Walking on Vandenberg Space Force Base is like walking along the trails of a national park, with over 100,000 acres of mountains, valleys, dunes, and badlands.
With all this land, comes one of the most diverse and well-preserved groups of cultural resources in the Department of Defense, including 1,674 archaeological sites, five named Chumash villages, 14 rock art sites, along with 228 Cold-War era and other historical buildings and structures.
The cultural resource management team, within the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, received the 2021 Gen. Thomas D. White Environmental Award for their outstanding achievements in successfully sustaining mission readiness through innovative and cost-effective environmental management strategies.
The Thomas D. White Environmental Awards recognizes installations in the Department of the Air Force who conduct the best or most improved environmental programs in various categories, and the teams and individuals that contribute the most to environmental efforts each year.
Samantha Kaisersatt, Environmental conservation chief, described the day-to-day operations for the cultural resources management team.
“A regular day for the team includes management of the Cultural Resources program in compliance with applicable Federal, state, and local standards and specific Department of the Air Force policies to ensure the successful accomplishment of the SLD 30 mission,” said Kaisersatt.
Kaisersatt also spoke on how the team felt after being notified they won the Thomas D. White award.
“The team is absolutely honored to be recognized for such an awesome achievement,” said Kaisersatt. “The policies we put in place that surround cost-effective projects, assessments, and approval efforts kept a schedule that stayed on track for critical mission requirements, so it’s definitely awesome to for our work to be noticed.”
The cultural resource management team is a part of the environmental section of the 30th Civil Engineer squadron, where they ensure environmental regulatory compliance for Space Launch Delta 30, subordinate units, and tenant organizations. This also includes routine interface with up to 18 regulatory agencies at all levels of government ensuring continued access to clean air, water and land for sustained mission requirements and potential future mission growth, and protection of natural and cultural resource assets on the installation.
The environmental section also plays a critical role in protecting the wildlife on the installation, such as the snowy plover. There are seasonal restrictions put in place that withhold access to beaches, and limit authorization to fish, for example.
Vandenberg wouldn’t feel like a national park if it weren’t for the efforts of the cultural resources management team and the environmental office in the 30th CES, congratulations team!