Restoration Advisory Board plays vital role in environmental cleanup

Published May 22, 2020

Community members can share information with project managers that may shape decisions for environmental restoration projects. 

Comments, questions and recommendations are commonly submitted via email, mail or by telephone; however, a Restoration Advisory Board brings the project team, key stakeholders and everyday citizens of the involved community to the table. 

A RAB is a stakeholder group that meets on a regular basis to discuss environmental restoration at a specific property that is either currently or was formerly owned by the Department of Defense, but where DoD oversees the environmental restoration process.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District routinely offers the opportunity for communities to establish a RAB at FUDS sites, such as Raco Army Airfield, Kincheloe Air Force Base, Waugoshance Point Target, Camp Breckinridge, Camp Ellis or other Corps locations throughout Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

According to Corey Knox, Louisville District project manager, a RAB offers members and the public the opportunity to ask questions, share concerns and discuss ideas with any agency involved in the cleanup.

In this way, the RAB gives members the chance to affect cleanup decisions through discussion and to provide input to the installation decision makers.

“The Restoration Advisory Boards become a forum for information exchange and partnership among citizens, the installation or the property owner (as is the case for FUDS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies,” said Dr. David Brancato, USACE Louisville District risk assessment subject-matter expert. “Most importantly, they offer an opportunity for communities, inclusive of concerned citizens groups and academia, to provide input to the cleanup process, if remedial work is needed.”

FUDS and military installations are parts of their surrounding communities, and actions that have occurred or take place on these sites in environmental restoration may affect its neighbors. 

“RABs are important because they provide a formal venue for community participation in the environmental remediation process. By requiring public co-leadership, RABs encourage the community to take an active role in environmental planning and decision-making,” said Josh Van Bogaert, Engineering Division Reserves Section chief. “(These meetings) increase availability of information and government transparency through dialog, and improve overall community confidence and (joint) ownership in the restoration program.”