Photo by Lance Cpl. Nataly Espitia Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton James Guthrie, a senior advisor to Martha Williams, the director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provides remarks aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton for the presentation of the 2022 USFWS Military Conservation Partner Award on MCB Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 17, 2022. The award recognizes military installations for exceptional cooperative conservation efforts. Camp Pendleton is home to 19 federally listed species and several state species that are either threatened or endangered. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nataly Espitia)

On Monday the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton received the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 18th Annual Military Conservation Partner Award for its significant contributions to natural resource management and listed species.

Paul Souza, regional director of the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, presented Brigadier General Jason Woodworth, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West-Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, with the award, following a site visit to multiple restoration projects on the base.

“Camp Pendleton is a conservation leader and shining example of what can be accomplished for species recovery on military land,” Souza said. “We are grateful for their dedication and stewardship and look forward to a continued partnership.”

“Here at Marine Corps Installations-West, our mission is to support, sustain and train the deploying warfighter,” Woodworth said. “We do that every day while remaining good stewards of our environment and our natural resources, thanks to the support and coordination from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our Environmental Security experts. We are honored to receive this award and are excited to continue our partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for years to come.”

The base’s Environmental Security Department collaborated with the Service, the state of California, and multiple public and private organizations to restore and protect the habitat for 19 federally endangered and threatened species.

Camp Pendleton’s aggressive conservation of riparian, beach and estuarine ecosystems supports the recovery of the tidewater goby, coastal California gnatcatcher, and numerous other fish and bird species, as well as the last remaining coastal populations of the arroyo toad. Their fish passage projects on the Santa Margarita River and other waterways are contributing to the recovery of southern California steelhead and other imperiled fish.

Conservation and management of the least Bell’s vireo, California’s least tern, and western snowy plover have resulted in significant increases in on-base populations of these species. Predator control efforts helped enable the Pacific lamprey to return to Camp Pendleton after decades of absence.

Additionally, the base supports robust outdoor recreation programs including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, swimming, and surfing.

The Service’s Fish and Aquatic Conservation program established the award in 2004 to recognize military installations for their outstanding work in conserving important wildlife and their habitats on military land. The program serves to strategically improve aquatic habitat, restore connectivity of the nation’s waterways, prevent infestations of invasive species, and enhance the recreational use of aquatic resources.



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Ellen Bullock