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Environmental Assessment

Section 2 - Background

2.1  Location and Setting

CSSA is located approximately 19 miles northwest of downtown San Antonio in the northwestern part of Bexar County in south-central Texas, as shown in Figure 1.  The installation consists of 4004.18 acres immediately east of State Highway 3351, approximately 0.5 mile east of Interstate Highway 10 (Figure 2).  Its eastern boundary and parts of its northern and southern boundaries are contiguous with the Camp Bullis Training Reservation.  The northern boundary is formed by Dietz Elkhorn/Old County Road and the western boundary is alongside Highway FM 3351.  The surrounding area to the west is primarily rural and zoned for residential use.  Some residential and commercial development is also present west, northwest, and southwest of the installation.

2.2  Meteorology and Climate

CSSA is located in the south-central part of Texas on the Balcones escarpment.  Northwest of the installation, the terrain slopes upward to the Edwards Plateau; to the southeast, the terrain slopes downward to the Gulf Coastal Plains.  This results in a modified subtropical climate, predominantly marine during the summer months and continental during the winter months.  The resulting weather is characterized by hot summers with daily temperatures above 90F over 80 percent of the time and mild winters with below-freezing temperatures occurring on average of only about 20 days per year.  The first occurrence of 32F is in late November and the average last occurrence is in early March.  Average annual temperature is 69F.  Average monthly temperatures range from 50F in January to the low 80s during June, July, and August.  The highest average daily maximum temperature is 95F in July, and the lowest average daily minimum temperature is 39F in January.  Temperature extremes for the period of weather records range from 0F to 108F.

CSSA is situated between a semi-arid region to the west and the coastal area of heavy precipitation to the east.  Average annual rainfall is approximately 29 inches.  Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year, with the heaviest amounts occurring in May and September.  Approximately 61 percent of the rainfall occurs over the period from April through September and is primarily due to thunderstorms.  During this period, large amounts of precipitation may fall in a short period of time.  Most of the winter precipitation occurs as light rain or drizzle; however, thunderstorms accompanied by heavy rain have occurred in all months of the year.  Damaging hail seldom occurs, but light hail is common with springtime thunderstorms.  Since CSSA is only 140 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, tropical storms occasionally affect the base with strong winds and heavy rains.  Measurable snowfall occurs only once every 3 or 4 years.

The highest relative humidity occurs during the early morning hours (0600 hours) and averages about 84 percent over the year.  Monthly averages range from 79 to 88 percent.  Between 1200 and 1800 hours, relative humidity averages about 53 percent, with monthly averages ranging from 45 to 59 percent.

Northerly winds prevail during most of the winter.  Strong northerly winds occasionally occur in conjunction with "northers," cold southward flows produced by an areas of high pressure that invades the United States from Canada.  Southeasterly winds from the Gulf of Mexico are predominant in the summer but also occur frequently during the winter.  The average annual prevailing wind direction is from the southeast, and the average annual wind speed is 9 miles per hour (mph) with monthly averages ranging from 8 to 10 mph.  The windiest months are typically March and April; September and October have the least wind.  Figure 3 is a wind rose showing the frequency distribution of wind speed and wind direction.  The wind rose was constructed from 1984-1989 National Weather Service meteorological data recorded at the San Antonio Airport.  It should be noted that the wind direction indicated by the wind rose is the direction from which the wind is blowing.

Skies are clear to partly cloudy on average about 225 days per year, or more than 60 percent of the time, and cloudy conditions occur less than 146 days per year, or less than 40 percent of the time.  CSSA has more than 70 percent of the possible sunshine during the summer months and about 50 percent during the winter months.

2.3  Historical Significance and Land Use

Historically, the land on which CSSA is located has been occupied by various cultural groups, including Native Americans, Spaniards, Anglo-Americans, and European immigrants, particularly Germans.  settlers in the early 1800s used the land primarily for farming and ranching (Army, 1990a).  Nearby, since the early eighteenth century, the city of San Antonio had been developed as a strategic location for military operations.  By the early 1900s, additional facilities were needed to support increased field training requirements, including artillery ranges and maneuver grounds.  In 1906 and 1907, six tracts of land were purchased and designated the Leon Springs Military Reservation. One of these tracts included most of the southern portion of CSSA.

Over they ears, the Leon Springs Military Reservation was used for maneuvers by Army and National Guard units.  The Third Brigade of the Maneuver Division was headquartered at Camp Stanley in 1911.  In 1917, a remount station was established (southwest corner of present-day CSSA) which served to process and maintain horses purchased for use by the mounted arms of the service (Army, 1990a).

In February 1917, the reservation was named Camp Funston in honor of the deceased commanding general of the Southern Department.  Because a fort in Kansas had also been named after Funston, the Texas Fort was redesignated later that year as Camp Stanley in honor of the former commander of the Department of Texas.

US involvement in World War I spurred extensive construction to provide housing and installation support facilities.  In 1917, the First Officers training Camp (FOTC) was established at the Camp.  Its purpose was to provide junior officers with field training and tactical drills.  A branch of the Signal Corps school was also established in 1917 and named Camp Samuel F.B. Morse.  From 1917 to 1919, field artillery brigades, trench mortar batteries, quartermaster battalions, cavalry regiments, and US guard battalions were housed on Camp Stanley.

In 1920, a section of the cantonment area at the north end of the Camp was turned over to the ordnance section of the San Antonio General Intermediate depot.  The ordnance department made plans in 1925 to construct a storage area for a 2-year supply of ammunition and components for all combatant troops in the Eighth Corps area.  Camp Stanley was chosen as the storage depot in 1931.  In 1933, a 1,270-acre tract was transferred to the chief of ordnance for the San Antonio Arsenal.  An additional 490.18 acres was transferred to Camp Stanley in 1937.  In 1938, magazine and igloo construction began (Army, 1990a).

In preparation to enter World War II, Camp Bullis acquired several tracts of land to support mobilization and training of Army ground forces.  A moving-target antitank range and a fortified area to familiarize soldiers with combat areas were designed and constructed on this land.  These tracts of land were later assigned to CSSA and are presently located in the southeastern section of the camp.

Camp Stanley became part o the Red River Arsenal in 1949.  In addition to ammunitions storage, the installation had responsibility to test and overhaul ammunition components.  In 1953, approximately 2,040 acres was transferred from Camp Bullis to CSSA.  An additional 204 acres was assigned to CSSA in 1970 (Boyd et al., 1990) to bring total acreage to its present level.

2.4  Current Mission and Site Activities

CSSA is a subinstallation of the US Red River Army Depot (RRAD), located in Texarkana, Texas.  The primary mission of the installation is receipt, storage, and issuance of ordnance materiel as well as quality assurance testing and maintenance of military weapons and ammunition (Army, 1971).  The management, administration, and functional operation of CSSA are in accordance with AR 740-1 and other applicable regulations, in support of the DoD Military Assistance Program (MAP) mission and other missions as directed by military headquarters (Renk, 1992).  At this time, no changes are expected in the future with respect to the mission and military activities at CSSA.

In addition to military operations at CSSA, wildlife hunting is allowed by military personnel or other parties on a restricted basis.  Additionally, CSSA has a cooperative grazing lease with the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Center (USDA-ARC).