The Department of Defense recently announced the 2019 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards winners.

Since 1962, the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards have honored the outstanding efforts of service members and civilians across the Department of Defense to conserve the nation's natural and cultural resources, protect human health, prevent or eliminate pollution at the source, clean up contaminated DOD sites, and incorporate environmental requirements into weapon system acquisition.

The DOD components leverage technology to develop innovative solutions to existing and emerging human health and environmental challenges.

A diverse panel of 58 judges from federal and state agencies, academia and the private sector evaluated nominations from the DOD components to help determine winners.

In 2019, DOD selected nine winners, including Eglin Air Force Base, from a total of 32 nominees.

Eglin won the Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation category. Employees relocated 1,030 gopher tortoises to avoid its listing under the Endangered Species Act and potential mission encumbrances. They also conducted 160 prescribed burns across more than 145,000 acres on base, removing 290,000 tons of hazardous fuel biomass, and reducing wildfires caused by mission activities on test areas by 20 percent.

Visit www.denix.osd.mil/awards/2019secdef/ for more information on the 2019 winners.