Home > Missions > Environmental

Environmental Missions

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages one of the largest federal environmental missions: restoring degraded ecosystems; constructing sustainable facilities; regulating waterways; managing natural resources; and, cleaning up contaminated sites from past military activities.

Our environmental programs support the warfighter and military installations worldwide as well as USACE public recreation facilities throughout the country.  In 2002, USACE adopted its seven Environmental Operating Principles, or green ethics, which guide our environmental and sustainability.

USACE works in partnership with other federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions to find innovative solutions to challenges that affect everyone – sustainability, climate change, endangered species, environmental cleanup, ecosystem restoration and more.

Formerly Used Defense Sites

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Formerly Used Defense Sites Program, or FUDS, aims to reduce human health and the environment risks that are the result of past Department of Defense activities at formerly used DOD properties. These properties range from privately owned farms to national parks.

Baltimore District administers the FUDS program for properties in Virginia.

The FUDS Program cleans up only DoD-generated pollution which occurred before transfer of property to private owners, or federal, state or local government owners. The DOD does not own the property that FUDS is cleaning up, but works hand-in-hand with current property owners and regulators during clean-up efforts.

A FUDS clean-up process takes part in three phases:

Phase 1 is the inventory phase, which determines whether the property was used by the DoD, and, if contamination is present, it resulted from DoD activity.

Phase 2 is the investigation phase, which determines the nature and extent of the contamination.

Phase 3 is the clean-up phase. This phase cleans up the property to protect human health, safety and the environment.


Image of FNOD mapIn 1987 the Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot  became a matter of public concern when a piece of crystalline TNT was found at the Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth Campus. This initiated extensive historical research, investigations, testing and removal actions. As a result of these findings, in 1999 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed this site on the National Priority List.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, manages the FUDS project at the Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot. Project support is also provided by the Huntsville District (the Corps' Center for expertise on ordnance related issues), and the Baltimore District for other restoration efforts.

Plum Tree Island

Image of Plum Tree IslandPlum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge, formerly known as the Plum Tree Island Range, was used by the Defense Department for aerial bombing and gunnery practice from 1917 through the late 1950s. With the exception of waterfowl hunting by permit on Cow Island, the entire refuge remains closed to all public use due to the potential for encountering unexploded ordnance.

Known extensive usage of the southern portion of the refuge for bombing and the presence of unexploded ordnance along the shoreline has prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish a danger zone in the shallow water along the southern half of the refuge. This danger zone is marked by warning signs, and disturbance of the sediment bottom is prohibited.

The refuge is being addressed in accordance with the Formerly Used Defense Site program, conducted by USACE under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund. Baltimore District, Army Corps of Engineers has project management authority for all FUDS properties in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Important Numbers

Hazards to Navigation Hotline 

General Information 
Freedom of Information Act Officer 
Human Resources 
Security Gate 
Security Reception Desk 
Public Affairs