Contractors provide safe travel for endangered orchids on Kadena

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Emily Moghaddas (left), 718th Civil Engineer Squadron natural resource program manager, and Saori Takeda (middle left), environmental scientist, listens as Hiroshi Ogimi (right), botanical surveyor, explains the transplanting method he will use to re-plant a bouran orchid on Kadena Air Base, Japan, March 13, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)
Emily Moghaddas (left), 718th Civil Engineer Squadron natural resource program manager, and Saori Takeda (middle left), environmental scientist, listens as Hiroshi Ogimi (right), botanical surveyor, explains the transplanting method he will use to re-plant a bouran orchid on Kadena Air Base, Japan, March 13, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Contractors provide safe travel for endangered orchids on Kadena

by: Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady, 18th Wing Public Affairs | .
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published: March 16, 2013

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Contractors from an environmental company began moving endangered orchids in late February from three different 18th Munitions Squadron construction areas into safe locations outside of the project site.

Approximately 160 plants of 11 different species are scheduled to be transplanted from the sites before the end of March.

An analysis done by the environmental company recommends endangered, critically endangered and vulnerable to becoming endangered plants to be transported out of a project area and into a new location, which is picked by environmental surveyors and based on facts about the plants to ensure their survival.

"Our job is to safeguard these species for the future," said Emily Moghaddas, 718th Civil Engineer Squadron natural resource program manager.

Whenever a new construction or demolition project is approved, the area must go through a standard review process known as an environmental impact analysis process. This review will determine the type of plant and animal species in the area and if any are endangered. After the recommended plant and animal species are transported, the project can begin.

"I recognize that buildings should be built or demolished, however we must protect the environment around them," Moghaddas said. "The project managers understand that we have to protect our Ecosystem.

The transport process isn't as simple as digging up plants and placing them in a new location. Moving the plants from one area to the next could cause stress to the plant, so careful handling of the plants is very important.

To give the plants the best chance for adapting, surveyors choose the best fertilizers, use natural materials from their original location and select the best environment to give the plants the best chance of growing and surviving.

"Choosing the best location and maintenance of that location is the most important part," said Hiroshi Ogimi, botanical surveyor.

Ogimi also said choosing the wrong location will not allow the plant to grow and improper maintenance will stop the roots from growing.

The plants are marked by GPS so contractors and Air Force staff can track and monitor how they are adapting to their new environment.

"We care about the plants and animals that live here," Moghaddas said. "It's important for us to realize there are endangered species around our workplace and do what we can to protect them. "