For more than 30 years, one Commonwealth of Kentucky employee has ensured prairie remnants – grasslands of native Kentucky species – flourish on the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD).
“The depot is very focused on wildlife and habitat conservation,” said Tom Edwards, biologist assigned to BGAD from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Native grasslands are important to grassland-nesting wildlife like the American woodcock and bobwhite quail. For those species to prosper we have to have grasslands, so we work hard to restore and conserve those areas.”
Edwards said he has worked with the depot since 1981, helping preserve, maintain and promote native grasslands and many other wildlife initiatives on the depot, including areas around the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. He is responsible for heading a program that has created more than 150 acres of native grassland on the depot through a seed-harvesting and saving program.
“I remember sitting in my front yard with a bunch of school children, hand-picking seeds for the grasslands program,” said Edwards. “Now we have enough to continue the expansion of the depot grasslands and also package some as depot souvenirs for special visitors.”
Blue Grass plant personnel see the effects of conservation programs every time they drive to and from the site on the 1 1/2–mile access road. Planning for the road had to take into account the protection of endangered running buffalo clover, so it was rerouted from its originally planned location.
“The scenery is beautiful around the site,” said Erin Bowman, maintenance administrator, AECOM. “I see deer or turkey almost every time I drive in or out for work, and it’s great to hear bobwhites when my day is done and I am heading home.”