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Minnesota National Guard
Environmental Compliance

Environmental Security Award

The Army National Guard Environmental Security Awards honors installations, teams, and individuals for outstanding work in environmental programs. There are six categories, two of which MNARNG was successful in winning for 2015-2016, including Sustainability Non-Industrial Installation and Natural Resources Conservation Large Installation.

The Environmental Security Awards recognize MNARNG leadership in natural resources management and sustainability initiatives, both statewide and at Camp Ripley Training Center, which has long served as a showcase for the compatibility of environmental innovation and excellence with military training.

The MNARNG recognizes that incorporating sustainability into its operations, acquisitions, and infrastructure helps reduce its resource demands while preserving current and future operational flexibility. The MNARNG Joint Sustainability Master Plan outlines goals and strategies for achieving benchmark reductions in energy use, increasing recycling, promoting carpooling and transit programs, and eliminating waste streams.

Major MNARNG accomplishments contributing to the Environmental Security Awards include:

  • The establishment of a cross-functional Sustainability Working Group, focused on the implementation of renewable energy projects, energy use reduction, waste diversion, and water conservation

  • A funding proposal to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for the development of a woody biomass district heating system at Camp Ripley secured recommendation of $1 million for the project design

  • A public-private partnership with Minnesota Power for the construction of a 10-megawatt utility-scale solar power plant on a 62-acre site at Camp Ripley, the largest solar array of its kind in Minnesota and the largest on any National Guard training site in the country to date

  • The expansion of recycling initiatives to include organics recycling and comingled recycling capability at Camp Ripley

  • Enrollment in PaintCare, a program that recycles unused paint through recycling and resale, conversion into fuel or other products, and proper disposal

  • An evaluation of the current water distribution system to identify potential water saving opportunities and research avenues to increase stormwater capture with the goal of maintaining 100% of rainfall from a 1.5-inch rainfall event at Camp Ripley

  • The purchase of four fuel-efficient, electric hybrid Chevy Volt vehicles used by custodial staff reduce the amount of gasoline consumption and tailpipe emissions at Camp Ripley

  • Full integration of sustainability goals into MNARNG operations and mission, particularly in areas related to energy conservation and use reduction, renewable energy production, green construction, and the Camp Ripley Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program

  • Establishment of Sentinel Landscapes into state law

  • Internal coordination through a strategic management system to track progress toward installation goals with visibility, transparency, and engagement across directorates

  • An outreach project delivered educational presentations to local sixth graders about the Net Zero concept as part of local science curriculum

Federal Green Challenge Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Green Challenge is a national effort that recognizes government agencies for outstanding efforts that go beyond regulatory compliance. In 2015, the EPA bestowed the Minnesota National Guard with an Energy Award for reducing its heating fuel use by 21% within a year, and an Education and Outreach Award for the National Guard Energy Efficiency Challenge.

Recycling & Waste Reduction

Camp Ripley is an active participant and advocate of the Minnesota National Guard Qualified Recycle Program (QRP).  The purpose of the QRP is to promote sustainability along with environmental stewardship responsibility. This is accomplished through the of:
  1. waste reduction through efficiency and optimum material usage and packaging,
  2. reuse and re-issuance of containers and other reusable items and also repairing existing equipment,
  3. and diversion of valuable materials to end markets and purchase of recycled products.
Proceeds from all QRP sales support new infrastructure, new equipment, and Soldier morale and welfare projects.  A QRP is an installation wide recycling program. Under the concept of “the state as an installation," installation is understood to mean the Minnesota National Guard, while most of the QRP proceeds are generated at Camp Ripley, the benefits of the program are intended to be shared throughout the Minnesota Army National Guard.

Due to recycling efforts, Camp Ripley disposes of only 1.53 pounds of waste per person per training day, much lower than the national consumer average of 4 pounds per day. More than 61 percent of the waste generated onsite is recycled. Recycling fuel, oil, antifreeze, solvents, metal, plastics, glass, batteries, toner cartridges, fluorescent tubes, wood pallets, and concrete contribute to the waste reduction.  In addition to the recycling efforts, the Minnesota National Guard also researches innovative technological concepts on waste reduction equipment and techniques. 

New equipment is purchased after a careful cost benefit analysis is run justifying the expenditure.  New techniques are employed if analysis justifies the merit for a change.


The Central Lakes College (CLC) Natural Resource Department has recently added several water resources courses to its curriculum.  These classes are intended to enhance the natural resources curriculum and better prepare students for careers in water resources-related fields. A partnership between the Minnesota Army National Guard and the college enables CLC to utilize the Camp Ripley Training Site as an open air class comprised of 53,000 acres of a variety of terrestrial and aquatic resources, including wetlands, lakes, streams, and rivers, including the Mississippi River.  CLC utilizes Camp Ripley as a real world field laboratory as part of the water resources curriculum. In turn the field data is incorporated into Camp Ripley’s existing water quality data base in the interest of expanding and understanding water quality trends on Camp Ripley.

