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Endangered Plant and Invertebrate Species Survey at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake

To assist Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest (NAVFAC SW) in meeting the requirements of the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) for Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, the BioServices team at San Diego Natural History Museum conducted focused surveys for invertebrate species of regional conservation interest and/or management concern, and one federally endangered plant species, Lane Mountain milkvetch.

To supplement invertebrate data that had been collected over a 20-year period, museum staff endeavored to create a standardized, well-documented, and repeatable baseline inventory methodology that could be used to monitor change over time. Methods included the use of malaise, pitfall, pan, ultraviolet light, mercury vapor light, and rodent burrow traps, as well as hand/beat/sweep nets and ant cards. Also guided by the results of previous habitat assessments, the study team conducted two focused searches for Lane Mountain milkvetch, walking transects through appropriate habitat.

As a result of the invertebrate surveys, six new species were recorded for San Bernardino County, and nine new species were recorded for Inyo County. Compiling data from the current and previous work, the team also produced a comprehensive invertebrate species list for five intensively sampled springs within NAWS China Lake.

Based on the plant and invertebrate survey results, BioServices staff identified priority areas for conservation management within NAWS China Lake. They also provided recommendations for future studies and conservation measures to protect species of conservation interest or management concern from impacts due to military activities.