UAF, Fort Wainwright formalize partnership agreement

A woman with red hair sits at the head of a conference table. Six men, including two in military uniforms, sit around the same table.
U.S. Army photo
Representatives from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Fort Wainwright discuss a partnership agreement for environmental services.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will provide environmental services to Fort Wainwright under a new partnership agreement.

Leaders from UAF and the U.S. Army Garrison Alaska met on Wednesday, April 19, to formalize the partnership established by a 10-year intergovernmental support agreement signed in January. 

"I am very pleased that the Army recognizes UAF's scientific and environmental expertise, especially in the circumpolar North," said Nettie La
Belle-Hamer, UAF's vice chancellor for research."This agreement provides additional opportunity for UAF employees, many of whom are UAF alumni, and students to apply that expertise across a myriad of environmental programs and disciplines."

La Belle-Hamer and USAG Alaska Commander Col. Nate Surrey discussed the benefits of the agreement during Wednesday's meeting.

"This 10-year agreement with UAF affords the garrison's environmental division with much greater flexibility and capacity for managing its work for Fort Wainwright and the 1.6 million acres of Army-managed training lands in Interior Alaska," Surrey said. "We couldn't ask for a better partner in meeting our stewardship responsibilities."

Environmental services under the agreement may range from surveys of threatened and endangered species, wetlands, and archaeological sites, to natural resource management and water and air quality compliance. 

A woman with red hair smiles as she talks to a man in a military uniform and another man in a suit.
UAF photo by Adam Rubin
UAF Vice Chancellor for Research Nettie La Belle-Hamer, center, speaks with USAG Alaska Command Sgt. Maj. Ruben Murillo, left, and Tom Hough, director of UAF military and veterans services, during a meeting on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

"UAF has the nation's preeminent academic and practical field experts in the subarctic and Arctic environment," said Matthew Sprau, environment division planning branch chief at Fort Wainwright. "It is the perfect fit for Garrison Alaska, and the IGSA allows us to work directly with UAF to gain the expertise where and when we need it."

More than half of the Fort Wainwright environmental staff members are UAF alumni, Sprau added. "We're excited to expand our existing relationship into a formal partnership that includes opportunities for access to professional capacity and for student development."

The military uses intergovernmental support agreements as a cost-effective way to contract for services at military installations while providing additional revenues to local governments and other public organizations, like universities. 

"This agreement strengthens our partnership with the Army," La Belle-Hamer said. "We look forward to working together for many years."

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Grant Sattler, Fort Wainwright public affairs, 907-353-6701,