The Environmental Department also works with St Cloud State University for interns to test invasive species control measures and determine the best mix of chemical, biological, and mechanical techniques.  Biological and mechanical techniques are preferred over chemicals whenever possible.  The Environmental Department has also worked with St. Could State University and the University of Minnesota – Duluth to track various surface water and groundwater quality trends.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

NEPA analysis is required for all - new or different Federal activities proposed by the Army National Guard (ARNG).  As such, the NEPA process affects almost everyone involved in ARNG Proposed Actions, at all levels, at varying degrees.

If initiating a Federal activity the environmental staff will evaluate the action and make the determination of what level of NEPA will be needed.  If you have questions regarding the NEPA program for the MNARNG please feel free to contact Joe LaForce at 320-616-2621.
eMS & Sustainability

Deer The Minnesota National Guard is committed to environmental stewardship to sustain its operations, facilities and training lands. Environmental stewardship also creates opportunities for engaging with the local communities that enable its mission.

The Guard uses an environmental management system, or eMS, as a tool to lessen the environmental impacts of its activities. Through regular review and evaluation of energy consumption, solid waste diversion, water conservation and land use practices, the eMS helps the Guard set goals and targets to continually improve upon its environmental performance.

Investing in renewable technologies, conserving energy through outreach and awareness, improving building efficiency through green infrastructure, adopting operations and maintenance best practices, are all examples of how the eMS adds to our overall resiliency as it stands Always Ready, Always There

Net Zero

Deer The U.S. Army Net Zero Initiative is an approach to managing existing energy, water and solid waste programs with the goal of increasing security and operational flexibility.

Net Zero means consuming only as much energy as produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and diverting solid waste sent to landfills through reduction, reuse, and recycling. Net Zero applies a systems approach to maintain and improve the Guard’s environmental bootprint.


Deer The Challenge!

The MNARNG established the Energy Efficiency Challenge (EEC) in 2014 as a peer-to-peer incentivized competition focused on awareness and individual behavior changes to attain a targeted energy use intensity (EUI) reduction goal of 3% or more per facility. The facility that achieves the greatest decrease in its EUI from the previous year is awarded funds for infrastructure improvements or implementation of energy conservation measures.

To kick off the EEC, Environmental compliance staff conducted site visits at participating facilities and distributed program information to facility managers. Staff assisted facility managers in obtaining a user account for B3, an online tool that summarizes energy consumption, costs, and carbon emissions using basic building and meter information for their facility. Quarterly newsletters communicate EEC results and share best practices. The percent change is measured by comparing the current year's consumption measured in kilo-British thermal units (kBtu) per square foot to weather normalized consumption data from the previous year.

Water Festival

The event is held each year in September and is sponsored by the Morrison County Soil & Water Conservation District.  The Water Festival is a cooperative effort by various agencies and citizens including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Morrison County Planning and Zoning, Science Museum of MN and Camp Ripley. With each agency playing a unique role in the event, the goal is to enhance conservation and water related educational experiences for all sixth grade students throughout Morrison County. The festival’s purpose is to create a better awareness of conservation and water resources in the area through education. The festival featured opportunities to learn about conservation, water, wetlands, and wildlife in Morrison County.


MNNG Environmental Management System pamphlet.pdf

2017 Consumer Confidence Report.pdf

Camp Ripley Installation Map.pdf

Minnesota Adjutant General's Environmental Statement.pdf

Environmental Compliance Annual Report.pdf

Contact Information

If you have questions regarding the Minnesota National Guard Environmental Projects, please contact:

Jay Brezinka
Environmental Program Manager
(320) 616-2618

Scott Albers
Hazardous Waste Manager
(320) 616-2616

Zac Alexander
Spill Plan Manager, Pest Mgmt Coordinator, LMS Admin
(320) 616-3003

Mark Erickson
Solid Waste Manager/QRP
(320) 616-2625

Lynn Houle
Budget Execution/Accounting
(320) 616-2627

Joe LaForce
(320) 616-2621

Gary Nierengarten
Air/Site Assistance Visits
(320) 616-2624

Katie Retka
Sustainability Manager
(320) 616-2640

Lori Ruff
Sustainability Analyst
(320) 616-2619

Ross Warner
Environmental Protection Specialist
(320) 616-2617

Fax: 320-616-2475

15000 Highway 115,, Camp Ripley
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173