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Bostwick Bomb Target

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In 1940, the Navy acquired 640 acres about three miles northwest of Bostwick in Putnam County. The Navy created a 40-acre circular target in the middle of the site, and aircrews from Naval Air Station Jacksonville used it for practice dive bombing. The target became known as both the Bostwick Bomb Target and Putnam Bombing Range, and the Navy used it until 1977 when the Navy determined it no longer needed the site.

The Navy terminated the lease and returned the land to the property owner, but restoration work was required. The Navy searched 70 acres in the center of the site (including the 40 acre target). Using heavy equipment, Navy personnel dug down as far as two feet and removed any munitions that did not function properly. Two corporations now own the land that comprised the Bostwick Formerly Used Defense Site, and they use the land for timber.

Over the years, the Corps has conducted a number of investigations of the former Bostwick Bomb Target. During the Site Inspection, completed in 2010, teams found pieces from munitions, known as munitions debris. Because it is possible items containing explosive materials could remain at the site, the Corps is conducting a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study. The purpose of the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study is to characterize the nature and extent of impacts to the environment caused by the military's use of the land. The Corps wants to determine what may be present, in what locations and concentrations.

The Remedial Investigation involves a number of steps designed to confirm the target location and to determine if any munitions remain from the Navy's training. The Corps' contractor will tow a cart with a digital metal detector on it along paths (or transects) to locate buried metallic objects. Then technicians will analyze the data to create maps showing the location and amount of buried metal. These are called density maps. The density maps will indicate where crews need to dig "grids" based on the low, medium and high density of metals. Grids are square or rectangular areas of various sizes (such as 25' x 25' or 50' x 50') where munitions experts will dig selected metallic objects within the grids to determine what the metallic debris is. If teams find munitions or munitions debris, they will collect soil samples in those locations.

Once the fieldwork is complete, the team will analyze the data, draft a report and make recommendations. The results will be summarized in a document called a Proposed Plan which will present the alternatives to address what, if anything, remains on the site associated with the former Navy operations. The alternatives can range from no further action being necessary, to educating the public about the site, to remedial action. When the Proposed Plan is ready, the Corps will present it at a public meeting, and the public will have at least 30 days to review and submit comments on the plan.

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