tortoises remained on Camp Shelby. Another study determined that all monitored hatchlings from nests were dead within three years to predation and other factors.

In 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director established the Military Conservation Partner Award to recognize military installations for exceptional cooperative conservation efforts. Since establishment of this annual award, the Service has recognized the work of 17 installations.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is pleased to announce the selection of the National Guard’s Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (Camp Shelby) as the 2021 recipient of the Service’s Military Conservation Partner Award. Camp Shelby includes approximately 134,000 acres of land owned and operated by the Mississippi Military Department.

Camp Shelby is commended for their commitment to the conservation of at-risk, candidate, and federally listed species, as well as their management of game species and providing public recreational hunting opportunities.

Camp Shelby coordinates with the Service and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to successfully combine the implementation of landscape ecological management approaches for threatened and endangered species as well as game and nongame species while sustaining the military mission.

They also provide outreach education through multiple avenues annually and abundant fishing opportunities. 

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