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Kevin Chang, representative of Senator Feinstein’s office, explains the key parts in the Land Acquisition bill currently in legislation at the Officers’ Club, Feb. 18, 2015. Chang explained where the training areas are going to be and how the bill will work in conjunction with several agencies to preserve the surrounding wildlife and historical significance of the new training areas. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd/ Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd

DMG, NREA discuss preservation in wildlife, history

25 Feb 2015 | Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

A handful of desert environment advocates walked along the remains of an ancient volcanic eruption. Etched into the surfaces of the solidified magma where petroglyphs, left behind by natives from approximately 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. These civilians paid witness to one of the Combat Center’s most well-preserved sites in order to further strengthen the relationships between the instillation and its surrounding community.

The National Resource and Environmental Affairs Division met with the Desert Managers Group at the Combat Center Officers’ Club, Feb. 18, to discuss mission sustainment regarding the Land Acquisition Project and Environmental Protection Integration programs, which are put in place to ensure preservation of the desert wildlife and its habitats which exist aboard the Combat Center.

NREA also provided a tour of the Combat Center to DMG, which is comprised of several agencies that look after California’s desert resources. The tour included tours of the Recycling Center, the Archaeology and Paleontology Curation Center and the petroglyph sites at Range F, Lava Training Area.

“The petroglyphs are symbols carved into stone in various areas to act as a form of communication to other scavengers and hunters in the area,” said Dr. Marie Cottrell, private consultant on archaeology, Archaeology and Paleontology Curation Center. “It is also believed that the symbols were created by shamans during various rituals.”

The DMG had the opportunity to see several images believed to be created by different culture groups that passed through the area more than 12,000 years ago.

“Each tribe [etched] these symbols differently,” Cottrell said. “Some made the [human figures] as very simple stick figures while others added digits to them. Right now we are unable to completely confirm what the different symbols mean entirely, but we can make out what most of them are supposed to look like.”

After seeing the petroglyph sites, the DMG toured the Range and Ordnance Residue Recycling Center, where the base recycles left-over materials from training areas.

“This waste management facility takes all of the scrap metal that is left behind from training, like spent brass, ammo cans, pieces of aluminum and other things left over from training and breaks them down or pulls them apart to be recycled,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Pochop, NREA director, G4 Instillation and Logistics. “We are able to recycle [contaminated] dirt, as in places where a small amount of oil spilled from a vehicle leak, as well as [taking] wood that we put through a wood chipper here and use as a cover for the base’s land fill.”

The last stop for the DMG representatives was the Archaeology and Paleontology Curation Center. Many artifacts are found through the Combat Center’s training areas. These items sometimes date back centuries.

“We built the Curation Center to display the [artifacts] that have been discovered on the base,” Pochop said.

The meeting was held to maintain good relations with the members of the DMG and to show what the base has done to preserve the wild life and historical artifacts located aboard the instillation. NREA hopes to hear the ideas and concerns of the members of the DMG to promote good relations with the surrounding community and so that the Combat Center can continue to serve as the Marine Corps’ premier pre-deployment training venue.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms